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O GLOBO
O Globo is a nationwide Brazilian newspaper based in Rio de Janeiro. It was founded in 1925 and is one of the cornerstones of the media conglomerate Organizações Globo, led by businessman Roberto Marinho.
Uvalde And The World: A Look As School Shootings Spread Beyond The U.S.
Society
Bertrand Hauger

Uvalde And The World: A Look As School Shootings Spread Beyond The U.S.

After a shooting left 21 dead at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, we take a look around the world at other countries that have faced similar shooting sprees on school grounds outside of the United States.

The killing Tuesday of 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, adds to the United States’ long, sad list of mass shootings. It is the deadliest school attack in the country since the Dec. 2012, Sandy Hook shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead — and comes just 10 days after a gunman killed 10 at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

According to the independent organization Gun Violence Archive, 200 mass shootings have occurred so far this year in the U.S., with 27 school shootings resulting in deaths or injuries.

This, together with other statistics, paint a picture of school shootings as a uniquely American malady: a 2018 CNN report estimated that the U.S. had 57 times as many school shootings as the other G7 nations combined, with an average of one attack a week. And though the past two years have seen a drop in massacres on school grounds, as the pandemic forced the education world to move online, a recent Washington Post article notes that as classrooms reopen, gun violence is again soaring at the nation's primary and secondary schools.

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Russia-Ukraine War Begins: 24 Newspaper Front Pages
Geopolitics

Russia-Ukraine War Begins: 24 Newspaper Front Pages

Tensions culminated this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin launching a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, a move widely opposed by world leaders that made virtually every front page around the world.

"THIS IS WAR," reads the front page ofGazeta Wyborcza. Alongside the terse, all-caps headline, the Polish daily features a photo of Olena Kurilo, a teacher from Chuguev whose blood-covered face has become one of the striking images of the beginning of the Ukraine invasion.

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A day after simultaneous attacks were launched from the south, east and north of the country, by land and by air, some press outlets chose to feature images of tanks, explosions, death and destruction that hit multiple cities across Ukraine, while others focused on the man behind the so-called "special military operation": Putin.

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Photo of an empty theater with red seats
Coronavirus
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

Carnival, Coachella, Beijing Games: COVID Threatening Live Events Again

The Omicron variant is again forcing event organizers to weigh whether to cancel, postpone or forge ahead in the face of superspreader risks.

Part of the shock in spring 2020 was seeing the COVID-19 pandemic bring virtually all major world events, from concerts to sporting competitions to holiday celebrations, to a screeching halt. Now, with the Delta and Omicron variants exploding around the world, the same hard reality will be facing event organizers in 2022 for a second or third year in a row, while the rest of us are left to ponder what it means to live in a world where we can’t come together en masse.

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Woman with a bright red shirt holding an Iphone
Society
Laure Gautherin

Quiet, Boss! How Portugal Became The World Model For Work-Life Balance

Portugal has become the first place in the world where it is illegal for managers to contact their employees after hours. Will other countries follow suit?

It's 8 p.m. after a long day of work, and you've clicked on your well-earned Netflix show...and "ping," another after-hours phone notification has arrived from your boss. Much of the working world has been there, somewhere between annoying and invasive. But now, in Portugal, it is also illegal.

Last Friday, the Portuguese Parliament approved a pioneering new law barring employers from contacting their staff outside their contracted working hours. The news, which has been hailed around the world by labor rights activists, academics and even television comedians, has largely been framed as a welcome response to the around-the-clock remote working that COVID-19 lockdowns have triggered.

Worker's rights

Still, the debate predates the pandemic, and the Portuguese party Bloco de Esquerda (Left Bloc) had first proposed a version of the law in 2017, having identified professional hyperconnectivity as a direct source of workers' fatigue and a negative weight on private and family life.

"Remote working has great advantages provided we control the disadvantages," said Mendes Godinho at Lisbon's Web Summit this month, reported Portuguese weekly Expressoearlier this month. "The pandemic accelerated the need to regulate what already needed to be regulated."

In the rest of the world, employees have the choice not to respond to their boss' messages or calls when they are off-the-clock, but that doesn't mean it doesn't create stress and anxiety. And with remote work becoming a daily reality for most of the population during lockdowns, the line between professional and private space and time got perniciously blurry, normalizing management's digital trespassing.

Question of wellbeing

The new law in Portugal adds to the employees' right to disconnect during their time off, the employer's duty to scrupulously respect working hours when contacting their collaborators, putting the emphasis on the employees' wellbeing.

To preserve the balance between work and life, the legislation presented by Portugal's labor minister, Ana Mendes Godinho, expressly forbids companies from contacting employees outside working hours, with a case of force majeure exception, reports Portuguese daily Correio da Manhã. Any employer failing to do so faces a fine of up to 9,600 euros. The law further protects employees' privacy by prohibiting companies from monitoring home workers in any way.

