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Will Japan and India become permanent members of the UN Security Council?

By Petr Konovalov – New Eastern Outlook – 14.01.2023

On December 12, 2022 in London, during a meeting of the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, its head, James Cleverly, said that he was in favor of expanding the number of permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) by including Japan, India, Brazil and Germany.

The British diplomat believes that the current world order allows a much larger number of people to live much better than before, but today it needs some changes. According to Cleverly, the UK is interested in reflecting the needs of as many countries as possible in the UN. He also noted that the inclusion of Japan, Brazil, India and Germany would allow London to expand interaction with these countries and thus accelerate the growth of global prosperity.

The British Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs said that the established system of international relations, which was approved as a result of the victory of the Allies after the Second World War, is allegedly outdated due to the fact that since 1950 the volume of world trade has increased by about 40 times, which has led to a radical change in the balance of power in the world. Furthermore, he emphasized that demographic changes had also made their own adjustments to the modern world order.

The rhetoric of the British leadership is quite logical. The UK no longer represents the military and economic power that it used to be during the second half of the previous century. London is aware that it needs allies to support it internationally. The countries listed by James Cleverly, which, in his opinion, should become permanent members of the UN Security Council, maintain close relations with the US and the UK and are highly likely to pursue a common policy with London and Washington on many issues.

In accordance with the norms of international law, the UN Charter can be revised only with the unanimous consent of all the permanent members of the UN Security Council. France, which is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and is loyal to the policy pursued by Washington and London, will support the proposal of the UK, however, Russia and China, who are also permanent members of the UN Security Council, may not approve its expansion, as this may upset their geopolitical plans.

Russia welcomes the inclusion of India and Brazil in the list of permanent members of the UN Security Council. The Russian Federation has fairly warm relations with these states, and it is unlikely that Moscow will have any international disputes with them in the foreseeable future. Back in 2010, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was serving as Prime Minister of the Russian Federation that year, during a meeting with Indian diplomats, said that India should be included in the list of permanent members of the UN Security Council. Subsequently, the Russian president has always adhered to this rhetoric. As for Russian-Brazilian relations, they have always been at a high level, and Lula da Silva, elected for the third time as President of Brazil in October 2022, is known for his pro-Russian views. During the previous presidency of Lula da Silva, the international organization BRICS was created (in 2006), which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Consequently, the Russian Federation is likely to approve the inclusion of Brazil in the list of permanent members of the UN Security Council.

However, the Kremlin has a negative stance when it comes to the inclusion of Germany and Japan in the list of permanent members of the UN Security Council, since these states are pursuing an unfriendly policy towards Russia, and Tokyo completely casts doubt on the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation, claiming control over the Kuril Islands.

It should be noted that the inclusion of Germany, Brazil, Japan and India in the list of permanent members of the UN Security Council is not beneficial for China either, since these states maintain good relations with the United States and will adhere to a pro-American position in numerous international disputes.

Germany and Brazil are in close economic relations with London and Washington and therefore, with a high degree of probability, they will act in the interests of the US and the UK if they become permanent members of the UN Security Council. Of course, China will prevent such a development of events.

In China, the memory of Japan’s war crimes against the Chinese population during the Second World War is still fresh. Beijing also disapproves of Tokyo’s pro-American policy and is wary of the impressive number of US military installations in Japan.

Relations between Beijing and New Delhi are also at a fairly low level. India and China are competing for influence in places like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The Chinese authorities do not want the strengthening of Indian international influence and will do everything in their power to prevent India from being included in the list of permanent members of the UN Security Council.

It is important to emphasize that skirmishes have periodically occurred between Indian and Chinese border guards over the past 45 years. As recently as December 9, 2022, another conflict broke out between the military of China and India along the Indian line of actual control in the Tawang district in the west of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh in an area of the disputed territory. As a result of the collision, the military personnel of the two countries were slightly injured.

Despite the rationality of the idea of expanding the list of permanent members of the UN Security Council, Russia and China are unlikely to take such a step. Russia will not vote for granting this privilege to Germany and Japan, which today openly support the Ukrainian army participating in hostilities against the Russian Armed Forces. In turn, China is not interested in increasing the clout in the international arena of Tokyo and New Delhi, which are on cool terms with Beijing. Also, China will not give an opportunity to Germany and Brazil to become permanent members of the UN Security Council since both countries sympathize with the policies of the states of the Western bloc. As noted above, without the unanimous consent of all the permanent members of the UN Security Council, changes in the norms of international law are impossible.

