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Pardee Perspective: May 24th, 2019

EUROPE

UK:   UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced her resignation as the leader of Britain as well as the Conservative and Unionist Party. Speaking from a podium at No. 10 Downing Street, May said, ‘It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.’  Her announcement will take effect on June 7th but she will remain a member of parliament after her exit. Pushing back tears, May said, she was honored to lead the country as the “second female prime minister but certainly not the last.” “I do so with no ill will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.”

AMERICAS

Venezuela: In show of further support for Nicolas Maduro, the Chinese government has sent a cargo plane carrying medical aid to Venezuela. The consignment will be distributed by government agencies chosen by the embattled president. China’s continuous support for the Maduro government could be tied to the billions of oil trade between them. “China is owed vast sums by the Maduro government; over the last decade, Beijing has lent more than $50 billion to the oil-rich nation through oil-for-loan agreements,” Reuters has reported. Meanwhile, Maduro continues to block aid from countries who have shown support for the opposition Juan Guaido, such as US, Germany and the UK. However, NGOs such as the Red Cross has been permitted to deliver relief items to those in need.

AFRICA

South Africa – South African President, President Cyril Ramaphosa has been sworn in after winning the election for the presidency earlier this month. The election took place after former President Jacob Zuma resigned after being accused of committing 16 counts of fraud, racketeering, and money laundering in regards to a multibillion-dollar deal between the South African government and a French Defense Company Thales from the late 1990s. It is important to note that while this election allowed the ANC to remain in power through the election of Ramaphosa, the party only received 57.5% of the vote which is the weakest showing in an election since the party took power in the 1994 post-apartheid elections. In his inauguration speech, Ramaphosa promised to buckle down on corruption and work to reinvigorate South Africa’s struggling economy. In addition, Ramaphosa stated, “There shall no longer be any person in this land who will be unable to meet their basic needs.”

MIDDLE EAST

Iran – As tensions between the US and Iran grow, the Trump Administration has announced that it will sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan, bypassing congress to do so. In addition, the US will deploy around 1,500 additional troops for the Middle East in an effort to counter Iran influence in the region. The Acting Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan stated that the troop deployment was an effort to “safeguard US forces given the ongoing threat posed by Iranian forces, including the IRGC [Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps] and its proxies.” These moves have worried many on Capitol Hill who have raised concerns that increasing US deployments to the region could lead to an accidental confrontation.

ASIA

India – Prime Minister Narendra Modi has successfully won a second term. Since taking office in 2014, he has worked to address corruption and increase development in economically struggling regions. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party won 350 of the 545 seat in the lower house of Parliament, being the first prime minister in almost 50 years to win majority in the back to back elections. Leading to the election, Modi’s party was accused on using hate speech and fear mongering tactics in an effort to propagate a hindu nationalist agenda. In addition, increasing violent attacks against india’s muslim population has raised concerns about increase secular conflict within India.

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