Brazil’s President-Elect Bolsonaro Accused Of Attacking The Media

Jair Bolsonaro                                                                                                           MAURO PIMENTEL / AFP


Brazil’s far-right President-elect Jair Bolsonaro has wasted no time showing his hostility to the independent news media, raising fears for the press under his administration, watchdog groups say.

International media associations are just the latest group to voice concern about the Latin American giant’s future under the former army captain, who has made derogatory comments against women, gays and blacks, and defends the use of torture by Brazil’s brutal military dictatorship (1964-1985).

The media controversy blew up after Bolsonaro threatened in one of his first interviews as president-elect to cut state advertising in newspapers or broadcasters that “behave disgracefully.”

That prompted the Inter American Press Association to say it was worried over “reprisals Brazil’s president-elect would take against the press.”

“We are concerned that the president-elect does not draw a distinction between government and state, in saying that he would use the public administration to punish media that turn out to be uncomfortable, denying them official advertising,” said the organization’s president, Maria Elvira Dominguez.

The Brazilian Investigative Journalism Association said it was fearful for the future given Bolsonaro’s comments, and the National Newspaper Association also registered its disapproval.

“Possible differences of opinion with the news media cannot be confused with unacceptable retaliation against newspapers via state advertising money,” said its president, Marcelo Rech.

The president-elect did not shy from naming names of the media outlets that have invoked his wrath.

First on the list: Brazil’s leading newspaper, Folha de Sao Paulo, which broke a story on an illicit campaign to send bulk WhatsApp messages slandering Bolsonaro’s opponent, Fernando Haddad, and his Workers’ Party.

The contracts with the companies that sent the message were worth up to $3.2 million, the newspaper reported — money that was not declared to the electoral authorities.

The paper also infuriated Bolsonaro with an investigation that found he had a ghost employee on his payroll as a congressman.

Speaking after the election, Bolsonaro declared his commitment to the free press — then followed it up by saying of Folha: “That newspaper is finished.”

“As far as I’m concerned, media that behave disgracefully will not get federal government funds,” he said.

‘Get used to it’ 

“Get used to it,” Folha fired back Wednesday in an editorial.

“This newspaper will comfortably continue standing guard because it doesn’t depend on federal advertising,” it said.

The Brazilian press “will not stop scrutinizing the workings of power just because those who hold it at the moment employ the tactic of intimidation.”

Folha told AFP it receives less than five percent of its advertising revenue from the federal government.

The newspaper got a surge of public support in the form of shout-outs on social media, as well as new subscriptions.

But Bolsonaro’s supporters have also taken to social media to attack journalists perceived as critical of the politician.

Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders warned last week there has been an increase in both physical attacks and threats against journalists in Brazil’s highly polarized climate.

The Brazilian Investigative Journalism Association said it had registered 141 cases during the campaign.

The Sao Paulo Foreign Correspondents’ Association meanwhile said journalists had reported “countless” stories of physical and verbal harassment, calling on both Bolsonaro and his supporters to respect the Brazilian constitution’s guarantee of freedom of the press.


Mexico’s Lopez Obrador Writes Trump, Hopes Of New Relationship

Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during a press conference at the National Palace in Mexico City after holding a meeting with President Enrique Pena Nieto. ALFREDO ESTRELLA / AFP


Mexico’s incoming president on Sunday said he had floated the idea of a new relationship between the neighbouring countries in a letter to US President Donald Trump.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he sent Trump proposals on bilateral relations — which have reached one of their lowest points in decades — in the areas of migration, public safety and trade.

Lopez Obrador, who won the presidential election July 1 with 53 per cent of the vote and will take office in December, said Sunday that the letter was sent to Trump through the delegation of senior US officials that visited him in Mexico City on July 13.

“It encourages me that we both know how to keep our pledges, and we have faced adversity successfully, we’ve managed to put our voters and citizens at the centre, displace the establishment or the predominant regime,” Lopez Obrador wrote.

