Suarez Contracts COVID-19, To Miss Brazil Showdown

In this file picture taken on June 29, 2019 Uruguay’s Luis Suarez reacts during the Copa America quarterfinal football match against Peru at the Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador, Brazil. JUAN MABROMATA / AFP

 

Uruguay’s Luis Suarez has tested positive for Covid-19 and will miss the World Cup qualifying match against Brazil, Uruguay’s football association announced Monday.

“Tests have been carried out on all the members of the national team, with the result that the players Luis Suarez (and) Rodrigo Munoz and the official, Matias Faral, have tested positive for Covid-19,” the federation said in a statement.

All three are “in good health”, it added. They join defender Matias Vina, who tested positive on Saturday after Uruguay’s 3-0 win over Colombia in Barranquilla.

Uruguay host Brazil in Montevideo on Tuesday.

AFP

World Cup Qualifier: Brazil Struggle To Beat Venezuela Without Neymar

Players of Brazil gather before the start of their closed-door 2022 FIFA World Cup South American qualifier football match against Venezuela at Morumbi Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 13, 2020. NELSON ALMEIDA / POOL / AFP

 

Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino scored the crucial goal as Brazil laboured to a 1-0 win over a well organized but limited Venezuela in their World Cup qualifier on Friday.

Firmino broke the deadlock on 66 minutes in Sao Paulo, poaching a goal after Venezuelan defender Darwin Machis’ attempt to clear an Everton Ribeiro cross fell to him a few yards out.

Firmino’s 16th goal in 47 appearances for the Selecao was enough to maintain their 100 per cent record in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Brazil have already beaten Bolivia (5-0) and Peru (4-2) and top the South American qualifying table with Argentina second.

Venezuela, who lost their first two qualifiers, were set up to contain and held the Brazilians scoreless at half time in the deserted Morumbi stadium.

The hosts missed the injured Neymar’s creativity in midfield, but even with an attack sporting Firmino, Gabriel Jesus and Richarlison, they could find no way through the mass Venezuelan defence in the first half.

Richarlison did have the ball in the net early on but the Everton striker’s celebrations were cut short when Firmino was adjudged to have been narrowly offside in the buildup.

Players of Brazil gather before the start of their closed-door 2022 FIFA World Cup South American qualifier football match against Venezuela at Morumbi Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 13, 2020. FERNANDO BIZERRA / POOL / AFP

 

For all Brazil’s pressing, Wuilker Farinez had little enough to do in the Venezuela goal, but the keeper made a flying save to beat away a bouncing shot from Firmino just before the half-hour, the Liverpool striker heading the resulting corner well wide.

With 75 per cent possession but short of ideas in attack, most of Brazil’s threat came from the left and it was from there they worked their best chance on 32 minutes, Atletico Madrid’s Renan Lodi whipping in a cross that Gabriel Jesus and then Richarlison, at full stretch, failed to turn in to a gaping goal.

Venezuela’s only threat came from a break up the left wing by Yeferson Soteldo, whose cross for Salomon Rondon was hacked away by Marquinhos.

Rondon, formerly of West Bromwich Albion and now plying his trade for Chinese Super Lague club Dalian Professional, otherwise cut an isolated figure when not busy with defensive duties.

Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson, who hardly touched the ball during the whole match, reacted quickly to scramble the ball away when Rondon briefly threatened the Brazil goal at the death.

Venezuela’s Corinthians star Romulo Otero wasted Venezuela’s only other real chance when he fired a 25-meter free kick over Ederson’s bar in injury time.

A worried Brazilian coach Tite will have seen how sorely his side missed Neymar’s invention.

The Paris Saint-Germain star, who suffered a thigh injury in a Champions League match last month, is also set to miss Tuesday’s match with Uruguay in Montevideo.

Venezuela host a resurgent Chile in Caracas on Tuesday.

Jose Peseiro’s side are likely to maintain their uncomfortable record of being the only South American team never to qualify for a World Cup.

