September 21st, 2020.
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro will follow the long-standing tradition of making the first address in the opening of the yearly United Nations General Assembly; this year, however, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the speeches will be recorded and broadcast virtually. Meanwhile, the Brazilian Senate has scheduled to resume some of its regular voting sessions, due to the need of maintaining voting secrecy; senators will be allowed to vote in a “drive-thru” system, without having to leave their cars. Brazil’s Justice and Public Safety minister, André Mendonça, has offered to financially help firefighters who have been deployed to fight the fires currently devastating the Pantanal region, and is discussing with local governors the possibility of deploying the National Force. China’s Center for Disease Control biosecurity chief, Wu Guizhen, has declared her country hopes to have an effective vaccine against COVID-19 ready by November. Finally, a California federal judge has halted president Donald Trump’s intentions of banning the download of China’s most popular messaging app in US territory.
Take a look at our highlights.
Bolsonaro to open first ‘virtual’ UN General Assembly
For the second consecutive year, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro will defend the country’s sovereignty and his environmental policies in his speech at the opening ceremony of the United Nations General Assembly, scheduled for Tuesday. Traditionally, Brazilian presidents are responsible for delivering the first address at every yearly General Assembly meeting. This year, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, all heads of state will record their speeches and broadcast them virtually. Bolsonaro’s UN speech in 2019 was extremely emphatic in its defense of Brazil’s sovereignty over the Amazon; according to the Planalto Palace, this issue has been relatively “pacified” among the international community in 2020, and the speech will focus on trying to repair the country’s environmental image abroad.
Brazilian Senate to resume regular voting sessions
This week, the Brazilian Senate will resume regular in-person voting, after six months of holding remote sessions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The measure will be adopted for the approval of appointments for offices in embassies, the Military Superior Court, and the National Justice Council, which require secret ballots, according to the internal regulations. Sessions and interviews with those appointed for these offices will be broadcast virtually, but senators will be required to vote either in special booths in the Senate building or through a “drive-thru” system, without having to leave their cars.
Brazilian government offers aid to fight Pantanal fires
Brazil’s Justice and Public Safety minister, André Mendonça, said today that the federal government has offered financial aid to pay for the daily wages of firefighters sent to Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul in order to fight the fires which have been ravaging the Pantanal region for the past weeks. The minister also said that the possibility of deploying the National Force in the region is still being assessed. According to a statement, the federal government is discussing with local governments of both states the need for sending in troops, while the government of Mato Grosso has declared it is planning an official request for their deployment.
China hopes to have effective COVID-19 vaccine by November
Wu Guizhen, chief biosecurity expert of China’s Center for Disease Control, said in an interview this Sunday that she expects her country to have an effective vaccine against the novel coronavirus able to be applied en masse on its population by November. China has currently four vaccines in final testing stages, produced by pharmaceutical companies CanSino, Sinovac, Sinopharm, and one developed by the Wuhan Biological Institute. Wu Guizhen did not disclose which of them seems the most likely candidate, but claimed she has already taken one of them in April. The first one to be tested in humans, precisely in April, was CanSino’s vaccine, developed in a partnership with the Academy of Military Science of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
Judge blocks Trump’s Chinese app download ban
United States magistrate judge Laurel Beeler, of the Northern District of California, has granted a preliminary injunction halting president Donald Trump’s administration from implementing restrictions that would remove Chinese messaging app WeChat and any updates to it from US app stores and prevent American users from sending or receiving money through it. The judge agreed to several concerns regarding freedom of speech rights raised by user groups, saying that such a measure would trample on First Amendment freedoms guaranteed to the Chinese-American community “to speak, to worship, to read and react to the press, and to organize and associate for numerous purposes.” WeChat, owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., is China’s most popular mobile app, with 19 million daily active users and over 1.2 billion monthly users worldwide.