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Bolsonaro (L) arrives for his inauguration. Photo: Sergio Lima /AFP/Getty Images
Brazil’s new president seemed to confirm the fears of his critics and the hopes of many of his supporters within hours of taking office on New Year's Day.
The big picture: The former army captain has a penchant for insulting women, gay people and minorities, and an affinity for military rule. The stock market loves him so far, and he’s viewed as a natural ally by the Trump administration.
Martin Aguirre, editor-in-chief of Uruguay’s El Pais newspaper and a former Axios fellow, emails from Montevideo that “Trump is going to love this guy.”
Two key questions:
For those reasons, Daniel Erikson argues for Axios Expert Voices that despite his strident criticism of China on the campaign trail, Bolsonaro is “likely to assume a more pragmatic attitude toward Beijing once in office.”
Moscow in winter. Photo: Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images
Paul Whelan, a former U.S. marine, was reportedly charged with espionage today in Moscow. Whelan has been held for six days and was visited yesterday by U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman. His lawyer says he pleaded not guilty.
The bottom line: "[F]ormer CIA officers say that, far from a counterintelligence coup, the American’s detention is most likely payback for the U.S. arrest of confessed Russian agent Maria Butina," The Daily Beast reports.
The big picture: Western European nations are saddled with the highest electricity prices in the world due to high fees and taxes, Axios’ Amy Harder writes. Prices in other countries, such as the U.S., are far lower — partly because of lower taxes. Many Middle Eastern nations (not shown) have even lower prices.
Police clash with protesters in Kerala. Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images
Violent protests have "paralyzed" the Indian state of Kerala, per BBC, after two women made history Wednesday by entering the Sabarimala Hindu temple, which women of "menstruating age" had previously been barred from.
What's happening: Right-wing mobs "hurling crude bombs and stones ... rampaged through the streets of Kerala" today, the Times of India reports. Dozens were injured.
What to watch, from Joydeep Sen of Oxford Analytica:
A voter arrives at a polling place in Lubumbashi. Photo: Caroline Thiron/AFP/Getty Images
The government in the Democratic Republic of the Congo cut internet and texting services across the country this week following Sunday's election, claiming “fictitious results” were swirling on social media, per Reuters.
The government also blocked a radio station and an opposition-owned TV station. During the election itself — which was marred by irregularities and massive logistical hurdles — three opposition strongholds were not allowed to vote, officially because of Ebola and security concerns.
What's next: We could be waiting a while for results. They likely won't all be in by Sunday's deadline, the country's electoral commission says. When the results are announced, violence is highly possible. Congo has never had a peaceful transfer of power.
The big picture: James Griffiths writes for CNN that Congolese internet users might be "getting a preview of just what Chinese-crafted cyberspace rules look like." He notes that "internet shutdowns have spiked sharply around the world in recent years."
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Three China-related stories for your radar screen ...
2. China's space agency said today that it had landed a probe on the far side of the moon for the first time in history. That's a big breakthrough for the country as it establishes itself as a major player in space.
3. President Xi Jinping said Taiwan "must and will be" reunited with China in a speech Wednesday, and he warned that Beijing could use force to make that happen. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan would never accept that.
A year ago, a source told Mark MacKinnon of the Globe and Mail: “If you want to understand this whole Trump-Russia thing, look into a guy named Boris Birshtein.” MacKinnon followed that trail to a wealthy Toronto neighborhood, and far beyond:
New Year's celebrations in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Photo: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images
"It's not gonna be just Apple. I think there are a heck of a lot of U.S. companies that have a lot of sales in China that are basically going to be watching their earnings be downgraded next year until, you know, we get a deal with China."— Kevin Hassett, chairman of Trump's Council of Economic Advisers
Thanks for stopping by — see you Monday evening!