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Posted by On 1:32 AM

Spat over taxes splits leading candidate, adviser in Brazil


Employees of the Regional Electoral Tribunal work on the preparation of the electoral urns, during a public sealing, in Brasilia, Brazil Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. Brazilian electoral justice will use 600,000 urns in the first round of Brazilian general elections, on October 7. (Eraldo Peres/Associated Press) September 21 at 3:40 PM

SAO PAULO â€" The key economic adviser to Brazil’s leading presidential candidate cancelled two campaign events on Friday amid a disagreement with his boss.

Market-friendly Paulo Guedes, the main adviser of far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, canceled events at the American Chamber of Commerce and broker XP Investimentos in Sao Paulo.

Bolsonaro has said that Guedes will be Brazil’s economy minister if he wins. He leads polls at almost 30 percent support for the Oct. 7 vote, but faces a dead heat against any other opponent in a likely runoff weeks later.

The cancelations come two days after Guedes defended reviving an unpopular tax on bank transfers. The presidential candidate quickly came out to say such a measure would not be adopted.

Bolsonaro, a former army captain, is recovering in a hospital after being stabbed earlier this month while campaigning. Later Friday, in his first interview since the incident, he said Guedes is still in his campaign.

“He doesn’t have political experience,” Bolsonaro told the daily Folha de S.Paulo, referring to Guedes. “He gives one-hour long lectures, says one thing in a few seconds and the press goes after him.”

Earlier in the day, Bolsonaro said on Twitter that his economy team “always ruled out any rise in taxes.”

“Free market and less taxes is my motto i n the economy,” he wrote.

He also said he hopes to leave the hospital by the end of the month.

His son Flavio denied that Bolsonaro would adopt income tax measures reportedly suggested by Guedes. But in the Folha interview the candidate didn’t rule them out.

On Wednesday, Brazilian media said Guedes told a group of investors that he planned to reduce income taxes on the wealthy to 20 percent from the current 27.5 percent. He also reportedly said he would have Brazilians making less than $500 a month start paying 20 percent of income tax.

“It seems to be a good idea,” Bolsonaro said. “A single levy for income tax is a good idea.”

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Google News South Brazil | Netizen 24 Brazil

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Posted by On 1:32 AM

In divisive Brazilian election, even Nazis are up for debate


Members of the Hitler Youth participate in burning books, in Salzburg, Austria, on April 30, 1938. (AP) September 21 at 7:34 AM

BERLIN â€" As Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers' Party rose to power in Berlin during the 1930s, the economic woes of the doomed Weimar Republic forced tens of thousands of workers to migrate abroad. Some of them ended up in Brazil, where the National Socialists soon established their own branch, which became the biggest outside Germany.

But a century on, some of Brazil’s memories of the Nazis' horrifying legacy appear to have faded. This month, Germany’s embassy in Brazil was forced to remind people that Nazis were indeed right-wing â€" and not left-w ing, as some Brazilian commentators have claimed.

The Brazilian backlash came after the embassy posted a video on Twitter, in which it sought to explain Berlin’s approach to remembering the Holocaust. “The Germans don’t hide their past. Learn how to teach history in Germany,” the embassy’s caption read. The video, however, came in the midst of a deeply divided presidential campaign.

After one commentator appeared to question whether the Holocaust had ever happened, the embassy felt obliged to clarify: “The Holocaust is a historical fact, with evidence and witnesses that can be found in many places in Europe.”

The original video itself drew a direct link between Germany’s contemporary far right and concerns that some of its ideology is based on right-wing extremist Nazi thoughts from the World War II era. Some Brazilian far-right supporters then appeared to regard the embassy’s association of Nazis with the right wing as slanderous.

“‘Right-wing Extremists’? The Hitler Party was called party of Socialist Workers,” wrote one commentator, responding on Facebook.

“I feel like you want to influence the election,” another Brazilian argued, writing that the diplomats had provided no evidence that “Nazism is right-wing.”

While Hitler’s party carried the word “socialist” in its name, only a few of the policies pursued by him were left-wing or indeed socialist. Political scientists today assume the Nazis mainly added the word to gain the support of working-class voters who had previously supported left-wing parties.