While noting that he is awaiting Trump’s response, Lopez Obrador published the letter “so that all Mexicans know our position on the new relationship we want” with the United States.

The incoming president said Mexico wants a relationship of “respect, friendship and focused on development cooperation,” and said that the more developed Mexico is, the fewer people will have to leave their country in search of work.

US-Mexican relations have been severely strained since Trump won the 2016 presidential election after a campaign laced with anti-Mexican insults, attacks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and vows to make Mexico pay for a wall on their border.

Since then, US tariffs on Mexican steel and aluminum, Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy on undocumented immigrants, and President Enrique Pena Nieto’s two abrupt cancellations of visits to Washington have only added to the tension.

Lopez Obrador, 64, pledged during the campaign to “put (Trump) in his place.”

But both men say they had a positive phone call the day after Mexico’s July 1 election, and Lopez Obrador has invited Trump to his inauguration.


Buhari Congratulates President-Elect, George Weah Of Liberia

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated former football star, Mr George Weah, on his election as the next President of the Republic of Liberia.

Buhari also commended the people of the West African country on the peaceful conduct of the polls, according to a statement from his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, on Friday.

“On behalf of the Government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari warmly congratulates Mr George Weah on his election as the next President of the Republic of Liberia,” Buhari said.

While praising the efforts of the National Election Commission of Liberia and both local and international observers, Buhari noted their contributions have helped shape the democratic process of the once war-torn country.

He also described Weah’s victory as an affirmation of the will of the Liberian people to remain united, peaceful and prosperous.

On the need for a more regional cooperation within the continent, Buhari pledged Nigeria’s readiness to work with Liberia on issues of mutual interest at bilateral, regional and global levels for the benefit of citizens of both countries.

The statement read in part: “The Nigerian leader also commends outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, under whose 12-year watch Liberia had transformed from being a pariah state to a country doing remarkably well on many fronts such as, women and civil rights issue, peace building and consolidation, ECOWAS and the Mano River Union.

“President Buhari also notes that President Sirleaf deserves special commendation for the statesmanship she has shown in ensuring free and fair elections that will pave the way for a peaceful transfer of political power from one democratically elected leader to another for the first time in 73 years.”

Democrats Reject Trump Son-In-Law Appointment

Democrats Reject Trump Son-In-Law AppointmentDemocrats in the United States have rejected the appointment of President-Elect Donald Trump’s son-in-law as a Senior White House Adviser.

They want the Justice Department and Office of Legal Ethics to review 36-year-old Jared Kushner’s appointment over concerns of nepotism and conflict of interest.

His lawyer however says the post does not breach anti-nepotism laws.

Mr Kushner is married to Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka and he is expected to step down as boss of his family’s real estate business.

He will also step down as publisher of the New York Observer newspaper in order to comply with ethics laws.

In his new role as a Senior White House Adviser, Mr Kushner will initially focus on trade policy and the middle east.

Donald Trump Makes Two Key Appointments

Donald TrumpDonald TrumpUS President-elect, Donald Trump, has awarded key roles in his incoming team to a top Republican party official and a conservative media chief.

Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), Reince Priebus, will be his Chief of Staff while Stephen Bannon, from the right-wing Breitbart News Network, will serve as Mr Trump’s Chief Strategist.

In a statement on Sunday afternoon, the transition team emphasized that the two men would work “as equal partners to transform the federal government”.

Mr Trump described Mr Priebus and Mr Bannon as “highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to a historic victory”.

Mr Bannon said on Sunday: “I want to thank President-elect Trump for the opportunity to work with Reince in driving the agenda of the Trump administration.

“We had a very successful partnership on the campaign, one that led to victory. We will have that same partnership in working to help President-elect Trump achieve his agenda.”

Trump Says Obamacare Key Provisions To Remain

Donald Trump Says Obamacare Key Provisions To RemainUS President-elect, Donald Trump says he might not completely abolish President Barack Obama’s healthcare bill, popularly called Obamacare.

