EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 08/07/2020

20/03/2020 Presidente da República, Jair Bolsonaro e Minis… | Flickr

The New York Times – Ernesto Londoño, Manuela Andreoni and Letícia Casado / President Bolsonaro of Brazil tests positive for coronavirus

  • President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, who has railed against social distancing measures and repeatedly downplayed the threat of the coronavirus as the epidemic in his country became the second-worst in the world, said Tuesday that he, too, had been infected.
  • Critics at home and abroad have called Mr. Bolsonaro’s handling of the pandemic cavalier and reckless, allowing the virus to surge across Brazil, Latin America’s largest nation. At one point he dismissed it as “a measly cold.”
  • When asked in late April about the rising death toll, he replied: “So what? Sorry, but what do you want me to do?” Brazil now has more than 1.6 million confirmed cases and more than 65,000 deaths — more than any country except the United States.
  • As the caseload has skyrocketed, Mr. Bolsonaro has shunned masks, attended mass rallies of his supporters, insisted that the virus poses no threat to healthy people, championed unproven remedies and shuffled through health ministers who disagreed with him.
  • Foreign Affairs – Catherine Osborn / Bolsonaro made Brazil a pandemic pariah

The Washington Post – Emily Rauhala, Karoun Demirjian and Toluse Olorunnipa / Trump administration sends letter withdrawing U.S. from World Health Organization over coronavirus response

  • The Trump administration has begun the process of withdrawing the United States from the World Health Organization, a move that could hurt the U.N. agency’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and reshape public health diplomacy.
  • The notice of withdrawal, effective July 6, 2021, was sent Monday to United Nations Secretary General. Under the terms of a joint resolution passed by Congress in 1948, the United States must give a year’s notice and pay its debts to the agency to leave.
  • Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for Guterres, said the secretary general was “verifying with the World Health Organization whether all the conditions for such withdrawal are met.”
  • It is not clear whether the president can pull the United States out of the organization and withdraw funding without Congress. When Trump first threatened to withdraw, Democratic lawmakers argued that doing so would be illegal and vowed to push back.
  • Politico – Brianna Ehley / US official touts global cooperation as Trump makes WHO exit official

The Economist / The bitter dispute over Africa’s largest dam

  • The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is Africa’s largest, with a reservoir able to hold 74bn cubic metres of water, more than the volume of the entire Blue Nile. Once filled it should produce 6,000 megawatts of electricity, double Ethiopia’s current power supply.
  • Millions of people could be connected to the grid for the first time. It is a source of national pride. For Egypt, however, it seems a source of national danger. Over 90% of the country’s 100m people live along the Nile or in its vast delta.
  • The river, long seen as an Egyptian birthright, supplies most of their water. They fear the dam will choke it off. Pro-regime pundits, not known for their subtlety, have urged the army to blow it up.
  • Both sides have tried diplomacy, but years of talks failed to produce a deal on how Ethiopia would fill and operate the dam. Diplomats say most of the issues are resolved. But the outstanding one is big: how to handle a drought.
  • Al-Monitor – Amr Emam / Ethiopian refugees caught in middle of Nile dam row between Cairo, Addis Ababa

Financial Times – Roula Khalaf and Martin Arnold / Lagarde puts green policy top of agenda in ECB bond buying

  • Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank, has opened the door to using its €2.8tn asset purchase scheme to pursue green objectives, promising to examine changes to all of its operations in the fight against climate change.
  • It is the first time that the ECB president has committed to examine “greener” changes to all of the central bank’s operations. “I want to explore every avenue available in order to combat climate change,” she told the Financial Times in a video interview.
  • The ECB “has to look at all the business lines and the operations in which we are engaged in order to tackle climate change, because at the end of the day, money talks”, Ms Lagarde said.
  • The move would make the ECB the first main central bank to use a flagship bond-buying programme to pursue green objectives. Critics say it is up to politicians, not central banks, to decide which companies to favour and which to penalise.
  • Bloomberg – Piotr Skolimowski / Lagarde says ECB has time to assess stimulus effectiveness

Today’s further reading:

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and EsadeGeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces.

Política Internacional |