Dilma D-Day, Dozens Killed In Baghdad, Duterte Weeps


After weeks, months even, of political chaos, the Brazilian Senate will vote to impeach President Dilma Rousseff later today. That is the scenario Brazil’s top media outlets are predicting, barring any last-minute twists. Of course in the mess that has become the impeachment process and criss-crossing corruption probes that have affected virtually the entire political class, twists can never be ruled out. In a desperate attempt to survive what she repeatedly described as a “coup d’Etat,” Rousseff and Brazil’s Attorney General has asked the Supreme Court to halt the impeachment process.

The latest reports from Folha de S. Paulo and other media outlets suggest that at least 50 out of 81 Senators will vote to impeach Dilma, nine more than the required majority, with 10 still undecided. In all likelihood, the Brazilian president will be suspended for a maximum period of 180 days, during which she will be tried for allegedly manipulating budget figures to boost her chances of being reelected in October 2014. At the end of the trial, a new vote will be held and Rousseff will be irrevocably impeached if more than two-thirds of Senators decide so.

In the meantime, her vice-president and rival Michel Temer will take over. Temer, whose name translates as “to dread,” has already prepared a drastically slimmed down and pro-business government in a bid to halt a devastating economic crisis that has sent unemployment and inflation soaring, even as Rio de Janeiro prepares to host this summer’s Olympic Games.



At least 50 people were killed this morning in Baghdad after a car bomb exploded in a predominantly Shia neighborhood of the Iraqi capital, Reuters reports. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack.


Barack Obama will become the first sitting U.S. President to visit Hiroshima on May 27 as part of a weeklong Asian trip from May 21, The New York Times reports. The White House insisted Obama wouldn’t apologize for the two nuclear bombs dropped in August 1945 on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but the president is expected to use this historical visit to defend the vision of a world without nuclear weapons.


Find out why May 11 is a special day for Salvador Dali, the Monty Python and the Knights Templar in your 57-second shot of history.


Bernie Sanders easily captured the West Virginia primary yesterday in what The Washington Post sees as “the first of a string of potentially strong showings this month” that could delay, though not prevent, Hillary Clinton’s eventual nomination. The Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump meanwhile had comfortable victories in West Virginia and Nebraska.


Analyzing the rise of protectionism in America, Les Echos’ geopolitical expert Dominique Moïsi explains why a large part of the world’s most powerful country is turning against 70 years of foreign policy. “What's new, even revolutionary, in the 2016 election is that a character so profoundly anachronistic in terms of strategic thinking could become the GOP’s candidate, despite or perhaps thanks to the outrageousness of his remarks.

The underlying reason for this evolution is connected to America's relationship to globalization. As the 20th century came to a close, we used to say that the U.S. was the great beneficiary of a globalized world. And objectively speaking, this was true. But a significant number of American citizens no longer agree, even viewing themselves as victims of globalization. In rallying behind Trump's isolationist and protectionist stance, they aim to protect themselves from a process they can longer seem to control.”

Read the full article: Why Trump’s America Rejects Globalization


“During a trip to Davos in January 2015, amid about 20 people, I made a comment to a journalist about her clothing and put my hand on her back,” France’s Finance Minister Michel Sapin told Reuters, two days after the vice-president of the lower house of parliament was forced to resign amid accusations of multiple sexual harassment. Sapin had previously denied the claims, published in a recent book, that he had “twanged the panties” of a journalist in Davos and this time stopped short of confirming them. “There was no aggressive or sexual intent in my conduct but the mere fact that the person was shocked shows that those words and this gesture were inappropriate, and I was, and still am, sorry,” he said.


The Philippines’ likely next president Rodrigo Duterte has been compared to Donald Trump. But after his apparent victory this week, he paid a visit his parents’ tomb in his hometown of Davao, in a public scene that was not very Trumpesque. See our Extra! feature.


Rising sea levels have swallowed five of the Solomon Islands and at least six more are headed for a similar fate, according to an alarming new study.



Queen Elizabeth II thought that Chinese officials “were very rude to the ambassador” during Xi Jinping’s state visit last year and she was caught saying so on camera. In keeping with traditions, the Chinese censored the BBC mid-report.

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Running of the Bulls in Tafalla, northern Spain

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Здравейте!*

Welcome to Monday, where an apparent coup is underway in Sudan, Colombia's most-wanted drug lord gets caught, and Michael Jordan's rookie sneakers score an auction record. We also focus on a report that the Thai government is abusing the country's centuries-old law to protect the monarchy from criticism (lèse-majesté) to target pro-democracy activists and protesters.

[*Zdraveite - Bulgarian]


• Developing: Sudan leaders arrested amid military coup reports: Soldiers have arrested several members of Sudan's transitional government as well as civilian leaders, and Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok has reportedly been put under house arrest, in what the information ministry called a military coup. Pro-democracy protesters have taken to the streets of the capital city Khartoum where there are reports of gunfire and clashes.

• Colombia's most wanted drug lord to be sent to U.S.: Colombia's most dangerous drug trafficker, known as Otoniel, was caught after a joint army, air force and police operation and faces extradition to the U.S. He led the country's largest criminal gang, and was on the U.S. most wanted list for years.

