Brazil

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil and record fires: Bolsonaro government withdraws firefighters
Fires in the Pantanal region
Fires in the Pantanal region Credit: Sílvio de Andrade (Public Domain)

The Brazilian environmental authority IBAMA has recalled all the forces fighting forest fires and justified its drastic step with lack of money. "I am ordering the withdrawal of all forest fire brigades to their respective bases," said a letter quoted by the news portal G1.

At the end of August, IBAMA had already announced the complete cessation of fire fighting due to the blockade of financial resources.

Research by the organisation Human Rights Watch, recently showed that the environmental authority is imposing virtually no more fines on illegal loggers.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
The Brazilian Health Minister, Eduardo Pazuello, tested positive for Covid-19
Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello
Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello Credit: Erasmo Salomão/MS (Public Domain)

The Brazilian Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday. Pazuello becomes the 12th member of Jair Bolsonaro's cabinet to be infected with the new coronavirus.

Health
AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine trial volunteer that has been given placebo dies
João Pedro Feitosa
João Pedro Feitosa Credit: Facebook Reproduction

A volunteer in the clinical trial of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University has died on October 15 in Brazil, the Brazilian health authority (Anvisa) announced.

The volunteer, João Pedro R. Feitosa, has died due to complications from Covid-19. Still, according to the Brazilian newspaper, O Globo Feitosa has been given a placebo and not the trial vaccine.

Oxford confirmed the clinical trial would not be paused, stating that after careful assessment "there have been no concerns about the safety of the clinical trial."

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Bolsonaro announces that Brazil won't buy Covid-19 vaccine from China
Bolsonaro announces that Brazil won't buy Covid-19 vaccine from China
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

"We won't buy the vaccine from China," says Bolsonaro on his Facebook page on Tuesday after the Ministry of Health had announced the purchase of 46 million doses of CoronaVac, a Covid-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac.

The same day, earlier, the Ministry of Health had announced the purchase of 46 million doses of CoronaVac, a vaccine developed by Chinese pharmacist Sinovac. The company has an agreement with the government of São Paulo to supply the ready vaccine and also to transfer the production technology to the Butantan Institute (see details below).

"Everything will be clarified even today. We will not buy the vaccine from China", said the president.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
US government offers Brazilian telecoms financing to buy 5G equipment from Huawei rivals
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and US National Security adviser Robert O’Brien
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and US National Security adviser Robert O’Brien Credit: Marcos Corrêa/PR (Public Domain)

The US government, via the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), the U.S. EXIM bank and the National Security Council, offered financing to Brazilian telecoms to keep them from buying Huawei Technologies 5G equipment.

The Chinese Embassy in Brazil on Twitter accused the American government of seeking a networking "monopoly." Still, it said it believed most countries would remain independent and make their own decisions regarding 5G.

Sports • Soccer
Santos and Robinho part ways over repercussion of his conviction of sexual assault in Italy
Robinho
Robinho Credit: Ivan Storti/Santos FC

Santos and striker Robinho announced on Friday the suspension of the contract between the club and the player, who had agreed his return on October 10.

The decision comes after pressure from advisers, sponsors and the disclosure by the Brazilian media of excerpts from the Italian court sentence that sentenced Robinho and a friend to nine years in prison for group sexual violence against a young woman of Albanian origin.

Former Brazilian International, Robinho also played for Real Madrid, Manchester City, Milan and, most recently, İstanbul Başakşehir.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazilian senator Chico Rodrigues is caught with cash hidden between the buttocks
Chico Rodrigues
Chico Rodrigues Credit: Agência Senado (Public Domain)

Chico Rodrigues, Jair Bolsonaro's deputy leader in the senate, was caught by the Brazilian Federal Police with R$30,000 (€4,572) concealed between his clenched buttocks. The police raid Wednesday was part of an operation against the misappropriation of public funds for fighting Covid-19.

Rodrigues, a Senator for the state of Roraima, released a statement claiming "I have a clean background and a respectable life. I’ve never been involved in any kind of scandal."

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil reaches 5 million Covid-19 cases, 150,000 deaths
Brazil reaches 5 million Covid-19 cases, 150,000 deaths
Credit: Alex Pazuello/Semcom

The consortium of Brazilian media companies, compiling data from state health authorities, announced Saturday the country had 5,073,483 Covid-19 cases and a total of 150,023 deaths since the beginning of the outbreak.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Jair Bolsonaro rejects Biden's offer of $20 billion to protect the rainforest
Jair Bolsonaro rejects Biden's offer of $20 billion to protect the rainforest

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro rejected a $20 billion offer made by Joe Biden, during the US presidential debate Tuesday, about stopping deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Bolsonaro stated that the government is already taking "unprecedented actions" to protect the forest.

The Brazilian president wrote on Twitter that "The greed of some countries about the Amazon is a reality. However, the externalization by someone who disputes the command of his country clearly signals giving up a cordial and fruitful coexistence.”

Bolsonaro's right-wing government has been widely criticized for its approach to environmental regulations and its handling of destructive fires in the rainforest.

Science • Nature
Brazilian Pantanal reports 8,106 fires in September; 2020 already has the largest number of fire outbreaks in history
Brazilian Pantanal reports 8,106 fires in September; 2020 already has the largest number of fire outbreaks in history
Credit: Christiano Antonucci – Secom – MT

Three months before the end, 2020 is also the year with the largest number of fire outbreaks in the Pantanal: from January 1 to September 30, there were 18,259 outbreaks.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
After 14 days, Brazil has more than 1,000 Covid-19 deaths in a day
After 14 days, Brazil has more than 1,000 Covid-19 deaths in a day
Credit: Fernando Crispim/Amazônia Real

For the first time since September 15, Brazil had more than 1,000 deaths in a day. According to data provided by the Brazilian Ministry of Health, 1,031 people died with Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of victims to 143,952 since the beginning of the pandemic.

