How much material do we use to send a package? Too much. Does recycling help? Yes – but not really. Packaging material often accumulates as waste, contributing to its own "polluting weight." To solve our packaging dilemma, Finland came up with RePack: a "circular" solution for the reuse of material.
A steady increase of violence in the Sahel region of Africa over the past eight years has imposed fear and hardship on millions of the people who live there. It has also pushed the governments of Sahel countries to work together to fight terrorists.
The region's troubles have also captured the attention of European leaders, who worry that if instability there continues, it could generate a movement of migrants that might well dwarf the EU refugee crisis of 2015-2016.
But is Europe helping to make things better?
<p><a href="https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/27977/europe-has-spent-years-trying-to-prevent-chaos-in-the-sahel-it-failed?utm_source=WPR+Free+Newsletter&utm_campaign=bb8bcbed26-071720-insight-nonsubs&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6e36cc98fd-bb8bcbed26-64573333&mc_cid=bb8bcbed26&mc_eid=1400fb4cc1" target="_blank"><u><strong>The backdrop</strong></u></a><u><strong>:</strong></u> The Sahel is a band of countries at the southern edge of the Sahara that stretches across Africa from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. For many years, fighters from the Sahel country of Mali worked for Muammar Qaddafi's security services in Libya, and the collapse of that regime in late 2011 sent large numbers of heavily armed men back to Mali. There, they used their weapons and training to capture territory for themselves in the north of that country. </p><p>Before long, the violence spread south, toppling Mali's government. Chaos prevailed as Islamist groups, terrorists, separatists, ethnic militias, and criminal gangs competed for turf. </p><p>Enter France, the region's former colonial power. The French military managed to restore Mali's government and some of its stability in 2013, but violence in the north continued. </p><p>The area of turmoil then began to expand beyond Mali into neighboring Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad. In 2014, the governments of these four countries plus Mauritania formed the <a href="https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/french-foreign-policy/security-disarmament-and-non-proliferation/crises-and-conflicts/g5-sahel-joint-force-and-the-sahel-alliance/" target="_blank">G5 Sahel</a> organization to manage the common threat to their stability. Together, they have a fast-growing population of <a href="https://issafrica.org/iss-today/the-g5-sahel-region-a-desert-flower" target="_blank">more than 80 million</a> people and a median age of just 16. </p><p>In 2017, having felt the shockwaves of Syria's collapse, European leaders moved urgently to avoid state collapse in the Sahel. A G5 Sahel Joint Force, with backing from the UN, the African Union, and France began military operations against armed groups operating in the region. </p><p>European leaders have launched a <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/MEMO_18_6670" target="_blank">comprehensive approach</a> to the region. Over the past two years, nearly two dozen European countries have contributed troops, trainers for local soldiers and police, peacekeepers, and billions of development Euros to the G5 Sahel countries. </p><p>Unfortunately, the violence has only <a href="https://acleddata.com/dashboard/#/dashboard" target="_blank">gotten worse</a>. A recent report from World Politics Review notes that there were 413,000 internally displaced people in the G5 Sahel countries at the end of 2019, and more than 5 million people now need humanitarian help. </p><p><strong>Why aren't the combined efforts of G5 Sahel and European leaders working?</strong> </p><p>First, critics warn that Sahel government forces are often unable or unwilling to distinguish between different armed groups and their motives—and civilians are dying in the crossfire. </p><p>Second, the European commitment is half-hearted. European leaders, fearful of the political fallout that comes with military casualties, are not engaging hostile forces aggressively enough to turn the tide. </p><p>Third, some locals resent the presence of Europeans, particularly French troops, inside their countries because they believe, not without reason, that they care much more about heading off refugees than about helping Africans. <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/09/mali-forgotten-war-20149691511333443.html" target="_blank">Others</a> wonder whether Europeans are there mainly to steal their natural resources. </p><p><strong>But the biggest challenge for the Sahel extends far beyond terrorists and militias.</strong> <a href="https://www.transparency.org/en/cpi/2019/results" target="_blank">Corruption</a> and incompetence plague national and local governments. Ramshackle infrastructure hobbles economic opportunity. And the impacts of climate change on agriculture and COVID-19 on public health are making things worse. </p><p><strong>Bottom line:</strong> Stability depends not just on the absence of violence, but on the presence of good governance and economic opportunity. Without them, neither citizens of the Sahel nor European leaders will reverse this dangerous momentum toward turmoil. </p>
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Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal
Jon Lieber, Managing Director for the United States at the Eurasia Group, shares his perspective on US politics.
Where are US-China relations in this battle over TikTok and what is happening?
Well, this may seem like a minor deal. It's a video sharing app that the president has given 45 days to sell to a US entity or get banned in the United States. But along with WeChat, these are two of China's most successful technology companies that the US has now banned from entry into the United States and potentially banned from being used on operating systems that rely on US software inside China. So, this is a huge escalation in the geotech war between the United States and China. China for a long time has not allowed Google and Facebook and other American applications to be fully operative inside their borders. And now the US is stepping up against Chinese technology companies. The reason is that there's concerns among the US government about these tech, these apps data security practices. Members of the military, high ranking government officials aren't allowed to have these on their phones because there's concern about what China does with the data that they can harvest from those phones. This is a real warning sign to other Chinese technology companies that they may not be welcome inside the American market unless they can prove in some way, they are totally independent from the Chinese government and the Chinese military. Expect a lot of escalation in this area over the coming months and years.
<p><strong>As November 3rd nears, what can we expect to hear from US intelligence officials about the possibility of campaign interference in the US election?</strong> </p><p>Well, the intelligence community is hoping to depoliticize information around election interference in this election cycle. They've designated the head of counterintelligence in the US, a guy named William Evanina, to be the front man and the face of all information campaigns surrounding foreign interference. He said he's going to give regular updates to Congress and to the public. Democrats have been skeptical of these efforts. Republicans seem much more willing to wait and see. So far, what he's told us is that Russia has stepped up their disinformation campaigns in particular around the coronavirus. Expect to see regular updates out of him. And this may become a household name as we get closer to the election if you see the levels of foreign interference in the 2020 cycle that you saw in 2016. </p><p><strong>This past week, Trump signed into law the Great American Outdoors Act. What is it? </strong></p><p>Well, President Trump hasn't exactly been known for his environmental conservation efforts during his administration. And what this act does is dedicate billions of dollars to ongoing maintenance of public lands and in particular, the National Park Service. This bill has been out there for a while. What drove its final passage into law is two things: one is the reelection needs of a couple of vulnerable western Republican senators, and two, the relative lack of concern over the deficit in the Trump administration, which has been one of the hallmarks of this administration. And the deficit in the past, was one of the things that kept this bill from passing into law. So, this could be one of President Trump's most important, lasting environmental legacies. And in 10 years, could make a huge difference to the quality and accessibility of public lands in the US. <br/></p>
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Fmr. CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden on Opening Schools: “The Key is to Open Them in a Way that They Can Stay Open"
August 06, 2020
In a new interview with Ian Bremmer for GZERO World, former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden says that the single most important step to reopening schools in the fall is to control infection in the community. But as of now, too many communities across the United States have lost control of the Covid-19 virus. Opening schools will only become a possibility once a majority of people start practicing the "Three 'W's" ("Wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance") and local and federal governments enforce stricter protective policies. The full episode of GZERO World begins airing on US public television on Friday, August 7, 2020. Check local listings.