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On May 26, the price of the bitcoin began to surge, hitting a value of $467.50. Throughout the weekend, the currency continued its dramatic trajectory, spiking at $570 before settling around $530. This amounts to a sudden increase of 21% in the midst of a consistent, if low, period for the currency. While these values are far below bitcoin's one-time peak of $1,151, they are the highest prices the digital currency has reached since 2014. That same year marked a heavy blow for the bitcoin, bottoming it out at low rates that remained in force over the past year. Now, investors are indicating promise in the currency once again: Over the weekend, daily global transactions equated to $134,056,000, with over 15 million bitcoins in supply.

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One of the main sections of globalEDGE is the Tools and Data section. The tools provided include a diagnostic tool, a comparator tool, and interactive rankings. The diagnostic tools are used to evaluate important international business decisions such as international partners and distributors. The comparator tool is used to compare countries across a variety of economic indicators including GDP, inflation, and exports. The final tool is the interactive rankings, a tool designed to rank countries or states based on key economic indicators.

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Despite the fact that shares of the world's top tobacco companies reached record highs in recent weeks, AXA, one of the world's biggest insurers, has decided to sell all of its assets in the tobacco industry. Over $2 billion in assets will be divested, and AXA will cease all further investment. This huge announcement follows new tobacco laws in the United Kingdom regarding uniform packaging, as well as large graphical health warnings that will go into effect in less than a year. With investors retracting funds and government laws emphasizing health concerns, will this mark the beginning of the end for the tobacco industry? 

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Have you been gotten the chance to visit the globalEDGE Business Beat lately? The Business Beat, hosted by Tomas Hult, is a great way to gain in depth knowledge on current topics in the business world, and the latest segments cover a wide variety of interesting topics. Topics for May include the uniqueness of Sweden both culturally and economically, the Global Business School Network and its impact on business schools around the world, the American Marketing Association, and more. Make sure you check out the globalEDGE Business Beat page today!

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Dubai has been one of the fastest growing economies in the past 3 decades, if not the fastest. Dubai has been all over the news and social media for quite some time now, and everyone is amused by its dramatic changes. It distinguishes itself with its ultramodern architecture, skyscrapers, and luxurious shopping. It’s also known for its indoor skiing, housing the tallest skyscraper in the world, “Burj Khaleefa”, and building man-made islands such as the “Palm Jumeirah”.

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On Tuesday, President Barack Obama announced that the United States would be easing some of its economic sanctions on Burma. Under new provisions, seven Burmese companies and three state-run banks will be allowed to engage in business with American corporations. The announcement shortly followed the seating of Burma's first democratically elected government in decades, led by the opposition party of revolutionary Aung San Suu Kyi. Obama cited several other developments in Burma that led to this decision: the freeing of several political prisoners, the discharge of child soldiers from the Burmese military, and improved labor standards. The lifting of these particular sanctions is meant to reward Burma for taking the steps toward a more democratic society. 

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As the capabilities of artificial intelligence and technology continue to grow and become more versatile and sophisticated, there are more opportunities for continued growth, but these advances can have a wide range of impacts across many industries in the global economy. Artificial intelligence encompasses a wide spectrum of technological advances, such as robots, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, and algorithms.

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The sugar industry could be seeing big changes in the coming years, jump started when the European Union announced a liberalization of their sugar policies. The new sugar policy will allow farmers to produce more sugar, as production quotas and minimum payments have been abolished. With the new rules, the EU expects to become a net exporter of sugar for the first time since 2005, which will impact sugar farmers internationally, especially those used to importing to Europe.

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The International Monetary Fund recently released a report detailing how much corruption impacts governments worldwide. This report, titled “Corruption: Costs and Mitigating Strategies”, follows Managing Director Christine Lagarde’s warning to Ukraine in February that the IMF would halt its bailout unless stronger action to fight against corruption occurred. According to the report, corruption in the public services sector takes out an estimated $1.5 to 2 trillion each year from the global economy due to stunted bribes and costs, lost tax revenue, and sustained poverty.

