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DGI Brief - Dec 15, 2016

Happy Thursday. Today's top 3 global issues #news are about #France #Niger and #nuclear threats around the world:

- In an unprecedented move, FRANCE’s head of Defense & National Security employed the National Cybersecurity Agency (ANSSI) to train French political parties on defending against cyber-attacks aimed to influence the 2o17 presidential and parliamentary elections. Why it matters: Like Germany, France quickly learned from the US election where Russian-sponsored sophisticated & repeated attacks on the political system likely swayed the election results. It is deeply troubling that we can now influence regime changes without firing a shot (I don’t condone such means). We are all becoming the victims of destructive campaigns where truth & lies get spun to benefit unknowable agendas, where we all can become, unbeknownst to us, agents of propaganda. What an ugly war on our minds!

- The European Union agreed to provide $640million ($610 mil euros) in development aid to NIGER to tackle the root causes of poverty but also to boost border security & combat human smuggling in this key African transit rout for migrants. Why it matters: 2016 was a record year for migrant deaths in the Mediterranean Sea, over 4,700 men, women & children have perished. Inspired by the relative (perceived) success of the controversial EU-Turkey migrant deal whereby giving Turkey over a billion in aid to provide services to refugees & migrants & prevent them from leaving its shores for Europe, the EU now seeks similar arrangements with the countries of origin of largest migrant/refugees groups– Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal (& debating Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt & Pakistan). Surprise, the deals are proving extremely expensive. You can’t pay people not to come without a comprehensive, long-term development plan that offers incentives to stay, find opportunities at home.

- WORLD: UN Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, warned that extremists & non-state actors actively seeking weapons of mass destruction pose a serious threat of hacking nuclear power plants & causing uncontrolled release of radiation. Why it matters: Anything that is online is hackable. That is the reality of today. We see that various state & non-state actors already create mass disruption through cyber-attacks. Stockpiles of radioactive material are a logical target, one that worries experts around the world. Building nuclear & biological weapons still requires sophistication, but scientific advances are lowering barriers to such production. When will nuclear non-proliferation appeal to everyone?


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