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June 24, 2016

Daily News Brief

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TOP OF THE AGENDA

UK Votes to Leave EU, Cameron to Resign

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he would resign by October after UK citizens voted to leave the European Union. The national referendum, in which the "Leave" side won by 52 percent to 48 percent, makes the United Kingdom the first country to exit the twenty-eight nation bloc (NYT). The UK is the second largest economy in the EU. Leaders of the "Leave" campaign had rallied around the issue of immigration to the United Kingdom, with its slogan "take back control" (FT) speaking to voters' anxiety about the influx of newcomers from the European Union and elsewhere. Shares in Britain's top banks tumbled (Reuters) and the pound plunged to a thirty-year low (Bloomberg). Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans for a second independence referendum (The Scotsman). Sturgeon said it would not be acceptable for Scotland to be ousted from the European Union because a majority of its citizens want to stay in the union.

ANALYSIS

"The vote to Leave amounts to an outpouring of fury against the 'establishment.' Everyone from Barack Obama to the heads of NATO and the IMF urged Britons to embrace the EU. Their entreaties were spurned by voters who rejected not just their arguments but the value of 'experts' in general. Large chunks of the British electorate that have borne the brunt of public-spending cuts and have failed to share in Britain’s prosperity are now in thrall to an angry populism," writes the Economist.

"It is a moment all EU leaders feared: a referendum jolt with the potential to fracture not just the union but reshape the postwar order in the west. Brexit tugs at the bonds holding the bloc together, and the collective standing and clout of its members in the world. The EU is at bay. Once Britain leaves, the EU loses its biggest military spender, a UN Security Council seat, its second-biggest economy and one of its most vocal champions of world trade and liberal economics. All that comes as the continent is buffeted by the aftermath of multiple economic and political shocks at home and abroad," writes Alex Barker for the Financial Times.

“The fallout from the Brexit vote in the United States–tighter financial conditions caused by weaker stock markets and reduced risk taking, uncertainty about the future of Europe and global trade, as well as a weaker outlook for growth, strengthens the case for the Fed to put off rate hikes (if they needed any reason beforehand). Many issues that have come to the fore in our election campaign, including anxiety about the economic future of the country and globalization, will get a new look today. Together, there are many reasons to believe the economic consequences for the United States could be significant,” writes CFR’s Robert Kahn.

Weekly Podcast

Weekly Podcast

China hosts the first annual Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank meeting, the North American Leaders’ Summit begins in Canada, and India seeks a larger role in global nuclear governance. Listen and subscribe.

 

PACIFIC RIM

Putin to Visit Beijing Saturday

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping met in Tashkent on the sidelines of a regional security forum (Xinhua). Putin will travel to Beijing this weekend to discuss commerce and Chinese plans to revive the historical Silk Road trade route to Europe (Bloomberg).

INDONESIA: Indonesia said it would halt shipments of coal to the Philippines until the country could secure its waters (Reuters). The announcement follows the abduction of seven Indonesian sailors by armed gangs in the Sulu Sea. 

SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA

Sri Lankan Parliament Expected to Approve Freedom of Information Law

Sri Lanka is expected to pass a freedom of information law on Friday that will cover four thousand state institutions (NYT). The U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka called the law (Daily Mirror) a step forward to prevent a "return to an era of secrecy and a lack of accountability."

PAKISTAN: The Pakistani foreign office said it planned to go ahead with its project to regulate its border with Afghanistan in a bid to prevent terrorism (Dawn) despite recent violent clashes at the Torkham crossing following Pakistan's erection of a barrier. 

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Kurdish-Led Syrian Democratic Forces Enter Border City of Manbij

The Syrian Democratic Forces advanced into Manbij, a strategically important city near the Turkish border that serves as a link on a supply route (Al Jazeera) to the self-proclaimed Islamic State's de facto capital of Raqqa. The Kurdish-led troops are supported by airstrikes from the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State; tens of thousands of civilians are believed to be trapped in the city.  

IRAN: An Iranian official said that the country would purchase 109 passenger jets from U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing (Press TV) in a $17.6 billion deal. A new report says that the Obama administration is pushing for similar commercial deals with Iran (WSJ) as a way to cement the 2015 nuclear deal with the country.

CFR's Philip Gordon writes about how the nuclear deal could transform Iran in this article for the American Interest.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Obama Calls Kenyan President to Discuss Refugees

U.S. President Barack Obama called his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta and said the two countries would work together to address the needs of refugees and their host nations (White House). Kenya has hosted hundreds of thousands of refugees for more than two decades (Daily Nation) and recently threatened to close camps.  

ERITREA: Thousands of members of the Eritrean diaspora rallied at United Nations offices across Europe (Al Jazeera) to express support for a new UN report that accuses the Eritrean regime of crimes against humanity.

EUROPE

Turkish Parliament Grants Immunity From Prosecution to Armed Forces

The Turkish legislature granted immunity to members of the armed forces carrying out counter-terrorism operations (Reuters) as they battle Kurdish militants. Meanwhile a new resolution from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe warned (Hurriyet) that political developments in Turkey threaten "commitments to its obligations towards the Council of Europe."

This CFR event discusses the role of Turkey in regional security. 

AMERICAS

Colombia, FARC Cease-Fire Signed in Havana

The chief of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos signed a cease-fire deal to end the half-century-long conflict in a Havana ceremony (City Paper Bogota). The deal will need to be approved in a national referendum (Guardian) and included contentious demobilization measures for FARC guerrillas to lay down their weapons.

UN: The former president of the UN General Assembly, John Ashe, died of asphyxia in a weightlifting accident (Reuters) in New York.

CAMPAIGN 2016

Clinton Reaffirms Plan to Overhaul Immigration Laws

Hillary Clinton said (NBC) she would propose a comprehensive immigration reform plan, if elected, within the first 100 days of taking office. Her comments came on the day when the Supreme Court effectively blocked President Obama’s plan to defer deportation of undocumented immigrants. 

Track and compare the major foreign policy and immigration positions of the two candidates with CFR’s interactive, The Candidates and the World.