Brazil: Prosecutors Charge Journalist Greenwald With Hacking

Authorities go against Gleen Greenwald, the U.S. journalist and editor of The Intercept who leaked conversations showing the judicial plot against Lula da Silva.

Brazil's Public Ministry (MPF) Tuesday charged journalist Glenn Greenwald of being part of a group of cyber-criminals who intercepted phone calls of Justice Minister Sergio Moro when he was the judge handling Brazil's biggest-ever corruption case.

RELATED: Car Wash Investigation in the Mud: A Dirty War against the Left

In Operation Spoofing, which is the name used by the MPF authorities to designate the actions against Greenwald, it is argued that this U.S. journalist and his colleagues made 126 call interceptions and 176 invasions to computer devices.

The Intercept Brasil published a note criticizing the Prosecutor's action and stressing that the accusation represents an attack on freedom of expression.

“In this action, we see an attempt to criminalize not only our work but all Brazilian journalism. There is no democracy without critical and free journalism. Brazilian society cannot accept abuses of power like this,” The Intercept Brasil warned.

In 2019, this independent virtual journal and its editor, Glenn Greenwald, leaked conversations in which Judge Moro advised Car Wash prosecutors in the case against former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the Workers' Party (PT) leader.

​​​​​​​Greenwald has said that the Car Wash investigators' conversations were leaked to The Intercept after they had been hacked.

Nevertheless, Brazilian prosecutors said that audio found on a seized laptop showed Greenwald advising a hacker to erase all messages linked to The Intercept.

Regarding the prosecutor’s accusations, the U.S. journalist indicated that those are just a form of intimidation against the critical voices of Brazil.

"We'll not be intimidated by these tyrannical attempts to silence journalists," Greenwald said and added that far-right Jair Bolsonaro's administration does not respect basic press freedoms.​​​​​​​

"I did nothing more than doing my job as a journalist - ethically and within the law," said the Intercept Brasil's editor, who became known internationally for his role in the publication of Edward Snowden's documents leaked in 2013.​​​​​​​

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Brazilians March in Memory of 272 People Killed Last Year

The marchers from the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB) will have a meetng with former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Hundreds of people are participating in a march on Monday that will begin in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte and end in the municipality of Brumadinho. This march is being conducted in memory of the 272 people that died as a result of the collapsed dam in Córrego do Feijao, on January 25, 2019.

RELATED: Brazil's Peoples: Bolsonaro Means Genocide, Ethnocide, Ecocide

The march in honor of the victims of that tragedy will last six days, as the participants intend to arrive on Saturday, January 25th, to commemorate the one year anniversary of the tragedy. 

More than 350 residents affected by this tragedy will travel an estimated 300 kilometers from Belo Horizonte, capital of the state of Minas Gerais, in southeastern Brazil.

The activity will pass through the towns of Pompéu, Sao Joaquim de Bicas, Juatuba and Betim (Citrolândia). In these cities, there will be debates, seminars, public events and cultural activities.

On Friday, January 24, in Citrolândia, the protesters, grouped in the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), will hold a meeting in which the former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will participate.

On January 25, 2019, a mining dam with sewage from the Córrego de Feijao mine, owned by the Vale SA mine, collapsed, causing the largest environmental disaster in Brazil.

After the dam collapsed, tons of mud and mining waste razed everything in its path, leaving a balance of 272 dead and unquantifiable material damage.

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Brazil: Bolsonaro Leads 2019 Record for Attacks on the Press

The far-right former Capitan accounted for three out of five press attacks in 2019.

Brazil’s National Federation of Journalists (Fenaj) Thursday presented its "Report on Violence Against Journalists and Press Freedom", highlighting that 208 attacks on media outlets and journalists were reported in 2019, which means an increase of 54 percent over the previous year

RELATED: ​​​​​​Brazil to Go Through With Mining on Tribal Lands

"The main threat to press freedom in Brazil was carried out through 114 cases of 'attempts to discredit' the press," the Fenaj said.

The 2019 report includes this new type of violence because "the Presidency has institutionalized unfounded and widespread criticism to the media and journalists."

The Brazilian federation also reported that the number of cases of physical aggression has decreased; however, 20 journalists were killed in 2019.

The far-right President Jair Bolsonaro was the author of 121 attacks in 2019, equivalent to 58 percent of the total number of reported cases in the year.

The latest example of the Brazilian presidency's style occurred on Friday when citizens criticized the Culture Minister Roberto Alvim, who had previously published a video with clear Nazi connotations.

