Quotulatiousness

January 4, 2018

HMS Ocean to be sold to Brazil

Filed under: Americas, Britain, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

In The Register, Gareth Corfield sums up reports on the disposition of the Royal Navy’s current flagship after a 20-year service life:

HMS Ocean at the Thames Barrier in 2012, being moved into position to support the Olympic Games in London.

The 22,000-tonne helicopter carrier, which returned from her last British deployment to the Caribbean just weeks ago, will be formally decommissioned from the RN in spring this year.

Although it was well known that Ocean was up for sale and that Brazil (as well as Turkey) were interested in buying the 20-year-old warship, confirmation of the deal and the purchase price were all “known unknowns” until now.

The news was broken by defence blog UK Defence Journal, citing a Brazilian journalist.

The Brazilian Navy’s end-of-year roundup statement, published on Christmas Eve 2017, also included the line: “Minister Raul Jungmann and the Brazilian Navy Commander Eduardo Bacellar Leal Ferreira took the opportunity to announce the purchase of the Royal Navy’s HMS Ocean multifunction vessel, valued at £84m sterling.”

A British Ministry of Defence spokesman told El Reg: “Discussions with Brazil over the long-planned sale of HMS Ocean are at an advanced stage, but no final decisions have been made. HMS Ocean has served admirably with us since 1998 and the revenue she generates will be reinvested in defence as we bolster our Royal Navy with two types of brand new frigates and two huge aircraft carriers.”

HMS Ocean at the 2005 International Fleet Review, showing Landing Craft on davits and Stern Ramp deployed.
Photo via Wikimedia.

At the Thin Pinstriped Line, Sir Humphrey explains why selling the ship now makes sense for the Royal Navy:

The big change to this requirement came in 2015, when the SDSR [Strategic Defence and Security Review]confirmed that the RN would keep both carriers in active service, and that neither would be CTOL [conventional take-off and landing]. Suddenly the RN found itself planning for a future where it would have two CVF available [the Queen Elizabeth class carriers], both of which would need to have manpower available to crew them. It also meant that the RN could make modifications to the ships to ensure that either of them could operate as an LPH [Landing Platform Helicopter] and carry helicopters and troops as well as a fixed wing airgroup.

This decision has had major ramifications for Ocean – suddenly the need for her to remain in service was gone. The LPH role that she would have done would now be filled by two newer and vastly more capable ships – the UK wasn’t losing capability but gaining it. In practical terms the RN actually would have more chance of an LPH being available without Ocean as CVF availability will be higher, both can role as an LPH (rather than CTOL which would not do this task) and with both platforms active, there is far less chance of the nightmare situation of both the CTOL carrier and the old LPH being stuck in refit at the same time.

From a capability perspective, the move to CVF makes a lot of sense. There are issues to be resolved (arguably the littoral manoeuvre capability offered by her landing craft, the vehicle issue and the question of what to do about afloat 1&2* command platforms and where to put them), but Ocean paying off is not going to remove the LPH capability from the UK toolkit.

The second problem has been that even if the RN wanted to run Ocean on, it has run out of manpower to do so. This year will see Queen Elizabeth at sea doing complex trials, drawing heavily on the Fleet Air Arm personnel to do so. As Prince of Wales (POW) stands up, more and more crew (usually very specialised engineers and the like) will be needed to bring her out of build. On the old plan this wouldn’t have been an issue – one would have gone straight into reserve. Now, the RN has to bring both carriers into service at roughly the same time (a helpful reminder of RN capability here is that it is the only navy in the world currently introducing two supercarriers into service at roughly the same time).

Ocean requires a lot of specialist crew who will be needed on QE and POW, and more importantly so will their reliefs. The manpower planners have not been working on the assumption of three carriers available and at sea (something the RN arguably has not done consistently for many years), and so the manpower structure is not designed to provide this. It could be changed, but would need many years to produce the right numbers of people in the right slots to deliver it without breaking manpower and causing retention challenges.

October 27, 2017

The ever-shrinking Royal Navy

Filed under: Americas, Britain, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

In The Register, Gareth Corfield suggests that the Ministry is considering flogging off more RN ships to South America to try to balance the budget:

UK Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has denied that vital British warships may be quietly sold to South American nations as part of the ongoing defence review, according to reports.

Helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, already earmarked for sale to Brazil when she is withdrawn from the Royal Navy next year, may be joined by Type 23 frigates, according to respected defence industry magazine Jane’s.

The Type 23s are the backbone of the Royal Navy’s anti-surface and anti-submarine capability. They are the fighting teeth of the RN, used to ward off potentially hostile surface ships and submarines alike.

Current plans are for the new Type 26 frigate to replace the ageing but capable Type 23s. These new ships are set to enter service from the middle of the next decade, with the old leaving service on the (approximate) basis of “one in, one out”.

HMS Albion conducts amphibious operations with Landing Craft Utility (LCU) during Exercise Grey Heron off the coast of Portsmouth in 2007.
The Albion Class, Landing Platform Dock ships (LPD) primary function is to embark, transport, and deploy and recover (by air and sea) troops and their equipment, vehicles and miscellaneous cargo, forming part of an Amphibious Assault Force.
(Photo via Wikimedia)

Two crucial amphibious warships, HMSes Albion and Bulwark, are rumoured to be on the chopping block of current defence cuts. Without these two ships, the Royal Navy cannot carry out amphibious landings, in the sense of “put Royal Marines in smaller boats that they can sail to beaches”. Both ships (only one is in service at any one time because we have neither the money nor manpower to run both at once) are fitted with big ramps and well docks allowing troops and vehicles aboard to be quickly loaded into landing craft.

Without its amphibious landing capability, the UK would not have been able to take the Falkland Islands back from Argentinian invaders after the 1982 invasion.

October 17, 2017

Brazil in World War 1 – The South American Ally I THE GREAT WAR Special

Filed under: Americas, History, Military, WW1 — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

The Great War
Published on 16 Oct 2017

Though joining the war later than most, Brazil was the only South American nation to play an active role, albeit a brief one. After initially declaring neutrality in August 1914, a series of sunken ships and dead Brazilians on behalf of the Germans’ submarines forced Brazil’s hand, as anti-German sentiment in the country rose during the first three years of the war. With newly acquired ships, Brazil was ready to join the war as a naval power. Her involvement may not have lasted long, but it did earn Brazil a seat at the table during the Versailles peace conference.

July 26, 2016

The “international sporting event” in “a major city in Brazil”

Filed under: Americas, Law, Media, Sports — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Every four years, the world’s media turn en masse to a new location for the summer Olympic Games. This time around the games event is in Rio de Janeiro a major city in Brazil. I’d give more details, but the IOC is determined to reserve as much of that information to themselves and their official sponsoring media partners:

As the Olympic Games approach, the tension between athletes and non-sponsors with the United States Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee has ratcheted up once again.

In recent weeks, the United States Olympic Committee sent letters to those who sponsor athletes but don’t have any sponsorship designation with the USOC or International Olympic Committee, warning them about stealing intellectual property.

“Commercial entities may not post about the Trials or Games on their corporate social media accounts,” reads the letter written by USOC chief marketing officer Lisa Baird. “This restriction includes the use of USOC’s trademarks in hashtags such as #Rio2016 or #TeamUSA.”

The USOC owns the trademarks to “Olympic,” “Olympian” and “Go For The Gold,” among many other words and phrases.

The letter further stipulates that a company whose primary mission is not media-related cannot reference any Olympic results, cannot share or repost anything from the official Olympic account and cannot use any pictures taken at the Olympics.

This isn’t really a new or surprising thing, as we had warnings about any discussion of the “‘international sporting event’ in ‘the capital of the United Kingdom'” back in 2012. More recently, Toronto’s Pan Am Games organizers did the same sort of trademarks-out-the-wazoo-and-lawyers-on-speed-dial stuff over their 2015 international sporting event in ‘a large city in Ontario’.

If nothing else, it gives me an excuse to not blog anything about those every-four-years international corruption championships…

July 10, 2014

Argentina’s economic woes – tourist edition

Filed under: Americas, Economics — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 10:56

How bad is the Argentinian economy right now? So bad that middle class Argentine tourists in Brazil eat at soup kitchens, according to the Wall Street Journal‘s Miriam Jordan:

The state-funded Citizen Restaurant in downtown Rio is accustomed to serving a balanced meal at an unbeatable price to about 5,000 poor residents of this city each day. During the World Cup, however, this cafeteria has been catering to another clientele as well: middle-class Argentines.