Mr Trump, who has pledged to repeal the 2010 law, says he will keep the ban on insurers denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.

He also says he favours allowing young adults to be insured on their parents’ policies.

According to the President-elect, it was his meeting with Mr Obama on Thursday that made him reconsider his calls for an all-out replacement of the affordable care act.

Meanwhile, anti-Trump protests continue in the United States, with violence reported in some parts of the country.

Thousands have remained unhappy with president-elect Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S presidential elections, and have continued to take to the streets of major cities, in a third day of more violent protests.

Following Wednesday’s election results, the protesters had since begun protesting across the cities of Miami, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, while smashing windows and starting up fires as a way of expressing their frustration.

Unperturbed, Mr Donald Trump, has said that he will soon be making ‘very important decision’ on persons that will be in his cabinet.

Mr Trump announced the plan on Friday on his Twitter handle.

“Busy day planned in New York. Will soon be making some very important decisions on the people who will be running our government,” the tweet read.

Adams Oshiomhole Emerges As BRACED Chairman

OshiomholeThe Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has emerged as the new Chairman of the South South Governors Forum following a meeting which is recorded as the first to be held shortly after the unveiling of the Calabar International Convention Center.

The governors of the BRACED Commission unanimously endorsed the Edo State Governor following his wealth of experience which other South South state governors believe can be beneficial to the region.

Adams Oshiomhole, speaking after unveiling the Calabar International Convention Center in Cross River State, South South Nigeria, described the center as beautiful image to Nigeria’s Tourism Sector.

Speaking on the importance of the 5,000 Capacity Calabar International Convention Center to the South South region, the new Chairman described the edifice as a well packaged parting gift from Liyel Imoke to not just Cross River State but the South South region and Nigeria as a whole.

The Comrade, who was overwhelmed by the project, described Liyel Imoke as a silent achiever in spite of the financial constraints the state is faced with.

Oshiomhole reasoned that by this feat, Imoke has laid a solid foundation for his successor to build on, thereby boosting the tourism map of the state.

In his remarks, Imoke disclosed that, the project which was 95% complete, is a catalyst to bringing alive other tourism related investments in the state.

The BRACED comprises of Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta States and had in attendance representatives who were part of installing its new leadership.

Do Not Expect Miracle From Buhari’s Administration – Atiku

Atiku abubakarNigeria’s Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has asked Nigerians not to expect a miracle from the incoming government of the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Channels TV correspondent, Seun Okinbaloye, the former Vice President stressed that the challenges facing the country are enormous, stating that such would require a step-by-step approach to solving them.

He also noted that devolution of powers should be an urgent matter the Buhari administration should pursue, expressing his fears that too much powers lie within the office of the President of Nigeria.

Alhaji Abubakar decried the weakness of the Nigeria institution, advising that Nigerians should be patient with the incoming government in order to achieve its campaign promises.


Resident Doctors Ask Government To Lift Embargo On Employment

doctorsThe National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has pleaded with the Nigerian government to lift the embargo on employment of its members that has been on for over three years.

On Tuesday, the doctors expressed displeasure with the embargo placed on the employment of its members in both the State and Federal Government Hospitals.

The plea was made by the National President of the Group, Prince Dan-Jumbo at a brief in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital in Rivers State.

Apparently worried by the state of affairs in the Health Sector, the NARD President queried the personnel funds that run into billions released to the Federal Ministry of Health when resident Doctors are not being employed, calling on the President-elect, General Mohammadu Buhari, to look into the plight of the Health Workers and residency programmes in the country, to avert any possible crisis in the sector.

The group (NARD) also frowned at the non payment of the wages of its members in Kogi, Benue, Edo and Lagos States, appealing to the various State Governments to fulfill their obligations to the Doctors and to take health matters more seriously.

I Will Handover A Nigeria Completely Free Of Terrorist Strongholds – Jonathan

JonathanPresident Goodluck Jonathan pledged Thursday in Abuja that he will do all within his powers to ensure that all Nigerian territory still held by terrorists and insurgents are totally liberated before May 29, 2015.

