Connect with us

International

Brazil’s Lula headed to UN climate talks with vow to save Amazon

Photo: Fayez Nureldine / AFP

| By AFP | Louis Genot |

Brazilian president-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is expected this week at the UN climate summit in Egypt to pledge to reverse the environmental policies of his right-wing predecessor and protect the Amazon rainforest.

Lula’s trip Monday to the COP27 talks in Sharm el-Sheikh will be his first international visit since beating Brazil’s far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in the October 30 runoff election.

The 77-year-old, who promised on the campaign trail to work towards zero deforestation, will address the conference on Wednesday, his press team said.

Advertisement
20231223_factura_electronica_728x90
20231124_etesal_728x90_1
20231001-MH-fact-electronica_728x90
20230816_dgs_728x90
20230812_lactancia_materna_01_728x90
20230812_lactancia_materna_02_728x90
20230601_agenda_primera_infancia_728X90
CEL
CEL
SSF
SSF
SSF
previous arrow
next arrow

In a nod to Lula’s victory speech, in which he pledged to end Brazil’s “pariah” status, his team said he had wanted to hold “more talks with world leaders in a single day than Bolsonaro had in four years.”

But according to Brazilian newspaper O Globo, the incoming president has not been able to line up most of the dozen or so high-level meetings he had requested.

Lula might, however, meet with US climate czar John Kerry and announce that Brazil is willing to host the COP30 summit in 2025, the newspaper said.

Latin America’s most populous country grew more isolated under Bolsonaro, analysts say, in part due to his permissive policies towards deforestation and exploitation of the Amazon, the preservation of which is seen as critical to fighting global warming.

If Lula — who served as president from 2003 to 2010 — manages to curb deforestation and illegal mining, he would make a major contribution to the global fight against climate change, said Francisco Eliseu Aquino, a climate expert at Rio Grande do Sul University.

Advertisement
20231223_factura_electronica_728x90
20231124_etesal_728x90_1
20231001-MH-fact-electronica_728x90
20230816_dgs_728x90
20230812_lactancia_materna_01_728x90
20230812_lactancia_materna_02_728x90
20230601_agenda_primera_infancia_728X90
CEL
CEL
SSF
SSF
SSF
previous arrow
next arrow

“Lula knows the COP talks well. He was always proactive in international discussions and kept a high international profile” during his first two terms, said Aquino.

Deeper cooperation

To meet the environmental challenge, the former steelworker who begins his third term on January 1, hopes to get help from the international community.

Lula’s former and likely future environment minister, Marina Silva, has already been holding meetings at the UN summit, and has said that Brazil will lead “by example” on combatting climate change.

She said Lula plans to fight the destruction of the Amazon and pursue a reforestation target of 12 million hectares, with or without international aid.

But she welcomed announcements from Norway and Germany that they would resume financial support to the Amazon Fund. Both countries withdrew aid in 2019 shortly after Bolsonaro came to power.

Advertisement
20231223_factura_electronica_728x90
20231124_etesal_728x90_1
20231001-MH-fact-electronica_728x90
20230816_dgs_728x90
20230812_lactancia_materna_01_728x90
20230812_lactancia_materna_02_728x90
20230601_agenda_primera_infancia_728X90
CEL
CEL
SSF
SSF
SSF
previous arrow
next arrow

“With Lula’s weight and influence, and due to worries all over the world for the Amazon, it is possible that some bilateral agreements might be reached,” said Daniela Costa, a spokesperson for Greenpeace Brazil.

Silva said the US government was “prepared to deepen cooperation” with Brazil after she met with Kerry last week.

She also said in an interview with Brazilian broadcaster Globonews that she had invited the United States to contribute to the Amazon Fund.

‘Much more daring’

Deforestation was at a high level at the start of Lula’s first term in 2003, before falling sharply under Silva as minister. But she resigned in 2008, saying was not getting the money she needed to take her efforts even further.

Aquino said the policies of Lula’s next government need to be “much more daring” than during his first two terms in power.

Advertisement
20231223_factura_electronica_728x90
20231124_etesal_728x90_1
20231001-MH-fact-electronica_728x90
20230816_dgs_728x90
20230812_lactancia_materna_01_728x90
20230812_lactancia_materna_02_728x90
20230601_agenda_primera_infancia_728X90
CEL
CEL
SSF
SSF
SSF
previous arrow
next arrow

At COP27, Lula could announce the creation of a high-level body to coordinate the work of different ministries active in climate work.

Since Bolsonaro — a staunch ally of agribusiness — took office in January 2019, average annual deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon increased by 75 percent compared to the previous decade.

