Massive protests in Brazil demand ouster of president and direct elections

first_imgProtesters block highway during strike. The banner reads: ‘Out, Temer. Out, all corrupt. Elections now.’May 29 — In one of the largest demonstrations in decades in Brazil’s capital of Brasilia, some 150,000 workers, farmers, youth and members of social organizations protested on May 24 the attack on Brazil’s social security programs and laws protecting workers. They demanded that unelected president Michel Temer get out, and his ouster be followed by direct elections for that office.The mass response to ruling-class attacks continues to grow in Brazil. The ruling-class parties are all involved in a corruption scandal, and the economy is in free-fall. The possibility that this struggle will go far beyond replacing an individual — Temer — is a reality.The May 24 protest was immediately met by an attack from police, who injured 49 people and killed one, using rubber bullets, tear and pepper gas, and clubs. People fought back, occupying some government buildings.Temer took the drastic step of ordering 1,500 army and navy troops into the streets. Memories of Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship aroused more resistance. The congressional opposition, even from his own party, forced Temer to withdraw the troops within hours.According to the May 26-30 issue of the newspaper Hora do Povo, the march was organized by the central unions and federations: “Metal workers, chemists, domestic workers, teachers, nurses, construction workers, security and service workers, students, women’s movements and party leaders came in caravans from all the states to Brasília to say in a loud and clear tone: ‘No’ to government attacks on welfare programs and labor rights.”The Brasilia protest was a follow-up to the very successful April 28 general strike involving some 35 million to 40 million workers. The strike called for defense of public welfare programs and of the CLT — the collection of laws that protect workers’ rights — and the ouster of the Temer government.A public meeting on May 28 led by musicians and other artists gathered 100,000 people in Rio de Janeiro and ended with people shouting what have become the unifying demands of the left and workers’ movements: “Temer out!” and “Direct elections now!” (Vermelho, May 28) The demand for direct elections is for the president to be elected by the people instead of by the Congress.Will Temer leave office?Temer, never a popular politician, has hit a new low. According to the May 27 New York Times, polls show that 88 percent of the people want him out; other polls show only 5 percent support him. Brazil’s economy shrank by nearly 8 percent in the last two years, and unemployment stands at 14 percent. (Al-Jazeera, May 28)Even sectors of the ruling class that had earlier backed Temer are beginning to desert him. They seek to replace him with someone who would defuse the growing popular revolt, while leaving a regime in place that continues his anti-poor, pro-imperialist austerity program.According to the May 5 Workers World: “The austerity measures include extension of the working day and the working week, reduction of the required lunch break time, raising the minimum retirement age to 65, pension reductions, lower pay for outsourced workers and lowering the restrictions on outsourcing, and no longer requiring bosses to extend benefits to workers hired for 240 days or less. These policies aim to further destabilize the precarious and low-wage workforce of Brazil. The workers, with good reason, are outraged.”The biggest of the powerful ruling-class media firms, O Globo, has called Temer “discardable.” But O Globo wants the Congress to name Temer’s successor. This would be an “indirect” election.Temer claimed on May 26 that he wouldn’t step down, which is no surprise since he faces corruption charges that could land him in jail if he’s no longer president. The longer he clings to the office, however, the longer a mass struggle can develop that unites the workers, landless peasants, farmers, women, youth and all the left political parties.Temer is president now because last August the Brazilian ruling oligarchy conspired to oust elected President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers Party and replace her with someone who would, without hesitation, cater to the interests of imperialism and Brazil’s super-rich. Their goal was an open attack on Brazilian workers and farmers, with freedom to pillage the natural resources of this vast country whatever the cost to the environment.Internationally, the parliamentary coup against Rousseff also strengthened U.S. imperialism in Brazil and all Latin America, where Brazil’s role is so important. This maneuver had the blessing of U.S. politicians and Wall Street — as could be seen in the many articles pro-capitalist Forbes magazine published in 2016 attacking Rousseff.Corruption and impeachmentLast year Congress impeached Rousseff, accusing her of corruption based on a technicality. She had made administrative adjustments to the national budget that were standard presidential practice and normally not legal grounds for impeachment. Rousseff had already made concessions to Brazilian capital, but they were insufficient to stop its assault. These concessions, however, did weaken mass support for her and for the Workers Party.More than 200 representatives in the Congress that impeached Rousseff were themselves facing investigation for their role in actual crimes. They impeached Rousseff to try to stop the investigations.The politician who led the impeachment battle, Eduardo Cunha, has subsequently been convicted of corruption and sentenced to 15 years in prison. A similar fate hangs over Temer.Former President Luis Ignacio da Silva (Lula) of the Workers Party is still a popular favorite for the regularly scheduled 2018 presidential elections. There is some discussion of arranging an agreement between Lula and another former president, a conservative, to replace Temer.If the ruling class is unable to arrange a smooth ouster of Temer, and instead mass action throws him out, this will open space for a bigger working-class struggle and victory.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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Scale-dependent variation in competitive ability among encrusting Arctic species