Receiving a delegation of Heads of Customs from the West and Central African Region of the World Customs Organisation led by the Secretary-General of the organisation, Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, President Jonathan said that he was determined to hand over a country completely free of terrorist strongholds to the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari.

The President said that ongoing military operations in the North-East had already recorded huge successes, with two states completely free from the control of terrorists, while operations in the third state had reached a concluding stage.

“We can now say two states are completely free from terrorist control, while in the third state, it is only in one Local Government Area that they are still present. That is in the Sambisa Forest,” he said.

President Jonathan noted that the military had already moved into the forest to seize the remaining camps of the terrorists, adding that the recent rescue of about 300 abducted girls and women was further evidence of the success being achieved in the ongoing operation.

On his decision to concede victory to the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, before all the results of the presidential elections were announced, President Jonathan said that elections must be approached from a nationalistic point of view.

“Our elections should be about where Nigeria is going. If Nigeria is moving forward, it is for the good of all Nigerians. My children and grandchildren will live and grow in this country and contribute to it.

“I always tell my colleagues to leave office when their time is up. We are trying to encourage African leaders not to remain in power as kings until death,” he said.

Mr. Mikuriya commended the President for supporting the reform of the Nigeria Customs Service, noting that other African countries had already started emulating the vision, strategy, adoption to new technology and result- oriented training of officers that were captured in Nigeria’s reforms.

Oshiomhole Reacts To Buhari’s Visit To Aso Rock

OshiomoleEdo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has described the cordial relationship between the outgoing Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, and President-elect, General Mohammadu Buhari, as one of the positive things coming from Nigeria to the international community in a long while.

Governor Oshiomhole, during the convocation ceremony of the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma was reacting to the visit of the President-elect to President Jonathan at the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja.

He remarked that the current circumstance shows that Nigeria has moved ahead.

Anyim, Sylva Head Transition Committee As FG Releases Programme

The federal government has released the programme of activities for the transition processThe Federal Government has reeled out a one week programme of activities for the transition process from the Goodluck Jonathan administration to the administration of President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari.

This is sequel to a meeting between the parallel Transition Committee and Inauguration Committee that was held in the Presidential Villa.

Addressing State House correspondents after the meeting of the Transition Committees, Secretary to the Federal Government, Anyim Pius Anyim, said that there would be Jumat prayer, interdenominational service, inauguration dinner, and swearing-in ceremony immediately after the swearing-in and gala night.

Senator Anyim, who is the Chairman of the Transition Committee, told State House correspondents that the mandate of the two committees is to draw up programmes of activities for the inauguration ceremony, ‎arrange invitations and accommodation for foreign and local dignitaries, organise approved programme of activities, draw up budget‎ for the programme of activities and co-opt into subcommittees, persons that may be necessary to assist in the discharge of activities.

The transition committee is made up of 14 members from the present government and 13 from the incoming administration.

Former Governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, is the Co-chair of the Transition Committee.

Members of the Anyim-led committee are; Chief of Defence, Air Chief Marshall, Alex Badeh; Ministers of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed, Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe, Aviation, Osita Chidoka, Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Edem Duke, Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Akon Eyakenyi, Foreign Affairs, Aminu Wali, Interior, Abba Moro, office of National Security Adviser, Bello Fadile, IGP Solomon Aresa, Minister of State Defence, Austin Akobundu, Commander Brigades of Guards, A. B. Omozoje, and Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, Permanent Secretary, Presidency (Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation).

The members of the incoming government’s committee are; Timipre Sylva, (co-chairman), Pius Akinyelure, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Sharon Ikeazor, Tony Anwuka, Kawu Baraje, John Shagaya, Hadiza Bala-Usman, Babagana Kingibe, Ismaila Funtua, Senator Binta Masi Garba, Babachir Lawal and Samson Osagie.