“We serve homeless people, drug addicts, blue-collar workers and retirees,” said Jose Barbosa, Rio de Janeiro state coordinator for food security. “This World Cup we have been welcoming Argentine soccer fans, too.”

With the value of the Argentine peso deeply eroded amid the country’s economic woes, many Argentines who have flocked here to root for their soccer team […] say they’re counting every Brazilian real they spend — and hunting for bargains. On Monday, dozens of Argentines lined up alongside Brazilians to buy lunch at the cafeteria, where a meal of black beans, white rice, salad and choice of meatballs or chicken sausage cost 1 real, or about 40 U.S. cents.

“Rio is very expensive — that’s why I am here,” said Fernando Castillo, a 24-year-old bartender from Buenos Aires. With gusto, he dug into his plate of food, which sat on a plastic-blue tray beside a cup of guava juice and a fresh orange for desert, both included in the price. “This is perfect,” he said, “especially at this price.”

“The generous portion keeps us filled all day,” added his cousin, Thomas Castillo.

[…]

To save on accommodations and flights, many Argentines drove to Brazil. In Rio, their campers and cars occupied prime beachfront parking spots until the city evicted them.

It then allowed them to park vehicles and pitch tents in a vast parking lot downtown that abuts the permanent bleachers where Rio’s samba schools perform during the annual carnival celebrations.

Word spread quickly at these parking lots that Citizen Restaurant, within walking distance of the Argentine encampment, offered good Brazilian fare at a bargain-basement price in a clean, safe environment. “It started with 10 of them one day, then 50 of them came and now we’re seeing about 200 Argentines each day,” said Ricardo Chaves, the eatery’s administrator.

July 9, 2014

Thoughts on the “blitzkreig of Belo Horizonte”

Filed under: Americas, Europe, Germany, History, Soccer — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 14:59

Colby Cosh, self described as having descended from “multiple generations of German-killers” explains why he’s content with Brazil’s soccer disaster at the hands of the German national team yesterday:

It’s already being called “The Mineiraço. Yesterday’s 7-1 slaughter of Brazil by Germany in the semifinals of the World Cup seemed an awful lot like a historical turning point, and the political ripples are already being discussed. Perhaps they are not even confined to Brazil, although the recriminations there are bound to be awesome: the government spent untold billions on a golden stage for Brazilian glory, and ended up with the sporting equivalent of the Challenger disaster, if Challenger had crashed intact into a packed stadium where the Pope was giving a homily.

What seems most remarkable to me is not the match itself but the prelude. I grew up in a colony of Anglo-Saxon Soccer World in which Germany was inevitably cast as a cartoon villain and Brazil was everybody’s second favourite national side. Brazil were what Canada fancies itself to be in hockey: the native “speakers” of the prestige dialect of the game — a national noblesse, possessing self-conscious power to establish, dictate, and impose its ideal form on lesser breeds. (Even Canadian children who played soccer were dimly aware of this: the rich ones would signify their coolness by wearing Brazil kit to practices, as I’m sure Bulgarian youth hockey players must signify to their mates by flaunting expensive Crosbiana.)

[…]

Anglo Soccer World seemed to be very much leaning toward Germany in the run-up to the Mineiraço. No doubt this is partly because we are getting ever further from the Second World War. Germany has been mostly tame, friendly, and progressive for 70 years, the Biblical specification of a human lifetime. The length of this period is approaching the duration of the trouble to which German hyper-German-ness subjected Europe between the Battle of Sedan and the Holocaust. It is hard to see any lingering trace of the old ills of the German national character in contemporary Germany.

Update: Compare the responses to yesterday’s game to the reaction after the 1954 West German team’s victory:

… the West German victory was hardly something that was welcome elsewhere in Europe, particularly to the authorities in East Berlin. Less than ten years after the end of a world war for which the Germans were held responsible, there was understandably little public enthusiasm in Britain and France at the outcome of the competition. Nonetheless the extent of the dismay and even vitriol at the time expressed in the media of both countries requires further explanation and points to deep-seated concerns in Britain and France about the speed of German economic recovery and re-armament in the mid-1950s.

For the East German regime, West Germany’s victory at the World Cup was the worst possible outcome. Communist leaders had been praying for a Hungarian win in order to prove the much-claimed ‘superiority of socialist sport’ and, by implication, the Communist form of government. Hungary’s defeat appeared to prove that the opposite was true, just at a time when East German leaders were trying to promote their state as the ‘progressive option’ for all Germans, as opposed to what they called the ‘Nazi successor state’ of the Federal Republic.

