Brazilian Minister of Economic Affairs Paulo Guedes reignited Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s spat with his French counterpart after he repeated the Brazilian leader’s insults about Emmanuel Macron’s wife.
In a speech to businessmen in Fortaleza, Brazil, Guedes complained about media coverage of the Bolsonaro administration, saying that rather than report on the country’s progress, it focused on the president’s outrageous comments.
“What I see in the newspapers is that he insulted [Michelle] Bachelet, or that he called Macron’s wife ugly,” he said. “He did say that and it’s true — the woman is indeed ugly.”
As the audience laughed, the minister shushed them and said, also laughing: “There’s no such a thing as an ugly woman, there’s only women seen from the wrong angle.”
Guedes later apologized for what he called a “joke” involving Brigitte Macron.
“The minister’s intention was to show that relevant and urgent issues for the country don’t receive the space they deserve in the public debate,” read his statement to the press. “There was no intention to express personal offenses.”
Yet the insults risk real-world damage, given the state of relations between Brazil and France.
Emmanuel Macron recently threatened to scrap the trade deal agreed between the EU and Mercosur, the South American customs union, unless Brazil did more to preserve the Amazon rainforest.
While few other EU leaders agree with his idea of ditching the agreement, Bolsonaro risks alienating the moderate European politicians who still need to ratify the deal. Many lawmakers in Germany and Ireland are already reluctant to do so.
Brazil’s relationship with France began to nosedive after Bolsonaro canceled a meeting in Brasilia with French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian at the last minute in favor of having his hair cut during a Facebook livestream.
Shortly afterward, on the eve of last month’s G7 summit, Emmanuel Macron tweeted his concern about the fires burning in the Amazon and called for an international response, prompting an angry reaction from the Brazilian president.
Bolsonaro subsequently posted a sarcastic comment on a social media post mocking Brigitte Macron’s physical appearance.
The French leader called the comment “extraordinarily disrespectful to my wife” and added that he hoped the Brazilian people would soon have a president worthy of them.
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
A squad of gun-toting police officers patrolled Myanmar’s sacred site of Bagan under the cover of night, taking on plunderers snatching relics from temples forsaken by tourists due to COVID-19 restrictions. Each evening as dusk falls, about 100 officers fan out across the plain of Bagan covering 50km2, sweeping flashlights over the crumbling monuments to scour for intruders. “Our security forces are patrolling day and night,” Police Lieutenant Colonel Sein Win told reporters. “We have it under control for the moment, but it’s a challenge.” The central Burmese city is strewn with more than 3,500 ancient monuments — stupas, temples, murals and sculptures