A good-humored people by nature, Brazilians know how to take misfortune in stride. On social media, memes and videos poke fun at the widespread corruption allegations that have mired the nation. Almost every politician and the most prominent businessmen have been tainted, leading to one of Brazil’s worst democratic crises since the fall of the authoritarian military dictatorship in 1985. Even as Brazil’s economy is on the mend, the fate of its president, Michel Temer, and that of the Brazilian government hang in the balance.

Brazil’s attorney general may indict Temer for corruption and obstruction of justice in the coming days. The outcome of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal’s deliberation of the validity of the 2014 Rousseff-Temer election ticket could also provide the means to Temer’s end. Can Temer hold on to the presidency? And what lies ahead for Brazil if he fails?

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The Conservative government’s surprise loss of its parliamentary majority in the United Kingdom’s June 8 general election will greatly complicate the task of withdrawing the country from the European Union (EU), on which negotiations are due to start June 19. But it might conceivably lead to a better outcome in the end.

Prime Minister Theresa May specifically called the “snap” election on April 18 in order to increase the Conservatives’ seventeen-seat majority in the House of Commons. This, she argued, would give her a stronger mandate for the so-called “hard” Brexit she was demanding from the EU—involving complete departure from the EU Single Market and Customs Union and a clampdown on immigration.

Far from achieving such a mandate, she has received a stinging and humiliating rebuke. The Conservatives now have only 318 seats in the 650-seat House of Commons, down from 330. While she will try to carry on governing with the support of ten Democratic Unionist MPs from Northern Ireland, her days as prime minister are almost certainly numbered. The Conservative Party is notoriously intolerant of losing leaders.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May made a gamble when she decided to call early elections with the hope of shoring up political support ahead of difficult Brexit negotiations. That gamble did not pay off.

May’s Conservative Party, while still the largest in Parliament following the June 8 election, failed to secure the 326 seats necessary to hold an absolute majority in the House of Commons. The Conservatives now have 318 seats, down from the 330 seats they had before the election. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party increased its number of seats from 229 to 261. As a result, the United Kingdom now has a hung Parliament.

This outcome raises many questions, including about the negotiations on the United Kingdom leaving the European Union (EU), set to start on June 19, and May’s own political future.

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With the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, Louis XIV famously empowered national prejudice, initiating widespread persecution and driving the mass exodus of French protestants. Many of those within this highly skilled and industrious group fled to London, where they had no small part in the blossoming of English economic life which would soon see the birth of industrialization and the forging of a global empire. Arrivals to Holland, Prussia, and America had similar impacts in those places. France, the undisputed Western superpower of the seventeenth century, would fade in relative geopolitical prominence. A global defeat in 1763 at British hands which ended the Seven Year’s War cemented France’s legacy as the perennial second fiddle of modern global power. A petty act of illiberal tribalism for political expediency had a real impact on the rise and fall of nations.

The story of the Huguenots is not an isolated one. The expulsion of Jews from Europe, South Asians from Africa, and many others propagated decline in the perpetrator countries—and usually brought significant economic and political gains to those countries that took in the expelled people.

In modern times, the experience of LGBTQ refugees provides glaring evidence that this trend endures.

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US President Donald J. Trump’s America First approach will have to take a back seat when it comes to Afghanistan.

As the Trump administration wrestles with a decision on whether to send several thousand additional US troops to Afghanistan in an effort to end a fifteen-year-old war and make peace with the Taliban, there is a firm belief in policy circles that there is a critical need for the United States to deepen its engagement in that country.

Yet, with Trump there is a “real possibility that the United States, if it is not successful within some acceptable period of time, could choose to reduce its commitment to Afghanistan and ultimately withdraw,” said Ashley Tellis, Tata chair for strategic affairs at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “If that outcome occurs the door will be open to internecine regional competition in Afghanistan, which will only make circumstances in Afghanistan worse,” he added.

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“The real crucial link in the international exchange is the last three feet, which is bridged by personal contact, one person talking to another.” - Edward R. Murrow


US diplomats serving at embassies and consulates abroad are gearing up for June Pride celebrations with local LGBTI communities and their allies at a time of uncertainty about where the promotion LGBTI human rights will fall among US President Donald Trump’s policy priorities.

