Brazilians have narrowly elected Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as their new president, marking a stunning comeback for the 77-year-old former union leader, who will replace the far-right Jair Bolsonaro. Lula will return to the presidency after spending time in prison on corruption charges that were later thrown out. Lula spoke Sunday evening.
President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva: “The majority of Brazilians made it very clear that they want more and not less democracy; that they want more, not less social inclusion; that they want more and not less opportunity for all; they want more and not less respect and understanding among Brazilians. To summarize, they want more freedom, equality, fraternity in our country.”
Jair Bolsonaro has yet to concede or make any public remarks. In the lead-up to the vote, Bolsonaro and his allies sowed doubt about the election system, suggesting he may not accept a loss. High-profile supporters of Bolsonaro have, however, acknowledged Lula’s win. During his single term, Bolsonaro led a disastrous response to the COVID pandemic, attacked the media and his critics, and hastened the destruction of the Amazon.
South Koreans are observing a week-long national mourning period following Saturday night’s crowd crush in Seoul that killed 154 people. The majority of the victims were young women. The crowd surge happened during Halloween festivities in a narrow alleyway in the popular Itaewon neighborhood, known for its nightlife. This is an eyewitness describing the chaotic scene.
Park Jung-hoon: “We came here around 10 p.m., then saw a scene from a movie in front of the hotel over there, like things happening during a war. They were doing CPR here and there, and people were rushing in as nothing was being controlled. It was completely out of control.”
Despite the throngs of revelers, many noted there was little security or crowd control overseeing the festivities, and laid blame on the government for failing to prevent such a tragedy. According to local reports, there were as many as 100,000 partygoers on Saturday evening. Authorities are investigating the events, and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol ordered the government to review on-site safety measures.
In Ukraine, Russia launched a barrage of missile strikes aimed at critical infrastructure, including in Kyiv and other major cities. Residents reported power outages, while the mayor of Kyiv said 80% of residents had lost their water supply.
On Saturday, Moscow withdrew from a deal that allowed the export of grain from Ukrainian ports, after accusing Ukraine of attacking its Black Sea fleet with drones. The U.N. warned the move could further compound global hunger and food prices. President Volodymyr Zelensky called on international actors to hold Russia accountable for ending the agreement.
President Volodymyr Zelensky: “How can Russia be among others in the G20 if it deliberately works to create a famine on several continents? This is nonsense. Russia has no place in the G20.”
Despite Russia’s withdrawal from the deal, 12 grain ships departed Ukrainian ports earlier today. The U.N., Ukraine and Turkey said they would continue with the shipments.
In Somalia, a pair of car bombs exploded at a busy Mogadishu intersection, killing at least 100 people and injuring 300. The twin blasts targeted the Education Ministry and leveled buildings, sending plumes of smoke and dust into the air. Al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the attack. One of those killed was Somali journalist Mohamed Isse Hassan, who worked for M24 TV. This is a survivor of the attack.
Mohamed Jamac Bare: “There were four of us in the shop, and one was seriously bleeding and injured. I was also bleeding. It was dark, and there was black smoke everywhere. I managed to come out of the shop and get help. I saw a lot of bodies and some wounded people crying for help.”
In India, at least 141 people were killed after a bridge collapsed in the western state of Gujarat Sunday. The 19th-century bridge gave way under the weight of pedestrians, plunging hundreds of people into the Machchhu River below. The colonial-era bridge had been open to the public for just four days after undergoing repairs by a private company.
Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, is expected to make a full recovery after being attacked with a hammer by an intruder in the family’s San Francisco home early Friday. He underwent surgery for a skull fracture and other injuries. The assailant reportedly shouted “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?” during the attack. The House speaker was in Washington at the time. Police have arrested suspect David DePape. The 42-year-old white man has an online history of far-right conspiracies, antisemitism and hate. On Saturday, Nancy Pelosi spoke out about the attack in a letter to her fellow congressmembers, saying she and her family are “heartbroken and traumatized.”
Some Democrats have called out Republicans for their silence, and for enabling the rise of political violence in recent years. Congressmember Ilhan Omar tweeted, “A far right white nationalist tried to assassinate the Speaker of the House and almost killed her husband a year after violent insurrectionists tried to find her and kill her in the Capitol, and the Republican Party’s response is to either ignore it or belittle it.”
