Bolsonaro asks Brazil military about troops to quell possible unrest
By Lisandra Paraguassu BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Wednesday that he had asked the armed forces if they had troops available to control possible social unrest from the COVID-19 crisis, adding to fears that he is pushing the military into a political role. Critics fret that Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain, aims to marshal the army and police as a political force ahead of a fraught 2022 election. He threw his support behind former U.S.
By Lisandra Paraguassu
BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Wednesday that he had asked the armed forces if they had troops available to control possible social unrest from the COVID-19 crisis, adding to fears that he is pushing the military into a political role.
Critics fret that Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain, aims to marshal the army and police as a political force ahead of a fraught 2022 election. He threw his support behind former U.S. President Donald Trump's refusal to accept the 2020 election results, and some worry he is preparing to do the same next year.
"I fear for very serious social problems in Brazil," he said on a trip to southern Brazil. "I talk with our armed forces. If this breaks out in Brazil, what are we going to do? Do we have troops to contain the amount of problems that we may face?"
Last week, Bolsonaro fired his defense minister and changed the leadership of the armed forces. He also named a new justice minister, who on Tuesday swapped out the federal police chiefs.
Brazil is now the global epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, piling pressure on Bolsonaro and pushing hospitals to the breaking point.
Bolsonaro has long sought to minimize the coronavirus, has shunned masks and was slow to purchase vaccines. Recently, he has suggested Brazilians could revolt against stay-at-home measures imposed by governors and mayors.
Brazil's surge in COVID-19 deaths will soon surpass the record January wave in the United States to produce the highest daily tolls in any country since the pandemic began, with fatalities climbing for the first time above 4,000 on Tuesday.
To make matters worse, Brazil has recorded its first confirmed case of the highly contagious coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa, a fresh danger sign for a country already ravaged by a widespread local variant.
(Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Peter Graff)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.