What’s Next for Brazil’s “New Right”?

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For the first time in more than two decades, Brazil has a right-wing politician as the head of state. But Bolsonaro’s victory signifies more than just a devastating defeat of the Worker’s Party (PT) — the victorious party in the last four presidential elections. It represents the arrival to power of the Brazilian “new right” (labeled by some as “far-right”), which they themselves describe as: “liberal” on the economy and socially conservative.

With his anti-establishment and anti-corruption rhetoric, the ex-military candidate Bolsonaro captured the dissatisfaction of the voters with the PT, the party of the ex-president Lula da Silva, who is imprisoned for corruption and money laundering. After 14 years in power, the Worker’s Party (PT) left behind a country morally, socially, and economically in crisis. Years of PT rule led to the biggest corruption scheme in the history of Latin America (known as Petrolão); an endemic economic crisis which drastically slowed the country’s development and left an unemployment rate of 13%; and one of the nation’s worst values crises in decades. Continue reading

Bolsonaro says he’ll move Brazil’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro

 

Brazil will relocate its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, President-elect Jair Bolsonaro said on Nov. 1. Continue reading

The Chicago Boy and His President

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BERLIN/BRASÍLIA (Own report) – German business circles are placing high hopes on Brazil’s President-elect Jair Messias Bolsonaro pointing to the economic program of Paulo Guedes, designated to head a super ministry. During Augustino Pinochet’s military dictatorship, he was a professor at the University of Chile and his program resembles the economic policy of the Chilean Junta. Since about a year, Guedes has been Bolsonaro’s advisor. The Brazilian business community is hailing Bolsonaro, particularly the National Confederation of Industry (CNI), where German businesses hold strong positions. CNI is the Brazilian partner of the Federation of German Industries (BDI). German companies had already cooperated with the Brazilian military dictatorship. Bolsonaro’s victory is a deathblow to the policy of cautious redistribution in favor of impoverished segments of society, pursued by Presidents Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff. This policy was essentially ended with the May 2016 cold putsch – under applause of German business representatives.

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China Is Challenging The US In Central America, And Washington Can’t Do Anything

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El Salvador’s Foreign Minister Carlos Castaneda (L) shakes hands with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on August 21, 2018

 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Central America late last week when he criticized China’s rising influence there by questioning the intentions behind its investment activity, which prompted the country’s media to angrily respond earlier this week and lambast the US for trying to “drive a wedge” into Sino-Latin American relations. Washington is worried that Central America is slipping out of its hegemonic control after tiny El Salvador broke ties with Taiwan in August and recognized Beijing as China’s legitimate government in exchange for economic support, which some observers feared could catalyze a chain reaction in this part of the world where the self-proclaimed country counts a handful of its dwindling supporters. Continue reading

Far-right Bolsonaro rides anti-corruption rage to Brazil presidency

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Jair Bolsonaro’s tough line on crime and market-friendly policies have gained him as much support as his controversial views on women, homosexuality, race and torture have provoked scorn. (Photo: AFP/Evaristo Sa)

 

BRASILIA/RIO DE JANEIRO: Far-right lawmaker Jair Bolsonaro won Brazil’s presidential election on Sunday, promising to clean up politics, shrink the state and crack down on crime, in a dramatic swing away from the left in the world’s fourth-largest democracy.

The former army captain has alarmed many with vows to sweep political opponents off the map and comments denigrating women, gays and racial minorities.

He will be the first president with a background in the armed forces since the end of Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, which he has publicly praised. He has tapped retired generals to serve as his vice president and run key ministries.

In his first public comments after his landslide victory, he pledged to respect democratic principles, but said he wanted to change the country’s direction.

“We cannot continue flirting with socialism, communism, populism and leftist extremism … We are going to change the destiny of Brazil,” Bolsonaro said in an acceptance address, promising to root out graft and stem a tide of violent crime. Continue reading

Venezuela Ditches US Dollar, Will Use Euros For International Trade

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Venezuela has just taken the next step in its quest to “free” itself from the tyranny of US dollar hegemony. One year after the country said it would stop accepting US dollars as payment for its (ever shrinking) oil exports (saying the country’s state-run oil company would accept payment in yuan instead), Venezuelan Vice President for Economy Tareck El Aissami said Tuesday that Venezuela will officially purge the dollar from its exchange market in favor of euros. Continue reading

U.S. and Canada Reach Trade Deal to Keep Nafta Trilateral

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  • Parties plan to publish trilateral text by midnight deadline
  • U.S. business, lawmakers urged U.S. to keep Canada in pact

The U.S. and Canada have agreed on a trade deal that would save the North American Free Trade Agreement as a trilateral bloc, according to three people familiar with the matter. Continue reading

President: ‘We’re Going to Take Care of Venezuela’

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(Photo Credit: TruNews)

 

His comments at the United Nations come after reports the U.S. has devised several plans to unseat the government of Nicholas Maduro.

