Prominent leaders of Brazil’s opposition called for president Jair Bolsonaro to be immediately removed from office to prevent his “coup-mongering, authoritarian delusions” becoming a reality. “We cannot be bystanders to this barbarism,” congressman Marcelo Freixo said on Wednesday as parliamentarians demanded Bolsonaro’s impeachment for what they called his illegal attempt to co-opt the armed forces.
Bolsonaro’s decision to sack Brazil’s defence minister Gen Fernando Azevedo e Silva – and the subsequent departures of the heads of all three branches of the military – has sent political shockwaves through the world’s fourth-largest democracy. “There is an attempt here by the president to arrange a coup – it is under way already – and that is why we are reacting,” claimed Alessandro Molon, the leader of the opposition in the lower house, as the impeachment request was presented to congress. Some observers suspect senior members of the armed forces had decided to ditch Bolsonaro’s crisis-stricken administration.
US President Joe Biden outlined a huge $2.3 trillion plan to reengineer the nation’s infrastructure in what he billed as “a once in a generation investment in America” that would undo his predecessor’s signature legislative achievement of giant tax cuts for corporations in the process. Speaking at a carpenters union training centre in Pittsburgh, Biden drew comparisons between his hard-hatted proposed transformation of the US economy and the space race — and promised results as grand in scale as the New Deal or Great Society programs that shaped the 20th century.
White House officials say the spending would generate those jobs as the country shifts away from fossil fuels and combats the perils of climate change. It is also an effort to compete with the technology and public investments made by China, which has the world’s second-largest economy and is fast gaining on the United States’ dominant position.
A popular Palestinian leader imprisoned by Israel registered his own parliamentary list in May elections, his supporters said, in a last-minute shakeup that could severely weaken President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party and help its militant Hamas rivals. Marwan Barghouti’s wife, Fadwa, registered the list hours before the deadline set by the election commission. Polls indicate it would split the vote for Fatah, potentially paving the way for another major victory by Hamas. That increases the likelihood that Abbas will find a way to call off the first Palestinian elections in 15 years.
Barghouti, 61, a former Fatah militant commander, is serving five life sentences in Israel following a 2004 terrorism conviction. But he remains a popular and charismatic leader, and by breaking with Abbas he could reshape Palestinian politics and potentially replace him as president. Both he and Abbas want a Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, but there have been no substantive peace talks in over a decade.
The UN envoy on Myanmar implored the security council to intervene in the escalating crisis, warning of the risk of civil war and an imminent “bloodbath” as the junta violently represses pro-democracy protests. “I appeal to this council to consider all available tools to take collective action and do what is right, what the people of Myanmar deserve, and prevent a multidimensional catastrophe in the heart of Asia,” special envoy Christine Schraner Burgener told the closed-door session.
She said she remained open for dialogue with the junta, but added: “If we wait only for when they are ready to talk, the ground situation will only worsen. A bloodbath is imminent.” More than 520 people have died since the military overthrew elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi on 1 February, halting Myanmar’s decade-old experiment in democracy, according to figures from monitors confirmed by Burgener to the security council.