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Cramm for 5/7/21
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THE HIGHLIGHTS

A police operation in Rio de Janeiro is raising human rights concerns. 

 

THE BACKGROUND. 

Jacarezinho is a district in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It’s mostly poor and working-class - and it’s controlled by a drug gang known as Comando Vermelho. Gun battles between the police and gang members in this area are fairly common, but due to the pandemic, law enforcement raids are currently banned unless they’re considered to be “absolutely exceptional.” 

 

THE HAPPENINGS. 

Yesterday, a police operation targeting drug dealers in Jacarezinho left at least 25 people dead, including one police officer and at least two subway passengers whose train got caught in the crossfire. It’s thought to be the deadliest raid in Rio de Janeiro’s history. According to law enforcement, police showed up to serve arrest warrants over a 10-month investigation into the drug gang’s recruitment of minors. Gang members opened fire, leading to a shootout in which police reportedly “executed” people who had already surrendered.

 

THE REACTION. 

The operation is already getting all sorts of backlash. See: people have taken to the streets in protest, human rights activists have accused the police of using excessive force, and the United Nations is calling for an investigation. There are also questions of why the raid was even allowed to occur in the first place after they were banned. 

 

THE TAKE. 

Police operations in Rio de Janeiro are some of the world’s deadliest. Some say this latest raid is yet another example of the “barbarities” that take place in the city. 


THE ACTION

CORONAVIRUS: India just reported nearly 415,000 coronavirus cases in a single day - a new record. This comes as the gov is apparently spending $1.8 billion on a controversial parliament renovation. Over in Brazil, the country surpassed 15 million cases. There are some hopes that things could start to get better after the gov declared it’ll buy an extra 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Meanwhile, Japan is extending a state of emergency in Tokyo and other regions through the end of May - raising concerns about the country’s ability to safely host the Olympics this summer. In the US, jobless claims fell below 500,000 for the first time since last March. It’s not all good news: the unemployment rate actually increased.

 

USA: Florida and Texas just became the latest states to impose new voting limits. In Florida, the governor signed off on a bill that includes stricter voter ID requirements for voting by mail, limits on who can pick up and return a voter’s ballot, a ban on private funding for elections, and stricter drop box rules. Texas took things a step further. Hint: its bill bans election officials from mailing out absentee ballot applications and gives more power to partisan poll watchers. In other news, the South Carolina State House just approved a bill making the electric chair the default for executions of prisoners, while also adding a firing squad to its execution methods. You read that right. Meanwhile, two students and one custodians were injured after a sixth-grade girl opened fire on an East Idaho school. Stay tuned. 

 

WORLD: ICYDK, during World War II, Nazis forced Jews to wear a yellow Star of David with the word “Jude” (Jew). And lately, some anti-vax protesters throughout Germany and London have taken to wearing that same yellow star, except with a phrase translating to “unvaccinated.” Cue major backlash over the fact that anti-vaxxers are essentially equating their situation to Jews in the Holocaust. Now, it looks like Germany’s anti-semitism commissioner is calling on local authorities to ban the use of that star at coronavirus protests. Meanwhile, yesterday, Scotland’s parliamentary elections took place. It’s the first big vote in the UK since 2019. If the Scottish National Party wins by big enough margins, expect calls for another independence referendum. 


WHAT TO KNOW

Hot pizza vending machine:” what’s now on the streets of Rome. Mamma mia! 


SAY WHAT?

“The chances of hitting a populated area are small, but not zero” - a reporter on a Chinese rocket that’s heading back to earth this weekend. Reassuring. 

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