DGI Brief - Aug 1, 2016
- Last night, TUNISIA’s parliament gave overwhelming vote of no confidence (118 of 148) to PM Habib Essid after mere 18 months in office. Tunisia’s economy is experiencing great problems, with unemployment at 15% & more worryingly, ISIS has an active presence in the country, responsible for many attacks including 2 that killed 59 foreign tourists. Tunisia has been in the state of emergency since November 2015. The vote was democratic, but the concern is that negotiations on new leadership will be lengthy, distract from the current problems & provide a vacuum where much of the achieved progress can be undone.
- USA: Over the last 2 weeks, US courts ruled that Kansas, North Carolina, Texas & Wisconsin violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act & that African Americans & other classes of voters were intentionally discriminated against, while the laws gave significant advantages to Republicans. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) undertook a vulnerability study following a staggering HIV outbreak in rural Indiana & found at least 220 US counties are highly vulnerable to rapid spread of HIV, directly linked to the US opioid addiction epidemic. The vulnerability signals are alarming: high white population, poverty, high rates of drug overdoses, prescription opioid sales & hepatitis C. Once predominantly an urban issue, opioid addiction & HIV epidemics are threatening a large number of rural areas across America.
- BRAZIL: As thousands of protesters took to the streets demanding end to corruption & the impeachment of President Rousseff, a 16-month-long study commissioned by The Associated Press concluded just days before the opening ceremony warning of staggering contamination in the open-water aquatic Olympic & Paralympic venues as well as the most famous Copacabana & Ipanema beaches. The risk of “getting violently ill” applies to anyone who could ingest water through mouth and nose. More on AP’s Big Story including sampling & testing methods, please see http://apne.ws/2apAhjN
- The crisis in YEMEN is about to worsen the lives of already suffering civilians as both warring sides – Government of President Hadi & the Houthi rebels now in coalition with ex-president Saleh’s GPC party - announced they are pulling out of UN-brokered peace talks in Kuwait, slated to start in 2 days. Aid groups are warning that the humanitarian situation in the country is critical, with Yemen’s healthcare system completely failing. Another round of senseless fighting & innocent deaths before they realize there can be no resolution or peace without…that’s right - peace talks.
- JAPAN: By a landslide, Mrs. Yuriko Koike beat 20 candidates including the Prime Minister’s pick. She began her career as a journalist & served as the first minister of defense & most recently minister of environment. She will lead the country’s capital of over 13 million people, with a budget bigger than some countries – and face huge problems left by her predecessor: corruption scandals, soaring costs & flawed preparations for the 2020 Olympics. But yes she can! Congratulations.
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