But in Brazil, the far right has attempted to blur such lines in recent years, and the German Embassy’s video was published only a day before the main right-wing presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, survived a stabbing attack during a campaign rally on Sept. 6. The upcoming elections in early October could become the most contentious in recent Brazilian history ; Bolsonaro is the current front-runner even though he is deeply unpopular among parts of the polarized electorate.

His critics at times have referred to him as a Nazi or a far-right firebrand â€" a characterization his supporters reject. But Bolsonaro has been recorded making racist remarks, slandering a left-leaning congresswoman and attacking LGBT communities.

After inadvertently becoming involved in that domestic dispute, the German Embassy this week opted for a safer subject: It posted a video of Germany’s first amphibious bus.

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Source: Google News South Brazil | Netizen 24 Brazil

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Posted by On 1:32 AM

'Hezbollah treasurer' Barakat arrested in Brazil border city

Latin America & Caribbean Latin America & Caribbean 'Hezbollah treasurer' Barakat arrested in Brazil border city

Hezbollah supporters wave Hezbollah flags as they listen to the speech of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah via a giant screen in southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, 14 August 2018Image copyright EPA
Image caption The US has shown concern about Hezbollah financial operations in South America

Police in Brazil have arrested a man accused by the United States of being one of the main financial operators of the Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah.

Assad Ahmad Barakat was detained near the border with Paraguay and Argentina.

He is wanted for identity theft in Paraguay, where he previously served six years in prison for tax evasion.

The police in Argentina have accused Barakat of laundering $10m (£7.6m) on behalf of Hezbollah at a casino in the Iguazu Falls area.

Barakat, a Lebanese national, was detained in the Brazilian city of Foz do Iguaçu.

'Global terrorist'

The US has long expressed concern about Islamist activities among the sizeable Arab community in the region, known as the Triple Frontier.

The area attracts tourists from all over the world, who travel to see the waterfalls and the luxuriant tropical forest.

But it also has a reputation as a centre for large-scale smuggling and drug-trafficking.

In 2006, the US Treasury Department described Barakat as a "global terrorist" and included his name on a list of people in the Triple Frontier area who helped finance Hezbollah.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Thousands of Brazilian bargain hunters cross daily from Foz do Iguaçu to Ciudad del Este in Paraguay

He was one of nine people and two companies who had their assets frozen.

"Assad Ahmad Barakat's network in the Tri-Border Area is a major financial artery to Hezbollah in Lebanon," said Adam Szubin, who was then director of the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Brazilian Federal Police said in a statement that he had continued to operate in Argentina, Brazil and Chile after his release from prison in Paraguay in 2008.

It is not clear whether he is going to be extradited to Paraguay or will face charges in Brazil.

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Source: Google News South Brazil | Netizen 24 Brazil

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Posted by On 6:41 AM

Despite strong laws, domestic violence in Brazil is rampant


In this Aug. 26, 2018 photo, domestic violence survivor Rogeria Cardeal prepares for her theater performance as a bride about to marry her aggressor, in a play coined “Hidden Enemies,” in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Cardeal said the spectators may come to understand and recognize domestic violence in their own lives. (Beatrice Christofaro/Associated Press) September 21 at 12:05 AM

RIO DE JANEIRO â€" Rogeria Cardeal had spent most of the day in a muggy waiting room at the public defenders’ office. She wanted to report that a former partner, who had beaten her for years, had violated a restraining order by approaching her and the kids at church.

The response was discouraging.

“It’s not like h e would’ve done anything in a public space,” a case manager told Cardeal when she was finally called.

“I would barely call that psychological terror,” said another.

The meeting turned into a shouting match, and one of the case managers pushed Cardeal out of the office.

“The fear of dying is the only thing that kept me going when I first started” seeking restraining orders, said Cardeal, a 39-year-old mother of three.

On paper, Latin America’s largest nation has progressive legislation to protect women from domestic violence. The 2006 Maria da Penha Law, named after a woman left paraplegic when her husband tried to murder her, has received international acclaim from bodies like the United Nations. The measure increased sentences for domestic abusers and created shelters for victims. A femicide law passed three years ago increased sentences when gender is identified as a cause of the killing.

