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.
Brazilian daily Estado de Minas covers both the health and political crises the country is facing, with a new record daily death toll and the resignation of leaders of three armed forces.
Crossbows, clubs, Kalashnikovs: the dangerous world of anti-vaxxers
An intensive dive into Italian anti-vaxxer social media groups left L'Espresso journalist Maurizio Di Fazio stunned. For the opponents of vaccination drives, AstraZeneca, Pfizer/Biontech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and the others are lethal poisons. Di Fazio brings us on his tour of the Italy branch of this global movement:
Anti-vaxxers believe that "the pandemic, already simulated in 2017, is a planned operation by a health dictatorship and that economic, social and psychological terrorism to lead to the advent of a new satanic world order" ; that "concentration camps for forced vaccination are being rebuilt in Germany." By now we must be close to a Great Reset, subject to a remake of the Nuremberg mega-trial for those "responsible." This is what you read if you extrapolate some of the recurring rhetoric that animates Italian Facebook pages such as "The hidden damage" (8,000 followers) or Facebook groups like "Free-Vax Italia" (11,000 members).
It's a strange galaxy of people who deny the need for immunization in order to return to some kind of new normal. We are talking about people who are often obsessives, who have monothematic virtual profiles. Now they are clamoring we are facing a mass massacre through a syringe, until a few months ago they fought against the "state muzzle" mask. And every four or five lines they casually wish death to those who do not think like them, the "sheep and lobotomized minds," or trolls at best. The irony.
For a good self-respecting anti-vaxxer, getting vaccinated is a bit like playing Russian roulette. Anaphylactic reactions are around one corner, cerebral hemorrhages are around another, not to mention abortions and heart attacks caused by these potentially fatal injection. Fake videos proliferate, showing post-inoculation writhing and spasms. "What is certain is that between 20 and 50 year-olds, the vaccine certainly killed more than Covid," claims one user, Michele T.
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