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#CovaxinGate: Bolsonaro is in trouble over suspected million dollar bill related to vaccine procurement – News

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A $ 45 million bill for three million doses of Covaxin vaccine from India’s Bharat Biotech lab arrived March 18 at the desk of Luis Ricardo Miranda, who is responsible for importing drugs at the Ministry of Health.

The vaccine has not yet been delivered. But what intrigued Miranda, who refused to authorize the payment, was that the contract (totaling $ 300 million) that matched that bill did not mention Madison Biotech, the Singaporean company that sent it and which will be a front. …

There were several warning signs, according to Miranda, who testified Friday before the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) set up two months ago by the Senate to determine the government’s responsibility to tackle the pandemic that has already killed more than 500,000 people in Brazil. …

The operation is even stranger because Bolsonaro, who regularly discounts expert advice on the pandemic, has previously rejected offers for cheaper and more effective vaccines.

Miranda then said she received calls from her bosses, putting what she called “unusual and excessive” pressure to approve the deal. Shortly thereafter, other violations of the agreement arose and the government canceled the operation.

According to the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, Bharat Biotech originally listed the immunizing agent dose at $ 1.34, but Brazil agreed to pay $ 15 for the product, more than any other vaccine it has purchased.

Miranda expressed concern to her brother, MP Luis Miranda (DEM-DF), a supporter of Bolsonar, who reportedly received both of them on March 20 at his residence in Brasilia.

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According to what the Miranda brothers told CPI, Bolsonaro guaranteed that he would refer the case to the Federal Police. What he apparently never did, which could have led the CPI this week to convict the president in front of the Home Office for “tricks.”

The opposition called for protests on Wednesday and Saturday, demanding the “impeachment” of the head of state.

The plot is complex

According to MP Miranda, at a meeting on March 20, Bolsonaro expressed concern about the political impact of the case and his suspicions about the author of the scheme. “If I screw it up, you know what the hell is going to happen. It must be something for “so and so,” the deputy said.

Under pressure from senators to name “so and so,” the MP insisted that he did not remember anything until, barely holding back tears, he finally revealed his name: Ricardo Barros (PP-PR), an influential MP who heads the government bench.

“I will be persecuted, I have lost all space, I have lost everything that I have. I know what will happen to me, ”said Miranda, who arrived for the session in a bulletproof vest.

Barros, the former health minister, denied any wrongdoing, as did Bolsonaro, who claims the contract was terminated and accuses the Miranda brothers of a smear campaign against him.

“It was the first big bomb” to surface in two months of CPI’s operation, Geraldo Monteiro, a political scientist at the State University of Rio de Janeiro, told AFP.

“We have several pieces of evidence that clearly demonstrate the federal government’s negligence and denial of all the mistakes made in the fight against the pandemic, but without any very serious facts that could be a sign of the CPI and contribute to a possible impeachment of the president.”

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Thus, the investigation appears to be shifting into the criminal realm, although observers find it unlikely that federal prosecutor Augusto Aras, an ally of Bolsonaro, will demand the opening of an investigation in the Supreme Court.

Barros is the most pressing problem for the president in the wake of his sharp decline in popularity.

If he protects him, Bolsonaro will destroy the anti-corruption platform that helped him become president in 2018. If he leaves him, he risks severing his alliance with Centrão, a motley group of conservative parties specializing in negotiating budget advantages.

This alliance has protected the president from disclosing any of the more than a hundred impeachment orders that are piling up against him in the Chamber of Deputies.

“Barros can start putting pressure on his party to break with Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro is losing popularity, impeachment is gaining momentum, ”said Michael Mohallem, professor of law at the Getulio Vargas Foundation.

In anticipation of the plot’s denouement, the #CovaxinGate hashtag went viral on social media. And the message went viral: “The Covaxin vaccine is so powerful that it will destroy Bolsonara.”

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Vladimir Putin has delayed the invasion of Ukraine at least three times.

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Putin has repeatedly consulted with Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu about the invasion, Europa Press told Ukraine’s chief intelligence director Vadim Skibitsky.

According to Skibitsky, it was the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which is responsible for counterintelligence and espionage work, that put pressure on Gerasimov and other military agencies to agree to launch an offensive. .

However, according to the Ukrainian intelligence services, the FSB considered that by the end of February sufficient preparations had already been made to guarantee the success of the Russian Armed Forces in a lightning invasion.

However, according to Kyiv, the Russian General Staff provided the Russian troops with supplies and ammunition for only three days, hoping that the offensive would be swift and immediately successful.

The head of Ukrainian intelligence also emphasized the cooperation of local residents, who always provided the Ukrainian authorities with up-to-date information about the Russian army, such as the number of soldiers or the exact location of troops.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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Life sentence for former Swedish official for spying for Russia

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A Stockholm court on Monday sentenced a former Swedish intelligence officer to life in prison for spying for Russia, and his brother to at least 12 years in prison. In what is considered one of the most serious cases in Swedish counterintelligence history, much of the trial took place behind closed doors in the name of national security.

According to the prosecution, it was Russian military intelligence, the GRU, who took advantage of the information provided by the two brothers between 2011 and their arrest at the end of 2021.

Peyman Kia, 42, has held many senior positions in the Swedish security apparatus, including the army and his country’s intelligence services (Säpo). His younger brother, Payam, 35, is accused of “participating in the planning” of the plot and of “managing contacts with Russia and the GRU, including passing on information and receiving financial rewards.”

Both men deny the charges, and their lawyers have demanded an acquittal on charges of “aggravated espionage,” according to the Swedish news agency TT.

The trial coincides with another case of alleged Russian espionage, with the arrest of the Russian-born couple in late November in a suburb of Stockholm by a police team arriving at dawn in a Blackhawk helicopter.

Research website Bellingcat identified them as Sergei Skvortsov and Elena Kulkova. The couple allegedly acted as sleeper agents for Moscow, having moved to Sweden in the late 1990s.

According to Swedish press reports, the couple ran companies specializing in the import and export of electronic components and industrial technology.

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The man was again detained at the end of November for “illegal intelligence activities.” His partner, suspected of being an accomplice, has been released but remains under investigation.

According to Swedish authorities, the arrests are not related to the trial of the Kia brothers.

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Ukraine admitted that Russia may announce a general mobilization

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“They can strengthen their positions. We understand that this can happen. At the same time, we do not rule out that they will announce a general mobilization,” Danilov said in an interview with the Ukrainska Pravda online publication.

Danilov believed that this mobilization would also be convened “to exterminate as many as possible” of Russian citizens, so that “they would no longer have any problems on their territory.”

In this sense, Danilov also reminded that Russia has not given up on securing control over Kyiv or the idea of ​​the complete “destruction” of Ukraine. “We have to be ready for anything,” he said.

“I want everyone to understand that [os russos] they have not given up on the idea of ​​destroying our nation. If they don’t have Kyiv in their hands, they won’t have anything in their hands, we must understand this,” continued Danilov, who also did not rule out that a new Russian offensive would come from “Belarus and other territories.” .

As such, Danilov praised the decision of many of its residents who chose to stay in the Ukrainian capital when the war broke out in order to defend the city.

“They expected that there would be panic, that people would run, that there would be nothing to protect Kyiv,” he added, referring to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

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At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The Russian invasion, justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by the international community at large, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing political and economic sanctions on Russia.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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