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DGI Brief - Aug 31, 2016

Happy Wednesday all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #Egypt #Brazil #UK #Myanmar and #Cuba #USA

- EGYPT’s Parliament amended laws against female genital mutilation (FGM) from a misdemeanor to a felony, punishable up to 15 years if the child dies during the procedure & up to 7 years for performing FGM. This is a powerful accomplishment, however change will be slow to come in this highly conservative nation where this practice is prevalent & public discussion of sexual topics is a social taboo. Estimated 90% of Egyptian women have undergone some form of FGM. The new amendments do contain a flaw whereby FGM is banned “unless permitted by a specialized doctor”.

- BRAZIL’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff, has been impeached by a landslide 61-20 vote by the Senate. The charges – fiscal mismanagement of the federal budget, illegal use of executive power, by-passing congress, misleading about the state of Brazil’s economy. The defense – previous presidents all used very similar techniques in a system set up for bribery, graft & ‘pedaladas’ (pedaling) or ‘creative accounting’. The conspiracy theory – the ongoing investigation into massive corruption scheme reaches all levels of Brazil’s government, including many of the 61 senators who voted to impeach. President Rousseff refused to tamper with the investigation & this is the payback. Rousseff’s Vice President, turned nemesis, will serve as President until 2018. Brazil’s economy is expected to decline for a second straight year.

- UK: So she said. PM Theresa May told her cabinet there will be no 2nd referendum or staying in the EU by the back door. She is insisting to make exiting the EU a success for Britain. She is committed to govern & lead the nation out of a difficult situation. I may not like the situation, but PM May gets my respect.

- MYANMAR: Troubled by decades of separatists insurgencies resisting “Burmanization” – the propagation of language, religion & culture of the ethnic majority on ethnic minorities - the new government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, kicked off 5-day peace talks with 17 of the 20 major ethnic groups. May the respect for democracy, human rights & unity materialize in nationwide peace agreement.

- CUBA/US: After 55 years of US trade embargo on Cuba & a ban on US citizens to travel to the island, Jetblue flight 387 landed in Santa Clara this morning, kicking off a new era of relations with about 300 flights a week by all major airlines. There is still an official ban on tourism, however “people-to-people” cultural & education visits are one of the 12 categories allowing Americans to visit Cuba legally. Bienvenidos a Cuba!

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