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DGI Brief - Dec 7, 2016

Happy Wednesday. Today's top 3 global issues #news are about #Kenya #Iran and #Mexico:

- KENYA: All doctors and nurses from public hospitals have been on strike, putting the healthcare sectors into complete disarray. President Uhuru urged its end claiming nearly 20 people died due to lack of care. 87 patients reportedly escaped from psychiatric hospital on the first day of the strike. Why it matters: The workers, represented by Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists & Dentists Union, are calling for pay raise & end of corruption within the health ministry, currently investigated for inflating contracts with private health businesses. Instead of listening to the strikers & attempting to resolve the issue, it is reported the government is seeking court orders to arrest union officials. Not smart.

- IRAN: British PM Theresa May announced a £3 billion defense investment to Persian Gulf states – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia & UAE – to counter “Iran’s destabilizing activities” during a 2-day summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Why it matters: Following the nuclear agreement curbing Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons & lifting of economic sanctions, many Gulf Arab nations have grown wary of Iran’s actions – backing Shiite rebels in Yemen, Iraq, supporting President al-Assad in Syria… And with the uncertain foreign policies of President-elect Trump, it seems the Gulf states are looking for new powerful allies to help strengthen their defense systems. UK is taking advantage of this nervousness, positioning themselves to sign new massive arms deals with the Gulf countries & building new bases (ex. Bahrain). Does Brexit mean partnering up & investing with notorious human rights abusers?

- Wal-Mart announced today it plans to invest $1.3 billion in MEXICO over the next 3 years, building new distribution centers & expanding logistics & distribution networks. Why it matters: the plan will also create 10,000 new jobs in Mexico, where Wal-Mart already is the largest retailer & private employer. Officials were very careful to stress the investment “was generated by profits we have obtained in Mexico” to counter any accusations they were taking away from US jobs & investments. Everyone walks the tight-rope ahead of the next US administration.

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