A Phoenix Reborn in Brazil, Colltalers
Brazil chose Lula as their new president after a tight second-round win. Russia’s Putin withdrew support for a grain deal brokered by the U.N. adding to the global food crisis triggered by its invasion of Ukraine. The Uyghur is suing the U.K. for importing forced-labor-produced goods from China.
A disturbing hammer attack that almost killed Paul Pelosi was aimed at his wife, Nancy, Speaker of the House and third in the line of succession to the White House. Elon Musk, unassumed leader of “Billionaires Without a Clue” and Twitter’s new boss, didn’t miss a chance to make a clueless remark.
We begin in South Korea where a horrific stampede crushed over 150 people to death in Seoul, during a Halloween celebration. Authorities are still investigating the causes of the tragedy which point to overcrowding by revelers and a lack of appropriate crowd-control measures by law enforcement.
In Somalia, two car bombs detonated near the Education Ministry, in Mogadishu, killing over 100 people and injuring scores. The Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamist group al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack allegedly as a protest against the ministry’s teaching of Christian values to children.
And in India, a bridge collapse in Morbi plunged more than 130 pedestrians to their demise, wrapping our far-from-comprehensive inventory of mass casualties of the week. The colonial-era suspension bridge over the River Macchu has just been reopened and as many as 400 were on it at the time.
In Australia, some 16 players of the national soccer team have issued a statement just weeks before the Qatar World Cup starts, calling for an end to the host nation’s criminalization of same-sex relationships. They also demanded “effective remedy” to the rights denied to thousands of migrant workers. The LGBTQ is banned by the authoritarian kingdom and a still unknown number of workers have died building the infrastructure for the tournament.
In Antarctica, expeditions to the Thwaites Ice Shelf have found that it could split apart in less than a decade, hastening the rise of sea levels worldwide, according to Erin Petit, a glaciologist at Oregon State University in Corvallis. If Thwaites were to melt, it could raise sea levels by over two feet; but if that would lead to a domino effect and affect also the larger West Antarctic Ice Sheet, then we could expect an increase of 10 feet in global sea levels.
And up in orbit, the International Space Station again had to move out of the way of some fragment of space junk. The massive amount of debris left aloft around Earth is getting to become a serious problem as even a one-inch piece of debris can disable the ISS. But there’s no agreement about what nations can dispose of in space and the junk is growing fast; there are more than 100 million pieces larger than a millimeter and 500,000 up to 10 cm.
“Democracy is back in Brazil,” President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva told thousands at São Paulo’s Paulista Ave, after narrowly beating Bolsonaro. From poverty to union leadership, from the launch of the Workers’ Party to now three times president, Lula has arguably a much bigger challenge this time around as millions struggle with high unemployment, homelessness, and hunger. In typical Trump fashion, the ex-army captain is yet to concede.
Forces that staged a coup in 2016 and deposed democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff — Lula’s hand-picked successor and the first woman to govern Brazil — had a solid trump card with Bolsonaro. Still, he was elected only after the front-runner, Lula, had been sent to jail. That’s when the redemptive aspects of Lula’s trajectory emerge as he fought on appeal and was ultimately cleared of all charges. His next steps led to this third term.
“Russia’s decision to suspend participation in the Black Sea deal puts at risk the main export route of much-needed grain and fertilizers to address the global food crisis caused by its war against Ukraine,” the E.U.’s Josep Borrell said. Russia accuses Ukraine and the British navy of using drones to bomb the fleet that it claims was outside Sevastopol providing protection to grain exports. Up to this war, Ukraine was called Europe’s breadbasket.
Speaking of killer drones, beloved actor and Jedi extraordinaire Mark Hamil is helping direct 500 drones to Ukraine to help it protect it from Russia’s invasion. Part of Luke Skywalker‘s rationale is correct both from a strategic and humanitarian standpoint. However, there’s a larger point that may be made: hasn’t the West poured enough weapons into Ukraine to, rather than abbreviate this war, extend it beyond our lifetime and haunt us for years?
The ethnic minority Uyghur, fighting oppression and exploitation by the Chinese regime, has filed a lawsuit against the U.K. for failing to monitor and prevent the importing of goods produced with slavery and bondage work. Non-profit Global Legal Action Network and the World Uyghur Congress are suing the Brits for what amounted to profiting from criminal activity, that is, importing for sale cotton goods made by forced labor in Xinjiang.
“Where is Nancy,” shouted the alleged intruder at the Pelosi’s California home while swinging a hammer that ended up injuring her 82-years-old husband. The unsettling episode follows a string of increased violence by Trump supporters toward U.S. elected officials. Ms. Pelosi was in DC at that time.
That’s when the ultra-rich dandy missed a golden opportunity to keep his mouth shut. On a now-deleted Twitter, on the very social media network he’s spent $44 billion to acquire, Musk alluded to a crass sexual slur conspiracy theory that embarrasses even 12-year-old schoolboys acting like himself.
Finally, Iranian “Amou Haji” has passed at the ripe age of 94 and the world wonders: who’s going to take his place? It’s a unique spot albeit olfactory offensive. Amou, a tender nickname for an elderly person, was actually known as the “world’s dirtiest man.” He’s spent most of his life without bathing and “it’s gonna make me sick” was his excuse. Local villagers convinced him to give it a try a few months ago. Now they wonder, did that do him in?
“Please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point. “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” Kurt Vonnegut knew a thing or two about recognizing the moment and making sure it was properly observed. Tonight is Halloween, a gran ghoul time to do just that. Cheerio WC