Jan 3, 2019

Brazil's Bolsonaro targets minority rights on first day in office

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images

Within his first few hours of being in office, Brazil's newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro issued a series of executive orders that "targeted Brazil's indigenous groups, descendants of slaves and the LGBT community," the Associated Press reports.

Details: The orders will make it difficult to establish new land designated for indigenous groups and descendants of former slaves, while also removing LGBT concerns from the responsibilities of the the human rights ministry. LGBT activist Symmy Larrat told the AP that the community doesn't see "any signs there will be any other government infrastructure to handle LGBT issues."

The big picture: The far-right Bolsonaro has promised to crack down on crime and corruption and revitalize the struggling Brazilian economy through pro-market reforms. The latter pledge helped propel Sao Paulo's stock market to a record close on his first day, per the AP.

  • But critics fear Bolsonaro's history of racism, homophobia and praise for military dictators will manifest in policy that undermines human rights, especially for minority groups.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who traveled to Brazil for the inauguration, told Bolsonaro that President Trump is confident that the U.S.-Brazil relationship "will benefit the world and the set of shared values that we believe we can together advance."

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Pelosi calls for removal of acting Navy secretary

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday called for the firing or resignation of acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, following his decision to relieve Capt. Brett Crozier from his command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt last week.

Why it matters: Pelosi said Modly "showed a serious lack of the sound judgment and strong leadership" in firing Crozier, who wrote a letter pleading for help in battling a coronavirus outbreak onboard the ship. The letter was leaked to the press, leading to Crozier's ouster.

Schiff demands that Grenell explain Trump's purge of inspectors general

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to the acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell on Tuesday demanding he turn over documents explaining his management of the intelligence community amid concerns of the politicization of the agency.

Why it matters: The letter, which calls for a response by April 16, comes as President Trump continues his purge of inspectors general across the federal government that he deems disloyal to his administration.