Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro should face a series of criminal indictments over his response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a committee of the country’s senators .
The committee voted 7-4 to formally approve a report calling for prosecutors to try Mr Bolsonaro on charges ranging from charlatanism and inciting crime to misuse of public funds and crimes against humanity.
It was the culmination six-month investigation into how the government’s actions related to the world’s second-highest COVID-19 death toll.
Demonstrators hold a banner and crosses during a protest to pay tribute to Brazil’s 600,000 COVID-19 deaths
Mr Bolsonaro could be held partly responsible for Brazil’s more than 600,000 death toll.
The president has denied any wrongdoing and the decision on whether to file most of the charges will lie with Prosecutor-General Augusto Aras, who was appointed by Mr Bolsonaro and is widely considered to be protecting him.
The allegation of crimes against humanity would be pursued by the International Criminal Court.
Even if charges are not filed, the report will likely fuel criticism of Mr Bolsonaro, who has seen his approval ratings fall ahead of his 2022 re-election campaign.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Mr Bolsonaro sabotaged local leaders’ restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of the virus, arguing the economy needed to keep going to ensure the poor did not suffer hardship.
He has also consistently recommended an anti-malaria drug long after testing showed it is not effective against COVID-19, assembled crowds without wearing masks and cast doubt on vaccines.
Minutes after the inquiry concluded, former US President Donald Trump endorsed the Brazilian leader
Mr Bolsonaro has defended himself by saying he was among the few world leaders courageous enough to defy political correctness and global health recommendations.
The report says that by pushing the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as “practically the only government policy to fight the pandemic, Jair Bolsonaro strongly collaborated for COVID-19’s spread in Brazilian territory” and as a result is “the main person responsible for the errors committed by the federal government during the pandemic”.
It also includes an additional violation for allegedly spreading false news after Mr Bolsonaro’s comments during a live broadcast on social media last week in which he incorrectly claimed people in the UK who had both doses of the vaccine were developing AIDS faster than expected.
Minutes after the inquiry concluded, former US president Donald Trump endorsed the Brazilian leader.
“President Jair Bolsonaro and I have become great friends over the past few years. He fights hard for, and loves, the people of Brazil – just like I do for the people of the United States,” Mr Trump said.
“Brazil is lucky to have a man such as Jair Bolsonaro working for them. He is a great president and will never let the people of his great country down!”
Original Source: news.sky.com
WHO Estimates 15m People Have Died Directly or Indirectly From COVID – More Than Double Official Death Toll
The World Health Organisation estimates that 15 million people worldwide have now died of coronavirus – or as a result of its impact on health services.
WHO data shows the number of excess COVID mortalities to be somewhere between 13.3 million and 16.6 million people from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2021. This is more than double the official death toll of around six million.
Excess mortality refers to the number of people who have died of the virus either directly or indirectly by being unable to access health services for other conditions.
The figures were compiled using country-reported data and statistical modelling, the WHO said.
There were 14.9 million excess deaths associated with COVID-19 by the end of 2021, the UN body said on Thursday.
Most excess COVID deaths (86%) happened in Asia, Europe and the Americas, according to the figures.
Middle-income countries accounted for 81% of deaths, with 28% occurring in upper-middle-income countries and 4% in low-income ones.
Some 68% of all excess deaths worldwide happened in just 10 countries.
There was a higher rate for men (57%) than there was for women (43%), with more excess deaths among the elderly than younger generations.
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WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus commented: “These sobering data not only point to the impact of the pandemic but also to the need for all countries to invest in more resilient health systems that can sustain essential health services during crises, including stronger health information systems.
“WHO is committed to working with all countries to strengthen their health information systems to generate better data for better decisions and better outcomes.”
Original Source: news.sky.com
Pope Francis Seen Using Wheelchair for the First Time for Mobility Reasons
The Pope has been pictured using a wheelchair – the first time he’s used one in public due to the knee pain that’s made it hard for him to walk and stand.
Francis, 85, was wheeled on stage and helped into a seat during an audience with a group of nuns and religious superiors from around the world at the Vatican.
He appears to be having a flare-up of sciatica, a nerve condition he suffers with that he’s called his “troublesome guest”.
The Pope has had to cancel or cut short activities several times in the last month because of pain in his right knee.
He was pictured in a wheelchair last July after major intestinal surgery, but this is believed to be the first time he’s used one in public due to his mobility problems.
Before Thursday’s event, he was able to walk the roughly 10 metres or so from the side entrance of the stage to his seat with some help.
He recently received some injections to try to relieve the pain but has continued to struggle.
His impaired movement was apparent over Easter when he attended but did not take charge of masses at St Peter’s Basilica, instead delegating a cardinal or archbishop to preside.
During a trip to Malta in April he was also pictured using an elevator platform to get on and off the plane.
Original Article: news.sky.com
Woman Pulled Alive From Rubble Six Days After Building Collapsed
A woman has been found alive in the rubble of a building that partially collapsed almost six days earlier, Chinese state media has said.
The unidentified woman has become the 10th survivor and was rescued shortly after midnight today, about 132 hours after the rear of the six-storey building suddenly caved in, the official Xinhua News Agency has reported.
The woman was conscious and told rescuers how to pull her out without causing further injury, Xinhua added.
Teams had used dogs and hand tools as well as drones and electronic life detectors in the search.
All the survivors were reportedly in good condition after being treated in a hospital and it is thought intermittent rain showers over the last few days may have helped their chances of survival without food or water.
At least nine people have been arrested in relation to the collapse of what Xinhua has described as a “self-built building”.
This includes its owner, on suspicion of ignoring building codes or committing other violations.
Three people in charge of design and construction were also held, along with five others who allegedly gave a false safety assessment for a guest house on the building’s fourth to sixth floors.
The building also housed residences, a cafe and shops.
An aerial photo shows the site of the collapsed residential building in Changsha, central China’s Hunan Province
There has been increase in the number of collapses of self-built buildings in recent years.
Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for additional checks to uncover structural weaknesses.
Following the building collapse at the weekend, he urged for more victims to be found in the rubble “at all costs”.
Poor adherence to safety standards, including the illegal addition of extra floors and failure to use reinforcing iron bars, is often blamed for similar disasters.
China also suffers from decaying infrastructure such as gas pipes that has led to explosions and collapses.
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