first_imgFinding evidence for climate change in the sea has been less easy than on land. As ice-loading of nearshore waters (through ice sheet collapses) seems a most likely signal of climate warming, we looked at communities likely to be affected by changing disturbance, i.e. those encrusting boulders in shallow water. The structures of such assemblages at high latitude are highly hierarchical in which if uninterrupted by disturbance (ice-scour) succession would lead to domination by just a single species. However, unless pecking orders from place to place involve the same specific species, with the same competitive rankings, monopolisation will remain only local. To see how pecking orders varied, we examined variability in competitive performance of common species in a high Arctic lithophillic assemblage at several spatial scales. These were sampled 101, 103 and 105 m apart on the west coast of Spitsbergen, and 106 m apart, achieved by sampling southern Iceland and the Faeroe islands. We found that higher taxonomic membership was the major factor determining overgrowth performance of species. Overgrowth performance of each study species changed relatively little between samples, the same good competitors being top performers in any samples where they occurred. Overgrowth performance of each study species was also most similar in samples at the smallest spatial scale. Apart from this, the performance of each study species did not, however, become more dissimilar with increasing distance between samples. Most noteworthy was that susceptibility to variation in overgrowth performance at the regional 105 m scale altered with competitive ranking, i.e. pioneer and dominant species lost and won nearly all encounters respectively, wherever they were. The performance of mid-ranking species was much more variable. These results suggest that whilst the patterns of succession may differ from place to place, the end results will not. Our study provides data to support the theory that appreciation of scale is crucial to understanding community structure, diversity and potential for response to climate change. If ice-loading (disturbance) in polar waters does decrease, we suggest from our findings that a very small number of encrusting species may monopolise large areas of the shallows. Before this, though, we predict that different mid-ranked species will become more common from site to site, with limited reduction of ice (disturbance) increasing regional diversity.last_img read more

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“READERS FORUM” FEBRUARY 14, 2019

first_imgWe hope that today’s “READERS FORUM” will provoke honest and open dialogue concerning issues that we, as responsible citizens of this community, need to address in a rational and responsible way?WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND TODAY?Todays“Readers Poll” question is: Do you feel that former Vanderburgh Sheriff Eric Williams will do a credible job as a new member of the library board?Please go to our link of our media partner Channel 44 News located in the upper right-hand corner of the City-County Observer so you can get the up-to-date news, weather, and sports.If you would like to advertise on the CCO please contact us at City-County [email protected]:  Any comments posted in this column do not represent the views or opinions of the City-County Observer or our advertisers.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

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MSBs – Too hot to handle?

first_img 9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Many credit unions have become concerned recently about having money services businesses (MSBs) as members. It’s no secret that regulators are looking at MSBs through a newly enhanced risk lens.Does that mean that you should not have MSBs as members? The answer is a resounding NO! It is possible to have MSBs as members while still managing the potential risk that may be associated with these businesses.So, how do you do it? First, you will need to establish a special monitoring program for these accounts that starts at account opening. Think “enhanced due diligence” when you open these accounts. In addition to typical CIP procedures, you’ll want to gather additional information such as what type of MSB they are, what MSB activities they engage in, whether they are registered with FinCEN, whether they have a BSA/AML program and establishing what typical transactions for them will be, to name a few.Then you need to conduct a risk assessment of the MSB and their activity. Areas to include in the assessment would be typical transactions, services offered, ownership, office locations, level of revenues produced by financial activities, as well as other considerations. Be sure to include traditional BSA/AML activities in the risk assessment. The results of the risk assessment will determine whether additional due diligence is required such as a review of their AML program, conducting an on-site visit, review of their training and written procedures, etc. continue reading »last_img read more

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Bucksport softball team off to 3-0 start

