Global Review – 3rd October

Lula, Bolsonaro to face run-off

Brazil’s election is going into a second round in which left-winger Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will face far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro. In the first round, Lula has won 48% against Bolsonaro’s 43%. Since no one obtained 50% plus one of the votes, they will therefore go to the second round on October 30. Although voting for the 156 million Brazilians called to the polls was mandatory, the abstention rate rose from 20.3% in 2018 to 20.94%.

According to Rubén Ramírez Lezcano, head of Organization of American States observer mission, the elections in Brazil went “absolutely normal”. Fifty-five experts from 17 OAS nations were sent to 15 Brazilian states, as well as to two polling stations in the United States and one in Portugal, to ensure the correctness of the voting operations.

Lula da Silva addressed followers after the results of the day’s election came through. “We are going to win these elections! I am absolutely certain that divine justice will allow us to win these elections to recover the dignity of the Brazilian people,” he said.

With the battle for Brazil’s soul on the line, alaysts predict that re-campaigning by both sides could be expected to be “utterly fierce”.

Putin warned: ‘We would destroy your troops in Ukraine

As the war in Ukraine entered its 221st day, the Russian nuclear-powered submarine ‘K-329Belgorod’ moved in the Arctic sea and there were fears its mission is to test the Poseidon torpedo missile, capable of carrying nuclear warheads 10,000 km away. Former US General David Petraeus reacted by saying that if Putin used the atomic bomb “we would destroy all his troops on the ground”. In an interview with ABC, the former head of the CIA said that if Putin used nuclear power, “we would respond by leading a NATO effort – a collective effort – that would eliminate every conventional Russian force we can see and identify on the battlefield in Ukraine and also in Crimea and every ship in the Black Sea.” According to Petraeus, “there must be an answer”, but not necessarily “nuclear versus nuclear”, to avoid an escalation. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also reacted to what he called “Russian nuclear rhetoric”, saying it was “dangerous and indefensible”. He continued, stating that any attack on NATO’s critical infrastructure “will receive a strong and united response”.

Zelensky sure he’ll be able to get into NATO

In his usual evening video message to the nation, Ukrainian President Zelensky said, “Nine NATO countries have supported Ukraine’s aspirations to become a full member of the Alliance. We are moving in this direction. I am sure that we will realize our project.” The leaders of nine European NATO members – the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania and Slovakia – signed a joint statement Sunday supporting Ukraine’s bid for membership. Meanwhile, Stoltenberg reiterated, “Any decision on membership must be made through general consensus. All 30 allies must agree to make that decision.”

Michel asks EU heads of government to stay united

European Council President Charles MIchel has said that on the agenda of the EU heads of state and government informal summit in Prague on October 6 and 7, there would be the three “most pressing and interconnected” issues: How to best protect strategic infrastructures, the cost of energy and how to guarantee supplies. He was specific in explaining that “more than ever the key will be our ability to remain united and coordinate our political response, in a spirit of solidarity and in defence of our common interests”.

Ukrainian counter-offensive in Kherson

The Ukrainian counter-offensive in the Kherson region appears to have managed to break through the Russian defences. According to reports from several Russian military correspondents, Moscow troops have had to abandon several settlements in the area: Shevchenkovka and Lyubimovka as well as the villages of Osokorovka and Zolotaja Balka. The Ukrainian troops would have arrived as far as the settlement of Dudchany, on the banks of the Dnieper River. Ukrainian forces are trying to break through in Berislav to reach the crossing for the Kakhovskaya dam and target Nova Kachovka.

Nord Stream 1 pipeline leak has stopped

The gas leak from the Nord Stream 1 pipeline in the Baltic Sea appears to have stopped, according to the Danish Energy Agency. It said it was informed by the company Nord Stream Ag that stable pressure seemed to have been reached on the two Nord Stream 1 gas pipelines. “This indicates that the gas blowing of the last two has now also been completed,”writes the Danish agency.

Methane cloud over Norway and Sweden

After the gas leak from the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, the level of methane in Sweden and Norway is at record levels, according to the media of the two countries, whoich speak of a “big cloud”. According to a simulation published by the Norwegian research institute Nilu, the methane released by the leaks moved with the wind over several Swedish and Norwegian regions, even reaching Great Britain. The latest indication from the experts is that the gas is moving north and could reach over the Svalbard Islands in a couple of days. The high concentration of methane does not represent a serious danger to people: “It is not dangerous for humans. It is not a flammable gas in these quantities. It is the climatic effect we are talking about.”. According to the same estimates, almost 80,000 tons of methanehave already leaked out of the damaged pipes. The governments of Denmark and Sweden have sent a joint letter to the United Nations Security Council, expressing concern about the potential environmental and climate consequences of the gas spills in the Baltic Sea.

Norway accepts military aid for the safety of its pipelines

Meanwhile, Norway, which has become Europe’s leading supplier of natural gas, has accepted military contributions from France, Germany and the UK to ensure the safety of its oil and gas sector. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said, “We are discussing with our allies to increase the military presence in Norwegian waters.” After the recent sabotage, Oslo fears attacks on its energy infrastructure.

Hundreds protest as Tory conference begins

Hundreds of protesters have demonstrated in the centre of Birmingham as the Conservative Party conference begans in the city. They have been highlighting issues including the cost of living and rising energy costs. Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg had to be escorted across Victoria Square as protesters booed him. Prime Minister Liz Truss said she remained committed to her approach to governing the UK.

Bulgaria: doubts about a possible government

Early results show the conservative party ‘Gerb’ of former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov is given a clear advantage in the early parliamentary elections held on Sunday – the fourth in two years. According to the exit polls, 24.6% of the votes would have gone to the Gerb. The main antagonist of the Gerb, the liberal party “Let’s continue the change” which had won the previous elections, is in second place with 18.9%. The nationalist party Vazrazhdane (Rebirth) is on the rise, rising to over 10%.

Medicine Prize opens Nobel week

Breast cancer discoveries and mRNA vaccines are seen as possible winners when the Nobel Medicine Prize kicks off a week of winner announcements later today. Established more than 120 years ago before Europe was ravaged by two world wars, the Nobel prizes will celebrate those who have “conferred the greatest benefit on mankind” after a year marked by bloodshed and devastation in Ukraine. The Medicine Prize will be announced around 11.30 am (Malta time) in Stockholm, followed by the awards for physics on Tuesday, chemistry on Wednesday and literature on Thursday. The Peace Prize, the most highly anticipated of the awards and the only one announced in Oslo, will follow on Friday, with the Economics Prize wrapping things up on October 10.

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