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A Killing in Rio

A Killing in Rio

Last Wednesday night in Rio de Janeiro, a 38-year old gay black single-mother from one of the city’s largest favelas was shot to death, along with her driver, by two unknown gunmen.


In a city where violence has reached epidemic proportions, those details alone might have gone unnoticed except that this particular woman was Marielle Franco (pictured above), a popular first-term city councilwoman and outspoken advocate for the human rights of women and minorities. Franco had been particularly passionate on the subject of violence by Rio’s famously trigger-happy police — long a subject of international human rights concern.

The incident has quickly taken on national political dimensions, as thousands have hit the streets across Brazil to mourn Franco’s death and demand accountability. The government is under pressure to find out who ordered the killing — suspicion is rampant that it was a message from disgruntled policemen or illegal militias composed of ex-officers.

Moreover, the federal government recently sent the military to take control of security in Rio. Franco’s killing makes it look like the army isn’t doing a great job, and public support for the intervention has fallen since last week, though it’s still at 71 percent.

Lastly, because of who she was and what she stood for, her murder brings together three third-rail issues in Brazil — security, race, and poverty — as the country heads for a pivotal election in which anti-establishment anger is running high, polarization is extreme, and one of the leading candidates, former army-man Jair Bolsonaro, has said that cops aren’t cops unless they kill people. A volatile brew in what is already a deeply uncertain political climate.

Khant Thaw Htoo is a young engineer who works in Eni's Sakura Tower office in the heart of Yangon. As an HSE engineer, he monitors the safety and environmental impact of onshore and offshore operations. He also looks out for his parents' well-being, in keeping with Myanmar's traditions.

Learn more about Khant in the final episode of the Faces of Eni series, which focuses on Eni's employees around the world.

On his first day as president, Joe Biden signed a remarkable series of executive orders. Boom! The US rejoins the Paris Climate Accord. Bang! The United States rejoins the World Health Organization. Pow! No more ban on immigration from many Muslim-majority countries. Biden's press secretary reminded reporters later in the day that all these orders merely begin complex processes that take time, but the impact is still dramatic.

If you lead a country allied with the US, or you're simply hoping for some specific commitment or clear and credible statement of purpose from the US government, you might feel a little dizzy today. The sight of an American president (Barack Obama) signing his name, of the next president (Donald Trump) erasing that name from the same legislation/bill, and then the following president (Biden) signing it back into law again will raise deep concerns over the long-term reliability of the world's still-most-powerful nation.

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Ian Bremmer discusses the World In (more than) 60 Seconds:

Biden's first scheduled call with a world leader will be with Canada's Justin Trudeau. What's going on with the Keystone Pipeline?

Well, Biden said that that's it. Executive order, one of the first is that he will stop any construction or development of the Keystone Pipeline. This is of course an oil pipeline that would allow further oil sands oil to come to the United States. The infrastructure is significantly overstretched, it's led to backlogs, inefficiency, accidents, all the rest, but it also facilitates more energy development and keeps prices comparatively down if you get it done. So, there are lots of reasons why the energy sector in Canada wants it. Having said all of that, Trudeau, even though he's been a supporter of Keystone XL, let's keep in mind that he did not win support in Alberta, which is where the big energy patch in Canada is located. This is a real problem for the government of Alberta, Canada is a very decentralized federal government, even more so than the United States. The premier of Alberta is immensely unhappy with Biden right now, they've taken a $1.5 billion equity stake in the project. I expect there will actually be litigation against the United States by the government of Alberta. But Trudeau is quite happy with Biden, his relationship was Trump was always walking on eggshells. The USMCA in negotiations ultimately successful but were very challenging for the Canadians, so too with the way Trump engaged in relations on China. All of this, the fact that Trump left the nuclear agreement with Iran, the Paris Climate Accords, WHO, all of that is stuff that Trudeau strongly opposed. He's going to be much more comfortable with this relationship. He's delighted that the first call from Biden is to him. And it certainly creates a level of normalcy in the US-Canada relationship that is very much appreciated by our neighbors to the North.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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