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BRAZIL – Lula wins the presidential election, Bolsonaro does not recognize his defeat

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Lula, elected with less than 51% of the vote, was declared the winner of the second round of the presidential election this night, ahead of the outgoing Jair Bolsonaro. During the campaign, the left-wing president promised a return to economic growth and social policies that had helped lift millions of Brazilians out of poverty during his first two terms between 2003 and 2011.

End of the suspense. In Brazil, the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) said last night that the election was «mathematically played», with Lula having 50.8% of the valid votes against 49.2% for Jair Bolsonaro after the counting of 98.8% of the votes.

Lula’s victory, which begins a third presidential term, marks the rejection of extreme right populism embodied by Jair Bolsonaro. However, it was much more difficult than expected. Supported by a broad right-wing coalition, the outgoing president’s popularity had suffered from his handling of the Covid epidemic, with Brazil posting one of the highest death toll in the world.

Fighting deforestation in the Amazon
Lula promised during the campaign a return to economic growth and social policies that had helped lift millions of Brazilians out of poverty during her first two mandates between 2003 and 2011. He also pledged to fight deforestation in the Amazon, currently at its highest level in 15 years, and to make Brazil one of the leaders in the fight against climate change. Lula’s third term in office on Sunday will begin in a context marked by an economic crisis, heavy budgetary constraints and a strengthening of the parliamentary opposition, the allies of the beaten forming the main bloc of Congress after the elections of the beginning of the month

A former trade union leader who opposed the military dictatorship in the 1970s, Lula had benefited during his first two mandates from strong economic growth driven by raw materials, of which Brazil is one of the world’s main producers, He left the presidency with record popularity. But the Workers’ Party then saw its image marred by a deep recession and a large-scale corruption scandal that took Lula to prison for 19 months. However, his convictions were finally quashed by the Supreme Court last year. His victory reinforces the political «pink wave» in Latin America, after the recent victories of the left in Colombia and Chile.

Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly expressed suspicions of electoral fraud, and he still has not accepted the election results. The electoral authorities have prepared for a possible challenge, Reuters learned from several sources, including by taking steps to ensure security in the event that its supporters take to the streets. Jair Bolsonaro was to remain in office until 1 January. His defeat was nevertheless recorded by many leaders.

Congratulations from Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden
Emmanuel Macron congratulated Lula on Twitter whose election «opens a new page in the history of Brazil». Biden congratulated Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on his election as President of Brazil following free, fair and credible elections. He says he is “looking forward to working” with him “to continue cooperation between our two countries”.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also praised the victory of the figure of the American left: The Brazilians have decided. I look forward to working with Lula to strengthen the partnership between our countries, deliver results for Canadians and Brazilians, and advance our shared priorities, such as protecting the environment.”

Towards a return of Brazil’s economic alliances
A victory also welcomed by Europe. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she was eager to work with him, especially on the “urgent challenges” of climate and free trade. She also mentioned food security as one of the priorities she wants to work on with the future leader.

The draft free trade agreement and the EU the South American countries of Mercosur (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay), finalized in 2019 but never ratified since then due in particular to concerns about Brazilian environmental policy, Could pick up some colors with Lula’s return to power. Swedish Trade Minister Johan Forssell said Monday in Prague at a 27-day ministerial meeting that the outcome of the Brazilian election opened up “new opportunities” in this regard. “

China has also been enthusiastic about Lula’s accession to the Brazilian presidency. The country congratulated him, saying it wanted to raise the partnership between the two countries to a “higher level”. “We are ready to work with the new Brazilian government led by Mr. Lula to take the China-Brazil strategic partnership to the next level and to better serve the interests of both countries and both peoples,” a spokesperson told the press.Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zhao Lijian.
Source: La Tribune / (With agencies)

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AMERICA

NIGER – United States repositions its troops

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The United States began “as a precaution” to reposition its troops in Niger, the scene of a coup in late July, the Pentagon announced on Thursday, September 07, 2023.

The Department of Defense is “repositioning some of its personnel and assets from Air Base 101 in Niamey (the capital, ed.) to Air Base 201 in Agadez”, further north, a spokesman, Sabrina Singh, told the press.

“There is no immediate threat to our staff or violence on the ground,” she added, calling the decision a “precautionary measure”. Singh also said that “some non-essential staff and subcontractors” had left the country several weeks ago.

Soldiers toppled the President of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, on 26 July and placed him and his family under house arrest at the presidential palace. The United States has some 1,100 soldiers stationed in Niger, operating against active jihadist groups.

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AMERICA

NEW YORK – A dozen Senegalese arrested for selling counterfeit items

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On the evening of Wednesday, September 06, 2023, a muscular intervention by the New York police led to the arrest of a dozen Senegalese nationals, mainly street vendors. Reportedly, the police operation was triggered by the sale of counterfeit items, an illegal activity in the United States.

The US authorities also seized the subject goods, while legal proceedings were instituted against those involved. According to sources, the sale of counterfeit items is strictly prohibited in the United States, and the U.S. authorities take the suppression of this activity seriously.

However, this incident has elicited varying reactions from the Senegalese community in New York, with some expressing concern about the fate of those arrested, while others stress the need to respect local laws.

At this point, the New York police have not yet officially communicated on this case, and the exact circumstances of the police intervention remain to be clarified.

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AMERICA

CANARY ISLANDS – 83 people aboard rescue canoe and 2 lifeless bodies discovered

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3 people aboard a canoe were rescued by the ship Guardamar Calìope. Two (2) lifeless bodies, one male and one female, were discovered upon arrival in the Canary Islands.

With a cut and a design more or less identical to those of a Senegalese boat, the boat was spotted in the south of Maspalomas. According to the rescue team, they arrived in Arguineguin at 5:05am in the Canary Islands on 25 July 2023.

As a reminder, at least 14 lifeless bodies were found after a pirogue capsized overnight from Sunday to Monday, July 24, 2023 off the coast of Dakar, Senegal, said Samba Kandji, deputy mayor of the Ouakam district and a source of the gendarmerie.

‘They are migrants a priori,’ said Mr Kandji. Gendarmes and firefighters are on the beach of Ouakam, a district of the Senegalese capital, and continue Monday morning rescue operations in search of other bodies.

“The navy forced the boat to dock and people fled. I was told 14 (dead) but then two bodies came out. It can be assumed that there were 16” deaths, Kandji said a few minutes later.

A wooden boat, on which migrants were found, according to several witnesses on the beach, floats on the water near the bank.

A firefighter assured anonymously that search operations had begun at 01:00 hours.

The migratory route of the Canary Islands, a gateway to Europe in the Atlantic Ocean, has seen a marked increase in activity in recent weeks from the coasts of northwestern Africa.

Several tragedies have been recorded in the last two weeks. At least 13 migrants from around Dakar died in the sinking of their boat about a week ago off the coast of Morocco. Another boat capsized in Saint-Louis, in northern Senegal, killing at least 14 people.

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