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Dilma Loses, Earthquake Toll Rises, Monkey Laughs

Dilma Loses, Earthquake Toll Rises, Monkey Laughs


More than the necessary two-thirds of the Brazilian lower house of Congress voted in favor of starting impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff. O Globo reports on yesterday's momentous proceedings, as Brazil's first woman president faces accusations that she manipulated budget figures to secure her reelection in late 2014. A total of 367 deputies voted for impeachment, 25 more than the required minimum, with 137 voting against. Rousseff, who lost a last-minute attempt to block the vote, "won't stop the fight," attorney general José Eduardo Cardozo commented, adding the president would speak publicly later today. "If anybody thinks she's going to bow, they're wrong," Folha de S. Pauloquotes him as saying.


    The case will now be debated in the Senate, where a vote is expected to take place next month. If a simple majority of 41 (out of 81) senators votes for impeachment, Dilma, who has repeatedly described the proceeding as a "coup," could be suspended for up to six months. If more than two-thirds support it, her mandate will come to an end. According to Folha, at least 47 senators have already declared themselves in favor of impeachment. In case she is removed, her opponent and vice-president Michel Temer will take over, although he faces impeachments proceedings too. Next in line would be the lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha, often described as Rousseff's "arch-enemy" and accused of having hidden millions in bribes in a Swiss account.


    Political reporter Mônica Bergamo writes in Folha de S. Paulo that Dilma's Workers' Party, which has held power since 2003, is considering a daring backup plan: The president would resign, regardless of the Senate's ruling, and call for a new presidential election, with a twist. Since she'd be resigning two years before the end of her four-year term, her successor would be elected for a six-year and non-renewable mandate. The official narrative would be that this is the only way to bring back much-needed legitimacy and stability to crisis-hit Brazil. Though the article doesn't mention him, this could be former leader Lula's chance to return to the presidency.

  • See how Folha de S. Paulo covered the news on its front page here.


Photo: Jose Jacome/EFE/ZUMA

The death toll of the magnitude-7.8 earthquake that struck Ecuador on Saturday has risen to 272, with more than 2,000 injured, and many more believed to be trapped in the rubble, newspaper La Hora reports. In the touristic city of Pedernales, described as a "ground zero" by the newspaper, 80% of the city's buildings have been damaged by the tremors, with some entirely destroyed. President Rafael Correa, who was in Europe when the earthquake happened, declared a nationwide state of emergency. "The pain is very large, the tragedy is very large, but we'll find the way to move forward. If our pain is immense, still larger is the spirit of our people," he said.

  • In Japan meanwhile, close to 250,000 people have been told to leave their homes amid fears that another earthquake could hit soon. At least 42 people have died after Saturday's magnitude-7.3 quake, with another 11 still reported missing. Scientists are studying whether the two earthquakes, in Japan and Ecuador, could be related.


"The Sanders campaign, when they talk about it, is absolutely right: It's ridiculous that we should have this kind of money in politics," George Clooney told NBC's Meet The Press during a weekend when he helped Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. Asked if he thought the reported figures of more than $350,000 for a couple to "co-chair" a fundraising dinner in California were "obscene," as Sanders supporters criticized, the actor and activist said, "Yes. I think it's an obscene amount of money." Later on CNN, Bernie Sanders praised Clooney's "honesty and integrity," and said he thought the actor was backing the wrong horse. "One of the great tragedies is that big money is buying elections," the Vermont senator said.


La Stampa correspondent Domenico Quirico was a rare recent visitor to a once crowded Christian pilgrimage destination in the Sinai desert: the sixth-century Saint Catherine's Monastery. Increasingly, he notes, this part of Egypt is controlled by ISIS. "A small door opens in the medieval monastery's thick walls, as the church bells ring to announce the morning mass. A Byzantine church stands beside a mosque, cloisters and several houses, all surrounded by towering walls built at the foot of Mount Sinai. The jagged granite mountain soars into the sky overhead.

Read the full article, Journey To An Ancient Monastery Deep In Egypt's Besieged Sinai.


Republican Texas senator Ted Cruz won all 14 delegates at stake on Saturday in Wyoming. Frontrunner Donald Trump, who complained the process in Wyoming was "rigged," instead chose to focus on his home state of New York, where he enjoys a 29% lead ahead of tomorrow's vote.


Achilles' Wheel — Larissa, 1961


Oil prices tumbled after energy-producing countries failed to reach an agreement to freeze output at an OPEC meeting in Doha, Qatar. A deal was thought to be in the cards before the meeting, but it reportedly failed due to non-OPEC member Iran's refusal to cap its own production of oil, having just returned to the market after years of international sanctions.


At least 208 people have died in western Ethiopia after a raid carried out on Friday by South Sudanese gunmen, who also kidnapped 108 children and took more than 2,000 head of livestock, according to Reuters. Cross-border cattle raids often happen in the region, though not on such a scale. A government spokesman said 60 of the attackers had been killed by Ethiopian forces.


From Mount Everest to Conan O'Brien, here is your 57-second shot of history!


South Korea's President Park Geun-hye said that there were signs that North Korea are preparing for a fifth nuclear bomb test. Pyongyang was hit with a series of international sanctions after it carried out a fourth test in January.



A new UCLA study may help explain the very practical reasons why humans have developed laughter. If you have your doubts, just try tickling a monkey.

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Legalizing Moonshine, A Winning Political Stand In Poland

Moonshine, typically known as “bimber” in Poland, may soon be legalized by the incoming government. There is a mix of tradition, politics and economics that makes homemade booze a popular issue to campaign on.

Photo of an empty vodka bottle on the ground in Poland

Bottle of vodka laying on the ground in Poland

Leszek Kostrzewski

WARSAWIt's a question of freedom — and quality. Poland's incoming coalition government is busy negotiating a platform for the coming years. Though there is much that still divides the Left, the liberal-centrist Civic Koalition, and the centrist Third Way partners, there is one area where Poland’s new ruling coalition is nearly unanimous: moonshine.

The slogan for the legalization of moonshine (known in Poland as "bimber") was initially presented by Michał Kołodziejczak, the leader of Agrounia, a left-wing socialist political movement in Poland that has qualified to be part of the incoming Parliament.

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”Formerly so-called moonshine was an important element of our cultural landscape, associated with mystery, breaking norms, and freedom from the state," Kołodziejczak said. "It was a reason to be proud, just like the liqueurs that Poles were famous for in the past.”

The president of Agrounia considered the right to make moonshine as a symbol of "subjectivity" that farmers could enjoy, and admitted with regret that in recent years it had been taken away from citizens. “It's also about a certain kind of freedom, to do whatever you want on your farm," Kołodziejczak adds. "This is subjectivity for the farmer. Therefore, I am in favor of providing farmers with the freedom to consume this alcohol for their own use.”

A similar viewpoint was aired by another Parliament member. “We will stop pretending that Polish farmers do not produce moonshine for their own use, such as for weddings,” the representative said, pointing out the benefits of controlling the quality. “Just like they produce slivovitz, which Poland is famous for. It's high time they did it legally.”

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