[News] All Around The World

A posting place for news from places around the globe, outside of the US/Europe.

Defying Arrest Deadline, Brazil’s Ex-President Dares Police to Come Get Him

SÃO BERNARDO DO CAMPO, Brazil — Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil defied a Friday deadline to report to prison to begin serving a 12-year corruption sentence, daring authorities to haul him away from a union headquarters thronged by his supporters.

As the 5 p.m. deadline neared, Mr. da Silva’s supporters counted down the last five seconds. Then they began chanting: “There is no surrender!”

Mr. da Silva’s decision set the stage for a heated confrontation between the most loyal defenders of a polarizing, yet enormously popular politician, and law enforcement officials who regard his imprisonment as a defining moment in their yearslong effort to stamp out corruption in Brazil.

Brazilians were riveted by the drama on Friday amid uncertainty about when and how Mr. da Silva, once a lion of Latin America’s left, would be taken into custody.

Some Brazilians relished the imminent arrest of Mr. da Silva, seeing it as a measure of justice in a country where powerful politicians have stolen with impunity for years. But others seethed, saying that the 72-year-old former president, who is the front-runner in the presidential election set to take place in October, was about to become a political prisoner.

Mr. da Silva spent the day holed up at the metalworkers union headquarters in São Bernardo do Campo, a municipality just outside of São Paulo, surrounded by supporters. Though Mr. da Silva did not speak publicly on Friday, a series of posts on his Twitter account conveyed a message of defiance.

“They want to arrest me to silence my voice, but I will speak through you,” one said. Another read: “They want to leave me jailed in a cell so I can’t carry on, but I will move forward through your legs.”

Deadly unrest on Gaza-Israel border as Palestinians resume protests

Eight Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces during fresh protests on Gaza's border with Israel, Palestinian health ministry officials say.

The Israeli military said troops had opened fire when people attempted to breach the fence on the frontier.

The protesters are demanding that refugees be allowed to return to ancestral lands that are now in Israel.

But Israel says the militant group Hamas, which dominates Gaza, is staging the rallies in order to launch attacks.

Israel to investigate killing of Palestinian journalist

Israel's army says it will investigate the death of a Palestinian journalist shot during clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces on Gaza's border with Israel, local media report.

Yasser Murtaja, a photographer with a Gaza-based agency, was wearing a clearly marked press vest when wounded on Friday, multiple sources confirmed.

He died from his injuries in hospital - the 28th Palestinian killed in a week.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said it was reviewing the incident.

"The IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] does not intentionally fire on journalists," a statement said according to Israeli website Ynet News. "The circumstances in which journalists were hit, allegedly by IDF fire, are unknown to us and are being examined."

Suspected chemical attack 'kills dozens' in Syria's Douma

A suspected chemical attack in Douma, the last rebel-held city in Syria's Eastern Ghouta, has killed at least 40 people and affected hundreds, residents and activists have told Al Jazeera.

The White Helmets, a group of rescuers operating in opposition-held areas in Syria, said on Saturday that most of the fatalities were women and children.

One member of the group told Al Jazeera that an entire family had suffocated to death as they hid in their cellar, trying to seek shelter from air raids and barrel bombs.

Pro-government forces and their allies on Friday launched a fierce air and ground offensive on Douma, the last remaining rebel stronghold near the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Moayed al-Dayrani, a resident of Douma and medical volunteer, told Al Jazeera that the death toll was expected to increase as doctors were struggling to reach all the victims.

"Douma has been subject to intense air strikes and much of the city is destroyed," he said.

"We are currently dealing with more than 1,000 cases of people struggling to breathe after the chlorine barrel bomb was dropped on the city. The number of dead will probably rise even further."

Syrian state media denied government forces had used chemical weapons.

I bet the US is going to get serious now about dealing with Syria... Wait wasn't trump ordering the military to start getting out of the country?

Just wanted to tag the thread and make sure Prederick know we appreciate him doing this!

Reports out of the UK are that Syrian airspace has been cleared of civilian aircraft for the next 48-72 hours, with emergency warnings to expect air-ground attacks at any time. US planes reportedly flying out of Iraq towards Syria. British forces in Cyprus are "mobilizing", and supposedly Rafale jets are taking off from an airbase in St. Dizier in France. A US guided missile cruiser is off the coast of Lebanon, and Russian jets were reported to have been buzzing it every hour or so since it took up station. Syrian military and command centers are reportedly on high alert.

Here's Flight Radar 24 for your perusal.