The West is pursuing its own interests and engaging in geopolitical confrontation with China through the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD), which includes Australia, the US, Japan and India. Within the framework of this organization, annual military exercises of the participating countries are held.

On May 24, 2022, a QUAD summit was held in Tokyo, the main agenda of which, according to Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, was to discuss how to counter the growth of China’s influence in East and Southeast Asia.

As it stands now, there will be no expansion in the number of countries that are permanent members of the UN Security Council any time soon, since this comes into conflict with the plans of several current permanent members of the UN Security Council. However, the absence of Japan and India in the UN Security Council is offset by their participation in the QUAD, as well as their close cooperation with the United States in the field of defense.

January 14, 2023 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Political chaos shaking Brazil

By Lucas Leiroz | January 10, 2023

The Brazilian political scene is increasingly tense. Anti-Lula protests grow day by day, with thousands of people taking to the streets in several cities to demand the revocation of the 2022 electoral process. Recently, in an act of vandalism and disdain for the most basic civic values, pro-Bolsonaro militants invaded Brasília, damaging public buildings and the facilities of the executive, legislative and judicial branches. As a result, the Lula government began a tough response to those involved, punishing protesters, and intervening in Brasilia’s regional politics.

The Federal District of Brasilia was the target of scenes of depredation on January 8th. Thousands of Bolsonaro supporters – commonly referred to as “Bolsonarists” – attacked the Parliament, the Supreme Court and the Planalto Palace – the headquarters of the Three Branches of the Republic. Historical pieces of art that were kept on site were also destroyed, creating a true scene of barbarism.

The majority of the militants wore shirts from the Brazilian soccer team and held flags of Brazil, the US and Israel – which has already become commonplace in Bolsonarist demonstrations. As in other protests across the country, Bolsonarists in Brasília demanded the end of the Lula government and called for new elections. Some more radical militants called for military intervention – which is also a common agenda among Brazilian rightists. The invasion lasted a few hours, but the authorities regained control of the situation before the end of the day.

In fact, if the Bolsonarists’ intention was to weaken the Lula government, the plan failed. The president of Brazil, with broad support from the national media and international authorities, took control of the situation with tough measures to guarantee law and order. Not only were the protesters repelled, but hundreds of them were identified and arrested.

Lula signed a decree imposing federal intervention in Brasília’s public security, taking exceptional measures to guarantee order and end the vandalism. Measures to break telephone secrecy and in-depth intelligence investigations are also being operated in order to point out all the culprits for the invasion, including its possible sponsors.

Indeed, mass protests in Brasilia are not common. The Brazilian capital has an urban structure that does not allow for large popular mobilizations to pressure the authorities who work there. The isolation of politicians and government’s facilities was precisely the central objective of the architectural project of Brasilia in the 1960s.

Before, when the capital was in Rio de Janeiro, federal facilities were easily accessible to the population, allowing mass protests and social chaos. Brasilia is built differently, with access routes that are very restricted and easily blocked by the authorities, so that large mobilizations there can only occur in case of negligence or connivance on the part of the police.

This led the Brazilian government to identify the heads of public administration in Brasília as Bolsonarists colluding with the demonstrations, dismissing them from their offices and reformulating the administrative structure of the city with some new allies of the government. The Brazilian media adopted this speech as official and referred to the former police chiefs of Brasilia as Bolsonarists, strengthening the coalition in support of Lula’s measures.

On the other hand, leaders of right-wing parties in Brazil claim that there was some kind of “false flag operation”, where the authorities would have deliberately permitted the vandalism of the angry mass precisely to boost a radicalization of the Lula government. The war of narratives does not seem to end anytime soon.

What is really important, however, is not the political position of the former police chiefs of Brasilia, but what comes next. The Brazilian government and the media formally classified the protesters as “terrorists”, which raises a series of questions. While there has undoubtedly been vandalism and a number of deplorable acts, classifying these acts as “terrorism” is questionable and justifies all sorts of exceptional measures. To combat terrorism, extraordinary actions are valid, thus justifying the breach of the legal-constitutional norms to restore order.