AFP

Brazil Suspends Chinese COVID-19 Vaccine Trials

(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 8, 2020, a doctor shows the box of a COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine produced by Chinese company Sinovac Biotech at Sao Lucas Hospital in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil. 

 

Brazil’s health regulator said it had suspended clinical trials of a Chinese-developed Covid-19 vaccine after an “adverse incident” involving a volunteer recipient, a blow for one of the most advanced vaccine candidates.

The setback for CoronaVac, developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech, came on Monday as US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said its own vaccine candidate had shown 90 percent effectiveness — sending global markets soaring and raising hopes of an end to the pandemic.

Sinovac Biotech on Tuesday stood by its creation, saying: “We are confident in the safety of the vaccine”.

The Brazilian regulator Anvisa said it had “ruled to interrupt the clinical study of the CoronaVac vaccine after a serious adverse incident” involving a volunteer recipient on October 29.

It said it could not give details on what happened because of privacy regulations, but that such incidents included death, potentially fatal side effects, serious disability, hospitalization, birth defects and other “clinically significant events.”

Sinovac, however, said the incident was “not related to the vaccine”, adding it will “continue to communicate with Brazil on this matter.”

The public health center coordinating the trials of the vaccine in Brazil, the Butantan Institute, said it was “surprised” by Anvisa’s decision.

The institute “is investigating in detail what happened,” and “is at the Brazilian regulatory agency’s disposal to provide any clarification necessary on any adverse incident the clinical trials may have presented,” it said.

CoronaVac has been caught up in a messy political battle in Brazil, where its most visible backer has been Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria, a top opponent of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

The Sao Paulo state government said in a statement it “regrets that it learned of the decision from the press, instead of directly from Anvisa,” and was waiting along with the Butantan Institute for more information on “the real reasons for the suspension.”

– Pandemic politics –

Bolsonaro has labeled CoronaVac the vaccine from “that other country,” and pushed instead for a rival vaccine developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca.

Last month, he shot down a plan by his own health minister to buy 46 million doses of CoronaVac, saying, “The Brazilian people will not be anyone’s guinea pig,” and referring to it as “Joao Doria’s Chinese vaccine.”

Doria announced earlier Monday that the first 120,000 doses of CoronaVac would arrive in Sao Paulo on November 20.

His state has a deal with Sinovac to buy a total of 46 million doses — six million produced in China and the rest produced in Sao Paulo, which broke ground last week on a factory to make the vaccine domestically.

“Officials in the state government fear Bolsonaro will use technical decisions to delay the timeline of the vaccine for political reasons,” newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo reported, citing unnamed Doria allies.

Anvisa told AFP it had no comment beyond its statement announcing the suspension, which said that halting trials was standard procedure in such cases.

Bolsonaro faces criticism for his handling of the pandemic, which has included playing down the virus, opposing lockdown measures and relentlessly promoting the drug hydroxychloroquine despite studies showing it is ineffective against Covid-19.

The Sinovac, Pfizer and Oxford vaccines are all in Phase 3 trials, the final stage of testing before regulatory approval.

All are being tested in Brazil, the country with the second-highest death toll in the pandemic after the United States, with more than 162,000 people killed by the new coronavirus.

-AFP

Brazil’s Bolsonaro Hopes Trump Wins

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Wednesday he hoped Donald Trump would come out ahead in the down-to-the-wire US election, lashing out at Democratic contender Joe Biden’s comments on protecting the Amazon rainforest.

The far-right leader, who has been dubbed a “Tropical Trump,” has cultivated a close relationship with the Republican president, and has not been shy about endorsing his bid for reelection.

“You know where I stand, I’ve been clear. I have a good relationship with Trump. I hope he’ll be reelected,” Bolsonaro told supporters outside the presidential palace in Brasilia.

He denied backing Trump amounted to “interference” in US affairs, saying, “Who are we to interfere anyway?”

“How do you want me to interfere? Economically? Militarily? A cyber attack?” he joked.