Robear wrote:

Reports out of the UK are that Syrian airspace has been cleared of civilian aircraft for the next 48-72 hours, with emergency warnings to expect air-ground attacks at any time. US planes reportedly flying out of Iraq towards Syria. British forces in Cyprus are "mobilizing", and supposedly Rafale jets are taking off from an airbase in St. Dizier in France. A US guided missile cruiser is off the coast of Lebanon, and Russian jets were reported to have been buzzing it every hour or so since it took up station. Syrian military and command centers are reportedly on high alert.

Here's Flight Radar 24 for your perusal.

Hello website of awesomeness that I'll never stop watching now. O_o

Also, yeah, super weird to see sooooo much traffic heading like right towards the country then... NOPE, course change... or like that long line of aircraft going around the country in a convoy.

Yeah, you should have seen it after Russia shot down the passenger jet over Ukraine. Massive swerves followed by empty skies.

Marinetraffic has a similar service for ships, although not military ones.

With Trump not only now "telegraphing his moves", as he swears he will never do, but openly taunting the Russians after Lavrov warned of a nuclear response, I think we are closer now to nuclear war than we have been for decades. We could be heading for October 1962 all over again, but Trump is no John Kennedy.

And I live within the blast radius of a medium-sized strike on a nearby strategic target.

Robear wrote:

And I live within the blast radius of a medium-sized strike on a nearby strategic target.

You know, I used to be really, really happy that the Berlin wall fell before I was old enough to understand what nuclear war was.

I didn't think we'd be collectively ignorant enough to go anywhere near the brink for absolutely no good reason.

Robear wrote:

With Trump not only now "telegraphing his moves", as he swears he will never do, but openly taunting the Russians after Lavrov warned of a nuclear response, I think we are closer now to nuclear war than we have been for decades. We could be heading for October 1962 all over again, but Trump is no John Kennedy.

And I live within the blast radius of a medium-sized strike on a nearby strategic target.

And I thought being walking distance to a DC Metro line stop was a feature, not a bug.

Robear wrote:

And I live within the blast radius of a medium-sized strike on a nearby strategic target.

So, one of the "lucky" ones?

Mixolyde wrote:
Robear wrote:

With Trump not only now "telegraphing his moves", as he swears he will never do, but openly taunting the Russians after Lavrov warned of a nuclear response, I think we are closer now to nuclear war than we have been for decades. We could be heading for October 1962 all over again, but Trump is no John Kennedy.

And I live within the blast radius of a medium-sized strike on a nearby strategic target.

And I thought being walking distance to a DC Metro line stop was a feature, not a bug.

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/KmnpdyC.jpg)

Wink_and_the_Gun wrote:
Robear wrote:

And I live within the blast radius of a medium-sized strike on a nearby strategic target.

So, one of the "lucky" ones?

Interesting notion. If I return to Saskatchewan instead, will I just get to participate in a Mad Max-style wasteland? I can't aim a gun for sh*t without using VATS.

H.P. Lovesauce wrote:
Wink_and_the_Gun wrote:
Robear wrote:

And I live within the blast radius of a medium-sized strike on a nearby strategic target.

So, one of the "lucky" ones?

Interesting notion. If I return to Saskatchewan instead, will I just get to participate in a Mad Max-style wasteland? I can't aim a gun for sh*t without using VATS.

Dude. Respec for stealth and melee. Duh.

The Saudis stopped another ballistic missile and drone attack from Yemen.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/...

Looks like the US is about to kick off attacks on Syria. President speaking now.

Britain, France and the UK are conducting operations in Syria now.

Precision strikes on Syria's chemical weapons program.

Vladimir Putin calls US-led Syria strikes an 'act of aggression'

Vladimir Putin has condemned US-led military strikes in Syria as an “act of aggression” and said Russia would convene an emergency session of the UN security council over the attack.

In a statement released by the Kremlin, the Russian president denied evidence of a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma and said the strike would “have a destructive effect on the entire system of international relations”.

It did not appear late on Saturday morning that the attack would trigger a military response from Russia, as Moscow reported that the missiles had steered clear of Russian military bases in the country.

The remarks capped an angry responses from across the Russian establishment to the strikes carried out by the US, France and Great Britain. Russia’s ambassador to the United States warned of “consequences”, while a high-ranking Russian politician compared Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler.

Well, glad we got Godwin out of the way early.

Gang Rape And Murder Of 8-Year-Old Girl Sparks Outrage Across India

Asifa Bano was 8 years old and wearing a purple salwar kameez when she disappeared on Jan. 10.