Some critics of Lula fear that the new government will commit abuses and make the January 8 decree a kind of Brazilian “Patriot Act”. This criticism is valid, and the actions must be monitored so that they do not become abuses, but the most important thing, instead of criticizing Lula’s measures, is to find the necessary mechanisms to pacify the country.

Brazil is absolutely divided, polarized and tense. On the one hand, radical Bolsonarists who do not accept the former president’s defeat; on the other, similarly radical pro-Lula militants – who are now even calling for popular mobilization to “stop” the rightist protesters. As a result, Brazil remains inflamed by political partisanship, with no real concern for a project for the Brazilian State that overcomes ideological and partisan antagonisms.

Lula is trying to find those responsible for the protests in the capital. He accuses Bolsonaro of being the instigator of the actions and has even received support from key members of the American Democratic Party, who are now asking Washington to “extradite” the former Brazilian president who is in the US since December. However, there is still no legal action that legitimizes such “extradition” and continuing to try to find “culprits” is perhaps just a way to further deepen polarization.

Lula’s great challenge will not be to punish the members of the former government, nor even to put an end to radical rightism in the country. His great task is to overcome social hostility and find a way to pacify Brazil. Perhaps, calling thousands of Brazilian citizens “terrorists” is not the best way to do this. Undoubtedly, vandalism must be punished, but the ultimate goal must be national reconciliation.

Lucas Leiroz is a researcher in Social Sciences at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant.

You can follow Lucas on Twitter and Telegram.

January 10, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties | | 5 Comments

Research: Countries That Sought ‘Zero-COVID’ Lockdowns Have The Least Immunity

Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
By Steve Watson | Summit News | November 4, 2022

New research has revealed the countries that implemented the harshest lockdowns as part of ‘zero-COVID’ policies now have the least immunity from the virus itself.

The analysis by The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine estimates that China, which still has multiple lockdowns in place, has the lowest level of immunity to COVID-19 on the planet.

Other nations that didn’t institute harsh lockdowns, including Russia, Singapore and Brazil are thought to have the highest immunity levels, according to the research.

The research estimates immunity rates according to infection numbers, vaccination rates and how much time has passed in the interim.

The analysis posits that as of the end of October 2022, just 17.2% of the Chinese population have immunity from the virus, while Russia on the other hand is estimated to have an immunity rating of 74.5% with everyone in the country having contracted the virus.

While Singapore’s immunity rating is thought to be around 70%, and Brazil’s 68%, Japan, another country that put into place harsh restrictions is believed to have just 38.9% immunity.

The U.S. is believed to have 60.5% immunity at this time, according to the analysis.

Ironically, given the IHME’s COVID model being used to laud strict restrictions, the analysis again highlights the futility of lockdowns in preventing the spread of the virus in the longterm.

Johns Hopkins University previously concluded that lockdowns have had a much more detrimental impact on society than they have produced any benefit, with researchers urging that they “are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument.”

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released last month highlighted how a record number of children in the U.S. are now being hospitalised with common colds due to weakened immune systems.

The CDC data is consistent with research by scientists at Yale who warned that it is not normal to see children with combinations of seven common viruses, including adenovirus, rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human metapneumovirus, influenza and parainfluenza, as well as COVID-19.

As we previously highlighted, there has also been a global outbreak of hepatitis cases in children, with the media asserting the cause is “unknown.”

Biden administration officials have continuously pushed for children to keep wearing masks in schools, and there are still hordes of hypochondriacs forcing their children to do so, despite COVID posing virtually no risk to the health of children in normal circumstances.

The European Medicines Agency’s (EMA), Europe’s equivalent of the FDA, has also warned that relying on endless rounds of booster shots to fight COVID-19 could end up causing “immune response” problems.

November 6, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 3 Comments

Russia Backs India’s Bid to Become Permanent Member of United Nations Security Council

Samizdat – 25.09.2022

Russia has come out in support of India’s bid to become one of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) – the all-powerful global body which is responsible for taking key decisions about maintaining peace and security in the world.

At present, it comprises the United States, France, Russia, China, and Great Britain.

During his speech at the UNGA, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov called for wider representation of Asian, African, and Latin American countries in the Security Council, making particular mention of New Delhi and Brazil.

“We see an opportunity to make the Security Council more democratic by having representation from African, Asian and Latin American countries. India and Brazil, in particular, are major international players and should be included as permanent members of the council,” Lavrov said in his address to the 77th United Nations General Assembly.

