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Brazil police finish investigation into National Museum fire


The police also said museum directors’ conduct did not constitute neglect, given efforts underway to bring the building up to fire code. It was more than two centuries old.

The National Museum housed furniture and art belonging to the royal family, recordings of Indigenous languages — some of which are no longer spoken — priceless specimens of everything from rare butterflies to coral and a collection of Egyptian mummies and artifacts considered the largest in Latin America.

Some artifacts have been recovered, notably most fragments of a skull belonging to a woman dubbed Luzia. It is one of the oldest human fossils ever found in the Americas, and was a top museum treasure. Recovery efforts have been suspended since March due to the ongoing pandemic.

The building was once a royal palace that served as the seat of the united Portuguese and Brazilian empire before the museum’s collection was transferred there in 1892. Today the colonial-era facade is a burned-out shell that is fenced off for reconstruction.

Following an inspection by Rio’s firefighting corps, the National Museum began negotiating a deal with the Rio-based development bank BNDES to renovate the building and upgrade its fire-prevention system. The loan agreement was signed in June 2018, but the funds hadn’t yet been disbursed when the fire occurred in September.

The fire represented a gut punch for many Brazilians, who felt the incident laid bare the decay of cultural institutions during years of corruption, economic collapse and poor governance. The education ministry and science and technology ministry have since directed millions to the museum for emergency and recovery works. Companies and individuals have also donated, along with the United Nations’ cultural agency UNESCO, Germany’s government and the British Council.

The museum has so far raised about half the $60 million required for reconstruction, and aims for partial reopening by 2022, the bicentenial of Brazil’s independence, its press office said in a statement.

Last month, part of the the Federal University of Minas Gerais’ Natural History Museum also burned down.

“We cannot — and should not — ignore another situation like this, especially taking into account the tragic fire of the National Museum,″ the latter institution’s director, Alexander Kellner, said in a statement posted to Facebook at the time.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.



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Brazil passes 1 million coronavirus cases: Live updates | Coronavirus pandemic News


  • World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned of a “new and dangerous phase” in the accelerating coronavirus pandemic after 150,000 new cases were reported worldwide on Thursday – the highest in a single day. 

  • The United Kingdom’s chief medical officers have agreed to lower the country’s coronavirus alert level from four to three.

  • German biopharmaceutical company CureVac has started a clinical trial for a vaccine against the novel coronavirus.

  • More than 458,000 people have died as a result of the new coronavirus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. At least 8.6 million people have been confirmed to have the coronavirus around the world and more than 4.2 million have recovered.

Here are the latest updates:

Saturday, June 20

02:19 GMT – Pandemic could worsen Haiti’s ‘already alarming humanitarian situation’

Helen La Lime, the United Nations Special Representative for Haiti, said the coronavirus pandemic is worsening the country’s “already alarming humanitarian situation”, something that could see an increasing number of citizens flee the island to seek a better life abroad. 

And unless more help was offered to tackle Haiti’s economic recession, ”a primarily domestic problem could transform into a regional issue,” she warned during a virtual meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday. 

She added: “A vicious circle of mistrust, recrimination, and ultimately violence, is once again starting to define the dynamics of Haitian politics at a time when the entire society should be unified in its response to the pandemic”.

Haiti has a population of 11 million people and has so far recorded 4,900 coronavirus cases and 84 deaths.

01:57 GMT – Mexico City delays reopening as cases continue to surge

Authorities in Mexico City delayed a planned reopening of the economy as new confirmed cases and deaths reported nationwide continued at near-record levels.

Claudia Sheinbaum, mayor of the 11 million strong city, said hospital occupancy and case numbers had not decreased to the point where reopening malls and street markets would be possible. The city has about 70 percent of its hospital beds occupied.

Mexico’s Health Department reported 5,030 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 647 more deaths, both numbers down just slightly from Thursday. Total cases now stand at 170,485, with 20,394 fatalities.