• Xi speech marks China's UN anniversary: China's President Xi Jinping marked the 50th anniversary of Beijing's entry into the United Nations with a speech calling for greater global cooperation, adding that issues like climate change, terrorism and cyber security needed multilateral solutions. Taiwan was not mentioned.

• German ISIS bride jailed for crimes against humanity: A German court has sentenced a German woman and former member of the Islamic State to 10 years in prison for letting a 5-year-old Yazidi enslaved girl die of thirst in Iraq. The case is one of the world's first trials to prosecute a war crime against the Yazidis.

• COVID update: The Beijing marathon scheduled next weekend has been postponed until further notice as China seeks to stamp out Delta variant outbreak and return to zero cases ahead of the Winter Olympics next February. Meanwhile, coronavirus cases in Eastern Europe have surpassed the 20 million mark as the region fights against its worst outbreak since the pandemic started and vaccination efforts lag.

Goodbye, Gunther: U.S. actor James Michael Tyler, best known for his role as the barista Gunther on the TV show Friends, has died at 59 of prostate cancer.

• Sneakers record: A pair of Michael Jordan's white-and-red Nike shoes, which he wore during his rookie season with the Chicago Bulls in 1984, sold for $1.47 million — a new record price for sneakers at auction.


"The end of a boss," titles Colombian daily El Espectador, reporting on the arrest of drug lord Dairo Antonio Usuga, known as Otoniel, who had led Colombia's largest criminal gang and had been on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency's most wanted list for years. He was captured in a raid and will be extradited to the U.S.



A Georgia man is being prosecuted for wire fraud after spending most of his business's COVID relief loan to buy one Pokémon trading card for $57,789.


How Thailand's "Lèse-Majesté" law is used to stifle all protest

Once meant to protect the royal family, the century-old law has become a tool for the military-led government in Bangkok to stamp out all dissent. A new report outlines the abuses.

👑 Thailand's Criminal Code "Lèse-Majesté" Article 112 imposes jail terms for defaming, insulting, or threatening the monarchy, with sentences of three to 15 years. This law has been present in Thai politics since 1908, though applied sparingly, only when direct verbal or written attacks against members of the royal family. But after the May 2014 military coup d'état, Thailand experienced the first wave of lèse-majesté arrests, prosecutions, and detentions of at least 127 individuals arrested in a much wider interpretation of the law.

🚨 The recent report "Second Wave: The Return of Lèse-Majesté in Thailand," documents how the Thai government has "used and abused Article 112 of the Criminal Code to target pro-democracy activists and protesters in relation to their online political expression and participation in peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations." The investigation shows 124 individuals, including at least eight minors, have been charged with lèse-majesté between November 2020 and August 2021. The new wave of charges is cited as a response to the rising pro-democracy protests across Thailand over the past year.

💻 The more than a century-old law is now largely playing out online, where much of today's protest takes place in Thailand. Thai student activist Juthatip Sirikan says people are willing to go further on social media to expose information such as how the king intervenes in politics and the monarchy's accumulation of wealth, information the mainstream media rarely reports on them. Not surprisingly, however, social media is heavily monitored and the military is involved in Intelligence operations and cyber attacks against human rights defenders and critics of any kind.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


"Children are going to die. People are going to starve."

— The United Nations warns that Afghanistan verges on a "total breakdown" as millions of Afghans, including children, could die of starvation unless urgent action is taken by the international community. The agency calls for the release of frozen assets to avoid economic and social collapse, despite concerns over the Taliban government. A recent report said that about 97% of Afghanistan's population may sink below the poverty line, and World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley warned that more than half of Afghanistan's population of 39 million were facing acute food insecurity and "marching to starvation" in comparison to 14 million two months ago.


Dutch cities have been secretly probing mosques since 2013

At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.

The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.

The NCTV, which advises and financially supports municipalities in countering radicalization, put the municipalities in touch with Nuance by Training and Advice (Nuance door Trainingen en Advies, NTA), a private research agency based in Deventer, Netherlands. Among the institutions targeted by the investigations, which came at a cost of circa 500,000 euros, were the Al Mouahidin mosque in the central Dutch town of Ede, and the Nasser mosque east of the city of Utrecht, according to NRC.

Unlike public officials, the private agency can enter the mosques to clandestinely research the situation. In this case, the agents observed activity, talked to visitors, administrators, and religious leaders, and investigated what they do and say on social media.

All findings then wound up in a secret report which includes personal details about what the administrators and teachers studied, who their relatives are, with whom they argued, and how often they had contact with authorities in foreign countries, like Morocco.

It is unclear whether the practice is legal, which is why several members of the Dutch Parliament are now demanding clarification from the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, who is said to be involved.

"The ease with which the government violates (fundamental) rights when it comes to Islam or Muslims is shocking," Stephan van Baarle, member of the leftist party DENK, told De Volkskrant, another Dutch newspaper.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed. Hassan Saidi, director of one of the mosques investigated, said that the relationship with the local municipality had been good. "This puts a huge dent in the trust I'd had in the municipality," he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

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