Brazil’s top military commanders quit amid worsening pandemic

The World
An older woman is shown with a man behind her resting his hands on her shoulders while they wait in a line.

People wait in line to get the Sinovac vaccine for COVID-19 at a health center in Brasilia, Brazil, March 29, 2021.

Eraldo Peres/AP

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A day after Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced the firing of his defense minister in a controversial, cabinetwide shake-up, the commanders of Brazil’s army, navy and air force resigned on Wednesday. The move comes as Bolsonaro’s political fortunes continue to slide over his response to the coronavirus crisis.

The top-level military resignations are also fueling speculation and fears that Bolsonaro is exerting control over the armed forces to serve his political interests. The military leaders' departures followed the unexpected replacement of five cabinet members.

Bolsonaro’s political maneuvering comes as the far-right leader faces intense pressure over his opposition to vaccinations, lockdowns and mask-wearing. Brazil recorded its highest death toll in a single day from the coronavirus. Health officials reported 3,780 fatalities Tuesday — in a country where more than 317,000 people have died since the pandemic began and the vaccine rollout has stumbled.

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Listen: Crackdown on protesters in Myanmar grows more deadly

A large fire is shown with dark smoke rising and protesters shown in the distance.

Anti-coup protesters are seen behind their makeshift barricade that protesters burn to make defense line during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar, March 28, 2021. Protesters in Myanmar returned to the streets Sunday to press their demands for a return to democracy, just a day after security forces killed more than 100 people in the bloodiest day since last month's military coup.



Myanmar’s military celebrated Armed Forces Day on Saturday with a display of tanks, missiles and marches. Meanwhile, its troops were dispatched across the country, quelling a civilian uprising that left more than 100 citizens dead, including young children. And, a much-anticipated report is expected this week, laying out the findings of a World Health Organization joint mission to China. The report says that animals were likely the source of the coronavirus outbreak. Also, the world’s most expensive traffic jam is finally easing up after the Ever Given container ship was dislodged from the Suez Canal in Egypt.

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