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ecatepec de Morelos

A musician plays his instrument during the burial of two people, who died of COVID-19 at the San Isidro Municipal cemetery on the outskirts of Mexico City, Mexico, on June 19, 2020 [Henry Romero/ Reuters]

Virus Outbreak Mexico

Musicians play their instruments during a protest demanding financial support in Mexico City on June 19, 2020 [Eduardo Verdugo/ AP]

01:35 GMT – US court rejects bid for mandatory masks at Trump rally

Oklahoma’s Supreme Court rejected an effort to require everyone attending US President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa this weekend to wear a face mask and maintain social distancing to guard against spreading the coronavirus.

In a concurring opinion, two justices said the local residents asking for precautions at Trump’s rally – the US’s largest indoor gathering in months – could not establish their legal right to the relief they sought.

The petition was filed by two people described as having compromised immune systems and at particular risk from COVID-19.

The ruling came as Oklahoma reported its second-biggest increase in new infections on Friday, logging 359 cases of COVID-19 and one death. That brings the state’s total case load to 9,706 and number of deaths to 367. 

01:10 GMT – Costa Rica halts reopening

Costa Rica is halting the reopening of its economy after registering on Friday a record 119 new coronavirus infections – a figure that brings the country’s total number of confirmed cases to 2,508.

“These are not numbers to think that nothing is wrong and that we can continue with the reopening,” Health Minister Daniel Salas told reporters.

“Stores and shopping malls, beaches, churches and other activities will have to wait until we have a sustained decrease in cases,” he said, adding that the country’s national soccer league is also suspended “until further notice”.

At least 12 people have died from COVID-19 in Costa Rica.

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in San Jose, Costa Rica

A woman is given chayotes at a distribution point for fruits and vegetables donated by domestic producers unable to export due to the coronavirus disease, in San Jose, Costa Rica on April 13, 2020 [File: Juan Carlos Ulate/ Reuters]

00:23 GMT – Brazil surpasses one million coronavirus cases

Brazil passed one million coronavirus cases and approached 50,000 deaths, a new nadir for the world’s second-worst-hit country as it struggles with a tense political climate and worsening economic outlook.

The country’s health ministry reported 1,032,913 confirmed cases on Friday, with 1,206 new deaths that took the total official fatalities to 48,954.

Friday also saw a new record daily number of cases, with 54,771 infections, a jump the health ministry said was largely due to “instability” in its reporting system, which meant some states were reporting figures from multiple days.

Brazil is likely to surpass 50,000 deaths on Saturday, although weekend reporting can be lower.

Read more here.

00:16 GMT – Zimbabwe health minister arrested over coronavirus supplies scandal

Zimbabwe’s health minister Obadiah Moyo was arrested on Friday for alleged corruption related to the supply of medical materials to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s anti-graft agency said.

He was being held at a Harare police station and is likely to appear in court on Saturday.

“I can confirm that the minister of health and child welfare has been arrested and is being detained at Rhodesville police station,” John Makamure, spokesman for the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, told the AFP news agency.

“It’s to do with the procurement of COVID-19 materials,” he added.

The government did not immediately comment on the arrest, which came a day after the country’s main opposition condemned alleged corruption following suspicions about a two-million-dollar payment to a medical company contracted to provide anti-coronavirus equipment.  

Harare has come under fire for granting two-month-old company Drax Consult SAGL a contract to supply $20m worth of drugs, personal protective equipment and COVID-19 test kits.

The deal was allegedly signed without the consent of Zimbabwe’s procurement registration authority.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives. 

You can find all the key developments from yesterday, June 19, here. 



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Coronavirus live updates: Bolsonaro hides Brazil death figures; minister criticises Australian BLM protests | World news


The exodus of migrant workers from big cities is plunging India’s factories into a crisis, Agence France-Presse reports.

An acute shortage of workers has turned the roar of machines to a soft hum at a footwear factory near New Delhi, just one of thousands in India struggling to restart after migrant workers decided to leave town during the virus lockdown.

India is slowly emerging from strict containment measures that were imposed in late March as leaders look to revive the battered economy, but manufacturers don’t have enough workers to man the machinery.

The big cities, once an attractive destination for workers from poor, rural regions, have been hit by reverse migration as millions of labourers flee back to their home villages, some uncertain if they will ever return.

