Trump’s America (cont’d)

Jair Messias Bolsonaro, who has criticized his country’s military dictatorship for “only torturing but not killing,” remarked that “a policeman who doesn’t kill isn’t a policeman,” and threatened to shoot Workers’ Party members, was inaugurated as Brazil’s 38th president in a ceremony attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Bolivian President Evo Morales, and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. After being sworn in, Bolsonaro hugged Netanyahu, who has praised the ultranationalist Orbán as “a true friend of Israel,” before anyone else. “We have an opportunity to work alongside each other against authoritarian regimes,” Pompeo said. The new Brazilian president, who ran on an anti-corruption platform, signed a decree that grants the Agriculture Ministry responsibility for “identification, delimitation, demarcation, and registration of lands traditionally occupied by indigenous people”; put all forests under the control of the Agriculture Ministry; eliminated the Labor Ministry; and stated on television that he would welcome a US Army base in the country. Saudi Arabia passed a law requiring women to be notified by text message if their husbands file for divorce, and the kingdom’s state prosecutor, who exonerated Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, stated that the trial for the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi had begun, but has refused to name the 11 defendants. An 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled to Thailand to escape her family has been granted asylum there, and Cambodia, which has convicted only three members of the Khmer Rouge in a 10-year-long United Nations–backed tribunal, celebrated “Victory Over Genocide Day.” The Pope denounced “the resurgence of nationalistic tendencies.”

Legal abortions began in Ireland. In Perunad, India, two women entered the Sabarimala shrine under heavy police protection after it had been opened to women of “menstruating age,” which sparked a spate of right-wing violence and prompted women to link arms to form a 385-mile “women’s wall” in support of gender equality across the state of Kerala. Coal use in 2018 dropped 4 percent from the year before in the United States, where 27 tons of trash has been left in Yosemite National Park since the government shutdown. In Germany, where hackers have been releasing politicians’ private data on Twitter using the display name G0d, renewable energy sources created 40 percent of all electricity in 2018. Five army officers who declared they had successfully toppled Gabon’s government on state radio and television were arrested, the British Army unveiled a new recruitment campaign which includes the slogan ME ME ME MILLENNIALS: YOUR ARMY NEEDS YOU AND YOUR SELF-BELIEF, and the US Strategic Command apologized for a tweet that read, “#TimesSquare tradition rings in the #NewYear by dropping the big ball . . . if ever needed, we are #ready to drop something much, much bigger. . . .” “Yellow vest” protesters erected a wall in front of a member of Parliament’s garage in Talmont-Saint-Hilaire. “My home is walled up by fools!” the legislator wrote on Facebook. A report showed a decline in migrants dying while attempting to reach Europe last year, but the fatality rates among the reduced number making the journey have risen.

The king of Malaysia abdicated after returning from medical leave, and a man in Portland, Oregon, is suing Burger King for $9,000 for reneging on its agreement to give him free food for life in compensation for being trapped in one of the chain’s bathrooms. A 14-year-old boy in Houston was arrested after he threw eggs at a passing car and, after the other driver flashed a handgun, hit a pickup truck as he attempted to flee. In Philadelphia, a man at a dog park was fatally struck when he asked another man to keep his pet on a leash. The police in Wanneroo, Australia, were called when neighbors overheard a toddler crying and a man screaming “Why don’t you die?” at a spider he was trying to kill. During an interview with Anderson Cooper, the great-great-great-grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested that a “Green New Deal” could be funded with a top marginal income-tax rate between 60 and 70 percent. “What you are talking about, just big picture, is a radical agenda,” responded Cooper.
—Violet Lucca

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