Earlier, in a joint statement, India and 31 other nations urged the UN to expand both the permanent and non-permanent membership of the UNSC.
Besides, New Delhi said that reforms in the UN were necessary to make it more effective and representative.

At another meeting in which foreign ministers from India, Japan, Germany, and Brazil took part, reforms of the Security Council were discussed at length.

The four nations together are known as the G4 and after the meeting they released a joint statement, saying that “today’s conflicts around the globe and the interconnected global challenges have brought to the fore the urgency to carry out reforms in the Security Council as well as expand the membership of other decision-making groups so that they are more representative of the interests of the developing nations.”

At present, India is a non-permanent member of the UNSC.

New Delhi’s two-year term on the Council ends on 31 December this year.

September 25, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 2 Comments

Sanctions on Russia ‘irresponsible’, adviser to Brazil’s Lula says

Samizdat | August 6, 2022

Celso Amorim, Brazil’s former foreign minister and current foreign policy adviser to presidential frontrunner Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has condemned the West’s sanctions on Russia and said that should Lula take office, Brazil would chart a different course.

In an interview with Bloomberg published on Friday, Amorim claimed that the West’s response to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine – sanctions on Russia and billions of dollars worth of weapons for Ukraine – have made nuclear war a real possibility.

“For the first time since the Cuban missile crisis we see articles about the risk of nuclear weapons published on a weekly basis,” he said, arguing that “it’s irresponsible not to seek peace.”

Amorim’s argument mirrors that of Lula himself. Back in May the former Brazilian leader told Time magazine that he sees Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky as equally responsible for the conflict in Ukraine, and condemned Washington for encouraging him to oppose Russia.

“The United States has a lot of political clout. And Biden could have avoided [the conflict], not incited it,” Lula argued at the time.

From the perspective of the US, Amorim questioned the logic of driving Russia into a deeper partnership with China, another economic and military rival of America.

“I have nothing against China,” he stated, adding that both are part of the BRICS group, but said that he “can’t understand the interest of the US in strengthening the China-Russia relationship.”

This relationship aside, Amorim told Bloomberg that an economy as large as Russia’s is “too big and strategic” to isolate, and that Lula’s administration would not pursue such policies if the two-term leftist president is elected in October. Speaking to Time in May, Lula said that “many different countries” are having to “foot the bill” for Washington’s hardline anti-Russia policies, and that if he is elected, “Brazil will again become a protagonist on the international stage and we will prove that it’s possible to have a better world.”

Lula is currently polling 11 points ahead of incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro, according to an aggregate compiled by the US-based Americas Society. Should he triumph in October, Amorim will likely be influential in setting his administration’s foreign policy, having served as Brazil’s foreign minister during Lula’s two terms in office from 2003 until 2010.

Bolsonaro has not followed the US’ lead on Ukraine either. Despite Brazil voting in the UN General Assembly to condemn Russia over the conflict, the president has refused to sanction Moscow and announced his intention to keep purchasing fertilizer from Russia and sign a new deal to import Russian diesel.

Like Lula, Bolsonaro also partly blamed Kiev for the conflict. Ukrainians, he said in February, had “trusted a comedian with the fate of a nation,” referring to Zelensky.

August 6, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 1 Comment

‘US-led effort to isolate Russia failed’

Samizdat – August 5, 2022

The US-led drive to isolate Russia through sanctions has not succeeded, as half the countries in the Group of Twenty leading global economies refused to sign on, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

According to the publication, senior officials from leading Western nations are surprised by the lack of support within the wider G20, despite their efforts to make the case for restrictions against Russia.

Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Turkey have not joined the sanctions that were adopted by the US, UK, EU, and their allies Australia, Canada, Japan, and South Korea. Some nations, like China and South Africa, have openly criticized the restrictions. The G20 nations account for around 85% of global economic output.

According to Bloomberg, the reasons for the lack of support include strong trade ties, historical affinities to Moscow, and a distrust of former colonial powers.

August 5, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Brazilian mercenaries die in Ukraine

By Lucas Leiroz | July 6, 2022

Two Brazilians were killed in Ukraine in the first week of July after a Russian drone operation in Kharkiv. In all, three Brazilian mercenaries have died in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian special military operation on February 24th. In the South American country, the mainstrem media has a strong pro-Western ideological orientation, which is why it encourages “volunteers” to go to Eastern Europe. In their speech, the media outlets claim that it is “easy” to fight against Russians because Kiev is supposedly “winning” the conflict. However, upon arriving in Ukraine, the foreign mercenaries are faced with a different and much harsher reality.