Sanjeev Kharbanda, a senior executive with Aqualite Industries, which owns the footwear factory in the northern state of Haryana, said: “Sixty per cent of our labourers have gone back. How can we run a production unit with just one-third of our workforce?”

A worker is waiting for products to arrive on a production line at the Aqualite footwear factory in Bahadurgarh in the northern Indian state of Haryana.

A worker is waiting for products to arrive on a production line at the Aqualite footwear factory in Bahadurgarh in the northern Indian state of Haryana. Photograph: Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images

Kharbanda said the company’s sports shoe unit had been sitting idle as there were no skilled workers to operate the high-tech machines.

“We are running just one shift now. The cost of production has gone up and our profits are going down,” he said, a conveyor belt carrying semi-finished flip-flops running slowly in the background.

In Gujarat state’s Surat city – where 90% of the world’s diamonds are cut and polished – many factories have been unable to open after more than two-thirds of workers fled, Surat diamond association president Babu Kathiriya told AFP.

Meanwhile, the state’s salt refineries have started doubling salaries to lure staff back. But experts say the workers may not return anytime soon.

There are an estimated 100 million migrant workers – nearly a fifth of the labour force and contributing to an estimated 10% of GDP – across the nation of 1.3 billion people.

Many are employed as cheap labour across a vast range of sectors including textiles, construction, mines and small businesses.



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Brazil virus death toll hits 28,834, surpassing hard-hit France


Brasília (AFP) – Brazil on Saturday reached 28,834 coronavirus fatalities, authorities said, surpassing hard-hit France and becoming the country with the world’s fourth-highest death toll.

At the epicenter of South America’s coronavirus outbreak, Brazil also saw an increase of 33,274 cases in the past 24 hours — a new daily record, the Health Ministry said.

That number brings Brazil’s total caseload to 498,444, the second-highest in the world, lagging only behind the United States.

Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro remain the hardest-hit states in Brazil in terms of sheer numbers, while per capita rates are higher in the country’s impoverished north and northeast, where health facilities are reaching capacity.

Brazil’s Ministry of Health has indicated “there is no way to foresee” when the country’s outbreak will peak, and experts say the number of cases could be 15 times higher than the confirmed figure because there has been no widespread testing.

The pandemic is spreading across Brazil under a cloud of confrontation, as governors and mayors implement restrictive measures while President Jair Bolsonaro, who has pinned his hopes of re-election on a booming economy, has berated them for imposing what he calls “the tyranny of total quarantine.”

The US death toll now stands at 103,685. The United Kingdom, meanwhile, has a toll of 38,376 and Italy stands at 33,340, according to a latest count by AFP.



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Coronavirus live news: confirmed deaths in Brazil surpass known Chinese toll | World news






Updated





Updated





Doctors on the frontline also widely believe that the real numbers are much higher – one factor being people dying at home.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one medic in Rio de Janeiro state said three patients who were intubated after testing positive using faster, less accurate serological tests died during his overnight shift last weekend at a public hospital in the town of Nova Iguaçu.


If one doctor saw this (in one night) I think it’s unlikely the number for the whole of Brazil is 474.





Confirmed deaths in Brazil surpass known Chinese toll

Brazil’s total number of confirmed deaths has now overtaken the WHO’s figure for China as cases accelerate in Latin America’s biggest country.

On Tuesday, the Brazilian health ministry reported 474 deaths over the previous 24 hours, taking the total to 5,017 – more than China, where the virus was first reported and which has seen 4,643 deaths so far, according to the WHO.

Brazil now has 71,886 confirmed cases after adding 5,385 in the last 24 hours, though widespread underreporting and a generalised lack of tests means numbers are almost definitely much higher. The G1 news site reported on Tuesday that deaths in São Paulo are 168% more than the official number of 2,049.

Updated





Streamed films to be eligible for Oscars









In the UK, leading BAME campaigners have said the credibility of an inquiry into why black, Asian and minority ethnic people are being disproportionately affected by Covid-19 is being undermined among those it seeks to serve by the appointment of Trevor Phillips.

The former chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission was selected despite being suspended from the Labour party last month for alleged Islamophobia, including a reference to UK Muslims as being “a nation within a nation”.