Following his speech at the United Nations General Debate on Tuesday, President Donald Trump was asked about his comments regarding Venezuela and the recent levying of new sanctions against members of President Nicholas Maduro’s government and family. Continue reading

Global CFOs: U.S. has world’s only improving economy

 

The United States is the only major economy in the world to get an “improving” score in the latest CNBC survey of corporate executives.

The latest quarterly score marks the fifth quarter in a row that the economy under President Donald Trump has been viewed as “improving” in the CNBC Global CFO Council survey. Continue reading

US sees Russian weapon behind US diplomats’ mystery ailments, say officials

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In early September, Douglas H. Smith, who heads the team of scientists tasked by the US government to examine the matter, said that microwave radiation was almost certainly responsible for the diplomats’ ailments. He added that microwaves were considered “a main suspect” and that his team of scientists was now “increasingly sure” that the diplomats had suffered brain injuries caused by microwave radiation. Now the US news network NBC reports that Russia is viewed as the primary culprit behind the mystery ailments that plagued US diplomats. Reporting on Tuesday the news network cited three unnamed officials in the administration of US President Donald Trump, as well as “congressional aides and others briefed on the investigation”. Specifically, NBC reported that the Russian connection was supported by “evidence from communications intercepts” (signals intelligence or SIGINT), though it did not elaborate on their precise nature. It also said that the ongoing investigation into the purported weapon involves the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency among other US intelligence and security agencies. Another leading actor in the investigation is the US Air Force, said NBC, stating that experts in its directed energy research program at the Kirtland Air Force Base near Albuquerque, New Mexico, are trying to reverse-engineer the alleged weapons based on the symptoms that they cause. Continue reading

PLA Expanding Power Through Belt and Road Initiative

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Schriver: U.S. to bolster Taiwan air defenses, submarines

China’s military is a key player in the Belt and Road economic initiative around the world that is being used to expand Beijing’s overall global power, a senior Pentagon Asian affairs official says.

Separately, the Pentagon is working with Taiwan’s government to bolster the island’s air defenses in the face of growing missile and aircraft threats from China, said Randall G. Schriver, assistant defense secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs. Continue reading

Chinese Communist Party Funds Washington Think Tanks

China's President Xi Jinping

China’s President Xi Jinping / Getty Images

 

United Front Work Department conducts aggressive influence operations in U.S.

China’s Communist Party is intensifying covert influence operations in the United States that include funding Washington think tanks and coercing Chinese Americans, according to a congressional commission report.

The influence operations are conducted by the United Front Work Department, a Central Committee organ that employs tens of thousands of operatives who seek to use both overt and covert operations to promote Communist Party policies. Continue reading

‘Ring of Fire’ Sees 144 Major Earthquakes in a Week

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Attention is turning to the potential for a West Coast ‘big one’ hitting California, Oregon, or Washington.

The Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire” has seen 144 major earthquakes—those in excess of magnitude-4.5 intensity—in the past week as concern grows that another “big one” could be coming soon. Continue reading

Mexican Radio to Beam Chinese Propaganda

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U.S. probes links between buyer of Tijuana station and China’s Phoenix TV

A large Spanish-language radio station in Mexico will soon begin broadcasting in Chinese in a deal critics say will bring Beijing propaganda to Chinese Americans throughout Southern California.

A Federal Communications Commission filing on the sale of radio station XEWW AM 690 radio near Tijuana reveals the buyer has ties to Phoenix Satellite Television US, a subsidiary of Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing Phoenix TV. Continue reading

America Is Not Ready for Exploding Drones

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Venezolana de Television via AP

 

An apparent assassination attempt in Venezuela shows how technology is moving faster than governments can counter it.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was intoning something about economic renewal, flanked by his wife and a handful of high officials, in a country gripped by poverty, starvation, and shortages. Then, in a moment broadcast live on television that has since gone viral, his wife’s face changed. For an instant she seemed to duck as she reached for the official next to her; Maduro glanced up with apparent concern. The camera panned to the National Guardsmen in formation on the street before him as dozens suddenly started running. According to the government and witnesses, they had seen explosions in the sky. Continue reading