In previous Pride celebrations under the Obama administration, US embassies and consulates flew rainbow flags; ambassadors marched in Pride parades in Tel Aviv, Warsaw, Mexico City, and Zagreb; and diplomats hosted public events with local government officials and human rights activists to demonstrate US commitment to global equality.

These measures came about in direct response to the official policy determinations of former US President Barack Obama and former Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry that made LGBTI rights an important piece of US foreign policy. Obama’s 2011 presidential memorandum directed all foreign policy-related agencies to ensure that US diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBTI persons. Clinton delivered an address to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council in December 2011 in which she declared: “Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.” In 2015, the first US special envoy for LGBTI rights was appointed.

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On June 8, the United Kingdom will vote in its second general election in just over two years. Six major parties are contesting these elections, with the Conservative and Labour Parties holding the largest share of seats.
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The last election in May 2015 resulted in a Conservative government, and led to the June 2016 national referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union. Following the result in favor of Brexit, Prime Minister David Cameron—the leader of the unsuccessful Remain campaign—resigned, and former Home Secretary Theresa May took office.

May’s leadership has been dominated by Britain’s departure from the EU, and the implications for the country. In April, facing domestic opposition to this approach, including legal challenges, she called a snap general election. She argued this would help Britain have a stronger negotiating position in the talks with other EU member states, and would give her a clear mandate to go ahead with leaving the EU. Although Brexit is an important issue in the election, however, it is not the sole focus of the campaign. Health, education, welfare, immigration, and the environment feature heavily in the manifestos of the major parties.

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To use an old Thatcherite adage, the United States, United Kingdom and European Union are all living in cloud cuckoo land, seemingly vastly underestimating the medium- to long-term effects of Brexit: a dramatically weakened UK, an undermined EU, and fragmented transatlantic relations. Put another way: the transatlantic rift that has clearly already opened over NATO and now the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement could be just the start—made far worse by a bad Brexit.

Over the past few months, a group of Brits in Brussels has been working unofficially on Brexit scenario planning, attempting to delve into what the UK, EU, and transatlantic relations will be facing with Brexit. Laid out in such detail—which we will do in the next few weeks—is a veritable catalogue of daunting mountain-size challenges. While it’s true the UK faces some of the biggest knots to disentangle, the EU and transatlantic relations won’t be spared. Viewed all together, it is clear that breezy statements such as “Brexit means Brexit” hide a veritable catalogue of hurdles and hardships, mostly on the British side, but also for the EU.

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Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the front-runners in the British general election, have endured a volatile race punctuated by two terror attacks that have rocked Britain. With campaigning suspended twice after each incident and British pollsters’ failure to predict Brexit, FutureSource queried a data science firm to get its reading on the election that has challenged conventional forecasters.

GovBrain, located in Washington, DC, uses a patent-pending “Trend Meter” inside its machine learning and artificial intelligence system. GovBrain analyzes digital trends from nearly one thousand government, regulatory, and legislative sources along with political, financial, and technology news sites from around the world.

According to the GovBrain Trend Meter, Prime Minister May’s Conservatives have forged a strong lead that should be the makings of a comfortable victory for the Tory prime minister. Corbyn’s Labour received no bounce on the Trend Meter after both terror incidents, and now Labour lags with too much ground to make up before voting begins Thursday.

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In recent years, the protection and advancement of the human rights of LGBTI people has become a hallmark of US foreign policy.

In 2011, former President Barack Obama issued a presidential memorandum that, among other things, directed government departments and agencies working overseas to “combat discrimination, homophobia, and intolerance on the basis of LGBTI status or conduct.” Since then, there has been an increase in the number of US diplomats participating in pride parades around the world, US embassies proudly hoisting the rainbow flag alongside the Stars and Stripes, and over $7.5 million dollars distributed to US partners and allies around the world to combat discriminatory legislation, protect human rights advocates, and increase our capacity to report on incidents of human rights violations.

I, for one, am tremendously proud of everything the United States has done since LGBTI rights were formally recognized as a foreign policy priority. However, Washington cannot afford to de-prioritize the human rights of the LGBTI community. US efforts to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, in addition to the visibility they bring to widespread LGBTI and foreign policy issues, must continue.

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