On the morning of October 2, the rector of the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Professor Luiz Carlos Cancellier de Olivo, parked his car in the Beiramar Shopping Centre in Florianópolis. Shortly afterwards he committed suicide by leaping to his death from the top floor into the open central space of the building. Professor Cancillier … Continue reading A tragedy that shames the Brazilian justice system
Today the British Conservative Party begins its annual conference in Manchester. At first sight things have been going well for Manchester recently. But one result of improvements to the city's image as a place to do business, study at university, live, and have fun, in a metropolis that doesn't sleep very much, is that property … Continue reading What the Tories need to see in Manchester
The long-expected announcement, by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, of the end of Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA, popularly known as the “Dreamers” program) sees Donald Trump delivering on an election pledge, sort of. No new applications will be accepted from young people who were brought to the country illegally before they reached … Continue reading Trump: the end of all illusions?
Yesterday, as expected on the basis of recent developments, unelected Brazilian president Michel Temer survived. 263 deputies in the lower house of congress voted in a plenary session against suspending him from office pending investigation of the charges brought against him by Attorney General Rodrigo Janot, comfortably more than the minimum required to keep Temer … Continue reading Does Temer’s survival weaken the Brazilian coup?
Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell is reputed, in a book written by the BBC's James Naughtie, to have called the key figures surrounding George W. Bush in the run-up to his invasion of Iraq "f***ing crazies". Mike Pence, Trump's Vice-President, certainly has a track record that places him squarely in the same camp … Continue reading Crazies and Craziers
Yesterday afternoon a light plane carrying four passengers crashed into the sea off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. One of the bodies recovered was that of Teori Zavascki, the Supreme Court judge responsible for oversight of the Operation Carwash (Lava Jato) corruption investigations and judgement of cases against politicians who, by virtue of currently … Continue reading Deepening crisis in Brazil
If you believe the present UK government, everything is fine with our public university system, which continues to achieve remarkable results in international league tables, something habitually described as "punching above our weight" as a relatively small country without much deeper reflection on how our public universities got to be as good as they are. … Continue reading Destroying Britain’s universities
Canalha is a Portuguese word that means "scoundrel" when applied to an individual and "rabble" or "riffraff" when applied to a group. Senator Tancredo Neves, the grandfather of Aécio Neves, shouted it thee times in the direction of Senator Auro Moura Andrade, after Andrade falsely claimed in the plenary session of April 2, 1964, that President … Continue reading Canalha! Canalha! Canalha!
The extended process of impeaching President Dilma Rousseff came to its inevitable end yesterday with her removal from office, by a majority of 61 votes for to 20 against, in the Senate, whose members act as the final jury in impeachment cases in a session presided over by the President of the Supreme Court. Minister … Continue reading Brazil’s uncertain future
I returned from Brazil to the UK to vote in the referendum, and now find myself observing another crisis. It may well eventually lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom, given the large majority in favour of remaining in Europe in Scotland and the prospect of a second referendum on Scottish independence. Ironically, to … Continue reading Initial reflections on Brexit