Bolsonaro immediately posted his own video to defend his pupil through a threatening message.

“To that press looking at me: I am above your glasses. Begin to produce truths... I will not take any action to try to censor you but have shame on your faces. Leave our government alone,” Bolsonaro shouted, as reported by local outlet Forum, which commented that his video used Joseph Goebbels' tactics to intimidate.​​​​​​​

"Bolsonaro's rise significantly affected press freedom," Brasil de Fato recalled.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​



According to Fenaj, politicians were the main perpetrators of attacks. About 69 percent of the attacks were related to attempts to discredit the press.

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Brazil reports reduction in healthcare services

Brasilia, Jan 15 (Prensa Latina) Chaos in the healthcare sector due to protests, the lack of physicians, the closing of medical centers and the shortage of supplies characterized 2019 in Brazil, according to the O Globo newspaper.

The publication said that in rural areas, there has been a considerable contraction in medical services, due to the crisis affecting the country.

State capitals such as Manaos, in Amazonas, and Natal, in Rio Grande do Norte, are among the most affected by the chaos in the healthcare sector, O Globo warned.

It added that in late 2019, there were 17 hospitals and 13 basic medical units fewer compared to the beginning of the year.

In addition there was a reduction in supplies of mobile units, specialized offices and laboratories, among other services.

One of the main difficulties reported by managers to face the problems is the lack of resources, which affects several states, the newspaper pointed out.

Doctors warned that patients have to wait up to six months to undergo hernia or gall bladder surgeries.

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A 1st Year to Forget: 80% Distrust Brazil's Bolsonaro

A similar survey conducted by the National Confederation of Industry CNI revealed that 56 percent of Brazilians disapprove of Bolsonaro's administration.

Brazilian far-right President Jair Bolsonaro began his term in January 2019 with a 49 percent popularity rating, however, after a year of poor economic performance, violence and unpopular neoliberal reforms the president's support has dropped almost 20 points, according to a survey conducted by the Datafolha consulting firm Wednesday.

RELATED: Brazil: 2019 Marks Highest Possession of Firearms Since 1997

According to the poll, 80 percent of Brazilians distrust Bolsonaro's statements and 43 percent would never believe him. While more than 36 percent of the population openly disapproves of his policies.

Since the re-democratization in 1985, only Fernando Collor has been less popular than Bolsonaro in his first year in government. Likewise, 53 percent assured Datafolha that Bolsonaro does not behave according to the promises made during his inauguration.

"Jair Bolsonaro's first year showed that both the President and part of his team used lies and fallacies as everyday instruments of government," a columnist for UOL News Leonardo Sakamoto wrote.

A similar survey conducted by the National Confederation of Industry CNI revealed that 56 percent of Brazilians disapprove of Bolsonaro's administration.

As his first year leading Brazil comes to an end, his popularity has dwindled due to his recurrent violent comments and approach to diplomacy.

The far-right leader has been known to make controversial statements about homosexuality, women, and the environment, in addition to defending Brazil's past dictatorship and maintaining a strong antagonism with the press.

RELATED: Brazil Poll Shows Growing Rejection of Bolsonaro

A third of the government's cabinet ministers are military, a key pillar in Bolsonaro's project as he strongly believes that "democracy only exists when the Armed Forces want it."

His military speech went over the edge when he ordered the "commemoration" of the 55th anniversary of the 1964 coup that overthrew President Joao Goulart and plunged the country into one of the darkest periods of its history.

The economy, meanwhile, is no different from the other poorly conducted areas, Brazil must create two million jobs to return to the 2014 level.

"There is no process occurring that could indicate that Brazil will return to economic growth or at least stability," Adhemar Mineiro, an economist with the Inter-Union Department of Statistics and Socio-Economic Studies, told the France 24.

In other underperforming issues, the government's worst evaluated areas are the fight against poverty, with only 14 percent of Brazilians approving Bolsonaro, and health care, with only 15 percent rating it positively.

Datafolha interviewed 2,948 people in 176 different municipalities between Thursday and Friday and produced a survey which, they said, has a margin of error of two percentage points.

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Brazil to grant refuge to attackers of Venezuelan military base

Brasilia, December 30 (RHC)-- Brazil’s far-right government has announced that it “took in” the five fugitive perpetrators behind the December 22nd attack on a Venezuelan military border garrison and will initiate the procedures to grant them refuge under Jair Bolsonaro's administration. 

According to the statement from the Brazilian Ministry of Defense, the "five Venezuelan servicemen were found by the Brazilian military on its territory on December 26th during a routine patrol of border areas." 