It gives workers an additional weapon

The law states that remote working must be established by mutual agreement between employer and employee, with hours and location specified in a contract. While workers can refuse to work at home without giving reasons, employers cannot, unless they justify in writing why. Remote work cannot be used as discriminatory grounds in terms of holidays, careers, health and insurance provisions. And as for parents of children up to eight years old, they have the right to work at home without asking for validation from an employer.

Also included in the new law is the duty for employers to financially compensate remote employees' work-related expenses, such as additional electricity or internet fees, and a mandatory in-person meeting between employees and their superior every two months to prevent isolation.

Young man holding a smartphone in a dark room

Overworked and weary-eyed

Adrian Swancar / Unsplash

How do you enforce it?

The law was welcomed worldwide with many calling on to their own respective governments to follow suit. It is "one of the world's boldest efforts to regulate the remote work that the pandemic forced on many in the industrialized world", wrote Raphael Minder in The New York Times.

Trevor Noah, host of the U.S. talk show The Daily Show, took a swipe at the weak protections for American workers. "A victory for workers in Portugal… Meanwhile, in America, a major labor victory is like, now Amazon workers get a choice of plastic or glass bottle to pee in," he quipped.

I don't know if it will work...

José Soeiro, a sociologist and a legislator for the Left Bloc, wrote in the newspaper Expresso, after the law was approved that Portugal can be a model for others. "That our law gives this signal, which seems unprecedented in international terms, is of great political and legal significance," he wrote."It also gives the workers an additional weapon to wield in the fight for the right to live beyond work."

Still, the legislation was also met with some skepticism. "It's a valid law, even more so with today's telecommuting system and with the phones never being switched off," an anonymous Brazilian working in Portugal told the Rio de Janeiro-based daily O Globo. "I just don't know if it will work."

It raises a crucial question on the mechanics of the new law: Would you be ready to report your boss to the authorities?

Photo of Fabiola da Silva, Brazilian pro inline skater, tying her ponytail
Society
Anne-Sophie Goninet, Rozena Crossman and Jane Herbelin

Meet The Trailblazing Female Athletes Competing With Men

Playing to defeat their male opponents — and gender division in sports.

Whenever a sports team composed of women plays a game, it is referred to as a "women's team." Their male counterparts, however, are simply considered a "team," with no explanatory adjective needed.

This argument has long been invoked when discussing women's secondary place in sports, and the battle is ongoing. Earlier this year, American soccer hero Meghan Rapinoe appeared in Congress to testify about the U.S. Soccer Federation's unequal pay between women's and men's teams.

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Back in February when the first vaccinations began in Serrana
Coronavirus
Alessio Perrone

As COVID Explodes In Brazil, Serrana Becomes World's First Fully Vaccinated City

As part of a medical study, the mid-sized Brazilian city of Serrana is now nearly 100% vaccinated, even as the rest of the country is crumbling under COVID's toll.

As Brazil lost another 3,462 of its citizens to COVID-19 on Wednesday, a little-known city of 45,000 in the center of the country had a very different story to tell: Welcome to Serrana, believed to be the world's first city to be immunized against COVID-19.

Facing a highly contagious variant and poor public management, Brazil is currently the country worst-hit by the pandemic, accounting this month for one of every four COVID-19 deaths and a overall death toll above 360,000. But this town's entire population has been vaccinated against COVID and walks mask-free; its health workers only treating a small number of lingering coronavirus cases.

Located some 300 kilometers north of São Paulo, Serrana has been distributing to all its residents since February two doses of Sinovac, a Coronavirus vaccine developed in China, as part of "Project S," a Brazilian study. Researchers hope the project will help settle pressing questions about COVID-19 vaccines, such as: Can someone who is vaccinated still transmit the virus? Does the vaccine work against variants? What exactly is the efficacy of China's vaccine, given that even Chinese authorities have recently recognized its shortcomings?

More than 97% of the population is vaccinated.

Serrana was chosen for the study because it used to be a hard-hit community, though that would be hard to tell now. Vaccinations ended on April 11, with researchers vaccinating 97.7% of the target population. Infection rates have plummeted. So has the number of people turning up at hospitals with respiratory problems. According to O Globo"s Valor Economico, it has been a week since anyone has been intubated.

The law still requires residents to wear masks and comply with social distancing, at least until the study's initial results are published, presumably in May. Yet impatience seems to spreading fast in Serrana, and many residents already act as if the pandemic is over. Estado de São Pauloreporters who visited the town saw several group gatherings and said many residents had ceased to wear masks.

Hope, too, seems contagious. Business owners who saw revenue drop by an average of 10% during the 2020 lockdown now appear relieved. They are joined by dozens of companies around Brazil who contacted local authorities hoping to set up a branch in Serrana. "The expectation is that businesses will be allowed to reopen this month, even if at 30% capacity," restaurant owner Ricardo Tadeu Lisi told Valor Economico. He said his revenues fell 70% in 2020, and he had to close down, renegotiate salaries and dismiss 14 employees — but now he hoped to reopen soon.

"It takes time to get back to normal, but we hope that 2021 will be a better year than 2020," he said. "There is a light at the end of the tunnel."