[…]

It was two events off the pitch – one immediately after the final and the other a few days later – that were to give ammunition to those keen to link the West German victory to allegations of resurgent German nationalism. First, as a rain-soaked Fritz Walter led his team up to collect the Jules Rimet trophy from the man whose name it bore and a Swiss band played the German national anthem, a boozy section of the German fans began singing the banned first verse of the national anthem – ‘Deutschland, Deutschland, über alles’ rather than the Federal Republic’s officially sanctioned third verse – ‘Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit’ (unity, justice and freedom). Foreign journalists present immediately took note.

A few days later the damage was compounded by a speech given at the official victory celebration in a Munich beer cellar by the President of the German Football Association (Deutscher Fussball-Bund), ‘Peco’ Bauwens. In an atmosphere heavy with alcohol and emotion, Bauwens – who had joined the Nazi Party as early as 1933 – told the reportedly bemused players not only that they had been inspired by the spirit of the Nordic God, Wotan, but that victory had been made possible by their adherence to Der Führerprinzip. By this he appears to have meant unflinching obedience to a strategy worked out by the coach, Josef (Sepp) Herberger. The speech, which was being broadcast live by Bavarian Radio, was mysteriously cut short at this point and the tapes subsequently lost, but foreign reporters monitoring the coverage had already heard enough.

June 23, 2014

World Cup sour grapes for England

Filed under: Britain, Soccer — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 08:03

While the England team may not need to worry about what to do in the elimination round (because they’re not going to get that far), James Delingpole claims that this is the greatest World Cup ever, and offers five reasons he’s right:

1. Filthy, cheating foreigners are conforming satisfyingly to stereotype.

The reason England are already out of the competition, claimed Wayne Rooney over the weekend, is that we are far too nice. If ever we wish to win again at the game we invented, he suggested, then we will have to learn to cheat like all the filthy foreigners with their effeminate hairstyles, their casual fouling and their extravagant diving.

But obviously we can’t do that sort of thing because then we’d look like the kind of people who still live with their mothers and eat garlic on toast and ride around piazzas on mopeds.

Which is why we prefer to lose because it shows our national superiority. Anyway, football is fixed now — so really it’s not up to the players who wins any more anyway, it’s decided by the betting syndicates in India and Pakistan and Ghana.

[…]

3. It has given the Scots something not to grumble about

Nothing — not a warming draught of deep fried Irn Bru (copyright Michael Deacon) nor the skirl of pipes nor the reassuring “pit” of the latest welfare cheque landing on the floor of your council flat — gladdens a Scotsman’s heart quite so much as the sight of England losing in a major (or indeed minor) sporting event.

It’s quite possible that, had England won this World Cup, the backlash would have driven the whole of Scotland into voting “Yes” in the forthcoming referendum. Those of us who love the Scots and dearly wish them to remain part of the Union, therefore, should rejoice in Britain’s tactical defeat in the World Cup.

[…]

5. Nazi Pope Reefer Man

Do I really need to explain?

My favourite Twitter post from the start of the World Cup now seems prescient:

June 16, 2014

FIFA and the World Cup

Filed under: Americas, Bureaucracy, Football — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 07:29

H/T to Roger Henry for the link.

June 14, 2014

Spain meets Nemesis (wearing Netherlands team jerseys)

Filed under: Americas, Soccer — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 09:51

I didn’t watch this game, but apparently I missed quite the event. A Dutch friend of mine took to Twitter to express his joy through the course of the game:

June 11, 2014

Some interesting responses from World Cup audiences

Filed under: Soccer — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 09:59

The New York Times posted some responses from fans about who will win the 2014 World Cup, who they root aagainst, and who plays “the most beautiful” soccer. I found some of the answers to be of interest, and I’ve highlighted them here:

World Cup 2014 opinions

Brazil is the almost-consensus pick to win it all, with only Argentinian, Spanish, and American fans liking their national team’s chances over Brazil. The surprises come with the second answers, where most pick their national side, but Spain and Germany get a higher-than-expected vote of confidence.