Turning to Biden, who is locked in a tight race with Trump that could stretch Tuesday’s election into hours or days of vote-counting, Bolsonaro attacked the former vice president for urging Brazil to better preserve the Amazon.

“The Democratic candidate has spoken twice about the Amazon. Is that what you want for Brazil? Now that’s what I call interference,” he said.

The Amazon has been a touchy subject for Bolsonaro since Biden said in September in his first debate against Trump that he planned to raise funds from the international community to offer Brazil $20 billion to “stop tearing down the forest.”

“If you don’t, then you’re going to have significant economic consequences,” Biden said.

Bolsonaro, who has faced international condemnation for presiding over a surge in deforestation and wildfires since taking office in 2019, called the statement “disastrous and unnecessary” the following day.

Brazil’s Bolsonaro Hopes Trump Wins

File photo: US President Donald Trump pumps his fist as he hosts a Make America Great Again campaign event at Des Moines International Airport in Des Moines, Iowa on October 14, 2020.
Alex Edelman / AFP

 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Wednesday he hoped Donald Trump would come out ahead in the down-to-the-wire US election, lashing out at Democratic contender Joe Biden’s comments on protecting the Amazon rainforest.

The far-right leader, who has been dubbed a “Tropical Trump,” has cultivated a close relationship with the Republican president, and has not been shy about endorsing his bid for reelection.

“You know where I stand, I’ve been clear. I have a good relationship with Trump. I hope he’ll be reelected,” Bolsonaro told supporters outside the presidential palace in Brasilia.

He denied backing Trump amounted to “interference” in US affairs, saying, “Who are we to interfere anyway?”

“How do you want me to interfere? Economically? Militarily? A cyber attack?” he joked.

Turning to Biden, who is locked in a tight race with Trump that could stretch Tuesday’s election into hours or days of vote-counting, Bolsonaro attacked the former vice president for urging Brazil to better preserve the Amazon.

“The Democratic candidate has spoken twice about the Amazon. Is that what you want for Brazil? Now that’s what I call interference,” he said.

The Amazon has been a touchy subject for Bolsonaro since Biden said in September in his first debate against Trump that he planned to raise funds from the international community to offer Brazil $20 billion to “stop tearing down the forest.”

“If you don’t, then you’re going to have significant economic consequences,” Biden said.

Bolsonaro, who has faced international condemnation for presiding over a surge in deforestation and wildfires since taking office in 2019, called the statement “disastrous and unnecessary” the following day.

 

Brazil Jobless Rate Hits Record 13.8%

A man wearing a face mask on his chin plays the saxophone in exchange of money in a street of Manaus, Amazonas state, Brazil, on September 25, 2020. – The Brazilian city of Manaus, which was devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, may have suffered so many infections that its population now benefits from “herd immunity,” according to a preliminary study.  (Photo by MICHAEL DANTAS / AFP)

 

Brazil’s unemployment rate hit a record 13.8 percent from May to July as Latin America’s biggest economy suffered the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to official figures released Wednesday.

The rate is the highest since the current tracking method was introduced in 2012, and two percentage points above same period last year.

The previous record — 13.7 percent — was registered in the first quarter of 2017.

The South American giant of 212 million people has been hit hard by the new coronavirus, with nearly 143,000 people killed, the second-highest death toll worldwide after the United States.

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has attacked stay-at-home measures imposed by state and local authorities and insisted on getting the economy reopened.

But economists say the policy fight may only be adding to the economic damage. And health experts warn that many states are trying to exit lockdown too fast.

Brazil is facing a record recession this year. The central bank is currently predicting a contraction of 5.04 percent — though the outlook has been improving steadily since June.

There were 13.1 million people looking for work in July, IBGE said.

The number of people who dropped out of the work force — a sign of how many have given up looking for jobs because of a lack of opportunities — also hit a record, at 5.8 million, a 20-percent increase from the same period last year.

“Besides taking people’s jobs, the pandemic made it difficult to look for work because of stay-at-home measures, business closures and health issues,” said IBGE official Adriana Beringuy.

