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DGI Brief - Oct 31, 2016

Happy Monday to all. Today's top 3 global issues news are about #wildlife #Canada #EU and #Lebanon:

- WORLD: The biennial Living Planet Index report by WWF & Zoological Society of London provides disturbing data that animal populations on Earth have plummeted by 58% between 1970 & 2012, & will further decline to 67% by 2020. That means in less than 4 years, 2/3 of all wild animals will be lost due to human activity – destruction of wild habitats, hunting & pollution. Why it matters: Humanity depends on nature – for clean air, water, food, materials/resources & as scientifically proven for happiness & inspiration. Loss of biodiversity at such rapid rates will lead to a complete collapse of the intricately connected life & Eco systems on Earth. But it is not all heartbreaking news. Data shows that intense environmental/habitat protection & sustainability initiatives do work & some species are starting to recover. If each person picked just one animal specie they want to protect & did everything in their power to do so (advocacy, volunteering, funding), collectively we would succeed. We cannot be the only animal on Earth, we won’t survive.

- EUROPEAN UNION and CANADA signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) on Sunday potentially giving way to a 20% boost in trade that will bring 12 billion euros (USD 13 bil) & C$12 billion (USD 9 bil) to the EU and Canada respectively. Why it matters: CETA will have to clear Canada’s & EU’s national & regional parliaments & will thus likely take couple of years to be fully implemented. But it does point to a conundrum for free trade deals opponents, in particular in America – as we oppose them, smaller nations continue to negotiate them between each other, weakening the US stance & potentially market opportunities. For example, CETA eliminates tariffs on almost 99% of goods & now expands Canada’s export market – so heavily reliant on the US – by 508 million new EU consumers. For our consideration.

- LEBANON: After 29 months of not heaving a president, the parliament elected Michel Aoun (81), former army commander, as its new head of state. A Maronite Christian, Aoun enjoys support from Hezbollah, Lebanon’s most powerful military & political force. Why it matters: President Aoun inherits a nation riddled with political paralysis, economic downspin, & a deeply troubled region that includes the presence of > 1 million Syrian refugees. How will his friendly relations with Hezbollah, a Shiite group strongly allied with Iran & Syrian President Assad play into the geopolitics of the Middle East? In any case, congratulations, Lebanon!

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