When asked who they’re cheering against, there were some odd answers … who knew that the Aussies were so anti-American? Even more amazing is how anti-American the American fans are. Brazilian, French, Japanese, South Korean, and Russian fans also display an oddly bipolar attitude toward their respective national teams. Argentina hates England, aka “Dog Bites Man”, yet the English don’t seem to be reciprocating any more with their dislikes now being Russia and “Don’t Mention The War”.

In the final column, one has to assume that Australian and Japanese fans need to get their collective eyes checked…

May 31, 2014

Scott Feschuk: “How murdered might you get at the World Cup?”

Filed under: Americas, Humour, Soccer — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 10:10

Worried about your personal safety at the World Cup in Brazil? Scott Feschuk helps you to be as worried as you should be:

Has there been much corruption?

Define “much.” If you mean scattered incidents of price gouging to line the pockets of a few local firms and politicians, then yes. But if you mean a grandly orchestrated, systemic pilfering of hundreds of millions of dollars, then yes. Brazilian soccer legend Pelé describes it as a “disgrace.” (By the way, it is mandatory that Pelé be quoted in every World Cup article, no matter the topic: RAIN COMING WEDNESDAY ACCORDING TO ‘FEELING IN KNEE,’ LEGEND DECLARES.)

[…]

If I go to the World Cup, how murdered will I get?

British papers have been playing up the threat of violent crime, depicting the cities of Brazil as crime-infested hellscapes through which there is scant hope of safe passage. The way they tell it, Rio is like Gotham before Batman or Times Square before Applebee’s.

So concern is overblown?

Oh God, no. But listen: the people of Brazil are well aware of your fears. To their credit, they’ve taken substantive action to address the issue by, um, well … they published a brochure.

What — a guide on how to react when you’re mugged at gunpoint, haha?

Yep. Brazilians have a lot of interesting traditions. They speak directly. They touch one another lightly while talking. And their criminals like to kill people who make a fuss over getting robbed. They even have a word for a mugging that escalates into a murder: latrocinios. You know people are serious about something when they have a word or phrase for it. Just ask the people at McDonald’s about Kirstie Alley and second breakfast.

What does the brochure recommend?

Remain calm. Do your best not to cry out. If you stay largely motionless and don’t say a word, it will be over soon enough. Pretty much the same guidelines to follow when losing your virginity.

October 7, 2013

CSEC’s sudden media prominence … in Brazil

Filed under: Americas, Cancon, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 10:50

If you haven’t heard of CSEC before, you’re certainly not alone. The signals intelligence service known as Communications Security Establishment Canada has been eager not to be in the public eye, but allegations are being made that CSEC has been spying on the Brazilian government’s mining and energy ministry:

The impact for Canada of these revelations could be equally grave: they come at a time when Brazil has become a top destination for Canadian exports, when a stream of delegations from the oil and gas industries are making pilgrimages to Rio de Janeiro to try to get a piece of the booming offshore oil industry, and when the Canadian government is eager to burnish ties with Brasilia. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird visited Brazil in August, and spoke repeatedly about the country as a critical partner for Canadian business.

[…]

While CSEC’s role in conducting economic espionage has been alluded to before, how it does this job has not. The significance of the documents obtained by Globo in Brazil is that they speak to how “metadata” analysis by CSEC can be used to exploit a rival country’s computer systems.

The CSEC-labeled slides about the “Olympia” program describe the “Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy” as a “new target to develop” despite “limited access/target knowledge.”

The presentation goes on to map out how an individual’s smartphone — “target’s handset” — can be discerned by analysis, including by cross-referencing the smartphone’s Sim card with the network telephone number assigned to it and also to the handset’s unique number (IMEI).

The “top secret” presentation also refers to attacks on email servers.

“I have identified MX [email] servers which have been targeted to passive collection by the Intel analysts,” one slide says, without explaining who the speaker is.

August 19, 2013

Glenn Greenwald’s partner detained by UK authorities

Filed under: Britain, Government, Media — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 08:49

The British government sends a message:

The partner of the Guardian journalist who has written a series of stories revealing mass surveillance programmes by the US National Security Agency was held for almost nine hours on Sunday by UK authorities as he passed through London’s Heathrow airport on his way home to Rio de Janeiro.

David Miranda, who lives with Glenn Greenwald, was returning from a trip to Berlin when he was stopped by officers at 8.05am and informed that he was to be questioned under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The controversial law, which applies only at airports, ports and border areas, allows officers to stop, search, question and detain individuals.