The first four UK doctors with Covid-19 known to have died were all Muslim.

And Labour’s former shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, has said:


We need a public inquiry. Very sadly, the public health executive have chosen to make Trevor Phillips one of their advisers on their inquiry, which I think means that their inquiry is dead on arrival.









The US vice-president Mike Pence has been heavily criticised for failing to wear a face mask on a visit to the Mayo Clinic’s facilities in Minnesota.

Pence leads the US government’s coronavirus taskforce, though he is typically overshadowed by Donald Trump or medical experts at the regular press briefings.

Updated









Updated



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Brazil president Bolsonaro says he has a possible skin cancer



Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Wednesday that he has a possible skin cancer, after a medical visit where he had a mole removed from his ear, Trend reports citing Reuters.

The presidential office, however, said there is no sign that Bolsonaro has a cancer, adding that the president had been to a hospital in Brasilia in the afternoon. “The president is in good health, without any indication of a skin cancer and is keeping his appointments for this week,” said the statement.

Earlier, Bolsonaro also said he had been advised to cancel a trip to Salvador, in the state of Bahia, due to suffering from exhaustion.

Follow Trend on Telegram. Only most interesting and important news





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Trump to restore tariffs on steel from Brazil and Argentina


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US President Donald Trump has said he will restore tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Brazil and Argentina.

He justified the move saying those countries’ weak currencies had made it harder for US food exports to compete.

“Brazil and Argentina have been presiding over a massive devaluation of their currencies, which is not good for our farmers,” Mr Trump said.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said he would seek talks with Mr Trump.

“Their economy is not comparable with ours, it’s many times bigger. I don’t see this as retaliation,” Mr Bolsonaro said in a radio interview with Brazil’s Radio Itatiaia.

“I’m going to call him so that he doesn’t penalise us. Our economy basically comes from commodities, it’s what we’ve got,” he said.

Key sector

Argentine production minister Dante Sica said he would also request a conversation with his US counterparts.

Despite Mr Trump’s claims, both countries have taken steps over the past two years to try to bolster their currencies, which have dropped sharply amid domestic political turmoil and economic woes.

The plan to restore the tariffs, which Mr Trump announced on Twitter, came as a surprise.

While Mr Trump last year imposed 25% tariffs on foreign steel and aluminium, citing national security grounds, he later granted some exceptions after outcry abroad and in the US, where many manufacturers rely on foreign metal imports.

  • Farm troubles raise risk for Trump in trade talks

Argentina and Brazil, which agreed to limits on their metals exports, were among the countries to receive waivers.

The US is Brazil’s biggest customer for steel and Brazil is the world’s 10th biggest exporter of steel, according to the US Department of Commerce.

Steel accounts for 3.7% of the total goods Brazil exported in 2018.

For Mr Trump, farmers in rural states are an important block of voters, and they have had a difficult time in the past year.

Mr Trump’s metals tariffs have sparked global retaliation, leading countries around the world to impose counter-tariffs on US goods, including farm exports. Only a handful of countries have waivers.

The US also remains locked in a trade dispute with China over policies related to technology and government subsidies, prompting China to levy additional taxes on US farm exports, including soyabeans, cotton and dairy.

Across the country, farm bankruptcies surged 24% in the 12 months to October 2018, according to analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Meanwhile, Chinese buyers have looked to Brazil and Argentina as an alternative.

Analysis:

By Daniel Gallas, BBC South America business correspondent

Image copyright
Getty Images

Mr Trump accused Argentina and Brazil of “presiding over a massive devaluation” – with exports of both countries being now cheaper and more competitive due to the weak currency.

But Argentina and Brazil are not happy with the devaluation and both central banks have been intervening to prop up the sliding currencies.

Brazil’s currency, the real, has reached an all-time low, as investors feel uncertain about sluggish economic recovery and the future reforms promised by the government.

In Argentina, investors are on the sidelines waiting for a new direction to the economy, which will be set by president-elect Alberto Fernandez when he takes office next week.

This crisis will be a test for Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, often called “Trump of the Tropics”, who boasts a close relationship with his US counterpart.



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