Home Asia Putin Replaces Defence Minister Shoigu; In Brazil’s Flooded Waters, Gun-Toting Police Patrols

Putin Replaces Defence Minister Shoigu; In Brazil’s Flooded Waters, Gun-Toting Police Patrols

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Putin Replaces Defence Minister Shoigu With Civilian Economist

In his most significant changes to the military command since Russia invaded Ukraine two years ago, Putin has picked Andrei Belousov, who is a civilian economist and former deputy prime minister. Sergei Shoigu, Putin’s long term ally and outgoing Defence Minister will become the secretary of Russia’s powerful Security Council. Shoigu, who has been in charge of defence since 2012 will replace Nikolai Patrushev. So what do we know about Belousov? He was a former economy minister, considered very close to Putin. He shares Putin’s vision of rebuilding a strong state. He played a key role in overseeing Russia’s drone programme. Even though the changes took many in the Russian elite by surprise, it is being interpreted as an attempt by Putin to put defence spending under greater scrutiny. Remember, Shoigu was accused of taking kickbacks worth nearly 11 million dollars. It also shows that Putin is doubling down on the Ukraine war and wants to ensure Russia’s economy, which has so far managed to stay stable despite some of the most severe economic sanctions, continues to stay its course.

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In Brazil’s Flooded Waters, Gun-Toting Police Patrols To Keep Criminals At Bay

Two weeks after the devastating rain and floods in Brazil’s Rio Grande du Sol.. police parties like these are patrolling the hard-to-reach neighbourhood where thefts and robberies have been reported. Flooding in Porto Alegre has seen a jump in reports of crimes and heavily-armed police now check abandoned homes. This police party came across a looted petrol pump on one of their nightly rounds. Even as more rain is expected, the death toll so far has touched 143.

Big Win For Socialists As Catalonia’s Separatists Lose Steam In Elections

Separatists in Catalonia seem to be losing steam as the Catalan election results gave the ruling Socialists the biggest vote share. This will not only be a big setback for the decade-long separatist movement but also a vindication for Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. The PM had made a controversial gamble to normalise relations with Catalonia which included issuing pardons for convictions over the independence drive. He also sought to give amnesty to others who are still in prison. The separatists in Catalonia led a 2017 illegal independence referendum and declaration of independence that caused Spain’s worst institutional crisis in more than 30 years. Salvador Illa, the leader under whom the Socialists contested the polls in Catalonia called the results a ‘new era’. The Socialists have won 42 seats in a chamber of 135 so they still don’t have the majority and will need to stitch up working alliances to avoid a re-election.

Georgia Protests: 50,000 Protest As PM Stays Determined To Pass Controversial Bill
On Sunday, crowds of Georgians gathered outside Tbilisi’s parliament building to oppose a law on “foreign agents,” a day before it was set for its third reading. Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze is determined to pass the law that requires organisations receiving more than 20% of their funding from abroad to register as “agents of foreign influence”. It has triggered a political crisis and widespread protests. The Prime Minister has warned protesters of prosecution if the protests turn violent. The disagreement over the bill has become crucial in determining whether Georgia, historically aligned with the West, maintains its pursuit of European Union and NATO membership, or shifts towards closer ties with Russia.
Indonesia’s Ibu Volcano Spews Ash Into The Sky
Indonesia’s Ibu volcano exploded Monday morning, shooting thick columns of grey ash high into the sky, according to Indonesia’s volcanology agency. The eruption lasted about five minutes, sending ash as high as 5 km. There was also a smaller eruption on Friday. The volcano’s alert level remains the second-highest, according to Hendra Gunawan, head of Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Centre. No evacuation orders have been given so far. As the ash spewed from the volcano, people said they also heard a booming sound. No activity is permitted in a 5km radius near the volcano. As per the volcanology agency, Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” and has 127 active volcanoes.