Trump of the Tropics: former soldier, Jair Bolsonaro, was elected as Brazil’s new president on October 28 after a month of escalating tension and violence which culminated in his clear victory over the left wing candidate Fernando Haddad.
This result signifies a shift to the right in Brazilian politics and an end to the Workers’ Party 16 years in power. Bolsonaro said in a video broadcast to his people that they will stop “flirting with communism.” He struck a chord with his voters through his promise to change the country’s destiny and steer the ship of Latin America’s largest economy away from its old foes of corruption and crime. He has even appointed a general as his vice president and announced
plans to merge the agricultural and environmental industries, prompting fears that he will open the Amazon up to more business. The ex-army captain’s populist rhetoric has captured the hearts and minds of a frustrated population; half the Congress has been implicated in Operation Carwash, the world’s biggest corruption scandal, while its major cities are amongst the most dangerous in the world – 60,000 people were murdered last year. Such is their desperation for a change to the status quo the public ignore his repertoire of controversial statements, ranging from the racist to the homophobic to the misogynistic.
Salisbury with a Saudi flavour: On 2 October, Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul never to emerge again, leaving his fiancé outside, bereft. Turkey’s official line is that he was strangled to death upon entering the building, his body potentially dissolved in acid before disposed of following orders from above.
They have been releasing evidence little by little – first they produced photographs of a 15 man hit squad who arrived in the hours prior to the killing by private jet from Riyadh. Among them was a man with a bone saw who apparently put on headphones while cutting up the body, telling the others, “I always listen to music.” They also claimed to have audio recordings in which you can hear his fingers and head being cut off, though these are still yet to be released.
A one time insider of the House of Saud turned critic, Khashoggi had gone into exile last year and started writing for the Washington Post. First, the Saudis issued a bizarre explanation admitting he had been killed in a “fistfight” gone wrong but now acknowledge it was premeditated.
Noble Act: This year’s Nobel peace prize went to two heroes of the struggle against sexual violence, Gynaecologist Denis Mukwege and Yazidi campaigner Nadia Murad. The former has spent his life helping sexual assault victims in his homeland of Congo whilst Nadia has spent recent years sharing her story to the world. In 2014 she was abducted in Iraq by ISIS and kept as a sex slave and since her release has shown immense bravery in telling her tale; she wants the whole world to know the plight of the Yazidi women. Following on from the #MeToo campaign this is a further step forward in the fight for justice for victims of sexual abuse whether it be in war, in the workplace, or in general society.
Iberian Nightmare: Torrential floods engulfed the Spanish island of Majorca, the paradise island we usually associate with beaches and blue seas, killing 12 people including the Greens, an elderly Scottish couple. Locals likened the flood to something from the Bible such was the sudden nature of the torrent. Over a thousand people got involved in the relief effort, ranging from soldiers to local tennis star Rafael Nadal.
Hurricane-force winds hit central and northern Portugal, leaving some cities “in a state of war” according to residents. Wind speeds reached as high as 176km/h causing all manner of devastation. Homes lost power, flights were cancelled, people suffered injuries, trees were uprooted and roads were blocked in what was only the fifth time an Atlantic hurricane has reached the Iberian Peninsula. The women’s roller hockey final was even halted as the roof came off!
Image: Senado Federal via Wikipedia