Categories
World News

Brazil health regulator Anvisa allows Chinese COVID-19 vaccine trial

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian health regulator Anvisa on Friday approved clinical trials of a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac, according to an official gazette publication.

The study – first announced on June 11 – is led by Instituto Butantan, a research center funded by the state of Sao Paulo. The agreement with Sinovac includes not only trials but also the transference of technology to produce the potential vaccine locally.

On June 29, Sao Paulo state Governor Joao Doria said 9,000 volunteers have already been registered to test the vaccine against COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Trials will be conducted by 12 research centers in six Brazilian states: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Brasilia, Rio Grande do Sul and Parana, according to Doria.

Anvisa’s approval comes after Brazil surpassed 1.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to Health Ministry data, the second worst outbreak after the United States. The number of deaths rose by 1,290 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total tally to 63,174, the data showed.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Business

Embraer union seeks planemaker's board ouster after failed Boeing deal

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – A union representing workers at Embraer filed a lawsuit on Friday seeking to dismiss the company’s board, after a $4.2 billion deal with Boeing Co (BA.N) collapsed amid the pandemic, claims the Brazilian planemaker said were an act of “bad faith.”

The failed deal left the Brazilian jetmaker scrambling for a new path forward as the coronavirus pandemic hammered travel demand.

Embraer said the union was “using unfounded allegations and distorting information in order to confuse public opinion and the company’s workers.” It added it had yet to be served.

The lawsuit is the latest headache for Embraer in the aftermath of its breakup with Boeing. Under the deal signed in 2018, Boeing was going to buy the majority of Embraer’s commercial aviation unit in order to take on Airbus in the mid-range jet segment.

But the deal collapsed at the 11th hour in April, leaving Embraer and Boeing pointing fingers at each other.

The lawsuit accuses Embraer’s board of having allowed Boeing to conduct what amounted to “espionage,” by having its U.S. engineers work within Embraer’s research and development unit during the time when the deal seemed like it would in fact materialize.

In the wake of the pandemic, Embraer is now being supported by the government through a $600 million loan and said this week it was negotiating a buyout program. It posted a loss of $210 million last quarter.

Embraer’s board “operates creating billionaire losses and passing on the cost of its incompetence to workers,” the union alleged in court papers.

The planemaker said the union’s claims showed “ignorance about the company and its management.”

The Boeing-Embraer deal was subject to several lawsuits, including by the metalworkers union which sought to stop it. Some judges initially agreed to block the deal, but appeal judges ultimately overturned all allegations.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Business

Embraer union sues to oust planemaker's board after failed Boeing deal

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – A union representing workers at planemaker Embraer filed a lawsuit on Friday seeking to dismiss the company’s board, after a $4.2 billion deal with Boeing Co (BA.N) collapsed amid the pandemic, leaving the Brazilian jetmaker scrambling for a new path forward.

The lawsuit is the latest headache for Embraer in the aftermath of its breakup with Boeing. Under the deal signed in 2018, Boeing was going to buy the majority of Embraer’s commercial aviation unit in order to take on Airbus in the mid-range jet segment.

But the deal collapsed at the 11th hour in April, having already cleared several regulatory hurdles, and left Embraer and Boeing pointing fingers at each other. Arbitrations filed by both sides are pending.

Now, the metalworkers union in Sao Jose dos Campos is asking a judge to dismiss Embraer’s board. The lawsuit accuses the board of having allowed Boeing to conduct what amounted to “espionage,” by having its U.S. engineers work within Embraer’s research and development unit during the time when the deal seemed like it would in fact materialize.

Embraer did not have immediate comment.

Embraer is now dealing with the coronavirus pandemic that has battered demand for travel, received government support in the form of a $600 million loan and has said it is negotiating a buyout program. It posted a loss of $210 million last quarter.

Embraer’s board “operates creating billionaire losses and passing on the cost of its incompetence to workers,” the union alleged in court papers filed in a Sao Paulo court.

The lawsuit does not seek to oust management. Embraer is currently led by Francisco Gomes Neto, who came to the company only after the deal with Boeing had already been signed.

The Boeing-Embraer deal has been affected by lawsuits in the past, including by the metalworkers union which sought to stop it. Several judges initially agreed to block the deal, but appeal judges ultimately overturned all allegations.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
World News

Brazil military hand out masks to protect isolated Amazon tribes

BOA VISTA (Reuters) – Soldiers handed out masks to barefooted Yanomami indigenous people including body-painted warriors carrying spears and bows and arrows on Wednesday on the second day of a military operation to protect isolated tribes from COVID-19.

The Yanomami are the last major isolated people in the Amazon rainforest where dozens of indigenous communities have been infected with the latest disease to come from the outside to threaten their existence.

“It’s all under control. We detected no cases here,” Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo, a retired army general, told reporters at a frontier post called Surucucu on the border with Venezuela.

Azevedo said the death of two Yanomami purportedly shot by illegal gold miners on the vast reservation was an isolated case that is being investigated by the federal police.

A gold rush that has brought an estimated 20,000 gold prospectors to invade the Brazil largest reservation has poisoned rivers and destroyed forest, and the Yanomami say the miners have brought the novel coronavirus.

Indigenous leaders appealed to the Supreme Court on Wednesday to order the federal government to protect isolated tribes by barring outsiders from reservation lands and expelling illegal poachers, loggers and wildcat miners said to bring fatal diseases.

The indigenous umbrella organization APIB asked that invaders be removed, with the deployment of military forces if necessary, from the reservations of the Yanomami, Karipuna, Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau, Kayapó, Arariboia and Munduruku peoples.

APIB said 405 indigenous people had died of COVID-19 by June 27, with 9,983 infected among 112 different tribes.   