In all, Brazil lost 11.6 million jobs in a year, the institute said.

AFP

Injury Rules Out Brazil’s Jesus From World Cup Qualifiers

Brazil’s forward Gabriel Jesus (R) and Nigeria’s defender Jamilu Collins during the international friendly football match at the National Stadium in Singapore on October 13, 2019. Roslan RAHMAN / AFP

 

Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus has been replaced in Brazil’s squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers by Hertha Berlin’s uncapped attacker Matheus Cunha, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) announced on Friday.

Jesus, 23, who scored in his club’s domestic win over Wolves earlier this week, will be unavailable for the matches against Bolivia on October 9 and at Peru four days later.

“On Wednesday, the English team contacted Brazil’s doctor Rodrigo Lasmar, to tell him about an injury detected after the game against Wolverhampton, on Monday, in the Premier League,” the CBF said.

The CBF did not disclose further details of Jesus’ issue or for how long he would be sidelined.

Coach Tite has called up Hertha’s 21-year-old Cunha, who featured for his country’s under-23s in Olympic Games qualifying, for the first time.

AFP

Rio Postpones World-Famous Carnival Over COVID-19

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 08, 2018 a giant puppet depicting Rio de Janeiro Mayor Marcelo Crivella is seen during the street carnival parade of the “Loucura Suburbana” at the Engenho de Dentro neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by MAURO PIMENTEL / AFP)

 

Rio de Janeiro’s world-famous carnival parades became the latest casualty of the coronavirus pandemic Thursday as officials announced they were indefinitely postponing the February 2021 edition, with Brazil still reeling from COVID-19.

“We came to the conclusion that the event had to be postponed,” said Jorge Castanheira, the president of the group that organizes the annual parades, the Independent League of Rio de Janeiro Samba Schools (LIESA).

“We just can’t do it in February. The samba schools won’t have the time or financial and organizational resources to be ready,” he told journalists after a plenary meeting by the group’s directors.

Rio’s carnival is an epidemiologist’s nightmare in a pandemic: an extended festival of tightly packed crowds dancing through the streets and flocking to the city’s iconic “Sambadrome” for massive parades featuring scantily clad dancers, small armies of drummers and all-night partying at close quarters.

The event draws millions of tourists from around Brazil and the world to the beachside city each year.

In reality, “carnival” comprises numerous events, from the elite samba school parade contest organized by LIESA to less-formal “blocos,” or street parties.

LIESA’s announcement applies only to the samba school competition. City authorities have not yet announced whether “blocos” will be allowed.

 

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 24, 2020 members of Vila Isabel samba school perform during the last night of Rio’s Carnival parade at the Sambadrome Marques de Sapucai in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.(Photo by CARL DE SOUZA / AFP)

 

Speculation had been mounting that authorities would have to cancel or postpone carnival in 2021, given that Brazil is the country with the second-highest death toll in the pandemic, after the United States, and is still struggling to bring the virus under control.

Brazil has registered 4.7 million infections and nearly 140,000 deaths from Covid-19.

And while the spread of the virus has slowed somewhat since its July peak, the numbers are still alarmingly high in Brazil, with an average of nearly 30,000 new cases and 735 new deaths per day over the past two weeks, according to health ministry figures.

Rio de Janeiro has been the state hit second-hardest, after Sao Paulo, the country’s industrial hub.

 

 

 

 

-AFP

Bolsonaro Faces Growing Pressure To Green Brazil Economy

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 18, 2020 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gestures using a face cover during a press conference regarding the COVID-19, coronavirus pandemic at the Planalto Palace, Brasilia. – Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro announced on July 7, 2020 he had tested positive for the coronavirus but said he was feeling “perfectly well” and had only mild symptoms. (Photo by Sergio LIMA / AFP)

 

 

As the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and Pantanal wetlands bruise Brazil’s international image, bankers, business executives and even agribusiness firms are calling for a greener economy, adding to pressure on President Jair Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro, a far-right climate-change skeptic, has called environmental groups a “cancer” for attacking his policies, which include pushing for protected lands to be opened to mining and agriculture in the world’s biggest rainforest.