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Earlier this month, the FDA announced it will be reevaluating it's term "healthy", and therefore altering which foods will be considered healthful. As ideas of healthy eating change, FDA regulations should be changing as well. The current regulations reflect more of the simplistic beliefs from the 1980's and 90's, when low fat content and high levels of carbohydrates were seen as healthful. Today, those ideas have changed. This adjustment in regulations will not only affect labeling, but also will affect company products and their overall profit.

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Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company of Saudi Arabia, is increasing oil production in advance of its partial IPO. While global oil production has been decreasing, Saudi Arabia has decided to stop regulating production levels and dismissed the idea of stabilizing global supply and demand. The oil giant is preparing for its first public offering, offering about 5% of the company.

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The global debt is currently around $60,244,106,843,495, and according to the CIA’s World Factbook, there are only two countries, Liechtenstein and Macau, that don’t owe any sovereign external debt. Both countries are fairly small, and are both resource rich, thus helping each sustain a steady flow of cash into their economies. Macau is a semiautonomous region of China, and is home to the world’s largest casinos. Lichtenstein is one of the smallest European countries, and is the largest manufacturer of fake teeth and sausage casings. Both countries don’t use their own currencies, with Lichtenstein using the Swiss franc and Macau using the Hong Kong dollar, so their governments are unable to print more currency and utilize inflationary financial policy.

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There has been a lot of research lately into the effects of gender diversity on a company and the results are impressive. The research found that it pays off in multiple ways to have more women, who are treated equally, at a company. The advantages to companies include higher returns, less volatility in returns, higher performing stock, lower probability of a major drawdown, superior decision making, lower accruals, and attracting the top talent. Businesses are not only driven to diversify by the profit motive but also by the workforce itself.

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One of the newest technological curiosities to hit the globe is virtual reality, where, with a headset, users can be transferred to a “real” place anywhere on Earth, in an environment that is also completely interactive. The vast amount of applications for this technology make it extremely promising, and its impact on the business world could be huge, possibly in a way not seen since the creation of the internet. At this time, the headsets have mostly been focused on the entertainment industry, in applications like video games, but as virtual reality becomes mainstream, its use could spread to many facets of our lives.

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In recent weeks, there has been a lot of coverage of various commodities, such as oil, and the role they play in the global economy. Two other commodities that are influencing the global economy are lithium and coffee.

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On June 23rd of this year, the United Kingdom will vote in referendum on their future with the European Union. Their potential exit, which has been dubbed “The Brexit”, would undoubtedly have major ramifications on the European economy, and the global economy as a whole. One of the ramifications of a Brexit on the rest of Europe that could possibly be overlooked or underestimated, is the effect on employment throughout the entire EU.

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Have you visited the globalEDGE Business Beat lately? The latest segments feature a variety of interesting topics related to international business and trade. Specifically, the latest segments cover the evolving relationship between Cuba and the United States, the UK referendum on EU membership, the status of the United States’ relationship with Israel, Turkey’s involvement in the refugee crisis, and more. Be sure to visit the globalEDGE Business Beat page today to get an in-depth look at the aforementioned current topics in international business. 

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For a while now, Europe has been going through a wide variety of issues. Whether it’s the refugee crisis, risk of Britain voting to leave the European Union, or Greece’s economic disaster, Europe has been set back recently. Despite these issues, European leaders cannot afford to lose sight of their long-term economic goal, “Growth.” Europeans need to act now due to the continent's aging population that creates a significant barrier for economic growth. Statistics show that by 2050, the EU labor force could shrink by 42 million, or 12%, making growth almost impossible to achieve. 

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This Monday, Puerto Rico defaulted on a $422 Million dollar debt payment, a significant development as the island faces an impending economic crisis. As stated by Heather Long in CNN Money, “Puerto Rico, a tropical paradise in economic purgatory, faces a $70 billion debt bill it knows it cannot pay, a staggering 45% poverty rate and a shrinking population as citizens flee to the mainland.” This quote shows what kind of state the island is currently in and its outlook for the future does not look any better. Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla says that they are facing a “humanitarian crisis”, and he claims that he is prioritizing the basic needs of his people over what the territory owes to banks.