In Surucucu, Yanomami families with mothers carrying their bundled infants were frightened at first by the arrival of the medical personnel and supplies of protective equipment and medicine in roaring military helicopters.

The men fumbled the mask as they covered their faces painted with red body paint from tress barks.

“The indigenous health service (Sesai) is good for us, they help us so we came to ask for help to see if we are well,” said a Yanomami elder through a large white face mask. “We walked four hours to arrive here,” he said through an interpreter.

Nurses took temperatures and rapid COVID-19 tests.

“When we arrived they were a little bit afraid, observing us from afar, but then we started gaining their trust, they came closer and all went well,” said Brazilian Air Force medic, Lieutenant Fernanda Ribeiro.

“They ended up liking the care. It has been so rewarding!”

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
World News

Thousands protest in Brazil amid coronavirus crisis

Rival rallies held in Brazil’s largest cities as President Bolsonaro faces criticism over handling of the pandemic.

Thousands of people defied a coronavirus lockdown in Brazil to demonstrate against President Jair Bolsonaro as a public backlash grows over the government’s handling of the pandemic.

The demonstrations in multiple cities on Sunday saw people banging drums and setting off flares as they marched to denounce the far-right president for the first time in the capital, Brasilia, since the pandemic reached Brazil.

More:

  • Brazil stops publishing coronavirus numbers

  • What is next for Brazil in its coronavirus fight?

  • Bolsonaro threatens WHO exit as Brazil’s coronavirus toll soars

The virus is rapidly spreading in the Latin American nation that now has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases – 691,758 – and third-highest COVID-19 death toll at 36,455, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

On Saturday, the government stopped publishing a running total of coronavirus deaths and infections in an extraordinary move that critics called an attempt to hide the true toll of the disease in Latin America’s largest nation.

“I came out despite the quarantine because I have to fight for all of us,” Fernanda, a protester, told Al Jazeera. “Bolsonaro is a threat to democracy and our lives.”

Many also used the occasion to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement against racism and police killings inspired by demonstrations worldwide following the death of George Floyd in the United States. 

In downtown Rio de Janeiro, hundreds marched to denounce the killing of Black people in Rio’s favelas.

Carrying banners reading “Black Lives Matter” and the names of young Black people allegedly killed by police, the protesters gathered near the monument of Zumbi dos Palmares – one of the leaders of the resistance against slavery in the country – and marched near Candelaria Church.

“Bolsonaro doesn’t care about Black lives,” Bianca de Azus said. “Fifty-four percent of Brazilians are black and we are the ones being hardest hit by COVID-19 and poverty. That’s why he does nothing.”

Rival rallies

At the same time, smaller protests also took place in support of Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly tried to downplay the threat of the novel coronavirus.

His supporters regularly demonstrate at the weekend in the heart of Brasilia’s government district and have demanded an end to lockdown measures, railing against the Supreme Court and Congress. 

Police provided a cordon to keep the rival demonstrations apart in Brasilia on Sunday. 

Bolsonaro has regularly attacked state authorities over regional lockdown measures, and last weekend came under fire for ceasing to report Brazil’s total number of cases and deaths.

Experts have warned that Bolsonaro’s actions, an unequal health system, and easing of lockdowns will lead to more dire consequences.

Dr Esper Kallas, professor of infectious disease at the University of Sao Paulo Medical School, said Brazil’s response to the pandemic has been disjointed.

“We are very concerned about the numbers in Brazil,” he told Al Jazeera. “The Brazilian government is letting the states deal with the epidemic in their own way and, therefore, you see a difference in the way each state puts together a plan for this epidemic.”


Counting the Cost

Bolsonaro’s coronavirus response: A threat to Brazil’s economy

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Economy

UPDATE 1-Brazil posts record budget deficit in May, will revise 2020 forecasts

(Adds detail, quote)

By Jamie McGeever

BRASILIA, June 29 (Reuters) – Brazil’s government reported a record budget deficit in May, the Treasury said on Monday, adding that official debt and deficit forecasts for this year will be revised to reflect the heavy toll on public finances from the COVID-19 crisis.

With emergency spending to combat the economic and social effects of the pandemic soaring, and tax revenues plunging, the Treasury said net public debt this year is set to rise above 65% of gross domestic product and gross debt above 95% of GDP.

Speaking in a virtual press conference after May’s data were released, Treasury Secretary Mansueto Almeida said the primary budget deficit will almost certainly exceed 11% of GDP.

Brazil’s central government posted a primary budget deficit excluding interest payments of 126.6 billion reais ($23.3 billion) in May, a monthly record and slightly more than the 125.9 billion reais forecast in a Reuters poll of economists.

The accumulated budget deficit in the first five months of the year totaled 222.5 billion reais, Treasury said, compared with a 17.5 billion reais deficit a year ago.

Treasury said emergency measures are temporary and mostly concentrated in the April-June period, repeating its view that Brazil does not have the capacity to keep on providing fiscal support to the economy without risking a rise in taxes.

“The return to fiscal balance in the medium term is fundamental for getting public debt on a downward trajectory,” Treasury said. This will create the “fiscal freedom” needed to boost government investment and provide public services on a sustainable basis, it said.

Almeida said official forecasts will be revised on Tuesday. They currently put gross debt rising to 93.5% this year from 75.8% last year, and the public sector primary deficit reaching just over 700 billion reais, or almost 10% of GDP.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
World News

Brazil coronavirus cases rise past 1.3 million, deaths total 57,070

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil recorded 38,693 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours and 1,109 additional deaths, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.

The nation has now registered 1,313,667 total confirmed cases of the virus and 57,070 deaths.

Source: Read Full Article