Policy paper by US-Brazil think tank recommends Biden cut ties with Bolsonaro

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Recommendations arriving at the White House this week from NGOs and experts comprising the US Network for Democracy in Brazil, USNDB, request the Biden administration suspend all political and economic agreements, negotiations, and alliances made with the Bolsonario regime.

In a 31-page document, written by professors from 10 universities, directors of NGOs such as Greenpeace and Amazon Watch, and endorsed by 100 academics from universities, organizations, and activists, USNDB supports the recommendations with high criticism of the authoritarian tendencies of Presidents Donald Trump and Bolsonaro. The paper also advises the US to restrict imports of wood, soy, and meat from Brazil, until it can be confirmed are not linked to deforestation and human rights abuses.

By Milan Sime Martinic

First flight to ancient Timbuktu in 9 years sparks hope of tourists’ return

Timbuktu Travel
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As Mali returns to normalcy after years of war, the first commercial flight landed in the city that was long a magnet for tourists from all over the world. Timbuktu officials say they hope it reestablishes the city as an exotic travel destination. The historic city has been in the stranglehold of Islamists since Al Qaeda overran the storied city in 2012.

By Milan Sime Martinic

Myanmar military arrests key players of NLD and its supporters at night

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YANGON, Myanmar – In Myanmar internet service has not been available between 1am and 9am every day since the military seized power from the democratically-elected government and declared a 1-year state of emergency. The military imposed a curfew and the combined force, including military and police, has been arresting the main individuals involved in the National League for Democracy party and its supporters during the night since February first. According to a local source, more than 500 people have been arrested so far.

Nightly, the people in Yangon bang on pots and pans at 8pm to demonstrate their anti-coup sentiments and they are taking measures for their own security in their neighborhoods. In some areas, the local people have confronted the security forces which has resulted in incidents of violence between the two opposing groups.

The NLD party was the most popular party in mainland Myanmar, winning the 2021 election by a landslide. The election earned the NLD 65% of the seats in parliament, notably excluding 25% reserved for unelected military representatives. Aung San Suu Kyi , the chairman of the NLD, is widely considered to be the most popular leader among Burmese people.

By Htay Win

South Africa’s constitutional court asks for ex-President to be jailed for contempt

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The country’s constitutional court said that ex-President Jacob Zuma’s defiance of a legal summons that compels him to appear before a commission of inquiry to answer corruption allegations could lead to lawlessness and is asking the Supreme Court to jail him for defying the court’s order.

Accused of letting a wealthy family “plunder state resources” and influence government decisions, Zuma denied the charges and accused the commission of partisanship. The court’s request, however, is for contempt of court. Zuma said repeatedly he is not afraid of jail, but armed and uniformed supporters were outside his home to impede an potential arrest.

By Milan Sime Martinić

European public opinion puts pressure on Brazil to decrease deforestation of the Amazon

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SAO PAULO – Recently, London-based YouGov conducted the poll that surveyed people in several European countries and reported that only 12% of those interviewed supported moving forward with the pact if the current rate of Amazon deforestation continues.

Unfavorable European public opinion may, it is thought, threaten the loss of the EU-Mercosur commercial accord, worth around $19t total. Brazil deforests it’s land more than the other three Mercosur members — Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay — combined.

By Milan Sime Martinić



Poland’s courts are deciding whether to extradite Chinese citizens accused of crimes in China

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A Chinese man residing in Poland has become the focus of an ad-hoc but potentially precedent-setting trial of whether European countries, bound by human rights commitments both nationally and internationally, will extradite China’s citizens when the Chinese government accuses them of a crime.

The man, Li Zhizhou, 53, has been in Europe since 2013. China has since accused him of fraud and asked Poland to extradite him — Poland does not have an extradition agreement with China, so China can only ask nicely in this case.

Polish authorities as well as those from other European countries (particularly Sweden because Li is now a Swedish national) and human rights groups are weighing several issues: China has one-party control over it’s judicial system and a 99% conviction rate; if returned, the sentence the man would likely receive as punishment is broadly considered out of proportion with what Poland and it’s EU neighbors could accept as just; the man is reported to be a practitioner of the Falun Gong religion which is outlawed in China and for which China could decide to also prosecute him, with a possible sentence of life imprisonment or death.

In recent years, Sweden and the Czech republic have denied similar Chinese requests, but the high-profile Polish case is still being watched as potentially precedent-setting.

Ford exit to cost Brazil 119,000 jobs, billions in revenue, and 10% production capacity

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Status of 6000+ Ford employees uncertain

SAO PAULO – Closing Brazilian operations after “years of significant losses,” Ford’s exit will mean a total direct and indirect loss of 118.864 jobs, along with lost wages totaling some R$2.5 billion per year. The yearly impact on the tax base will be R$3 billion, according to Brazil’s Departamento Intersindical de Estatística e Estudos Socioeconômico (Dieese).

The closings will drop the country’s production capacity by as much as 500,000 vehicles per year, out of a total of 5 million produced in Brazil, according to National Association of Automotive Vehicle Manufacturers (Anfavea).

Ford employed 6,171 workers in Brazil and the status of most of them is currently undefined. Layoffs at the plants in Taubaté (SP) and Camaçari (BA) were halted by the Labor Tribunal in injunctions responding to lawsuits by the Labor Department, Ministério Público do Trabalho (MPT). Ford has said a total of 5,000 jobs will be affected in the restructuring in Brazil and Argentina.

Gauging a comparison, Ford laid off 7,000 workers in its 2019 global restructuring.