first_imgBUCKSPORT — The Bucksport softball team has kicked off its season with a 3-0 start, scoring double-digit runs in each of those games.Following their 16-4 season-opening win over Washington Academy (2-1), the Golden Bucks shut out both Dexter (1-2) and Mount Desert Island (0-2) in the past week.Bucksport 12, Dexter 0Bucksport’s Maggie Bires fired a three-hitter, striking out eight and walking two, to lead the Golden Bucks past Dexter in six innings on Saturday.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textAlso for Bucksport, Julia Zavalza drove in three runs with a double and two singles. Makenzie Smith had three singles and an RBI, and Emily Hunt and Kaylee Grindle each had two singles and an RBI.Bucksport 14, MDI 0Katelin Saunders recorded a five-inning no-hitter to lead the Golden Bucks by MDI on Thursday.Saunders walked just one batter and struck out nine while Makenzie Smith doubled twice and drove in three runs. Emily Hunt and Kaylee Grindle each added two singles, and Hunt also drove in two runs. Julia Zavalza contributed a double and two RBIs.Hermon 13, Ellsworth 1Katelynn Bagley slammed a solo homer for Ellsworth (1-1) on Tuesday en route to its loss to Hermon (3-0).WA 7, GSA 2Washington Academy beat George Stevens Academy (1-2) on Saturday.Foxcroft 16, MDI 6Aubrey Boyce recorded a double and single for MDI in its loss to Foxcroft (3-0) on Saturday.Ellsworth 11, GSA 0Callie Hammer led Ellsworth (1-1) with two doubles, a single and three RBIs in the team’s season-opening win over GSA on Thursday.Also for Ellsworth, Leah Stevens hit two singles with two RBIs and scored three runs. Breann Cummings and Shelby Cote each singled and doubled with two RBIs. Pitcher Kate Whitney fired a two-hitter with 13 strikeouts and one walk.Olivia Stevenson singled twice for GSA.last_img read more

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Rivals play to tie in rain

first_imgHaving a “bounce go your way” can often be the most important spark in a close rivalry game. On the same account, a bounce can easily go the other way and cost your team a victory. For the University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team, as well as its opponents, the Marquette Golden Eagles, Wednesday night’s downpour gave both teams plenty of bounces — but rarely a chance to finish them — in a wild double-overtime thriller that concluded in a 1-1 tie.”As the field got wetter, it seemed to play more to their advantage because our balls in behind their defense weren’t as effective. They would roll right out of bounds or to the keeper,” rain-soaked sophomore forward Brandon Miller said after the game. “That ball was just sliding all over the place. It was hard to get the ball where we want it, down by our feet where it can be controlled. It’s always tough to play on a surface this slick and fast.”Despite the draw, bringing the Badgers’ record to 5-5-4, the offense once again looked much more in sync as, for the second game in a row, they were able score the game’s first goal. Junior midfielder Victor Diaz added to his team-leading ten points with a dazzling assist to senior Erik Ortega just 9:33 into the game. With the ball in the left corner close to the 18-yard box, Diaz placed the ball right on the head of a cutting Ortega, who flicked the ball in past Marquette goalie Matt Pyzdrowski.”[That first goal] meant a lot, especially since we have struggled create some really good chances on offense,” Ortega said of his tally, the first of the season for him. “We’ve always had really good buildup, but for some reason we haven’t been able to capitalize. “That goal was good for us because we need to get that early goal to give us confidence.”The rest of the half featured more chances from the Badger offensive lineup that included three forwards — Diaz, Miller and Ortega. Those three alone out-shot the entire Marquette team in the first half, as the forwards combined for seven shots — two on goal — compared to the two from the Golden Eagles.Badger head coach Jeff Rohrman thought the offensive pressure was very good, even though they only tallied one goal. “We did a lot of good work going forward, and we just were not able to reward ourselves for that in terms of putting the ball in the net,” Rohrman said. “At the end of the day, it’s a game where all of our guys walk out of this knowing that maybe we let one get away. We had four, five, maybe six chances in the 6-yard box that we just didn’t convert on.”Wisconsin, with its one-goal lead, came out of the locker room looking to start the second half on the same note it started the game with, but the players were met right away by a motivated Golden Eagles squad that aimed to slow down the Badgers.”We struggled a bit at the beginning of the second half,” Ortega said. “We went away from what we were doing in the first half and tried to push it too much. It wasn’t until late in the second half that we finally slowed the game down.”The rain, which had been sprinkling since the opening whistle, finally started to come down a couple of minutes into that second half, bringing with it a much faster field of play, something that in turn turned up the dial on an already intense game. Ortega, unlike Miller, was quick to say that he believed the rain “played to his advantages” on the field, making for a faster-paced game.”I enjoy playing in the rain. The ball skips a little bit, but I think the ball passes a little truer than normal,” the senior said.Badger goalkeeper Alex Horwath certainly didn’t enjoy the new bounces the ball was taking. A tricky bounce on a cross in the 73rd minute guided the ball past the sprawled-out sophomore and right to Marquette forward Nick Kay, who finally capitalized on his seventh shot of the night, putting the ball into the far side netting.Following Kay’s goal, the game got increasingly more physical as the rain continued to pour down. With four minutes to go in the second overtime, the referee finally called a storm delay, postponing the game for half an hour and subsequently putting a halt on the momentum of either team. When the teams finally did return to the field, neither seemed able to regain its form, and the game came to a close, nearly an hour after it was scheduled to originally end.last_img read more

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