Politics

VICE News

SÃO PAULO — Activists in Brazil say a proposed law defining terrorism will criminalize protest movements, including those looking to use media attention on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro to highlight social injustices and push for reforms.

The bill, authored by President Dilma Rousseff’s office, was amended on its way through the lower house of Congress to add specific exemptions for social movements, but these were removed when it sailed through the Senate last week. It now heads back for a final reading by Brazil’s deputies, and would require final approval by the president.

Supporters of the bill argue Brazil needs legislation to define and fight terrorism, though experts charge that the move stems from pressure from the U.S.-led anti-terrorism body — the Financial Action Task Force, or FATF — amid fears of sanctions that could exacerbate the country’s recession.

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SÃO PAULO — Protesters took to the streets on Friday to voice their opposition to proposed legislation that would toughen Brazil’s already strict laws on abortion, extending criminal proceedings those who assist, or provide information leading to, the termination of a pregnancy.

The bill, PL 5069/2013, which is sponsored by conservative deputy and embattled speaker of the lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, was approved by a parliamentary commission on 21 October, and can now go to a vote by lawmakers.

Currently, abortion is legal only in a small number of specific circumstances, including if the pregnancy is the result of a rape, if the mother’s life is in danger, and if the foetus is confirmed to have anencephaly.

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VICE News

SÃO PAULO — Two court rulings in two days have raised the real possibility that Brazil’s already beleaguered president, Dilma Rousseff, could face impeachment proceedings.

The most immediate challenge comes from Wednesday’s ruling by Brazil’s top audit court that the government manipulated its 2014 accounts. The court said the book-cooking was aimed at covering up a widening fiscal deficit in order to justify maintaining social spending ahead of Rousseff’s narrowly-won reelection last October.

Rousseff summoned ministers to a meeting on Thursday to discuss the judgment’s implications.

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VICE News

SÃO PAULO — Five years ago, the United States Supreme Court delivered a decision in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that allowed corporations to devote virtually unlimited funds to political campaigns, provided that they were spent independently of candidates and political parties.

On Thursday, a ruling by Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court did the exact opposite, prohibiting businesses from financing campaigns in a move that has been hailed as crucial to the fight to rid Brazilian politics of rampant corruption.

Although touted by good governance advocates as vital to the fight against graft and malfeasance, others believe the development in Brazil will simply force campaign cash under the table.

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Anadolu Agency

SÃO PAULO — Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across Brazil on Sunday in protests against President Dilma Rousseff and her government.

Demanding an end to corruption in Rousseff’s multi-party government, many demonstrators called for Rousseff to be impeached.

Local media reported protests in more than 200 major cities across the country – the third such nationwide outpouring of dissent this year.

Police put crowds nationwide at 879,000 — more than in a similar protest in March but fewer than at one held in April.

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VICE News

SÃO PAULO — Brazil announced to much fanfare this week plans to zero illegal deforestation on its territory by 2030 and restore an area of rainforest the size of Pennsylvania. But experts say the plans are unambitious and activists called the promises “a crushing disappointment” that mounted to nothing more than targets already stipulated by Brazilian law.

Climate change was among the headlining issues in a joint declaration made Tuesday by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and US President Barack Obama at the White House.

“We have committed to reach … a zero illegal deforestation rate between now and 2030,” Rousseff said, describing climate change as “one of the world’s central challenges for the 21st Century.”

Rousseff also vowed Brazil would restore 120,000 square kilometers (46,330 square miles) of forest over the same period.

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VICE News

SÃO PAULO — Firearms are responsible for 116 deaths every day in Brazil, according to a new study — a rate of nearly five people every hour.

The Map of Violence 2015, which UNESCO published this week in partnership with the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences and the Brazilian government, calculated that gun violence ended a staggering 42,416 lives in 2012 alone, the most recent year with comprehensive data.

The national mortality rate of 21.9 gun-related fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants — of which nearly 95 percent are homicides, while the balance includes suicides, accidents, and unexplained cases — is the second highest ever recorded in the annual study’s 35-year history.

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