Between the night of July 1 and the morning of July 2 Brazilian mercenaries Douglas Rodrigues Búrigo and Thalita do Valle died after a Russian attack in Khakiv. Douglas was a former soldier of the Brazilian Army and had been fighting in Ukraine since May. Thalita was a model, lawyer, and professional sniper, who had previously worked as a military volunteer and propaganda agent for the Kurdish women’s battalions in the Middle East. Apparently, she died of asphyxiation while trying to flee her accommodation in the face of a drone attack, while Douglas was reportedly hit by shrapnel from mortar shells on the outside.

In June, another Brazilian had already died in Ukraine. André Hack Bahi was fatally shot during Russian bombing raids in Severodonetsk. Bahi was a former fighter in the French Legion and had already participated in some missions in Africa, but he was not able to survive the intense reality of the fighting in Ukraine. It is also necessary to mention that not all the dead have been properly identified yet, which leads one to believe that there may be more Brazilians among the dead in Ukraine, since there is ample participation of mercenaries from the South American country in the region.

There is still no official report by the authorities indicating the precise number of Brazilian citizens who are fighting for Kiev’s side in the conflict, but the number is certainly greater than what was expected from a neutral country with good relations with Russia. Even Brazilian parliamentarians fought in favor of Kiev, such as former deputy Artur do Val, who had a quick and scandalous performance in Ukraine, where he committed acts of sexual harassment against Ukrainian women. It is also known that over the last eight years several Brazilians have tried to join the Ukrainian neo-Nazi paramilitary troops to fight in Donbass, having been rejected due to the anti-Latin racism of these groups. Now these same militants are finding their way into the Ukrainian positions due to Kiev’s policy of accepting all foreign volunteers.

But it is absolutely impossible to analyze the situation without criticizing the destabilizing role that the Brazilian local media has played in its coverage of the events in Ukraine. Pro-Western media outlets report the conflict fallaciously, pointing to a non-existent “Ukrainian victory” and “ease” in fighting Moscow’s forces, portraying voluntary combat as a kind of “hunting safari” against Russians. Obviously, when the “volunteers” (almost all of them being paid private soldiers linked to mercenary companies) arrive on the battlefield, they are faced with situations very different from those reported by the journalists who encourage volunteering.

Agencies also have tried to publicize an image of “heroism” when talking about Brazilians fighting in Ukraine, ignoring important issues, such as the fact that they are cooperating with neo-Nazi militants and supporting a government that practices genocidal policies against the Russian population. Since the beginning of the Russian operation, Brazilian media agencies and Brazilian branches of foreign agencies have praised the “heroism” of the mercenaries who would be “helping to fight the invasion”, which also serves as propaganda and incentive for volunteering.

Brazilian media is not acting alone, but following the agenda imposed by the great world media agencies, which have increasingly bet on the narrative of “Ukrainian victory” as a way to raise the morale of the troops and justify the irresponsible military aid that the Western countries are sending to Kiev.

Private security companies hired to help Kiev are the ones that profit most from the propagation of this fallacious narrative among the public opinion, as they manage to convince an increasing number of volunteers to go and fight in Ukraine. In fact, some of these volunteers are not designated for direct combat but remain in safe places taking photos and videos to publish on the internet, reproducing propaganda to encourage more men to go – always trying to convince that combats are “easy” and “safe”, so that more people enlist in the mercenary companies. The result is that of the deluded enlisted men only a few are directed to propaganda, while others die on the battlefield.

Obviously, for Western countries and for private companies, investing in this type of propaganda is strategic and profitable, but not for Brazil. As a member of the BRICS, not participating in anti-Russia sanctions and being Moscow’s partner in several areas, the Brazilian government should act more incisively to monitor the destabilizing role that its media agencies are playing, seeking to prevent foreign narratives from taking Brazilians to die on the battlefield. Furthermore, it is not at all beneficial to Brasilia’s international image that the country is known for having a large number of citizens volunteering to fight alongside neo-Nazi battalions.

