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Bolsonaro’s security in press altercation as Brazil leader isolated at G20

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November 1, 2021

By Gabriel Stargardter

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s security detail allegedly used violence against Brazilian reporters covering his trip to Rome for the Group of 20 major economies meeting, local media reported on Sunday.

The alleged attacks against Brazilian reporters, who Bolsonaro has long accused of treating him unfairly and publishing fake news, capped a grim weekend for the far-right president. Videos from G20 events showed him as an isolated figure, who was not part of the photo taken at the Trevi fountain with world leaders. Out on the streets of Rome, he was loudly criticized for his handling of the country’s brutal pandemic, with critics calling him “genocidal.”

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More than 600,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Brazil, the second highest tally in the world after the United States. Bolsonaro has questioned the severity of the virus, shunned lockdowns, sowed vaccine doubts and pushed unproven cures. A Senate panel has recommended he be indicted for nine crimes related to his handling of the pandemic, including crimes against humanity.

Newspaper O Globo reported that broadcast journalist Leonardo Monteiro of TV Globo was punched in the stomach and pushed by Bolsonaro’s security after asking the president why he didn’t attend any G20 events on Sunday. A video taken by UOL journalist Jamil Chade shows chaotic scenes with security staff jostling the press and Bolsonaro supporters chanting abuse at reporters.

It was not clear if the security officers were Brazilian or Italian. O Globo reported that Italians had been given the job of providing security to Bolsonaro.

The president’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the attacks or why he was missing from the leaders’ photo. The G20 press team also did not immediately respond to requests.

“Globo vehemently condemns the aggression against its correspondent Leonardo Monteiro and other colleagues in Rome and demands a complete assessment of responsibilities,” TV Globo said in a statement.

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Videos from the G20 events show Bolsonaro looking isolated.

The former army captain has seen his international support diminish since former U.S. President Donald Trump lost his re-election bid, while Bolsonaro’s skepticism toward COVID-19, vaccines and environmental concerns has won him few friends on the global stage.

In one video taken by Jamil Chade, Bolsonaro is seen striking up a conversation with Italian waiters as global leaders chat among themselves in the other part of the room.

“This video of Bolsonaro walking around alone in the G20 conference hall, while other world leaders are chatting, is painful to watch, but it adequately reflects the collapse of Brazil’s standing in the world,” Oliver Stuenkel, an international relations professor at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, a Brazilian university, tweeted.

(Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; editing by Diane Craft)

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Russian court remands mine director, inspectors in custody after deadly accident

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November 27, 2021

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A court in Siberia on Saturday remanded five people in custody for two months to face charges related to a mining accident that killed more than 50 people this week.

Three managers of the Listvyazhnaya mine, including its director, were ordered to remain in custody until late January for flouting industrial safety standards, a spokesperson for the regional prosecutor’s office said.

The court also ordered two safety inspectors, who had issued a certificate for the mine this month but had not actually checked the facility, to remain in custody until late January.

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The accident, which regional authorities say was likely caused by a methane explosion, claimed the lives of 51 people, including five rescuers who were sent to bring out dozens of men stuck deep underground.

The health ministry said on Saturday that 60 people were being treated in hospital for injuries sustained at the mine, TASS news agency reported.

The accident at the mine, located some 3,500 km (2,200 miles) east of Moscow in the Kemerovo region, was Russia’s worst since 2010 when explosions killed 91 people at the Raspadskaya mine in the same region.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Christina Fincher)

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Russia spy chief says Ukraine invasion plan ‘malicious’ U.S. propaganda

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November 27, 2021

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia has no plans to invade Ukraine and suggestions to the contrary are malicious U.S. propaganda, Moscow’s foreign intelligence chief said on Saturday.

U.S., NATO and Ukrainian officials have raised the alarm in recent weeks over what they say are unusual Russian troop movements near the border with Ukraine, suggesting that Moscow may be poised to launch an attack.

Russia has repeatedly said it is free to move its troops on its own territory and that such movements should not be a cause for concern.

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“I need to reassure everyone. Nothing like this is going to happen,” Sergei Naryshkin, head of Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, said in an interview broadcast on state television, referring to comments on Russia’s alleged invasion plans.

“Everything that is happening around this topic right now is of course malicious propaganda by the U.S. State Department.”

Naryshkin spoke a day after the State Department’s top U.S. diplomat for European affairs said all options were on the table in how to respond to Russia’s troop buildup near Ukraine’s border and that NATO would decide on the next move after consultations next week.

While U.S. officials have voiced concerns about a possible Russian attack on Ukraine, Moscow has accused Washington, Kyiv and NATO of provocative and irresponsible behaviour near its borders.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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Spanish police march in Madrid to protest against ‘Gag Law’ reform

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November 27, 2021

By Miguel Gutierrez and Marco Trujillo

MADRID (Reuters) – Thousands of Spanish police officers marched through Madrid on Saturday to protest against a proposed reform of a security law which they say will hamper their ability to do their work.

Politicians from Spain’s three main conservative parties joined police officers in the protest against proposed changes to the 2015 Citizens Security Law, which critics say violates the right to protest and limits free expression.

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Dubbed the “Gag Law” by those who oppose it, the legislation allows authorities to fine media organisations for distributing unauthorised images of police, strictly limits demonstrations and imposes heavy fines for offenders.

Spain’s leftist government has proposed reforms including no longer classifying the taking of photographs or making of recordings of police at demonstrations as a serious offence.

Under the changes, police will also have to use less harmful materials at protests after a number of people were seriously injured by rubber bullets fired by officers.

The time that suspects who are arrested at protests can be held in custody will be cut from six hours to two and fines will be proportional to how much offenders earn.

“They should either leave the current law as it is or make it better for the police and for the citizens,” Civil Guard officer Vanessa Gonzalez told Reuters.

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Ivan Espinosa de los Monteros, of the far-right Vox party, said: “There is strong opposition against (the reform) of this law. It is against our police and we will not let it happen.”

However, Isa Serra, spokeswoman for the far-left Unidas Podemos party, said at a rally in Cantabria in northern Spain that the law had done a “lot of damage to Spanish democracy”.

Organisers said 150,000 people took part in the Madrid demonstration but the government put the figure at 20,000.

(Reporting by Graham Keeley, Miguel Gutierrez and Marco Trujillo; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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