The Guardian • Issue #2059

GLOBAL BRIEFS

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2059
Global briefs

SRI LANKA: Former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa is accused in a report of tampering with police records in a bid to hamper investigations into mass graves discovered in an area where he was a military officer during an insurrection in 1989. The report by activist groups including the International Truth and Justice Project, Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka and Families of the Disappeared also said that even though hundreds of sets of remains have been unearthed in some 20 exhumations of mass graves in the past three decades, no action has been taken to identify the victims and return their remains to their families.

GERMANY: A rail workers’ union said that it will ask its members to vote on all-out strike action after long-running pay talks with the main national train operator broke down. The EVG union has already staged hours-long or one-day “warning strikes,” a common tactic in German wage negotiations, during the dispute with state-owned Deutsche Bahn.

AFGHANISTAN: The country’s United Nations envoy warned the Taliban that international recognition as the legitimate government will remain “nearly impossible” unless the Islamist movement lifts severe restrictions on women and girls’ education and employment. Roza Otunbayeva told the UN security council that the Taliban “act against the key values expressed in the United Nations charter.”

RUSSIA: Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested in March, must remain in jail on espionage charges until at least late August, a Moscow court has ruled, rejecting the US journalist’s request for release.

BRAZIL: Former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro faces being barred from standing for office for eight years after his country’s electoral court began ruling on charges linked to his unfounded allegations against the voting system. The Superior Electoral Tribunal is deciding whether the far-right politician abused his office and misused state media when, in July last year, he told a meeting of foreign diplomats that Brazil’s electronic voting machines were subject to large-scale fraud. Prosecutors argue that the claim violated electoral law, as it took place during campaigning for the October 2022 elections. Bolsonaro lost the presidential election to his left-wing rival Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva. Experts says that a conviction is almost certain, taking Bolsonaro out of the next presidential elections, due in 2026. The former president told journalists: “There was no criticism or attack on the electoral system” at last July’s meeting. On 8th January, his supporters ran riot in the presidential palace, Supreme Court, and Congress a week after Lula’s inauguration, claiming that the elections had been rigged, and demanding military intervention. Bolsonaro’s actions have been compared to the attempts by Donald Trump to cling to power after his defeat in the 2020 US presidential election.

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