But he has been forced to respond more cautiously as international investors, powerful voices in the business world, and agribusiness giants such as JBS and Cargill have joined in the criticism.

In keeping with tradition, the Brazilian leader will give the first speech to the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, delivered remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year, Bolsonaro used the forum to condemn news on the fires ravaging the world’s biggest rainforest as “media lies.”

This year’s speech will again touch on the Amazon, though the goal will be “to show everything we’re doing” to protect it, said Vice President Hamilton Mourao, the head of the government’s task force on fighting Amazon deforestation.

With countries around the world trying to chart the future of their post-pandemic economies — not least Brazil, the country with the second-highest Covid-19 death toll after the United States — now is the perfect time for Latin America’s biggest economy to go green, said Paulo Branco, head of the Development Frontiers Institute.

“We have a great window of opportunity, and we have to take advantage of it to push for a sustainable reboot of the economy,” he told AFP.

“With our huge green potential, an ‘agri-environmental’ agenda is the way to a faster recovery,” said Marcello Brito, of the Brazil Climate, Forests and Agriculture Coalition.

His group, an unprecedented alliance of 230 environmental groups and Brazilian agribusiness companies, sent an open letter last week to Bolsonaro urging him to do more to fight deforestation in the Amazon.

In June, 29 global investment firms managing nearly $4 trillion in assets also sent an open letter to Bolsonaro, urging him to change policies blamed for accelerating the destruction of the rainforest.

Environmental destruction by Brazilian firms is also threatening a long-sought trade deal between the European Union and the Mercosur bloc, of which Brazil is a member.

So far, the president has continued to publicly deny the impact of the record Amazon deforestation on his watch.

“Brazil is the country that does the most to preserve the environment,” he said last week, even as record-shattering fires tore through the Pantanal, the world’s biggest tropical wetlands, and deforestation in the Amazon for January to August came in just five percent shy of last year’s all-time high.

But there are signs he is starting to feel the pressure — including naming the Amazon task force headed by Vice President Mourao and deploying the army to the rainforest to fight wildfires.

– Redirecting investment –
“It’s unfortunate that the environment issue has become so ideological,” said Shigueo Watanabe, a researcher at the ClimaInfo Institute.

“I don’t defend the environment just because I like trees. I do it because I want the country’s economy to grow, and to do that you need agribusiness,” he said.

“If we destroy the Amazon, we’ll destroy Brazilian agribusiness,” he added, referring to the devastating climate impact that scientists say the collapse of the rainforest ecosystem would cause across the region and the world.

Greening the Brazilian economy could create two million jobs and add 2.8 trillion reals ($530 billion) to gross domestic product by 2030, according to a recent report by the World Resources Institute.

“Brazil would actually grow more with a green recovery than under its current development model,” said the institute’s Viviane Romeiro.

“It doesn’t mean a total break with the past…. It’s about redirecting investment and expanding best practices in the infrastructure, agriculture and industrial innovation sectors.”

It is an issue that will increasingly touch all sectors of the economy.

“Companies will no longer make big profits with no regard for their environmental impact,” said Denise Hills, global head of sustainability at Brazilian cosmetics giant Natura, a trailblazer in the field.

“This is an essential issue to the new generation of consumers.”

Rainfall Becomes ‘Only Hope’ As Brazil’s Wetlands Burn

Firefighters from the Mato Grosso State Department work to put out a wild fire in the Porto Jofre region in the wetlands of the Pantanal near the Transpantaneira park road in Mato Grosso state, Brazil, on September 14, 2020. (Photo by MAURO PIMENTEL / AFP)

 

Lieutenant Silva’s face is grim as he watches his firefighters try — and fail — to control one of the thousands of wildfires ravaging Brazil’s Pantanal, the world’s biggest tropical wetlands.

