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The Pardee Perspective: March 14th, 2019

Africa

Algeria President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned after major protests ensued following an announcement that he would be running for a fifth term. Protesters concerns included fear that Bouteflika is no longer running the country since his stroke in 2013, corruption in the country’s oil and gas industry, and high youth unemployment. In a letter released by the state news agency on Monday, Bouteflika stated that a national conference would plan a vote and draft a new constitution for Algeria. Also following his resignation, Interior Minister Noureddine Bedoui was named Prime Minister and said his new cabinet would be established early next week and will include young Algerians protesting for political change. Bedoui said he would only be in office for a short time as a new government is established.

Middle East

Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia is putting women’s rights activists on trial including Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al-Yousef, Eman al-Nafjan, and Hatoon Al-Fassi. The prosecutor claims that these women (in addition to five men) are being held on suspicion of harming Saudi Arabia’s interests and supporting hostile elements abroad. Their arrests were part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s crackdown to sideline any opposition forces, consolidate power and maintain his image as the sole architect of modernization in Saudi. Aziza al-Yousef was one of Saudi’s first activists to campaign for women’s right to drive and for an end to male guardianship over female relatives. According to human rights activists and the families of the detained, the women have been tortured.

Europe

United Kingdom – By a vote of 412 votes to 202, British lawmakers have moved ahead with a plan to delay their departure from the European Union. This will allow Prime Minister Theresa May to push for a Brexit deal approval.in parliament. The vote makes it likely for the previous Brexit deadline to be missed. However, this move is dependent on the twenty seven EU member states who meet in a week. The British parliament also voted 334 to 85 against a second referendum concerning their EU membership.

Americas

Brazil – The United States is taking steps to upgrade military ties to a level reserved for NATO allies with Brazil. This will grant Brazil a ‘major non-NATO ally’ (MNNA) status, allowing them to purchase military equipment and technology. This makes Brazil the second South American country to have a MNNA status.  Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro will visit Washington and set to strengthen ties between both countries. The head of US military’s southern command, Admiral Craig Faller said, “there’s a tremendous opportunity for enhancing and strengthening our partnership with Brazil.”

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