A week later, on Jan. 17, her mutilated and lifeless body was found in a forest near Kathua in the Indian-controlled region of Kashmir. It was a mile away from Rasana, the village where her family was currently living.

Reports say she was abducted while grazing her horses in a meadow, taken to a prayer hall nearby, sedated for three days, tortured and brutally gang-raped. She was eventually strangled and hit on the head several times with a stone to ensure that she was dead.

On Wednesday, graphic details of the crime and its perpetrators emerged in a charge sheet filed by the Jammu and Kashmir state police. Its contents sparked massive outrage across the country. People gathered for candlelight vigils in protest. And using the hashtag #JusticeForAsifa on social media, citizens are condemning the crime and encouraging each other to speak up to authorities.

Details from the report revealed that the crime was fueled by religious and political tensions between Asifa's tribe, a group of Indian Sunni Muslims called the Bakarwal, and local Hindus who saw them as a threat.

The conspirators' motive for raping the child, according to the charge sheet, was to drive the Muslim family out of the area.

I post a lot of stories here, but the words "Gang Rape And Murder Of 8-Year-Old Girl" are arguably the most horrific, by a landslide.

Oh, and he surrendered to authorities, FYI.

Meanwhile, also in Brazil...

Right-Wing Presidential Contender in Brazil Is Charged With Inciting Hatred

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s attorney general on Friday charged Congressman Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right presidential candidate who has been running in second place in the polls, with inciting hatred and discrimination against blacks, indigenous communities, women and gays.

The case injected a new jolt of drama into Brazil’s presidential election, which will be held in October. The charge came less than a week after the front-runner in the race, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, began serving a 12-year sentence for corruption.

The charging document, which was signed by Attorney General Raquel Dodge, includes a long list of incendiary remarks by Mr. Bolsonaro, who has developed a strong and loyal following by using harsh language and vowing to adopt severe tactics to address Brazil’s epidemic of violence.

If convicted, Mr. Bolsonaro, 63, could face up to three years in prison and a $117,000 fine.

Ms. Dodge outlined several passages from a speech Mr. Bolsonaro gave a year ago in Rio de Janeiro, alleging that they constituted “hate speech.” Mr. Bolsonaro lamented the state of quilombolas, traditional communities of Afro-Brazilians that enjoy legal protections.

Residents of one quilombola he had visited recently “did nothing,” Mr. Bolsonaro said. He added: “I think they don’t even manage to procreate anymore.” He also spoke dismissively about indigenous territories.

In another part of the speech, Mr. Bolsonaro said he had four sons — and one daughter, who he said had been the result of a “moment of weakness.”

Ms. Dodge also noted several homophobic remarks, including an instance in which Mr. Bolsonaro said he would “prefer that my son die in an accident than show up with some dude with a mustache.”

Mr. Bolsonaro on Friday night posted a television interview on his social media accounts in which he called allegations of racism baseless.

“For the love of God, you can’t say anything in this country,” he said in the interview.

Sounds familiar. Anyway...

Brazil’s Army Awakes From Decades-Old Slumber as Elections Near

Brazilian President Michel Temer last week mulled replacing the interim defense minister, a four-star Army general, with a professor of philosophy. The military was quick to give a thumbs down.

"Are you crazy?" read the message from a top-ranking officer to a presidential aide. Temer opted to keep the general on for the time being.

The episode illustrates how the armed forces in Latin America’s largest nation are becoming increasingly vocal and assertive, some 33 years after the end of military rule. In February, they took over public security in Rio de Janeiro state; last week General Eduardo Villas Boas, commander of the Army, shocked the nation with a message essentially warning the Supreme Court not to grant former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s appeal to stay out of jail.

The military’s elevated profile on the national scene coincides with a discernible shift among Brazilians to the political right and growing disillusionment with democracy. Brazilians’ satisfaction with democracy is the lowest in Latin America, according to a Latinobarometro poll published in January, while other polls show them ranking the church and the military as the institutions in which they have the greatest confidence.

The most popular presidential hopeful after Lula is former Army Captain Jair Bolsonaro, who advocates getting tough on crime by handing out guns and denies the 1964-85 military regime was a dictatorship.

The president’s press office didn’t reply to a request for comment when asked about the naming of a defense minister and suggestion that the military had grown stronger with the government in a weaker position.

Discontent with corruption, uncertainty ahead of the October presidential election and growing violence has spilled from the barracks into the open. Many officers were dismayed by the risk that Lula, who as president promoted an inquiry of human rights violations during the 1964-85 dictatorship, could avoid prison for a corruption conviction and possibly return to power.