“It needs to rain. We’ve got low moisture, intense heat. With that combination, rain is our only hope,” says Silva, even as new flames break out at the spot his team of six firefighters is trying to douse on the grounds of an ecotourism hotel in the northern Pantanal.

Even when the fire looks to be out, embers continue burning underground, feeding on layers of dry leaves that have accumulated amid the region’s worst drought in nearly five decades.

The firefighters advance about 60 meters (yards) into a dense patch of charred scrubland, but the hoses connected to their truck can reach no farther.

One starts using a leaf blower to clear away the dead vegetation, which momentarily extinguishes the flames on the surface.

But the slightest gust of wind is enough to reignite them.

Silva decides to retreat and change tactics: better to create a fire break by soaking the ground around the truck in water.

 

Firefighters from the Mato Grosso State Department work to put out a wild fire in the Porto Jofre region in the wetlands of the Pantanal near the Transpantaneira park road in Mato Grosso state, Brazil, on September 14, 2020.(Photo by MAURO PIMENTEL / AFP)

 

The firefighters hope that will prevent the flames from reaching the other side, where there is a still intact hill of native vegetation inhabited by jaguars.

The Pantanal sits at the southern edge of the Amazon rainforest, stretching from Brazil into Bolivia and Paraguay.

The region is known for its lush landscapes and biodiversity.

But this year, some 23,500 square kilometers (9,000 square miles) of the wetlands have gone up in smoke — nearly 12 percent of the Pantanal.

Helped by local volunteers, firefighters are racing to control the flames before they destroy the area’s hotels and numerous wooden bridges, essential infrastructure for getting in and out of a region normally covered in water this time of year.

Hotel worker Antonio da Silva is one of the volunteers helping safeguard the bridges, wearing a cowboy hat and face mask.

“I’m from this region, I’ve lived in the Pantanal for 60 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” he says

AFP

India Overtakes Brazil To Become Second Worst-Hit Country By COVID-19

Residents stand in a queue to register their names as a health worker (R) wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suit collects a swab sample from a woman to test for COVID-19, at a primary health centre in Hyderabad on September 4, 2020. NOAH SEELAM / AFP

 

India overtook Brazil on Monday as the country with the second highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, even as key metro train lines re-opened as part of efforts to boost the South Asian nation’s battered economy.

India has emerged in recent weeks as the new global pandemic hotspot, although cases continue to soar across the globe with reported infections worldwide nearing 27 million and deaths surpassing 880,000.

France, Israel and Australia were among the nations forced in recent days to extend travel restrictions or impose new ones to try and contain fresh surges.

India, home to some of the world’s most densely populated cities, has been reporting the highest single-day rises in the world and on Monday it confirmed a new record of nearly 91,000 new cases.

Health workers wearing Personal Protective Equipments (PPE) check the temperature and the oxygen level of an elderly resident during a COVID-19 coronavirus screening in the Dharavi slum, in Mumbai on August 11, 2020. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP)

 

India’s cases have now risen above 4.2 million, surpassing Brazil’s total and making it the second-highest tally behind the United States’ 6.25 million.

However, with India’s economy imploding following months of travel restrictions, authorities pressed on with risky reignition plans.

The metro in the capital of New Delhi began reopening on Monday after a five-month shutdown and 12 other cities began restarting subway services.

Authorities imposed strict rules on passengers, with masks, social distancing and temperature checks mandatory.

During peak hour in New Delhi on Monday morning, carriages were sparsely filled as people followed guidelines dictating that only alternate seats could be occupied.

For total deaths worldwide, the United States has the most with more than 188,000, followed by Brazil with 126,000. India is next with about 71,000 fatalities.

New European spikes

Britain is battling another spike, with the number of daily cases hitting nearly 3,000 on Sunday, a level not seen since late May, according to health ministry figures.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the latest sufferers were predominantly young people.

“It’s important that people don’t allow this illness to infect their grandparents and to lead to the sort of problems that we saw earlier in the year,” he said.