Meanwhile, Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, tweeted a link to an article with a right-wing conspiracy theory about the attack, from a site known for spreading misinformation. The site, the Santa Monica Observer, previously said Hillary Clinton died on September 11 and was replaced by a body double. Musk posted the article in response to a tweet by Hillary Clinton, but deleted it hours later.
In New York City, climate and housing activists shut down Park Avenue for the fifth straight day Saturday, the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, to demand banks and major corporations stop funding fossil fuels, and that Governor Hochul tax wealthy New Yorkers to enact a Green New Deal. Dozens of activists were arrested over the past week during actions at JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock, and in front of BlackRock CEO Stephen Schwarzman’s apartment building. The protests were organized by Extinction Rebellion, New York Communities for Change, Sunrise NYC and other groups.
In Iran, protesters have defied threats from the Revolutionary Guards as they continue to take to the streets. On Sunday, security forces unleashed tear gas and gunfire on students at universities across the nation. The ongoing demonstrations come after the head of the Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Salami, issued a stern warning over the weekend.
Hossein Salami: “Put aside the wickedness. Today is the last day of the riots. Do not come to the streets anymore.”
This comes as a new report by The Intercept reveals an Iranian government program that allows for the monitoring and manipulation of protesters’ cellphones.
Meanwhile, over 300 Iranian journalists signed a statement demanding the release of two journalists who are reportedly being held at the notorious Evin Prison. Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi are credited with breaking the story of Mahsa Amini’s death and covering her funeral. Iran has accused them of being CIA agents.
In Pakistan, a journalist was crushed to death by a vehicle in the convoy of former Prime Minister Imran Khan. Sadaf Naeem fell from a truck that was carrying Khan as she tried to reach him for a question. The truck then ran her over. Khan, who was ousted by Parliament in April, is making a high-profile journey from Lahore to Islamabad to call on the government to hold a snap election.
In Haiti, witnesses say journalist Romelo Vilsaint was killed by police fire Sunday after reporters gathered at a police station to demand the release of one of their detained colleagues. Last week, Haiti’s largest newspaper, Le Nouvelliste, said it was suspending publication of its print edition due to “serious security problems” affecting production and distribution. Last week, Le Nouvelliste reporter Roberson Alphonse survived a shooting attack.
Lebanon’s political crisis deepened this weekend after Michel Aoun vacated the presidential palace Sunday with no successor in place and a crumbling economy. Lebanon is now ruled by a caretaker cabinet and prime minister-designate, who has failed to form a government over the past six months. This comes as the country has been reeling from the deadly 2020 blast at the Beirut port and 2019’s financial meltdown, which pushed over 80% of the population into poverty and prompted mass anti-government protests.
As one of his final acts as president, Michel Aoun signed on Thursday a U.S.-brokered maritime border deal with Israel.
In China, workers have fled a Foxconn factory that assembles iPhones amid fears of lockdowns and other restrictions in Zhengzhou following a COVID outbreak. Online videos show workers jumping a fence outside the Foxconn factory and making their way down highways on foot. China has instituted a strict zero-COVID policy during the pandemic, locking down major cities, with migrant workers often getting stuck far from their homes.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, 11 people were killed in a stampede at a concert by musician Fally Ipupa in a Kinshasa stadium. The interior minister blamed the organizers for the deaths, saying the massive stadium was packed beyond capacity.
New York City will pay $26 million to settle lawsuits on behalf of two men who were exonerated in the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X. Last year, a judge tossed out convictions against Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam after finding “serious miscarriages of justice.” An investigation by the Manhattan DA’s Office and the Innocence Project found that prosecutors, the FBI and the New York Police Department omitted key evidence around the murder. Khalil Islam died in 2009, but his family filed the suit on his behalf. Aziz spent two decades in prison before being released on parole. The state of New York will also pay a settlement of $10 million. Ilyasah Shabazz, one of Malcolm X’s daughters, spoke to Democracy Now! earlier this year.
Ilyasah Shabazz: “We want to know who killed our father, and we want to make sure that it is properly recorded in history.”
The oldest prisoner held at Guantánamo Bay has been released after nearly two decades. Seventy-five-year-old Saifullah Paracha returned to his family in Pakistan Saturday. He was never charged with a crime. Paracha’s former lawyer, Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, said her client was beloved by fellow prisoners and guards and became the “Uncle of Guantánamo.” There are 35 prisoners still languishing at Guantánamo Bay. Twenty of those are eligible for transfer, and three are eligible for review.