"General Villas Boas, as I and all military personnel see it, fulfilled his duty in warning the country, authorities and society, that the institutions were heading for an abyss," retired Army General Paulo Chagas said in an interview. "Villas Boas is saying it’s better not to have the order upset, otherwise we’ll have to act."

Not everybody in the military agreed with Villas Boas. Air Force Commander Nivaldo Luiz Rossato urged enlisted personnel to abstain from putting personal opinions over institutions and said the Armed Forces ensure not only sovereignty but also "peace among the brothers we are."

In the past three years, Brazil’s political and business establishment was rattled by the arrest of leading executives and politicians. Lula’s predecessor, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached in 2016, a politically seismic event that helped plunge the economy into its deepest recession on record.

Less pleasant! Also...

Brazil state seeks to shut Venezuelan border to stop refugee flow

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Leaders of Brazil’s northern state of Roraima on Friday asked the Supreme Court for permission to temporarily close the only land border crossing with neighboring Venezuela to halt the massive and disorderly arrival of refugees.

Brazil’s President Michel Temer, attending the Summit of the Americas in Lima, said closing the border was “unthinkable.”

Roraima Governor Suely Campos petitioned the high court to order the federal government to step up assistance for her state to deal with what she called a humanitarian crisis. She also asked that the border be closed until orderly immigration procedures could be put in place.

Campos said she had to resort to the top court because the federal government had not acted on her state’s requests. It is not clear if the court with take up her plea.

More than 50,000 Venezuelan refugees have arrived in Roraima since last year, fleeing an economic crisis and political strife in their country, the governor told reporters. The influx was nearly equal to 10 percent of the state’s population of 520,000 inhabitants. The refugees have overloaded health, housing and education services, Campos said, bringing the threat of disease and social disorder.

Yes, as Venezuela continues to melt down, there's another refugee crisis going on. I think we have a poster here from Venezuela who perhaps could shed more light on the situation there (and how Maduro has not been thrown out of office)?

'I slept through them': Damascus residents react to US-led strikes

When explosions rocked Damascus just after 4am local time on Saturday, few people went down to the streets. In a city so accustomed to war, lights were switched on – not off. And so were TVs. The US-led strike had been widely anticipated in the Syrian capital; its likely targets so well flagged that not many seemed to fear its consequences.

“I slept through them,” said Khalil Abu Hamza, a resident who lived near the scene of one attack. “This was a pantomime anyway.”

Closer to the centre of Syria’s capital, 31-year-old Taha said a familiar series of thumps in the middle distance alerted him to the air raid just before 4:30am.

“I watched the news with my wife till 5:30,” he said. “No one went down from their homes. My mother who lives across the street from us wasn’t even bothered. Keep in mind, we are used to this. The Syrian flag has been raised in Umayyad Square as a sign of defiance.”

By mid-morning in the Malki neighbourhood, a stronghold of the Assad regime, streets were bustling and the atmosphere calm, residents said.

“People are out and about today,” said Samia, 34. “The streets are full and so is the mall. Old ladies are cleaning their carpets on the balcony. I don’t know why it is being blown out of proportion; we’ve been going through war for the past seven years. It’s just like any other day. We’ve grown a thick skin.”

Hasn't that been the (primary) goal of "western" armed forces - surgical precision strikes designed to hit only the exact thing you want destroyed?

Senators leave classified briefing on Trump's Syria policy 'very unnerved'

Lawmakers emerged from a classified administration briefing expressing concern about administration policy on Syria and the legal justification for last week's military strikes against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

"I am very unnerved by what I'm hearing and seeing," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, who said the briefing on the strikes made him more worried, not less. The administration is "going down a dangerous path" with regards to Syria, he said, without offering details.

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware left the meeting and told reporters, "The only thing worse than a bad plan on Syria is no plan on Syria, and the President and his administration have failed to deliver a coherent plan on the path forward."

"I think it's important for us to remain engaged in Syria and to pursue a diplomatic resolution," Coons said. "If we completely withdraw, our leverage in any diplomatic resolution or reconstruction or any hope for a post-Assad Syria goes away."

Sen. Bob Corker, the Tennessee Republican who has sparred with Trump over foreign policy issues, exited the briefing and told reporters, "I think the administration's plans are to complete the efforts against ISIS and (then) not be involved."

