Morning with Sputnik Brasil: highlights of this Tuesday, September 14th

Good Morning! Sputnik Brasil is following the most relevant articles on Tuesday (14), marked by the reduction in the risk of travel to Brazil by the US, by the meeting between Russian and Syrian presidents, Putin and al-Assad, and by the prime minister’s first visit Israeli Bennett to Egypt.

US reduce alert level for travel to Brazil due to coronavirus

This Monday (14), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, its acronym in English) reduced the degree of risk for Americans planning a trip to Brazil due to the situation of COVID-19. Thus, the entity categorized the danger as “high” rather than “very high” as it was in the old classification. Before, the agency instructed that North American tourists “avoid” traveling to Brazil as much as possible. Now, with the danger level changing, they must “reconsider” their plans to visit the country. Even so, the CDC points out that the current situation in Brazil is still not good, given the considerable numbers of deaths and contagion by the coronavirus. Therefore, the agency warns that travelers must be fully vaccinated, and advises those who are not immunized to avoid travel, if it is not essential. However, Brazil confirmed over 256 deaths and 8,280 cases of COVID-19, totaling 587,138 deaths and 21,005,064 diagnoses of the disease, informed the consortium between state health departments and press vehicles.

© Folhapress / Raul Spinassé

Passenger handling at Brasília International Airport (DF)

TSF convicts former councilor for participating in a crack scheme, making her ineligible

This Monday (14), the Federal Superior Court unanimously condemned the councilor Maria Helena Pereira Fontes, accused of participating in a crack scheme. Minister Alexandre de Moraes, who is the rapporteur of the case, found that this criminal practice constitutes a “clear and overt form of corruption”. Moraes voted in favor of the ineligibility of the former parliamentarian, as well as six other ministers of the electoral court. With the decision, the councilor’s mandate will be dismissed. Still in his vote, Moraes stressed that “a public agent who practices cracks should not only be convicted of administrative and criminal misconduct, but should be ineligible under the clean record law”, quoted by the Folha de São Paulo newspaper. The scheme is characterized by the diversion in part of civil servants’ salaries in favor of a public agent. The trial against Maria Helena Pereira Fontes started in April, but was concluded recently. The president’s son, Flávio Bolsonaro, is also being investigated for the same practice.

© Folhapress / Cleo Velleda

Councilor of PL Maria Helena Pereira Fontes during aldermen’s inauguration ceremony at City Hall, January 1, 1997

Putin meets Assad: ‘Pockets of terrorism remain in Syria’

The Russian and Syrian presidents, Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad, gathered on Monday (13) in Moscow. Negotiations took place in the Kremlin. Al-Assad paid an unannounced visit. Putin congratulated his counterpart on winning the presidential election in May, noting that Syria’s citizens associate a return to normal life with al-Assad. One of the main topics of the meeting was the theme of terrorism: “Unfortunately, there are still pockets of resistance on the part of terrorists, who not only control certain territories, but also continue to terrorize civilians,” Putin said. Even so, he continued that “people are actively restoring their homes, actively working to return to a peaceful life in the full sense of the word.” “Our two armies, Russian and Syrian, have achieved significant results not only in liberating the occupied territories taken by militants and in destroying terrorism, but also contributed to the return of refugees who were forced to leave their homes, leave their homeland,” he admitted. al-Assad, adding that “our armies, I can see, have made an enormous contribution to protecting all mankind from this evil.” Additionally, the Russian president stated that Syria’s main problem is the illegitimate presence of foreign armed forces, which does not allow the country to move towards consolidation. Furthermore, Vladimir Putin noted the development of commercial and economic ties between the two states, noting that in the first half of 2021 trade between Russia and Syria grew by 250%.

© Sputnik / Mikhail Klementiev

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the meeting in Moscow, September 13, 2021

Prime minister of Israel qualifies 1st meeting with president of Egypt as ‘very good’

The Prime Minister of Israel, Naphthali Bennett, on his first visit to Sharm El-Sheikh, in Egypt, said that the talks with the Egyptian president Abdel Fattah Sisi were important and good, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday (13). “I just finished the first meeting with the President of Egypt. The meeting was very important and very good. During the meeting, first and foremost, we created a basis for deep ties in the future. We discussed a number of issues. in the diplomatic, economic and security fields, as well as ways to deepen ties and strengthen the interests of our countries,” said Bennett, quoted in the statement. The Israeli Prime Minister also underscored Egypt’s significant role in “maintaining security stability in the Gaza Strip and finding a solution to the issue of captives and missing persons”, expressing his willingness to further strengthen ties between the countries. The Egyptian president received the Israeli prime minister ten days after holding talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. The last meeting between an Egyptian leader and an Israeli prime minister was in January 2011, when Hosni Mubarak received Benjamin Netanyahu. In May, Egypt participated in mediating a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic group Hamas, when heavy fighting broke out in the disputed territory.

© REUTERS / Presidency of Egypt

President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and Prime Minister of Israel, Naftali Bennett, in the city of Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, September 13, 2021

Guterres advocates ‘lifeline’ for Afghanistan and Taliban involvement

The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, urged on Monday (13) the international community to engage with the Taliban (a banned terrorist organization in Russia and several other countries) and provide a “lifeline” of help desperately needed by Afghans. Guterres went to Geneva to chair a donors’ conference aimed at raising money for Afghanistan, taken over by the Taliban last month. According to UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths, donor countries have pledged a total of US$1.2 billion (R$6.26 billion) in aid. Guterres said he believed the aid could be used as leverage to bring about improvements in human rights. “It is very important to engage with the Taliban at the present time.” Furthermore, he urged nations “to look for ways to allow an injection of capital into the Afghan economy” in order to avoid a definitive collapse that would have “devastating consequences” for Afghanistan and the wider region. “I don’t think that if a country’s authorities do misbehave, the solution is to collectively punish its people,” he said.

© REUTERS / Denis Balibouse

UN Secretary General António Guterres during a conference on the situation in Afghanistan in Geneva, Switzerland, 13 September 2021

Diplomats from Japan, US and South Korea Agree Cooperation on North Korea

Senior diplomats from Japan, the United States and South Korea agreed, during a trilateral meeting in Tokyo, to continue the interaction over North Korean denuclearization by combining a dialogue with Pyongyang with pressure for sanctions, it reported on Tuesday (14) Kyodo news agency, citing sources. The meeting was attended by the US special envoy to North Korea, Sung Kim, the head of the Department of Asian and Oceanic Affairs of the Japanese MRE, Takehiro Funakoshi, and the special envoy for peace and security on the Korean peninsula of the South Korean MRE, Noh Kyu-duk. One of the main topics of discussion was the possible response to the announcement by the North Korean side about the success of testing a new missile. On Monday (13), it was reported about successful tests of a long-range cruise missile in North Korea. In particular, the military carried out propulsion tests of missile engines on the ground, flight tests, control and orientation tests, among others. Cruise missiles are capable of hitting targets at a distance of 1,500 kilometers, according to data from experts.