Saturday 19th of September 2020

you're going to die. this is not something to worry about...


As the world tries desperately to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, Brazil's president is doing his best to downplay it. 

Jair Bolsonaro has largely struggled to take it seriously. Going against his own health ministry's advice earlier in March, and while awaiting the results of a second coronavirus test, he left self-isolation to join rallies against Congress. 

He shook hands with supporters in Brasilia and sent a message to millions that this was not something to worry about.

In a televised address last week, he repeated a now well-worn phrase. "It's just a little flu or the sniffles," he said, blaming the media once again for the hysteria and panic over Covid-19.

A few days later, he clearly demonstrated his prioritisation of the economy over isolation measures favoured by the rest of the world.

"People are going to die, I'm sorry," he said. "But we can't stop a car factory because there are traffic accidents."

A lone denier

"Jair Bolsonaro is alone right now," says Brian Winter, editor-in-chief of the publication Americas Quarterly. "No other major world leader is denying the severity of this to the extent that he is and depending on how things go, that approach could cost a lot of lives in Brazil."


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wash your hands before you die...

AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY, the pro-corporate pressure group founded and funded by billionaire industrialist Charles Koch, wants employees to return to work despite desperate pleas from public health officials that people should stay home as much as possible to help contain the spread of the coronavirus. 

As states began to order nonessential businesses to shut down last week, AFP released a statement calling for all businesses to remain open. 

“Rather than blanket shutdowns, the government should allow businesses to continue to adapt and innovate to produce the goods and services Americans need, while continuing to do everything they can to protect the public health,” said Emily Seidel, chief executive of AFP, in a press release.

Some of the group’s state chapters have taken a similar tone. AFP Pennsylvania’s state director, as well as a regional director with the group, have taken to Twitter to lambast shelter-in-place policies. The Michigan chapter of AFP on Monday slammed Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order, which closed down fitness centers, nail salons, amusement parks, casinos, and other businesses deemed nonessential, calling it the “wrong approach for our state.” 

Whitmer’s order, variations of which are being implemented by state and local governments nationwide, contains exceptions for critical industries such as grocery stores, pharmacies, health care providers, financial services, transportation, child care, hazardous materials, and energy.

“All businesses are essential — to the people who own them, the people who work in them, and the communities they serve,” said Annie Patnaude, the Michigan state director for AFP, in a statement
 responding to the order.


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not only burning the amazon forest...

It was a recurring scene around Brazil over the weekend: Cars draped in the national flag crossed major cities, their drivers honking to denounce the closure of businesses amid the new coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile people self-isolating in their homes leaned out of windows to bang pots and pans in protest.

Fueling this division was President Jair Bolsonaro whose extreme downplaying of the virus has clashed with isolation measures proposed by his own health minister and many state governors.

Read more: The best visualizations to understand why social distancing matters

"Bolsonaro thrives in a context of political isolation because he's against the establishment," said Oliver Stuenkel, associate professor of international relations at the Getulio Vargas Foundation. "Now he's directing the anti-establishment rhetoric against governors and health specialists."

Most state governors followed the global trend of shutting down non-essential businesses and preaching social isolation to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. But Bolsonaro has urged Brazilians who are not in risk groups to return to the streets — and keep their already struggling economy afloat.


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divinovirus TeeVangelicalum ...

The coronavirus is divine punishment, according to Valdemiro Santiago, head of the Universal Church of God's Power. And in a recent video, pastor Edir Macedo called the COVID-19 pandemic Satan's work, claiming incorrectly that the virus was powerless against those who were not afraid of it. Macedo is the founder of the powerful Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (IURD), a worldwide network of evangelical churches. The multi-millionaire also owns one of Brazil's most influential television channels.

But the loudest voice in the crowd over the past couple of weeks has been that of Silas Malafaia, who is considered by many to be President Jair Bolsonaro's spiritual teacher. Like the president, the leader of the Assembly of God Victory in Christ is extremely critical of the current economic shutdown.

"Will the coronavirus kill people? Yes, but even more people will die if there is social disorder. Churches are essential for those desperate, fearful and depressed people who have been turned away from hospitals," says Malafaia.

Read more: Economy vs. human life is not a moral dilemma

Preaching to empty pews

Despite bans on public gatherings, many of Brazil's churches have remained open during the crisis. Still, most are empty, forcing evangelical preachers to broadcast online church services from their deserted houses of worship.

"The downturn has hit all of the churches; there has been a huge drop in attendance," says theologian and sociologist Clemir Fernandes. "The more good information people can get in the press, the more conscious they become of the risks," he says. "They see the numbers of dead going up."


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killing indigenous brazilians for hamburgers...