It is important to remember that mercenaries and “volunteers are not considered prisoners of war, but common criminals, which means that Brazilian citizens can be tried by courts in the liberated parts of Ukraine if they are captured. This type of situation will certainly generate diplomatic discomfort and, as Brazil and Russia are members of the BRICS, this is not a favorable condition for either side.

The best thing for the Brazilian government to do is to ban its citizens from volunteering in wars that do not concern the national interest of Brazil.

Lucas Leiroz is a researcher in Social Sciences at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant.

July 6, 2022 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Russia comments on UN Security Council expansion prospects

Samizdat | July 4, 2022

Moscow supports expanding the UN Security Council (UNSC), but not by admitting Germany and Japan, the Russian ambassador to China, Andrey Denisov, said on Monday.

Speaking during the plenary session of the UN World Peace Forum in Beijing, Denisov, whose key statements have been published on the embassy’s social media accounts, claimed that the Security Council has become a place where “the Western colleagues carry out propaganda, presenting their views as the ultimate truth.”

Therefore, he argued, there is a pressing need to reform the UN.

“Our country is in favor of expanding the composition of the UN Security Council on the basis of a broad consensus. To do this, it is necessary to increase the share of African, Asian and Latin American states,” Denisov said, explaining that this would make the council “more democratic.”

He added that Russia is open to the idea of membership for India and Brazil, but not Germany and Japan, “since this will not change the internal balance in any way.”

His remarks followed multiple calls from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to strip Russia of its membership, amid Moscow’s military operation in his country. The US, however, has repeatedly made it clear that Russia will remain a permanent member of the UNSC, as there is no way to exclude the country.

There have been discussions about increasing the number of permanent Security Council members since the approval of the UN Charter in 1945. Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan have made the strongest demands.

The UNSC, whose primary responsibility is “the maintenance of international peace and security,” is the only UN body authorized to issue binding resolutions on member states.

Its five permanent members – China, France, Russia, the UK, and US – can block any resolution. The bloc of Western democratic and generally aligned permanent members – France, the UK, and US – is often called the ‘P3’.

July 4, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

BRICS Leaders Vow to Enhance & Expand New Development Bank

Samizdat – 23.06.2022

The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa held their 14th annual summit on Thursday virtually. This year, the summit was chaired by China.

BRICS members vowed to widen the Shanghai-based New Development Bank (NDB) on Thursday, following the successful admission of Bangladesh, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Uruguay in September 2021.

“We look forward to further membership expansion in a gradual and balanced manner in terms of geographic representation and comprising of both developed and developing countries, to enhance the NDB’s international influence as well as the representation and voice of Emerging Market and Developing Countries (EMDCs) in global governance,” the 75-point joint declaration released after the summit read.

BRICS has supported the NDB’s goals of attaining the highest possible credit rating and institutional development. The BRICS member nations have also stressed that they have a similar approach to the global economic governance, and their mutual cooperation can make a valuable contribution to the post-Covid economic recovery.

Geopolitical Concerns

Leaders also discussed the ongoing crisis in Eastern Europe, recalling their national positions at different global forums, including the United Nations’ Security Council and General Assembly.

“We support talks between Russia and Ukraine. We have also discussed our concerns over the humanitarian situation in and around Ukraine,” the joint declaration said.

Amid border tensions between India and China, the leaders committed to “respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States,” stressing the peaceful resolution of differences and disputes through dialogue and consultation.

The BRICS countries – which represent 24 percent of the global GDP and 16 percent of worldwide trade – further reiterated the need to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through peaceful and diplomatic means as per international law. They stressed the importance of preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a deal reached between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council in 2015. The stand-off between Iran and western nations continues following the US’ withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018.

June 23, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brazilian front-runner slams US billions for Ukraine

Samizdat | June 2, 2022

Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called out US President Joe Biden in two campaign speeches this week, citing the $40 billion in military aid Washington has pledged to Ukraine. Lula is polling far ahead of the incumbent, Jair Bolsonaro, in the upcoming presidential election.

“Biden, who has never made a speech to give $1 to those who are starving in Africa, announces $40 billion to help Ukraine buy weapons,” Lula said on Wednesday in Porto Alegre. “This can’t be!” he added.

The 76-year-old is the candidate of the leftist Party of Workers (PT), and currently the favorite to win the presidential election in October.

Speaking in Sao Paulo on Tuesday, Lula brought up the $40 billion in another context. How is it possible, he asked, that the world’s supposedly strongest economy is reduced to scouring the globe for baby formula – amid shortages in the US – even as Biden pledges billions in weapons sales to Kiev?

