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Lula speaks at a rally earlier this week. Photo: Mauro Pimentel / AFP / Getty Images

After a marathon session, Brazil's Supreme Court rejected a plea from former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to remain free while he appeals his conviction for corruption by a 6-5 margin. That means Lula, who left office in 2011 with sky-high approval ratings and currently leads the polls as a candidate in Brazil's October presidential election, may begin his 12-year sentence in the coming days.

The big picture: Politics in Brazil, the world's fifth most populous country and the ninth largest global economy, have been engulfed by corruption scandals. Lula's successor, Dilma Rousseff, was removed from office in 2016 amid corruption allegations while sitting president Michel Temer has faced similar claims.

What's next:

  • From the FT: "He will still have the right to continue appealing and can remain a pre-candidate in the elections until at least August, when the official candidates will be decided. But if he has not won his appeal by then, he will most likely be struck off the list because of a law that prohibits those with criminal convictions upheld on appeal from running for public office."
  • From the NYT: "His supporters contend that removing the country’s most popular presidential candidate from the ballot would be an affront to democracy. ... Legal experts say that Mr. da Silva could try to fight the electoral court’s ruling if he remained free, but that his imprisonment makes that quest all but impossible."
  • From Bloomberg: "As investors breathe a sigh of relief that recent market-friendly policies are safe for now, none of the centrist, reform-minded candidates are polling beyond single digits. In fact, the most popular hopeful after Lula is Jair Bolsonaro, a former Army captain who says he knows nothing about economics."

Go deeper

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sat down with CNN on Thursday for their first joint interview since the election.

The big picture: In the hour-long segment, the twosome laid out plans for responding to the pandemic, jump-starting the economy and managing the transition of power, among other priorities.

The quick FCC fix that would get more students online

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As the pandemic forces students out of school, broadband deployment programs aren't going to move fast enough to help families in immediate need of better internet access. But Democrats at the Federal Communications Commission say the incoming Biden administration could put a dent in that digital divide with one fast policy change.

State of play: An existing FCC program known as E-rate provides up to $4 billion for broadband at schools, but Republican FCC chairman Ajit Pai has resisted modifying the program during the pandemic to provide help connecting students at home.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
59 mins ago - Politics & Policy

America's hidden depression

Biden introduces his pick for Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, on Dec. 1. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Biden faces a fragile recovery that could easily fall apart, as the economy remains in worse shape than most people think.

Why it matters: There is a recovery happening. But it's helping some people immensely and others not at all. And it's that second part that poses a massive risk to the Biden-Harris administration's chance of success.