October 19th, 2020.
A History teacher in France was beheaded by an Islamic militant after showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during one of his classes. Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has reiterated that any eventual COVID-19 vaccinations will not be mandatory unless his Ministry of Health determines so. Chico Rodrigues, a Brazilian senator for the state of Roraima recently arrested by Federal Police agents with money stashed in his underwear and between his buttocks, declared that he did so in “an impulsive act”, trying to protect money which he would allegedly use to pay his employees. Exit polls in the Bolivian presidential elections, held this Sunday, are indicating the victory of left-wing candidate Luis Arce, a protégé of ousted president Evo Morales, currently exiled in Argentina. Finally, radical protesters in Chile have once again burned down churches in the city’s capital, Santiago.
Take a look at our highlights.
Teacher beheaded in France after showing Muhammad cartoons
A 47-year-old History teacher who showed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his students in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, a suburb of the French capital, Paris, was beheaded on Friday by a young man of Chechen origin. Samuel Paty was described by students and colleagues as a caring man who loved his profession and used his classes to promote debates – such as the one in which he showed the cartoons of Islam’s prophet to discuss freedom of speech. The 18-year-old murderer, born in Moscow and living in France after obtaining a residence visa this year, didn’t attend Paty’s school and was shot dead by the police in the neighboring city of Éragny while holding an air gun and a knife. Hundreds gathered around the school where Paty taught to pay tribute to him. According to local authorities, a ‘fatwa’ had been launched against him after the father of one of his students, related to members of ISIS, posted a video on Facebook denouncing him.
Bolsonaro says COVID-19 vaccinations will not be mandatory
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro said once again today that an eventual vaccine against the novel coronavirus will not be mandatory. “The law is pretty clear on this issue, and it is up to the Ministry of Health to determine it. My Ministry of Health has already said that this vaccination will not be mandatory, and that’s final,” he said as he left the Alvorada Palace this morning. On Friday, Bolsonaro had already signaled that he did not intend on running a compulsory vaccination program throughout the country. His statements are being seen as an answer to São Paulo governor João Doria’s intentions of immunizing the local population with a China-produced vaccine by the end of this year.
“Impulsive act”, says senator caught with money in underwear
Brazilian senator Chico Rodrigues described as an “impulsive act” the fact that he was caught with several wads of money inside his underwear and clenched between his buttocks as he was intercepted by Federal Police officers. In a message sent to other senators, the congressman said he was protecting the money for the payment of people who work for him, claiming that was “not corruption money”, that he would “never misuse public funds” and he is “not the head of a criminal organization.” The senator also asked his colleagues for time to explain himself before being “preemptively convicted” by them. Justice Luiz Fux, president of the Federal Supreme Court, postponed until Wednesday the trial which will determine whether Rodrigues will lose his mandate as a senator for the state of Roraima.
Exit polls indicate Luis Arce’s victory in Bolivian elections
Exit polls released earlier today indicated that Luis Arce, former president Evo Morales’s protégé, won outright in the first round of the Bolivian presidential elections, held this Sunday. Arce is appearing in the polls with 52.4 percent of the votes, against 31.5 percent of former president Carlos Mesa, according to a survey done by TV station Unitel. According to the local legislation, a candidate needs more than 50 percent of the vote, or 40 percent with a lead of at least ten percentage points over the second-place candidate. Current interim president, Jeanine Áñéz, issued a statement on her Twitter account: “I congratulate the winners and I ask them to govern thinking about Bolivia and our democracy.” Arce is a member of MAS, the socialist party led by Evo Morales, who governed the country between 2006 and 2019, before being ousted and exiled after his recent controversial reelection.
During anniversary protests, radicals once again burn and loot churches
During a series of protests held to commemorate the anniversary of the demonstrations held in 2019 all over Chile, when several churches were vandalized and profaned, left-wing radicals once again attacked and looted several religious buildings in the capital, Santiago. The San Francisco de Borja church, which had been targeted last year, was saved from further destruction by the quick intervention of firefighters, but the small Church of the Assumption was completely torched and its bell-tower collapsed, engulfed in flames. Several demonstrators could be seen celebrating as the building went down, in footage published by the local media. The protests are being held one week before a referendum in which Chileans will decide whether to change or not the constitution ratified during Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship.