All signs say this is the end of the line for Dilma Rousseff. Both O Globo and Folha de S. Paulo, two of Brazilâ€™s main newspapers, report that she will lose todayâ€™s vote in the Senate and will be impeached. Many are hoping the decision, which arguably has more to do with Dilmaâ€™s perceived ability to unite and lead the country than with her wrongdoings, will finally put an end to a months-long political circus.
But the bigger question is whether her departure will bring back the stability and confidence Brazil so badly needs, or make matters worse. Already, violent clashes have erupted between Dilma opponents and supporters, the former believing sheâ€™s a corrupt leader who manipulated budgetary figures to be reelected, while the latter claim sheâ€™s the victim of a â€œcoup.â€
On the foreign policy front, things are likely to go smoother, for now. According to Folha de S. Paulo, interim President Michel Temer has already planned the official handover of power, which could happen as early as this afternoon, before he departs for China for this weekendâ€™s G20 summit. He will also be in New York in September for the United Nations General Assembly. Folha reported earlier this week that Temer is focused on trying to rekindle Brazilâ€™s relations with the U.S.
But as often happens, the harder work may be at home. Temer and people close to him have also been linked to the still-ongoing corruption probe around state energy giant Petrobras, and itâ€™s easy to forget that three of his ministers had to resign in his first month in office. Despite the relative success of the Rio Olympics, the Brazilian economy is still sputtering, while inequalities and violence surge. Impeachment, deserved or otherwise, is part of the countryâ€™s problems â€" not a solution.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- Historic five-day peace conference begins in Myanmar to end decades of ethnic violence.
- Donald Trump travels to Mexico for an impromptu meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto.
SPAINâ€™S RAJOY RISKS LOSING CONFIDENCE VOTE
Spainâ€™s caretaker Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is facing a vote of confidence heâ€™s largely expected to lose, having failed to secure a majority in parliament. Despite a deal between his conservative Popular Party and newcomers Ciudadanos, Rajoy would still need the backing of at least part of the Socialist Party, and Spanish media believe thatâ€™s just not going to happen. Instead, the country could be looking at its third general election in just one year.
ISIS PROPAGANDA CHIEF KILLED IN SYRIA
Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, ISISâ€™ main spokesman, was killed yesterday near Aleppo in an airstrike carried out by the U.S.-led coalition, Al Jazeera reports. Adnani, who had called for attacks against the West during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, was also the â€œprincipal architectâ€ of ISISâ€™ external operations, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement.
â€" ON THIS DAY
Remembering Lady Diana in todayâ€™s 57-second shot of History.
U.S. ANGRY AFTER EU HUGE TAX BILL AIMED AT APPLE
The European Commissionâ€™s decision to fine Apple to the tune of $14.5 billion for tax evasion has provoked angry reactions at the company, as well as in the United States and, perhaps surprisingly, Ireland, the country Apple is expected to pay. The U.S. Treasury said the ruling was â€œunfairâ€ and â€œcould threaten to undermine foreign investment,â€ while New York Senator Chuck Schumer described it as â€œa cheap money grab.â€ The Irish government, like Apple, is considering appealing the decision and insisted it â€œdid not give favorable tax treatment to Apple,â€ RTÉ reports.
NORTH KOREA MAY HAVE EXECUTED TOP OFFICIAL
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered the execution of Kim Yong-jin, the governmentâ€™s vice premier for education, and rebuked two other high-ranking officials, Yonhap quotes an unnamed South Korean official as saying. The execution is said to have taken place in July. The BBC however urges caution, reminding that â€œSeoulâ€™s record on reporting such developments is patchy.â€ Yesterday, South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported that two North Korean officials had been executed with an anti-aircraft gun. This comes days after The Washington Post revealed that the U.S. had been holding unofficial meetings with North Korean leaders.
Abnormally high temperatures triggered the outbreak of anthrax on Yamal peninsula, and itâ€™s not the only disease that roiled Russia this summer. Russian daily Kommersant warns: â€œThe bubonic plague appeared in the southern Siberian region of Altai. The disease was found in a 10-year-old boy. Local media reported that the foot and mouth disease, an incurable and highly contagious ailment, was found in cattle in the Russian republic of Kalmykia. But the federal service for supervision of consumer rights protection and human welfare refutes news of the outbreak.
A wave of African swine fever in Russia also raises questions regarding the quality of animal control in the country. ... With farmers facing these grim prospects, some are trying to bury the animals themselves. Others, more disturbingly, are trying to sell the meat through shadow channels.â€ Read the full article, Anthrax, Bubonic Plague, Swine Fever â€" Russiaâ€™s Strange Summer Of Diseases.
MARC RIBOUD DIES
Marc Riboud, the French photographer famous for taking one of the most iconic anti-Vietnam war photographs â€" a young girl with a flower in her hands standing in front of soldiers â€" has died. He was 93.
â€" MY GRAND-PEREâ€™S WORLD
Poles Of Attraction â€" Vancouver, 1995
LOST CENTURY FOR FOREST ELEPHANTS
African forest elephants have one of the slowest reproduction rate among mammals, meaning it would take them at least 90 years to recover from the intense poaching theyâ€™ve suffered over the past 15 years, a new study found. Their population is believed to have declined by 65% between 2002 and 2013.
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PUTTING THE â€œCOKEâ€ IN COCA-COLA
Workers at a Coca-Cola factory in the southern French town of Signes found backpacks with 370 kilos (about 815 pounds) of cocaine hidden in barrels containing orange juice from Costa Rica, French daily Var Matin reports.
