ESTADO DE MINAS
Estado de Minas is a Belo Horizonte-based daily. Founded in 1928, EM is the highest-selling broadsheet in Brazil's Minas Gerais state.
Geopolitics

The Latest: Olympics At Risk, Sanctions On Russia, Magic Mushrooms

Welcome to Thursday, where Japan says the Olympics could still be cancelled, the U.S. is set to impose sanctions on Russia and there's a wild new treatment for depression. We also have a piece from Cairo-based online magazine Mada Masr about how the particular way the #MeToo awakening on sexual violence is playing out in Egypt.

• COVID surge in Japan, Olympics still at risk: The pandemic's fourth wave is hitting Japan hard, prompting a senior leader to say that cancelling the Summer Olympics "remains an option." The World Health Organisation warns that Cambodia might be on the verge of "a national tragedy," as it experiences its worst COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

• Hong Kong's first "National Security Education Day": The government celebrations are aimed at promoting the controversial law imposed by Beijing last year that punishes anything the Chinese government considers as subversion, secession, "terrorism" or collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison.

• U.S. to impose sanctions on Russia over cyber attacks: Washington is expected to announce sanctions against Russia over cyber attacks and alleged interference in the 2020 presidential elections.

• Officer who killed Daunte Wright charged: U.S. ex-officer Kim Potter who fatally shot a black motorist near Minneapolis — where George Floyd was killed last year by a police officer — has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.

• Bernie Madoff dies in prison: The infamous architect of the most expensive Ponzi scheme in financial history, Bernie Madoff, died yesterday at the age of 82, while serving a 150-year prison term.

• Two-year anniversary Notre-Dame blaze, cathedral to reopen in 2024: Two years to the day after Notre Dame's devastating fire, the director of its restoration mission has announced that the iconic site is very likely to reopen for worshippers in 2024.

• Magic mushrooms help cure depression: The psychedelic drug found in magic mushroom is said to be as efficient at reducing depression symptoms as any conventional treatment, an early-stage study reports.

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Geopolitics

The Latest: Brazil's Crises, Pfizer For Kids, Nuclear Gibberish

Welcome to Wednesday, where Brazil's Bolsonaro faces the worst crisis of his presidency, Aung San Suu Kyi makes a "healthy" appearance, and a kid gets nuclear (tweeting) powers. And thanks to L'Espresso journalist Maurizio Di Fazio, we tune in from a safe distance to the dangerous and sometimes violent Italian branch of the anti-vaxxers movement.

• COVID and military put Bolsonaro at risk: As Brazil hits a new record daily COVID-19 death toll, President Jair Bolsonaro faces the biggest political crisis of his presidency, with chiefs of the army, navy and air forces all resigning at the same time. Sources say the three heads of the armed forces were facing pressure from the president to show him greater loyalty and public support.

• Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine works for kids: The Pfizer/BioInTech jab has proven 100% effective in children ages 12-15 during testing, opening the way for a wider vaccination campaign across the population. Meanwhile, Germany bans AstraZeneca to those under 60 following a similar decision by Canada after additional reports of rare blood clots caused by the anti-COVID vaccine.

• U.S cuts ties with Myanmar: The U.S. says it will cut trade ties with Myanmar and has recalled its diplomats over the military coup and ongoing crackdown that has led to more than 500 deaths. Arrested pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi looks "in good health", according to one of her lawyers.

• Fighting Escalates in Eastern Ukraine: Both Ukraine and Russia issued statements Tuesday noting the worsening of a conflict over the contested territory of Donetsk.

• Deliveroo fails to deliver: Disappointing debut on the London stock market for gig economy food delivery company Deliveroo, with shares dropping 30% amid concerns over its economic health and working conditions.

• €1 for Timbuktu: The ICC has ruled that Mali and UNESCO were to receive one euro in reparation for the damage caused to several mausoleums and the sacred gate of a mosque in Timbuktu — a symbolic gesture meant to reflect the "inestimable universal value" of the buildings destroyed by jihadists in 2012.

• Nuclear gibberish: A cryptic tweet (;l;;gmlxzssaw) on the official account of the U.S. Strategic Command — which runs the country's nuclear weapons force — turned out to be the doing not of a hacker, but of a "very young child" fiddling with their parent's unattended account. Reassuring.

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Geopolitics

The Latest: Russia & Twitter, Arkansas Abortion Ban, 3D Buddha Statue

Welcome to Wednesday, where Myanmar's military hires a PR company, U.S. state of Arkansas bans abortions and a hologram is projected of the giant Buddha destroyed 20 years ago by the Taliban. We've also translated a Jeune Afrique article that follows the fight of a Moroccan collective trying to repeal a bill which criminalizes sexual relations outside marriage.

• 1 in 3 women victims of violence: A landmark WHO report reveals that one in three women globally have been victims of violence or sexual assault at least once in their lives, a number that has not decreased in the past two decades. The World Health Organisation study is the largest ever to track the prevalence of violence in 161 countries aimed at women and girls age 15 and up was collected between 2000 and 2018 — so does not account for the pandemic.

• Brazil hospitals overrun: Brazil again breaks its daily COVID-19 death toll record, as its health institute warns that hospitals are close to collapse.

• Myanmar junta hires PR firm: Myanmar's generals hire Canadian lobbying firm Dickens & Madson for $2 milion to work on their behalf as the military appears to be taking a more deadly stand in quelling pro-democracy protests.

• Russia to slow Twitter: Russia has announced that it will throttle Twitter speeds, effectively preventing the viewing of photos and videos, citing "illegal content" on the platform.

• Arkansas bans abortions: The U.S. state of Arkansas has passed the strictest abortion ban in the country, part of a conservative effort to bring the issue to the Supreme Court to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

• China and Russia to build space station: The two countries have agreed to jointly construct a lunar space station that will be open to research and visits from "all countries."

• Thai PM douses reporters: In an effort to dodge reporters' questions on a possible cabinet reshuffle, Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha misted the audience multiple times with hand sanitizer spray.

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Geopolitics
Lawson Mario

Extra! Amazon Rainforest 'On Fire' On Brazilian Front Page

Estado de Minas"s Aug. 23 front page

Pegou Fogo. "On Fire."

Belo Horizonte-based daily Estado de Minas chose this straightforward, yet impactful title for its Friday edition, letting the dramatic photograph of Amazon rainforest burning tell the story.

Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) reports that forest fires have increased by 84% this year compared to the same period last year.

Farmers often set fires illegally to clear land — a practice that has been made easier by the policies of Brazil's populist president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has consistently undermined the country's environmental agencies, and even accused NGOs of setting fires themselves.

The issue gained such momentum that French President Emmanuel Macron called it an "international crisis." "Our house is burning," he tweeted, saying the issue ought to be discussed during the upcoming G7 summit in Biarritz.

Bolsonaro, for his part, admitted that Brazil lacked the resources to control the fires, while insisting that foreign governments should not interfere with what he considers a Brazilian issue.