The 28-year-old was held for nine hours, the maximum the law allows before officers must release or formally arrest the individual. According to official figures, most examinations under schedule 7 — over 97% — last less than an hour, and only one in 2,000 people detained are kept for more than six hours.

Miranda was released, but officials confiscated electronics equipment including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles.

Since 5 June, Greenwald has written a series of stories revealing the NSA’s electronic surveillance programmes, detailed in thousands of files passed to him by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The Guardian has also published a number of stories about blanket electronic surveillance by Britain’s GCHQ, also based on documents from Snowden.

Update: The opposition Labour party calls for an investigation into this use of anti-terrorism legislation (but as Charles Stross point out … they passed the laws themselves).

Labour has called for an urgent investigation into the use of anti-terror powers to detain David Miranda, the partner of a Guardian journalist who interviewed US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said ministers must find out whether anti-terror laws had been “misused”, after Miranda was held for nine hours by authorities at Heathrow airport under the Terrorism Act.

His detention has caused “considerable consternation” and the Home Office must explain how this can be justified as appropriate and proportionate, she said.

[…]

“The independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, David Anderson, has already warned of the importance of using schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act appropriately and proportionately. The purpose of schedule 7 is to determine whether or not someone is involved in or associated with terror activity. The Home Office and police need to explain rapidly how they can justify using that purpose under the terrorism legislation to detain David Miranda for nine hours. This has caused considerable consternation and swift answers are needed.

“The police and security agencies rightly work hard to protect national security and prevent terrorism. But public confidence in security powers depends on them being used proportionately within the law, and also on having independent checks and balances in place to prevent misuse.”

June 23, 2013

Brazilian protests were triggered by bus fare hike, but sustained by many more grievances

Filed under: Americas, Government, Soccer — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 10:09

In the Independent, James Young reports from Rio de Janeiro:

The most recent wave of protests began at the beginning of the month in Sao Paulo over what may seem an insignificant 20 centavo (7p) bus-fare hike. But the level of the increase was less important than what it represented. Once again, Brazilians felt they were being asked to pay an onerous price for a shoddy service. Buses in big cities are overcrowded, infrequent and journeys can take hours.

Now the leaderless, non-politically affiliated protest movement has a variety of goals. Better public healthcare is one. “I recently spent eight hours in a hospital waiting room with dengue,” says Lee, a bank worker protesting on Friday. “People were sleeping on the floor.” Another is an improved education system. “We work hard and pay high taxes. And we get nothing in return,” he continues.

Frustration over the country’s institutionalised corruption has attracted many to the protests. Influence-peddling scandals such as 2005’s Mensalao (“big monthly allowance”) affair and, more recently, the saga of Carlinhos Cachoeira, accused of running a political bribery network, have left many desperate for change.

Some protesters have focused on the £8bn spent on stadium and infrastructure work for next year’s World Cup, seen as indefensible in a country with so many more pressing needs. The brutal tactics employed by the police have added to the indignation. Rubber bullets and tear gas have been used, often indiscriminately and at close range.

June 21, 2013

Brazilian protests trigger emergency presidential meeting

Filed under: Americas, Politics, Soccer — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 09:09

In the Guardian, Jordan Watts reports on the continuing disturbances in Brazil:

Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, and key ministers are to hold an emergency meeting on Friday following a night of protests that saw Rio de Janeiro and dozens of other cities echo with percussion grenades and swirl with teargas as riot police scattered the biggest demonstrations in more than two decades.

The protests were sparked last week by opposition to rising bus fares, but they have spread rapidly to encompass a range of grievances, as was evident from the placards. “Stop corruption. Change Brazil”; “Halt evictions”; “Come to the street. It’s the only place we don’t pay taxes”; “Government failure to understand education will lead to revolution”.

Rousseff’s office said she had cancelled a trip to Japan next week.

A former student radical herself, Rousseff has tried to mollify the protesters by praising their peaceful and democratic spirit. Partly at her prompting, Rio, São Paulo and other cities have reversed the increase in public transport fares, but this has failed to quell the unrest.

A vast crowd — estimated by the authorities at 300,000 and more than a million by participants — filled Rio’s streets, one of a wave of huge nationwide marches against corruption, police brutality, poor public services and excessive spending on the World Cup.

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