About half of the $40 billion package is directly earmarked for US weapons headed to Ukraine, while the rest would fund the government in Kiev, replenish the depleted Pentagon stockpiles, and fund US military deployments in Europe. Biden signed it on May 21 after both chambers of Congress passed it with token Republican opposition. The physical bill was flown to Asia, where Biden was visiting at the time, so he could formally attach his signature.

Lula has previously criticized Biden over the conflict in Ukraine, saying the US leader could have prevented it, but instead chose to give a blank check to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“The United States has a lot of political clout. And Biden could have avoided [the conflict], not incited it,” Lula said in an interview with Time magazine in early May.

“And now we are going to have to foot the bill because of the war on Ukraine. Argentina, Bolivia will also have to pay. You’re not punishing [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. You’re punishing many different countries, you’re punishing mankind,” he added.

Lula was president of Brazil from 2003 to 2010 and remains one of the most popular Brazilian politicians ever. He was convicted on corruption charges and jailed in 2018 – during the interim presidency that had impeached his successor, Dilma Rousseff – but the conviction was annulled in 2021. The Brazilian Supreme Court ruled that Lula did not receive a fair trial, and cleared him to run for office again.

The most recent polls by Datafolha show Lula with a 21-point lead over Bolsonaro.

June 2, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , | 3 Comments

Brazil rejected US oil request

Samizdat | May 10, 2022

The US asked Brazil in March to increase its crude oil output to curb soaring prices amid international sanctions against Russia, but Brazil refused, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

US government officials approached Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras, the outlet quoted its sources as saying, as crude prices started to rise against the backdrop of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine and the ensuing international sanctions.

The officials came away empty-handed, however, as Petrobras said that output levels were determined by business strategy rather than diplomacy and also that a significant short-term production boost would not be logistically possible, Reuters says.

Brazil is the world’s 11th largest oil exporter, with most of its crude going to China, the US, and India, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC).

Also in March, the US approached Venezuela, which has the world’s largest proven oil reserves, offering to ease some of the sanctions on the country in exchange for increased oil exports to the US. However, Washington later backtracked on the issue.

Washington banned the import of Russian oil in early March, with US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm saying that the country was on “war footing,” and calling on domestic producers to boost output. Last year, the US got 8% of its total petroleum imports from Russia, according to the US Energy Information Administration, with other major suppliers being Canada, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia.

May 10, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , | Leave a comment

Google complains about Brazil’s “fake news” bill, says it ignores “negative and unintended consequences”

By Cindy Harper | Reclaim The Net | March 17, 2022

Despite, in many cases, making itself the arbiter of what is and isn’t true, Big Tech giant Google is now concerned that Brazil’s proposed anti-fake news bill will do more harm than good.

The bill has previously been criticized by other online platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, as well as free speech groups.

In an open letter, Google Brazil’s president Fábio Coelho, criticized the proposed legislation, whose purpose is to handle “misinformation” and disinformation on platforms with more than 2 million users.

“We recognize the importance of debating solutions to this problem, but we are concerned that Congress is doing so without considering the negative and unintended consequences the bill could bring,” Coelho argued.

According to Coelho, the bill, which is yet to be voted by Congress, would make it easier to spread fake news.

The bill includes rules that would require platforms like Google to reveal how their algorithms work. These rules make Google’s services less secure, according to Coelho, and would have a negative impact on how small companies market their products.

He said that the rules Google would need to comply with could “significantly impair Google’s ability to combat abuse and spam and protect our users from scams.” He also argued that complying with the rules could “make search engines less secure for everyone and more susceptible to abuse and fraud.”

Coelho also warned that by exposing how its systems work, Google would provide malicious actors instructions on how to bypass its protections and harm the quality of search results.

He explained: “With this, they could manipulate this information to obtain a better position in our search ranking, harming in the process those who produce reliable and relevant content.”

In a joint letter published in February, Facebook, Twitter, and Mercado Libre, an online marketplace, also criticized the proposed legislation.

They said the bill had the potential to,”restrict people’s access to diverse and plural sources of information; discourage platforms from taking steps to maintain a healthy online environment; and negatively impact millions of small and medium businesses looking to connect with their consumers through advertising and digital services.”

March 18, 2022 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 2 Comments