The fight against global warming is not just about protecting precious areas like the Amazon, he said. “It also involves the economy, health and agriculture.”

“We welcome the arrival of Lula with much hope,” said Dinaman Tuxa, coordinator of the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil.

Advertisement
20231223_factura_electronica_728x90
20231124_etesal_728x90_1
20231001-MH-fact-electronica_728x90
20230816_dgs_728x90
20230812_lactancia_materna_01_728x90
20230812_lactancia_materna_02_728x90
20230601_agenda_primera_infancia_728X90
CEL
CEL
SSF
SSF
SSF
previous arrow
next arrow
Continue Reading
Advertisement
20231223_factura_electronica_300x250
RP_migracion_NV_832x731
20231124_etesal_300x250_1
20231001-MH-fact-electronica_300x250
20230912_isss_ssf_300x250_01
20230912_isss_ssf_300x250_02
20230816_dgs_300x250
20230812_lactancia_materna_01_300x150
20230812_lactancia_materna_02_300x150
20230601_agenda_primera_infancia_300X250
MARN1

International

Putin promotes deputy prison chief Amid Navalny’s death, opposition claims

Russian President Vladimir Putin promoted the deputy director of the prison service (FSIN) just three days after the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in an Arctic prison, according to his associates’ claims today.

“The deputy director of the FSIN, Valery Boyarinov, was promoted to the rank of colonel general of the Interior Services. The decree (…) was signed three days after the death in prison of politician Alexei Navalny,” his team wrote on Telegram.

Supporters of the deceased opposition figure claim that this decision is “a clear reward from Putin for the torture” of Navalny.

“Boyarinov personally coordinated the torture inflicted on Alexei Navalny in prison. The restrictions imposed on Navalny’s accounts so he could not buy food, along with the rest of the torture, were personally ordered by Boyarinov,” the team added.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin, which has consistently denied responsibility for the death of the Russian opposition leader, today described as “unfounded” and “coarse” the accusations of Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, that Putin murdered her husband.

“These are unfounded and gross accusations against the head of state,” said the spokesman for the Russian Presidency, Dmitry Peskov, in his daily telephone press briefing.

Peskov insisted that the accusations against the Russian leader “are not based on anything.”

At the same time, he stated that he did not want to make any further comments for “ethical reasons,” as Navalnaya “became a widow a few days ago.”

In any case, he assured that Putin has not seen the message released by the politician’s widow.

On the other hand, the Kremlin spokesman asserted that Moscow also completely rejects calls for an international investigation into Navalny’s death, “even more so” if they come from the head of the European Union’s diplomacy, Josep Borrell.

Navalny’s widow, who was in Brussels yesterday, stated that she will continue her husband’s fight against the Kremlin, blaming its occupant for his murder.

In a video posted on the late opposition leader’s YouTube channel, the widow of Russia’s number one political opponent denounced that “Putin not only killed the person, but also wanted to kill our hopes, our freedom, our future.”

In Russia, Navalny’s mother demanded on Tuesday that Putin hand over her son’s body “so that I can bury him properly.”

“I am addressing you, Vladimir Putin. The solution to this issue depends solely on you. Let me see my son once and for all!” said Lyudmila Navalnaya in a video posted by Navalny’s team on YouTube.

“It’s the fifth day that I can’t see him, they don’t give me his body, and they don’t even tell me where he is,” she said.

The video was recorded outside the “Polar Bear” prison in the Arctic town of Yarp, where the opposition figure suddenly died last Friday, according to prison authorities.

Navalny’s team published on Telegram the letter addressed to the Presidential Administration and handwritten by Lyudmila Navalnaya, in which she denounces that the Investigative Committee of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District does not allow her access to her son’s body.

The opposition figure’s mother arrived in that inhospitable area of Russia on Saturday, but both prison officials and morgue employees refused to address her requests.

Navalny’s associates accuse the Russian authorities of refusing to hand over the body to “cover up” the crime.

According to his spokesperson, Kira Yarmish, Russian investigators argue that they need to perform a “chemical examination” on the corpse and require at least another 14 days.

The organization that advocates for the rights of detainees assures that more than 60,000 people have already signed a popular petition for the authorities to hand over the body to the family.

Continue Reading

International

Assange seeks appeal as extradition decision nears

The two hearings to decide whether Julian Assange can appeal his case in the UK or be extradited to the United States began on Tuesday at the High Court in London.

Amid great anticipation from the public and press, Judges Victoria Sharp and Adam Johnson commenced the session, which will conclude on Wednesday, by hearing arguments from the defense of the 52-year-old Australian.