The total number of cases is now 4,810,935, after the daily 33,413 new infections.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil close to 143,000 Covid-19 deaths
Brazil close to 143,000 Covid-19 deaths
Credit: Rio da Paz

The Brazilian Ministry of Health announced Tuesday that it accounted for 863 new deaths from Covid-19 across the country in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of victims to 142,921 since the beginning of the pandemic.

The country also crossed the mark of 4.7 million infected cases, as the Ministry announced 32,058 new infections -- with a total of 4,777,522 confirmed cases.

Health
Covid-19: More than 1 million people worldwide have died
Covid-19: More than 1 million people worldwide have died
Credit: Alex Pazuello/Semcom

As of Monday, 1,000,555 people worldwide have died from Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University's data.

The first coronavirus-related death recorded was on January 9, the world reached half a million deaths 24 weeks later, and 13 weeks after it reached 1 million.

Johns Hopkins' tally shows the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico account for more than 50% of the deaths worldwide.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Jair Bolsonaro leaves hospital after bladder stone surgery
Jair Bolsonaro, after the surgery
Jair Bolsonaro, after the surgery

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro left the Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo after a surgery to remove a bladder stone. The surgery was scheduled for Friday morning.

During an interview to CNN, Bolsonaro said: "Why did I operate on a Friday? Not to lose 2 or 3 working days. I have a lot of work. That's why I thought it was better to have the surgery over the weekend."

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Rio de Janeiro is delaying its annual Carnival parade for the first time in a century
Viradouro parade during the 2020 Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro
Viradouro parade during the 2020 Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro Credit: Raphael David | Riotur

Rio de Janeiro delayed its annual Carnival parade, that would take place in February 2021, as Brazil continues to face the Covid-19 pandemic. The League of Samba Schools (LIESA) announced that the spread of the coronavirus has made it impossible to safely hold the parades, and it is studying the possibility of holding the parade on another date.

Jorge Castanheira, the president of LIESA, said Thursday: "We only imagined the parade with a vaccine. Failing to get a vaccine or action plan that will guarantee safety for everyone by mid-September, it will be difficult to present in the current mold. After that, it may not be possible to present the carnival as it is known today. In today's condition it is ethically unlikely to have the parade."

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Volkswagen to pay victims of Brazil dictatorship
Volkswagen to pay victims of Brazil dictatorship
Credit: unsplash.com / Julian Hochgesang

The car giant has agreed to pay millions of dollars in compensation over its collaboration with Brazil's dictatorship. But representatives of the regime's victims have said the deal does not suffice.

"We regret the violations that occurred in the past. For Volkswagen, it is important to deal responsibly with this negative chapter in Brazil's history and promote transparency," VW executive Hiltrud Werner told reporters. 

"Volkswagen is concerned with its image and marketing. The donations to be made are presented by the company as charity and not as compensation for its complicity with the dictatorship. Seen in this light, Volkswagen is getting out of this mess in a clean way," said the victims' representative in a press statement. 

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
The President of the Brazilian Supreme Court (STF) tests positive for COVID
The President of the Brazilian Supreme Court (STF) tests positive for COVID
Credit: Senado Federal / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Luiz Fux, the new president of the STF, tests positive for Covid-19.

After Minister Luiz Fux took office as president of the STF on September 10, at least 9 officials who were at the ceremony in Brasilia tested positive for Covid-19

Health
A new study suggests that dengue may provide immunity against Covid-19
Miguel Nicolelis
Miguel Nicolelis Credit: Fronteiras do Pensamento (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The not yet published study led by Miguel Nicolelis, a professor at Duke University, suggests the possibility that vaccines approved or under development for dengue may result in some form of protection against the new coronavirus.

The study points out that places where a large part of the population contracted dengue last year and earlier this year took longer to have exponential community transmission of Covid-19 and recorded fewer numbers of cases and deaths caused by the new coronavirus, indicating a possible immunological interaction between the two viruses.

To validate the observation made in Brazil, Nicolelis expanded the analysis of the correlation between dengue and Covid-19 to 15 other countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, and the behaviour was repeated, according to him.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Report points to a serious risk to academic freedom in Brazil
Universidade de São Paulo
Universidade de São Paulo Credit: Rafael Vianna Croffi (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

A report released by the Global Public Policy Institute(GPPi) highlights offensives on several fronts against Brazilian professors, researchers and institutions. The academic freedom to research and teaching, in an environment with didactic and scientific autonomy in public universities, is guaranteed by the Brazilian Constitution but is under threat in the country.

According to the document, the corrosion of academic freedom began to accelerate in the last electoral campaign, with the then-candidate Jair Bolsonaro disseminating aggressive rhetoric against universities, which according to the current president would be the focus of "leftist indoctrination".

The report states that "Top-down measures from the Brazilian government, administered through legal, institutional channels and combined with constant discursive attacks, have created an increasingly hostile environment for academics, who constitute a significant opposition group to the federal government."

Health
WHO reports highest single-day increase in reported Covid-19 cases to date
WHO reports highest single-day increase in reported Covid-19 cases to date
Credit: CDC

With 307,930 newly reported Covid-19 cases on Sunday, the increase has never been higher in a single day. The leading countries in the increase were India, the United States and Brazil.

In addition, the reported deaths have increased by 5,537 to a total number of 917,417 since the beginning of the pandemic.