On Sunday, Venezuela’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza rejected and denounced the “unusual decision confirming the pattern of protection and complicity of U.S. satellite states to attack Venezuela's peace through mercenaries who have confessed their criminal activities.”

The attack was carried out on December 22nd on Military Infantry Garrison 513 located in the southern border state of Gran Sabana.  During the attack 120 assault rifles and nine rocket launchers were stolen and a Venezuelan army trooper was killed during the raid. 

A day after the incident, Arreaza denounced that the attackers came from Peru, passed through Colombia and received support in Brazil.  "It is a coup strategy of the triangulation of governments of the Lima Cartel to produce violence, death and political destabilization in Venezuela.  We denounce these governments before the world." 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro urged the government of Brazil not to support "terrorist actions" against the South American country.  Prior to Brazil’s announcement, Venezuela had informed they began procedures to ask for extradition. 

Arreaza added Sunday that to grant refuge to confessed perpetrators is not only a "grievance to humanitarian international law but it establishes dangerous precedent of protection of people that have committed blatant crimes against the peace and stability of another state."

Edited by Ed Newman
  • Published in World

Turin to host 2020 Volleyball Nations League men's finals

Turin will host the 2020 Volleyball Nations League (VNL) men's finals, it has been announced.

It means top-class action will return to the Pala Alpitour venue in the Italian city, which hosted the final of the Men's World Championship last year.

The 2006 Winter Olympics city will become the third host of the event after Chicago this year and Lille in 2018.

Six countries contest the final after qualifying from round-robin play across the world, with Italy given a host nation berth. 

"I am pleased to announce that the next round of VNL men's final will take place in Turin, Italy," said International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) President Ary S. Graça.

"Italy is a country with a strong tradition in volleyball, and I am happy to see that this tradition is thriving.

"After witnessing the supporters' passion at last year's Volleyball Men's World Championship, and naturally the wonderful finals of the World Beach Volleyball Tour in Rome earlier this year, it is clear that a growing number of volleyball fans in Italy are eager to attend live competitions."

Poland beat Brazil in last year's Men's World Championship final at Pala Alpitour ©Getty Images
Poland beat Brazil in last year's Men's World Championship final at Pala Alpitour ©Getty Images

Russia have won both editions of the Nations League played to date.

In Turin, the organising partner of the tournament has been confirmed as RCS Sports and Events.

"The Italian Volleyball Federation is pleased to know that the VNL 2020 men's finals will be played in Turin, as the FIVB informed us today," said Pietro Bruno Cattaneo, the Italian Volleyball Federation President.

"I am sure that the Piedmont capital and Pala Alpitour will be worthy of this event. 

"Indeed, we all carry in our minds the extraordinary success with all the fans at the Volleyball Men's World Championship in 2018."

Chinese city Nanjing is due to host the 2020 women's VNL finals for the third-straight year.

Dates for both events still have to be finalised. 

  • Published in Sports

Belgium top FIFA World Rankings for second successive year

Belgium have been named the men's FIFA World Ranking’s Team of the Year for the second successive time.

They have retained top spot ahead of France and Brazil with England climbing one place to fourth and Uruguay taking fifth place.

A total of 1,082 international A matches have been played in 2019 - an all-time high since the rankings started in 1993.

Belgium, who also earned this award in 2015, won all 10 of their international A matches and in the process qualified for UEFA Euro 2020.

Last year’s World Cup winners France and Brazil have retained the positions they held at the end of 2018.

World champions France remain in second place ahead of Brazil in third, the positions they held in Argentina and Colombia are also in the top 10 - respectively ninth and tenth - at the expense of 12th-placed Switzerland, who have dropped four places, and Denmark, who have dropped six places to 16th.

The ranking’s Mover of the Year, meanwhile, is Qatar.

The FIFA World Cup 2022 hosts gained 138 points over the course of a year in which they won the Asian Cup, beating Japan 3-1 in the final, and made a strong start to the Asian Zone World Cup qualifiers.

Besides accumulating the biggest points haul, Qatar have also jumped a year-high 38 places to 55th, followed closely by fellow climbers Algeria, who have moved up 32 places to 35th, and Japan, who have climbed 22 steps to 28th.

UEFA, the European Federation, has lost three places in the top 50 compared to the end of 2018, and now has 28 teams, whereas the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, the Asian Football Confederation and the Confederation of African Football have all gained one spot apiece.

The next FIFA World Ranking is due to be published on February 20 next year.

  • Published in Sports
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