A "genocide" that would wipe out the indigenous peoples of Brazil could come from the coronavirus pandemic if urgent measures are not taken, a prominent photographer has said. 

Key points:

  • A letter from activists to the Brazilian president says miners are taking advantage of coronavirus to act illegally
  • The "illegal invaders" are trespassing on indigenous peoples' land
  • Fear the tribes could be "completely eliminated" has been suggested in the letter

Sebastião Salgado, along with his wife and author Lélia Wanick Salgado, have written an open letter to Brazil's President, Jair Bolsonaro.

The letter says indigenous communities in the Amazon are at risk of being "completely eliminated" by miners who have increased their operations during the health crisis, in areas they are not allowed to work.

"These illicit operations have accelerated in recent weeks, because the Brazilian authorities responsible for protecting these areas have been immobilised by the pandemic," the pair wrote.

"Without any protection against this highly contagious virus, the Indians face a real risk of genocide, through contamination caused by illegal invaders on their lands."

The letter was made public on US-based website Avaaz, a community-petition website that promotes global activism on a range of issues.


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the poor left to die to increase the rich totalitarian base?

The people of Paradise City, Sao Paulo's second biggest favela, are used to being ignored by government.

The shanty-town ("Paraisopolis" in the local tongue) sprang up in the shadows of the luxury apartment complexes of nearby Morumbi, one of the city's most affluent suburbs.

But its 100,000 residents have never had access to proper healthcare, education or sanitation.

So, when the coronavirus started creeping through the tightly packed alleys, Gilson Rodrigues knew he had to take matters into his own hands.

"It is a question of saving lives," he told ABC.


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Only a cynic like Gus could ask a question like "the poor left to die to increase the rich totalitarian base?"...


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Brazil's Supreme Court has released a video showing President Jair Bolsonaro expressing frustration that he was unable to change security officials and vowing to protect his family.

The video forms part of an investigation into allegations that the president attempted to replace senior members of the federal police.

Mr Bolsonaro denies any wrongdoing.

The growing political crisis comes amid concerns that Brazil could be the next epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic. 

On Friday the country recorded 1,001 new deaths, bringing its total to 21,048, and it has the second highest number of cases in the world with more than 330,000.



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brazil nut...

Brazil’s government has stopped publishing a running total of coronavirus deaths and infections in an extraordinary move that critics call an attempt to hide the true toll of the disease.

The move came after months of criticism from experts saying Brazil’s statistics are woefully deficient and in some cases manipulated, meaning it may never be possible to gain a real understanding of the depth of the pandemic in the country.

Brazil’s last official numbers showed it had recorded more than 34,000 deaths related to the coronavirus – the third-highest number in the world, just ahead of Italy. It reported nearly 615,000 infections, putting it at the second-highest, behind the United States. Brazil, with about 210 million people, is the seventh most populous nation.

On Friday the federal health ministry took down a website that had showed daily, weekly and monthly figures on infections and deaths in Brazilian states. On Saturday the site returned but the total numbers of infections for states and the entire country were no longer there. The site was showing only the numbers for the previous 24 hours.


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Mind you, Brazil is still not on the top ten nations of death per capita... Read from top.

tackling hate speech and false information...

Facebook has complied with an order by Brazil's Supreme Court to block the accounts of a dozen top allies of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

The group are accused of spreading fake news against judges. 

However, the social media giant said the measure was a threat to freedom of speech, and said it would appeal against the order. 

Its platform has been used to call for a military coup to shut down Congress and the Supreme Court. 

In May a judge ordered Facebook to block 12 accounts and Twitter another 16.

On Friday Brazil's Supreme Court fined Facebook 1.92m reais ($368,000; £280,000) for refusing to block worldwide access to the accounts - it had only agreed to block access to accounts that could accessed from Brazil - and a further 100,000 reais for each day it failed to comply.

It was not clear whether Twitter had also been fined.

Facebook said in a statement that the order was extreme, "conflicting with laws and jurisdictions worldwide".

"Given the threat of criminal liability to a local employee, at this point we see no other alternative than complying with the decision by blocking the accounts globally, while we appeal to the Supreme Court," it said.

Among the accounts blocked are those of Roberto Jefferson, leader of a party loyal to the president, and Luciano Hang, one of Brazil's best known businessmen. 

Facebook and Twitter are under growing pressure to tackle hate speech and false information. 

In July Facebook blocked dozens of accounts on Facebook and Instagramwhich it said were involved in creating "fictitious personas posing as reporters" and "masquerading as news outlets".

It said it had linked the accounts to employees in the offices of Mr Bolsonaro, his sons Eduardo and Flávio, and others.


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