By Milan Sime Martinic

Mexico: Thousands March One Year After Disappearance Of 43 Students – Photo Document

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MEXICO CITY — Thousands of people took to the streets Saturday to mark the anniversary of the disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero in a case involving corrupt police and high-ranking members of the army that continues to trouble Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Parents and relatives of the missing students led the march from an area close to the presidential residence of “Los Pinos,” carrying with them pictures of their loved ones and shouting slogans rejecting the official statement of their fate.

Days before the march, President Nieto held a meeting with the parents of the 43 missing students to hear their demands and show support for their cause.

“We are on the same side,” Peña declared.

Nevertheless, the Parents described the president’s attitude toward the case as “indifferent,” and while more than 10,000 people were marching through one of the main boulevards of Mexico City, Nieto was attending to the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York City.

“Because alive they were taken, alive we want them back!” was the slogan of the march; Signs that read “Crime of the State,” “Get out Peña,” and “Peña, Murderer” were shown all along the march. Various Mexican personalities such as Elena Poniatowska, a Mexican journalist, author and activist, and Hipolito Mora, leader of self-defense groups in Guerrero, were also present, asking for justice.

The march proceeded peacefully except for one group 0f self-named “anarchists,” who launched a series of riots, ending in clashes with police but without causing much damage.

The march culminated at the historic Zocalo, a giant square in the heart of Mexico City, with a speech by the spokesman for the families, Felipe de la Cruz, in which he encouraged demonstrators to show their outrage over what happened in Ayotzinapa, Atenco and Tlatlaya, where state crimes have been committed and where impunity still reigns.

Text and Images by David Córdova
























Dia De Los Muertos In Prague – Photo Document

Dia de los Muertos in Prague-Juan Manuel Garcia
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Day of the Dead is a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico. The celebration focuses on gatherings where family and friends pray for and remember those who have died, in order to support their spiritual journeys. In 2008, the tradition was inscribed in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

It is not only a very emotional time, but also an important holiday in which pre-Hispanic culture meets the Catholic church. The sadness of the loss of loved ones blends with celebration because death, as the Mexicans see it, is not a definitive end to life but is just another kind of life. According to Mexican belief, the souls of the dead come to earth in this time period to visit their relatives. And they lay flowers, fruit, pastries or drinks on the graves of their loved ones.

The production Motus Prague, in cooperation with Cristina Maldonado, brings a bit of Mexico to the Czech lands — all with the support of Prague 7 City District and the Embassy of Mexico in the Czech Republic.

In the surroundings of Stromovka park, parents and children experience the traditional customs and various cultural events — for the kids the events are staged by Toy Machine and Nebezpečné divadlo/Dangerous Theatre, and Aztec dance performance by Juan Manuel Garcia.

They also enjoy live Mexican music by Sombrero Negro. Participants can take part in special food making, such as decorating skull lemon cookies by Prague Pie Hole, or can simply taste various the Mexican dishes provided for festival goers.

Children also engage in a large number of workshops, such as hand-made lanterns by Artual, masks by Kreslírna/Artroom Letná, and clay graffiti by Muddum.

By Michaela Škvrňáková
Photos: Michaela Škvrňáková

Dia de los Muertos in Prague Dia de los Muertos in Prague

Dia de los Muertos in Prague Dia de los Muertos in Prague-Prague Pie Hole

7 Dia de los Muertos in Prague

Dia de los Muertos in Prague-Dangerous Theatre Dia de los Muertos in Prague

Dia de los Muertos in Prague Dia de los Muertos in Prague

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Dia de los Muertos in Prague Dia de los Muertos in Prague

Dia de los Muertos in Prague-Muddum Dia de los Muertos in Prague


Couple Arrested Over ‘Peeping Tom’ Drone Videos

Couple Arrested Over 'Peeping Tom' Drone Videos
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An Orem, Utah couple in their thirties has been charged with allegedly using their drone to take videos of people in their bedrooms and bathrooms, according to police in the area.

The couple, Aaron Dennis Foote, 39, and Terisha Lee Norviel, 34, were each charged with a class A misdemeanor for using a concealed or disguised electronic device to do voyeurism.

The couple found themselves in trouble after an Orem man saw the drone flying outside his bathroom window and chased it down in his truck until it landed in a parking lot.

When he looked at the SD card in the drone, he found several videos of people in their homes. There was also video of a person flying the drone, according to a police affidavit.

Orem police then put out a threatening Facebook post, but ended up locating the people charged by identifying a vehicle in some of the footage.

Wall Street Week Ending April 28

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April 24: Wall Street rallied amid an outlook that a centrist will likely win the French presidential election.

April 25: Bull run amid strong earnings by Caterpillar, MacDonald’s. Nasdaq rose 41.65 point to close above 6,000 for the first time ever.

April 28: Stocks edged lower after first quarter growth turned out to be the weakest in 3 years. For the week, the big 3 indexes rose 1.5 – 2%

Graph: Yahoo Finance


Munich Shooting Actually Didn’t Have Ties to Anders Breivik — German Investigators Change Their Minds About the Link

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German investigators in the case of Munich mass shooter David Ali Sonboly, who early on stated that the man was linked to Norwegian political mass killer Anders Breivik — Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae was quoted saying there was an “obvious” link, which was widely reported in the media —  have changed their minds on that point.

German authorities are now discounting the reports that Sonboly had been particularly influenced by a study of Breivik’s attack, although the attack on Utoya took place five years earlier to the day.

Sonboly purchased a 9mm pistol on the internet, according to Bavarian investigators. He may have lured victims to the mall by promising them free food at a restaurant there. He fired 57 bullets of 300 he brought in a backpack before being silenced by one police bullet.

Sonboly was a German with Iranian citizenship. He possessed a collection of books about mass shootings in his room, according to police.

He is believed to have planned the mall attack one year in advance.

The young man had a history of psychiatric treatment, having been counselled for a period of two months.