Presidents Cristina Fernandez of Argentina and Dilma Rousseff of Brazil at a summit of Latin American leaders to discuss the political coup against Fernando Lugo in Paraguay. The gathering (Mercosur) suspended the country from the regional community., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
5 September, 2013
Brazilian officials cancel trip to US over NSA spying allegations - report
Brazilian officials have canceled a planned trip to Washington in preparation for President Dilma Rousseff’s official state visit in October in response to fresh allegations of NSA surveillance, this time pertaining to Brazil’s head of state herself. Over the weekend a report was run by Rede Globo’s “Fantástico" news program which alleged that the NSA had previously intercepted online communications between Rousseff and several government aides. That information, based on reports produced by American journalist Glenn Greenwald in coordination with fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden, followed initial allegations that the NSA was operating surveillance programs on Brasilia made last month. A Brazilian government official who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said President Rousseff is “furious.” Brazil has demanded a written explanation from the US on those reports by the end of the week. “It’s a warning shot,” David Fleischer, a Brasilia-based political scientist, told Reuters. “If the U.S. doesn’t provide adequate answers they may cancel the visit altogether.”
Pope Francis to host vigil in opposition to military strikes on Syria
The Vatican will host a day of fasting and a four-hour prayer vigil Saturday in St. Peter’s Square in opposition to US military strikes in Syria, the AP reported. The Vatican has invited bishops’ conferences the world over to host local version of the vigil. In recent speeches, tweets and remarks, Pope Francis has called for a negotiated settlement to the Syrian conflict while condemning use of chemical weapons. “War never again! Never again war!” he tweeted earlier this week.
TSA expanding program that eliminates some travel hassles
The Transportation Security Administration is expanding its PreCheck program that allows members to bypass regular airport pre-flight security checkpoints to 60 new airports by the end of the year, and is adding lanes for the program at the 40 airports that currently offer it. Later this year, the TSA will allow all travelers to join PreCheck – as long as they pay $85 for a five-year membership, provide identifying information, pass a background check, and undergo fingerprinting. The program will allow passengers to avoid removing their shoes, jackets and belts as well as leave laptop computers and liquids inside carry-on luggage.