Yet violence against women is rampant and ma y be getting worse.

Last year, a record 4,539 women were murdered in Brazil, according to the non-profit Brazilian Forum for Public Security. More than 1,100 were registered as femicides under the new law, nearly doubling the previous year’s count.

The Brazilian nonprofit Mapa da Violencia, using data from the World Health Organization, reported in 2015 that Brazil had the fifth highest homicide rate for women of the 83 countries surveyed, and shocking cases repeatedly emerge in the news media.

Last week, a surveillance camera captured 61-year-old Elaine Figueiredo being shot by her ex-husband in front of her house.

In July, security cameras showed the husband of Tatiane Spitzner, a 29-year-old lawyer, attacking her in an elevator moments before she died.

In May, Jessyka da Silva Souza, 25, was shot in front of her family by her former partner, a police officer.

“I always had empathy for the women I saw on TV. But when it happens to some one you know, it changes you,” said Anna Caroline Viana, Souza’s cousin.

Experts who work with survivors of domestic violence say many cases are not reported, in part because Brazil’s crisis-stricken government has defunded many programs, poor women of color don’t have the same access to health or legal services and ingrained machismo means women often blame themselves.

Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right candidate leading the polls ahead of October’s presidential election, has repeatedly insulted women, once telling a colleague in Congress she was so ugly that she “didn’t deserve” to be raped.

Until 2009, the penal code disqualified some victims of sexual violence if they were not “honest women.” As late as the 1990s, courts could justify attacks on a woman if she allegedly had done something to dishonor a man, say by having an affair.

“Now our legislation is exemplary, but the changes are very recent,” said Jacqueline Pitanguy, a sociolo gist who directs the human rights organization Cepia in Rio de Janeiro. “The patriarchal culture still persists.”

Violence disproportionately affects black women. In 2016, homicide rates were 71 percent higher for black women than those of other races, a discrepancy that has been increasing over the years, according to the Brasilia-based Institute of Applied Economic Research.

Cardeal, who is black, decided to tell authorities about years of assaults and death threats after her former partner punched her as she held their toddler, and since 2013 she has been granted several restraining orders from a wing of the court system dedicated to crimes involving violence.

But such orders only last for three months. Each time she applies for a renewal, the actress and theater producer can lose a day of work, waiting for hours in a cramped room at the public defenders’ office. Throngs of people elbow each other in the lines as toddlers and elderly people take up the seats.

When Cardeal went to report the restraining order violation, she waited more than four hours to turn in paperwork to then proceed to the domestic violence unit. After the altercation with the case managers, she met with the public defender, who told her she had a case, but that a judge would have to evaluate it, a process that could take months.

A branch of the government’s Specialized Center for Women’s Services has helped Cardeal navigate the byzantine judicial system. The Rio office gives about 200 women a month psychological and legal guidance, and when social workers fear a victim may be at risk of death, she is transferred to a secret shelter.

“They come to us to survive, to maintain their dignity as women,” said Rosangela Pereira, the director of the office. The city’s only other government-run center for domestic abuse closed due to budget cuts, forcing some women to travel long distances for assistance.

Despite years of difficult ies, Cardeal has been able to move on. She started a fashion and arts project to help young people with self-esteem, is in a healthy relationship and has a lead role in a play about domestic violence, “Inimigos Ocultos,” or “Hidden Enemies.”

The play invites the audience to walk through a house where the cast enacts abusive relationships.

In the patio, Cardeal plays a woman talking herself into marrying her attacker. In the bedroom, a man manipulates his partner into accepting his cheating. On a bed, a husband rapes his wife doped on medication.

Cardeal said the spectators may come to understand and recognize domestic violence in their own lives.

“It took me my entire life to understand that,” Cardeal said. “When I realized I wasn’t at fault, everything changed.”

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Google News South Brazil | Netizen 24 Brazil

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Posted by On 6:41 AM

Brazil Hedge Fund King Is Retrenching as Presidential Vote Looms

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Brazil's Biggest Brokerage Begrudgingly Joins Crypto Market

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Source: Google News South Brazil | Netizen 24 Brazil