Corker went on to say that, "Syria is Russia and Iran's now. They will be determining the future. We may be at the table, but when you're just talking and have nothing to do with shaping what's happening on the ground, you're just talking."
"The only thing worse than a bad plan on Syria is no plan on Syria,

This sentiment scares me to my bones.

It would be oddly amazing if Syria becomes the 21st century version of the Balkans circa 1914.

Too Many Men - In China and India, men outnumber women by 70 million. Both nations are belatedly trying to come to grips with the policies that created this male-heavy generation

Nothing like this has happened in human history. A combination of cultural preferences, government decree and modern medical technology in the world’s two largest countries has created a gender imbalance on a continental scale. Men outnumber women by 70 million in China and India.

The consequences of having too many men, now coming of age, are far-reaching: Beyond an epidemic of loneliness, the imbalance distorts labor markets, drives up savings rates in China and drives down consumption, artificially inflates certain property values, and parallels increases in violent crime, trafficking or prostitution in a growing number of locations.

Those consequences are not confined to China and India, but reach deep into their Asian neighbors and distort the economies of Europe and the Americas, as well. Barely recognized, the ramifications of too many men are only starting to come into sight.

“In the future, there will be millions of men who can’t marry, and that could pose a very big risk to society,” warns Li Shuzhuo, a leading demographer at Xi’an Jiaotong University.

Related to my above one-liner, there was a deeply unpleasant method humanity used to keep the male population in check in previous generations.

The article itself isn't bad, but the economic ignorance packed into this one sentence is appalling:

Beyond an epidemic of loneliness, the imbalance distorts labor markets, drives up savings rates in China and drives down consumption, artificially inflates certain property values, and parallels increases in violent crime, trafficking or prostitution in a growing number of locations.

Distorts the labor market how? The people in the labor market are who they are. This is like saying that the presence of solar panels in the solar panel market is distorting the market. It can't distort the market when it is the market - by definition the supply of labor. And "artificially" inflating property values? That's like saying that high demand for iPhones "artificially" inflates the smart phone market - it is the market, and thus can't be artificial.

I'm also completely puzzled by the charts presented, because the male-to-female birth ratio in China has been falling sharply for the last seven years, and if it continues at the same rate will be normal again in another seven years. The projections they show do not reflect this data. The article also ignores a major cause of the "missing women of China" - rural families simply not reporting the birth of their daughters due to fear of being fined. This is reflected in statistics collected later in life that show a much more normal gender balance.

In other words, the numbers aren't the problem: misogyny and governmental stupidity are, from the one-child policy to making sex work illegal and dangerous. Caste and the religion also play a big role in India.

I watched a crash course statistics episode not long ago that sort of dealt with this kind of numbers dilema. Basically warning against the tendency to assume that trends are linear when more often than not they aren't. They were talking about a study that was reported as predicting ALL Americans would be obese by x year, because they extended a linear regression in an inappropriate way. I think that's the reason the projections don't match the 'expectation' of the data, because the expectation is based on linear regression when it probably shouldn't be.

That doesn't take away from the fact the source of the problem is the the misogyny baked into the one child policy and a lot of other aspects of chinese gov policy.

So... 47.4% women and 52.6% men?

*Looks up some population numbers for U.S. by gender*

U.S. overall is 51% women and 49% men.
The most woman-tilted ratio by state (shared by 13 U.S. states) is 52% women and 48% men.
With the low precision there, that could be as high as 52.5% women and 47.5% men.
The most man-tilted ratio by state (shared by two U.S. states) is 49% women and 51% men.
With the low precision, that could be as high as 48.5% women and 51.5% men.

So definitely tilted a bit there, and there may be some systemic things going on. But it doesn't seem high enough for the degree of alarm in that headline.

Looking at this table, China and India are #9 and #10 in the world for imbalance towards men. (But much larger than any of the countries with more. But then, they're much larger than anybody.) Russia tilts more strongly in the other direction and is quite large.

There's *definitely* something going on here that's worth looking into. But I find the breathless attitude of the headline and talk of an "epidemic of loneliness" to be... more than a bit over the top.

Hyp - if you broke out the Chinese data by age group, you'd see the problem much more clearly.

China's one-child policy was introduced in 1979, and formally phased out in 2015. Moreover, it was only applicable to Han Chinese - other ethnic minorities were excluded.

Resultingly, if you look at Han Chinese 30 year olds (i.e. prime marrying age), you'd see a much starker gender split than the aggregate data would suggest. The swath of >40 year olds, who were all born before the policy took root, are skewing your numbers.