Welcome to Wednesday, where Brazil's senate backs "crimes against humanity" charges against Jair Bolsonaro, the UN has a grim new climate report and Dune gets a sequel. Meanwhile, German daily Die Welt explores "Xi Jinping Thought," which is now being made part of Chinese schools' curriculum.
• Senators back Bolsonaro criminal charges: A Brazilian Senate panel has backed a report that supports charging President Jair Bolsonaro with crimes against humanity, for his alleged responsibility in the country's 600,000-plus COVID-19 deaths.
• Gas crisis in Moldova following Russian retaliation: Moldova, one of Europe's poorest countries, has for the first time challenged Russia's Gazprom following a price increase and failed contract negotiations, purchasing instead from Poland. In response, Russia has threatened to halt sales to the Eastern European country, which has previously acquired all of its gas from Gazprom.
• New UN climate report finds planned emission cuts fall short: The Emissions Gap Report 2021 concludes that country pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions aren't large enough to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 °C degrees this century. The UN Environment Program predicts a 2.7 °C increase, with significant environmental impacts, but there is still hope that longer term net-zero goals will curtail some temperature rise.
• COVID update: As part of its long-awaited reopening, Australia will officially allow its citizens to travel abroad without a government waiver for the first time in more than 18 months. Bulgaria, meanwhile, hits record daily high COVID-19 cases as the Eastern European's hotel and restaurant association is planning protests over the implementation of the vaccination "green pass." In the U.S., a panel of government medical advisors backed the use of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for five to 11-year-olds.
• U.S. appeals decision to block Julian Assange extradition: The United States said it was "extremely disappointed" in a UK judge's ruling that Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, would be a suicide risk of he traveled across the Atlantic. In the U.S., he faces 18 charges related to the 2010 release of 500,000 secret files related to U.S. military activity.
• Deposed Sudan prime minister released: Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has been released from custody, though remains under heavy guard after Sudan's military coup. Protests against the coup have continued in the capital Khartoum, as Hamdok has called for the release of other detained governmental officials.
• Dune Part 2 confirmed: The world will get to see Timothée Chalamet ride a sandworm: The second installment of the sci-fi epic and global box office hit has officially been greenlit, set to hit the screens in 2023.
Canadian daily National Post reports on the nomination of Steven Guilbeault, a former Greenpeace activist, as the country's new Environment minister. He had been arrested in 2001 for scaling Toronto's CN Tower to unfurl a banner for Greenpeace, which he left in 2008.
Chinese students now required to learn to think like Xi Jinping
"Xi Jinping Thought" ideas on socialism have been spreading across the country since 2017. But now, Beijing is going one step further by making them part of the curriculum, from the elementary level all the way up to university, reports Maximilian Kalkhof in German daily Die Welt.
🇨🇳 It's important to strengthen the "determination to listen to and follow the party." Also, teaching materials should "cultivate patriotic feelings." So say the new guidelines issued by the Chinese Ministry of Education. The goal is to help Chinese students develop more "Marxist beliefs," and for that, the government wants its national curriculum to include "Xi Jinping Thought," the ideas, namely, of China's current leader. Behind this word jam is a plan to consolidate the power of the nation, the party and Xi himself.
📚 Starting in September, the country's 300 million students have had to study the doctrine, from elementary school into university. And in some cities, even that doesn't seem to be enough. Shanghai announced that its students from third to fifth grade would only take final exams in mathematics and Chinese, de facto deleting English as an examination subject. Beijing, in the meantime, announced that it would ban the use of unauthorized foreign textbooks in elementary and middle schools.
⚠️ But how does a country that enchants its youth with socialist ideology and personality cults rise to become a world power? Isn't giving up English as a global language the quickest way into isolation? The educational reform comes at a time when Beijing is brutally disciplining many areas of public life, from tech giants to the entertainment industry. It has made it difficult for Chinese technology companies to go public abroad, and some media have reported that a blanket ban on IPOs in the United States is on the cards in the next few years.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
"I'm a footballer and I'm gay."
— Australian soccer player Josh Cavallo said in a video accompanying a tweet in which he revealed his homosexuality, becoming the first top-flight male professional player in the world to do so. The 21-year-old said he was tired of living "this double life" and hoped his decision to come out would help other "players living in silence."
Why this Sudan coup d'état is different
Three days since the military coup was set in motion in Sudan, the situation on the ground continues to be fluid. Reuters reports this morning that workers at the state petroleum company Sudapet are joining a nationwide civil disobedience movement called by trade unions in response to the generals' overthrow of the government. Doctors have also announced a strike.
Generals in suits At the same time, the military appears firmly in control, with deposed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok allowed to return home today after being held by the coup leaders. How did we get here? That's the question that David E. Kiwuwa, a professor of international relations at the University of Nottingham, takes on in The Conversation:
"Since the revolution that deposed Omar el-Bashir in 2019, the military have fancied themselves as generals in suits. They have continued to wield enough power to almost run a parallel government in tension with the prime minister. This was evident when the military continued to have the say on security and foreign affairs.
Economy as alibi For their part, civilian officials concentrated on rejuvenating the economy and mobilizing international support for the transitional council. This didn't stop the military from accusing the civilian leadership of failing to resuscitate the country's ailing economy.
True, the economy has continued to struggle from high inflation, low industrial output and dwindling foreign direct investment. As in all economies, conditions have been exacerbated by the effects of COVID-19. Sudan's weakened economy is, however, not sufficient reason for the military intervention. Clearly this is merely an excuse."
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
471 million euros
Rome's Casino di Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi, better known as Villa Aurora, will be put up for auction in January for 471 million euros ($547 million). The over-the-top price tag is thanks to the villa having the only known ceiling painting by Renaissance master Caravaggio.
✍️ Newsletter by Hannah Steinkopf-Frank, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger
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