The British government said it would tighten local restrictions in areas showing sharp rises in cases rather than impose a second national lockdown for fear of its effect on the economy.

A pedestrian walks past a display of facemasks, being sold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Glasgow on September 2, 2020 after the Scottish government imposed fresh restrictions on the city after an rise in cases of the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP)

 

In neighbouring France authorities placed seven more regions covering major cities including Lille, Strasbourg and Dijon on high alert Sunday as increases in infections accelerate.

Of the country’s 101 “departments”, 28 are now considered “red zones” where authorities will be able to impose exceptional measures to slow the virus if necessary.

The curbs come after France reported a record of nearly 9,000 daily cases on Friday, In Paris masks are now mandatory in all public spaces.

Lockdowns have also been imposed or extended Israel and Australia in recent days.

Israel decided Sunday to begin “a nightly closure” of 40 cities and towns with the highest infection rates.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “educational institutions” would be closed and gatherings limited from Monday.

“I know these limitations are not easy, but in the current situation, there’s no way to avoid them,” Netanyahu said.

According to data collected by AFP, Israel has risen to fifth in the world for the number of infections per capita, ahead of Brazil and the United States.

In Spain, the government is trying to restart schools even as it records the highest number of new infections on the European continent.

Some Spanish parents are refusing to send their children back to class for the new school year despite the threat of sanctions from authorities.

“You have your whole life to learn, but if you lose your health, that’s it,” said Aroa Miranda, a 37-year-old mother-of-two in the coastal town of Castellon de la Plana.

“Going back to school is being treated like an experiment, we’re like guinea pigs… for my eight-year-old, I will pretend he’s ill so I don’t have to send him to school.”

 

 

AFP

Brazil Announces Equal Pay For Male And Female National Football Teams

File photo: Brazil’s Dani Alves (C) and teammates celebrates with the trophy after winning the Copa America after defeating Peru in the final match of the football tournament at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 7, 2019. Carl DE SOUZA / AFP

 

Brazil’s football federation announced on Wednesday it will pay men and women the same amount for representing the national team, one of the few countries to make such a pledge.

“The CBF has equalled the prize money and allowances between men’s and women’s football, which means the women players will earn the same as the men,” said the federation’s president Rogerio Caboclo.

It means Brazil’s little known female players such as Marta, Formiga and Leticia Santos will receive the same fees and allowances as global superstars such as Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino.

Australia, Norway and New Zealand are amongst the nations to previously decide to pay their men and women internationals the same amount.

In March 2019, the US women’s team, the current world champions, sued their federation alleging discrimination over pay and conditions.

A judge dismissed their case in May this year but the team appealed.

Brazil’s football association CBF said its decision was communicated to the women’s team and their Swedish coach Pia Sundhage in March.

“This is historic. Being a part of this is very special, I’m very grateful,” said Sundhage, who also welcomed the news that for the first time a woman, Duda Luizelli, has been put in charge of coordinating the national women’s team.

Equal pay was first applied back in March when Brazil took part in the invitational Tournoi de France, finishing last out of four sides.

The measure will be applied to the national teams participating in the Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo next year, as well as the next men’s and women’s World Cup tournaments.

“It will be proportionally the same as what FIFA proposes for women, that is to say, there will be no more gender difference in remuneration between men and women,” said Caboclo, the federation president.

The men’s team is the most successful in football having won the World Cup a record five times.

They have also won their continental championship, the Copa America, nine times, most recently on home soil in 2019.

But the women’s team is also amongst the strongest in the game, having reached the World Cup final in 2007 and back-to-back Olympic finals in 2004 and 2008.

The CBF said later in a statement that equal pay was “part of the journey of transformation” towards equality in football, the most popular sport in the country, which has 36 professional clubs.

Last year, the Brazilian professional league also authorized equal prize money for women and men.

However, when it comes to club football, the gap in pay between men and women, not just in Brazil but all over the world, remains huge.

The highest-paid players in the women’s game earn six-figure salaries, while male players such as Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus take home sums more than 100 times greater.

AFP