Assange was unable to attend the hearing in person, despite the court authorizing it, as he was not feeling well, according to his lawyer, Ed Fitzgerald.

The British prosecution will represent the US Justice Department, which is seeking the founder of WikiLeaks on 18 charges of espionage and computer intrusion for the disclosures made by his platform, which exposed US human rights violations in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011.

Fitzgerald began his plea by listing the reasons why his client should be allowed to appeal again, arguing that if extradited to the United States, his rights to a fair trial and freedom of expression, among others, would be violated.

“The prosecution is politically motivated. Assange exposed serious wrongdoing. He is being prosecuted for engaging in ordinary journalistic practice, obtaining and publishing classified information, information that is both true and of obvious and significant public interest,” he argued.

At the request of the defense, the two judges will review, between Tuesday and Wednesday, the decision made on June 6, 2023, by a single magistrate, Jonathan Swift, who denied him permission to continue appealing in this country and upheld the extradition order to the US.

After hearing from the parties, the judges could deliver their ruling immediately or postpone it.

If they ultimately authorize him to appeal the aspects of his case that the defense did not address in previous trials, a new trial would commence before the London Court of Appeal.

If, on the other hand, they agree with Swift in denying him permission, the extradition mechanism to the US, overseen by the British Home Office, would be activated.

In the latter case, his lawyers have already stated that they will immediately request urgent interim measures from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) under Article 39 of its regulations to halt the extradition while lodging an appeal with the European court.

Continue Reading

International

U.S. Investigates Alleged Airstrike Killing of Cuban Doctors in Somalia

The United States is investigating whether a US airstrike against Al-Shabab killed two Cuban doctors held by the jihadist group in Somalia last week, as claimed by the terrorist organization.

A spokesperson for the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) confirmed to EFE that “an airstrike against the Al-Shabab network was conducted on February 15 near Jilib, Somalia,” where the doctors were allegedly killed.

“We are aware of reports about an attack that allegedly killed two civilians,” the source admitted, emphasizing that AFRICOM “will continue to assess the results of this operation and provide additional information when available.”

“We do not have more information at this time about these reports, but we take all claims of civilian casualties seriously,” the spokesperson added.

Al-Shabab claimed on Saturday that two Cuban doctors kidnapped by the organization in 2019 died last Thursday in a US Army airstrike in Somalia, although this has not yet been officially confirmed by the authorities in the African country.

“The airstrike, which began at around 00:10 local time (21:10 GMT), targeted a house in Jilib and instantly killed Assel Herrera and Landy Rodríguez, captured on April 12, 2019,” in northern Kenya, the jihadist group said in a statement.

Al-Shabab stated that “American crusaders conducted multiple drone strikes in the city of Jilib (…) killing the two Cuban prisoners.”

The statement also included the alleged photograph of one of the deceased Cuban doctors.

Surgeon Landy Rodríguez Hernández and general medicine specialist Assel Herrera Correa were kidnapped on April 12, 2019, in the Kenyan city of Mandera (northeast), bordering Somalia and a target of jihadist attacks in the past.

That day, the two doctors were traveling, as was their custom, in a convoy to the Mandera hospital protected by armed escorts when they were intercepted after a shootout in which one of the policemen guarding them was killed.

In May 2019, traditional leaders from Kenya and Somalia who traveled to the Somali region of Jubaland, controlled by Al-Shabab, to negotiate on behalf of the doctors, confessed to having seen the doctors providing medical assistance to the local population.

According to the mediators, the kidnappers demanded 1.5 million dollars as a condition for their release, the Kenyan press reported at the time.

Herrera and Rodríguez were part of a contingent of a hundred Cuban professionals who arrived in Kenya in 2018 under a bilateral agreement to improve access to specialized healthcare services in the African country.

The United States has been involved in military operations against Al-Shabab, in cooperation with the Somali Army, since at least 2007.

Somalia has seen an intensification of military offensives against the terrorist group since Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud announced a “total war” against the jihadists in August 2022.

Affiliated with Al-Qaeda since 2012, Al-Shabab often carries out attacks in the capital, Mogadishu, and other parts of the country to overthrow the central government – backed by the international community – and establish a Wahhabi-style Islamic state (ultra-conservative).

The group controls rural areas of central and southern Somalia and also attacks neighboring countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia.

Somalia has been in a state of war and chaos since 1991, when dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown, leaving the country without an effective government and in the hands of Islamist militias and warlords.

Continue Reading

Trending