Lula and Sarkozy in 2008
Geopolitics
Alessio Perrone

Lula To Sarkozy To Trump: The Toxic Mix Of Justice And Politics

-Analysis-

It was quite a statement about Brazil's justice system: "I have been the victim of the biggest judicial lie in 500 years," Luiz Inácio da Silva declared last week. But the hyperbole from the former president, better known as Lula, was also very much about politics — considered by many to be the opening salvo in his election campaign next year to return to the presidency.

The 75-year-old onetime labor leader, who went on to serve as Brazil"s president between 2003 and 2010, maintains widespread popularity because of his big words and big personality, but also for having introduced far-reaching social programs that are credited with lifting millions of Brazilians out of poverty. After having seen his protégé and successor Dilma Rousseff impeached, Lula tried to run in the 2018 presidential election but was disqualified after being implicated and convicted (and ultimately, jailed) in a corruption scandal.

But last week, Brazil's Supreme Court cleared Lula, setting up a likely run against current president Jair Bolsonaro in 2022. The O Globo daily featured a front-page cartoon of Lula as an angrily impatient Superman, while Folha de S. Paulo headlined its coverage of his speech: "As in the plot of a Greek play, Lula returns to save democracy."

But whether used for Lula or against him, it's already clear that playing the judicial card will be a big part of Brazil's next election. Lula's supporters will blame "politicized" judges who barred him in 2018 from standing in the way of the public will, and clearing the path for four years of Bolsonaro. His detractors will blame other ‘politicized" judges who might now allow him to run despite his alleged implication in corruption scandals.

It's a dynamic seen at play around the world — walking the fine line between respecting democracy's necessary separation of powers and stoking populist anger amid painstaking judicial proceedings.

Lula in Sao Paulo on March 10 — Photo: Vanessa Carvalho/ZUMA

We've seen similar scenes play out in recent years in Italy, where Silvio Berlusconi used his time in office to lash out at judges who prosecuted him and passed laws designed to make him immune from prosecution. More recently in France, former President Nicolas Sarkozy, still the most popular figure among center-right voters, was convicted of trying to bribe a judge. Le Figaro noted that Sarkozy didn't go as far as Lula, prefering not to call his conviction "politicized justice," but rather a "profound injustice." He added that he has "gotten used to facing this kind of harrassment for 10 years."

And the next theater of such political-judicial drama? Keep your eye on the world's most powerful democracy, where Donald Trump is eyeing another run for the White House in four years — and prosecutors are investigating the former president for a variety of alleged misdeeds. If you think Lula didn't hold back in attacking the judicial system, just wait for the Donald.

In a gun shop in Sao Paulo
Geopolitics
Alessio Perrone

As Brazil Hits 250,000 COVID Deaths, Bolsonaro Eases Gun Control

The streets are quiet, the joy is missing, and the guns are out. The eve of Carnival feels different this year in Brazil — and it's not just the pandemic. Even as newspaper headlines report the country's coronavirus death toll nearing 250,000, President Jair Bolsonaro has introduced another element of danger: new looser gun ownership laws.

The move is made of four different presidential decrees signed earlier this month that facilitate purchasing, owning and carrying guns. In short, Bolsonaro relaxed background checks on gun purchases, scrapping rules that required authorization from the Army Command and a psychologist accredited by the Federal Police — now, a report signed by a registered psychologist will be enough. And more importantly, Bolsonaro increased the number of weapons allowed for hunters to 30, for sport shooters to 60, and for ordinary citizens to six, allowing Brazilians to build small private arsenals.

Brazilians already live in one of the most dangerous countries in the world, having recorded 43,892 violent deaths in 2020 — in the middle of a pandemic. The figure is a 5% increase compared to 2019, according to G1"s Monitor of Violence. Many are victims of police shootings, 75% of whom are Black and mixed-race Brazilians, according to a recent study.

People lack oxygen, ICU beds, vaccines and jobs — but now they can buy up to six weapons to ‘protect themselves'.

This is the second time Bolsonaro has relaxed gun laws — in 2019, another set of measures led to the proliferation of guns among civilians, although some of them were suspended later. "In a carnival with an atmosphere of Ash Wednesday, the country is watching a macabre parade caused by the tragedy of the new coronavirus," wrote theO Globo daily in a scathing condemnation of the president. "People lack oxygen, ICU beds, vaccines and jobs — but now they can buy up to six weapons to ‘protect themselves'."

Bolsonaro, whose signature salute is a two-fingered gun sign, responded with characteristic dismissal. "The people are pumped," he said while on a break on the shores of the southern state of Santa Catarina. His son Eduardo added that shooting was a sport, and "demonizing" it was "part of a dictatorial leftist plan."

Even in the country that voted him in, it seemed too much. "Does anyone in their right mind believe that security will improve by arming citizens to the teeth?" O Globo asked. "More weapons and more ammunition means more shots fired. And, as dozens of academic studies have shown, more shots mean more deaths."