Graves dug in Rio beach to protest handling of COVID-19 pandemic
By Sergio Queiroz RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilians critical of their government's ambiguous response to a surging coronavirus pandemic dug 100 graves and stuck black crosses in the sand of Rio's Copacabana beach on Thursday in a tribute to the nearly 40,000 people who have died so far. The graves were dug overnight on the beach opposite the ritzy Copacabana Hotel in a protest mounted by non-governmental organization Rio de Paz
COVID-19 pandemic" src="https://images.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/reuters/06-2020/12/2020-06-11T173116Z_1_LYNXMPEG5A1PC_RTROPTP_2_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-BRAZIL-TRIBUTE.jpg" alt="Graves dug in Rio beach to protest handling of COVID19 pandemic" width="300" height="225" />
By Sergio Queiroz
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilians critical of their government's ambiguous response to a surging coronavirus pandemic dug 100 graves and stuck black crosses in the sand of Rio's Copacabana beach on Thursday in a tribute to the nearly 40,000 people who have died so far.
The graves were dug overnight on the beach opposite the ritzy Copacabana Hotel in a protest mounted by non-governmental organization Rio de Paz.
Brazil has become a major epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with 39,680 deaths and over 770,000 confirmed cases as of Wednesday, the world's worst outbreak after the United States.
Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the gravity of the pandemic and pushed local governments to lift quarantine measures, sending contradictory signals to Brazilians on whether to use masks and practise social distancing.
"The president has not realized that this is one of the most dramatic crises in Brazil's history," said organizer Antonio Carlos Costa, who criticized Bolsonaro for not showing solidarity with the suffering.
"Families are mourning thousands of dead, and there is unemployment and hunger," he said.
Not everyone agreed with the protest.
An angry man pulled out crosses, shouting against the symbolic tribute. Another man, who said his 25-year-old son died of COVID-19 , went around replacing the fallen crosses.
"It's such a tragedy," said passer-by Marcia Lucia Dias. "It's frightening to see the crosses. But this is really happening. Our authorities contradict themselves and we don't know what to do."
(Reporting by Sergio Queiroz and Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)
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.