Brazilians Protest New Presidential Appointment
Protests broke out in several Brazilian cities Wednesday as demonstrators condemned the move by embattled President Dilma Rousseff to appoint former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as her chief of staff.
Some 2,000 demonstrators Wednesday gathered in the streets of Brazilia and Sao Paulo after Rousseff named Lula, who left office with very high popularity ratings, saying it would strengthen her government.
Demonstrators say Lula was appointed in order to protect him from prosecution in a money laundering scandal involving the state-owned Petrobras oil company.
As a member of Rousseff's cabinet, Lula can only be tried before the Brazilian Supreme Court.
Lula denies involvement in the Petrobras scandal.
But adding to Wednesday's unrest was the release of audio recordings by a judge heading the Petrobras investigation. The judge said the recordings of Lula's phone conversations indicate Lula was seeking help in avoiding prosecution.
U.S. Military Readiness Questioned Amid Korea Tensions
U.S. military leaders voiced concern Wednesday about their ability to fight a conventional war against the armed forces of countries like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.
U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley told the House Armed Services Committee the military’s anti-terrorism and counterinsurgency focus on the Middle East has taken resources away from planning and preparation to fight a “higher end” combat force if a conflict erupted in another part of the world.
But while most of their readiness concerns were directed at potential conflicts with major powers Russia and China, they also come at a time of escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula over the North’s nuclear threat.
U.S. and South Korean forces have increased their readiness defense posture following Pyongyang’s nuclear test in January and long-range rocket launch in February.
Washington has moved more troops and assets into the region and the two allies are currently conducting their largest joint exercises ever, involving 17,000 American troops, 300,000 South Korean troops, and an array of U.S. aircraft and naval vessels.