Brazil: Lula’s defense rejects another accusation in Odebrecht case


Brasilia, Apr 4 (Prensa Latina) Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s defense rejects an unfounded accusation about a peobable decision by the former president that the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (Bndes) favored the company Odebrecht.

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Brazil: Lula’s defense rejects another accusation in Odebrecht case

Brasilia, Apr 4 (Prensa Latina) Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s defense rejects an unfounded accusation about a peobable decision by the former president that the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (Bndes) favored the company Odebrecht.

Lula has not committed any crime and the accusation against him is ‘frivolous and without real foundation,’ said lawyer Cristiano Zanin, part of the defense of former workers leader.

According to the G1 news portal, Judge Vallisney de Souza Oliveira, of the tenth Federal Court of Brasilia, scheduled for May the hearing of witnesses’ statements in a criminal process that investigates whether Lula and 10 other people acted so Bndes favored the construction company Odebrecht .

In total, more than 40 witnesses registered by Lula’s defense will be heard by videoconference between May 26 and June 8. Among the deponents are ex-minister Miguel Jorge and advisers Paulo Okamotto and Clara Ant.

Given this announcement, Zanin insisted that ‘former President Lula has not committed any crime and this accusation, like the others, is frivolous and without real foundation.’

He explained that ‘the own witnesses registered by the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), such as collaborator Marcelo Odebrecht, declared that the accusations against Lula are unfair’.

He stressed the defense witnesses will surely reinforce this scenario, which should lead to the former president’s acquittal.

Lula, the nephew of his first wife, Taiguara dos Santos, businessman Marcelo Odebrecht and others are accused by the Prosecutor of the Federal District of crimes such as criminal organization, money laundering, corruption and influence peddling.

Such irregularities were investigated after the so-called Operation Janus of the Federal Police.

In the complaint against Lula, the MPF affirms that the ex-president acted with the Bndes ‘and other Brasilia organs’ to favor Odebrecht in loans for engineering works in Angola.

In exchange, indicates the Prosecutor’s Office, the contractor paid the amounts involved of up to R $ 30 million (about $ 5.6 million dollars).

At all times, the defense of Lula denounces that the founder of the Workers’ Party faces judicial and political persecution that separates him from the political scene and left him out of the presidential elections of October 2018.


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Cuba reinforces veterinary surveillance before Covid-19


Havana, April 4 (Prensa Latina) Epizootiological surveillance is one of the lines of work of the Cuban health authorities, which are currently engaged in a tenacious fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19.

Sergio Pino, head of the Animal Health Department in Cienfuegos province, located some 246 km from the capital, explained that the country follows the same protocol for this purpose, which is why all veterinary services are kept open.

‘For now, Covidd-19 has not been declared a zoonosis (a disease that passes from animals to humans), nor is there any evidence that it infects animals that are affected or of economic interest,’ Pino said.

However, in Cuba there were indications that more care would be taken to detect it in time, said the expert.

Among the measures that strengthen the epidemiological surveillance system is training with respect to the new coronavirus and the application of a diagnostic algorithm to detect it in time, in case it occurs in animals or in humans who interact with them, Pino said.

Also keeping strict control of wildlife and livestock, he said, as cited by the Juventud Rebelde newspaper.

He said that early detection is the key to preventing a crisis, and recommended that if your pet or breeding animal shows respiratory symptoms that are strange or inconsistent with common conditions, it should be isolated from the herd and people.

In addition, the border veterinary service was activated, and extreme supervision was provided during the opening of containers, especially those from one of the affected countries.

Pino insisted on the need to check the regulations aimed at addressing the risks associated with legal and illegal trade in wildlife, an issue from which we are not exempt, and which can be a window to the transmission of epidemics if we are negligent.

He noted the importance of maintaining biosecurity in laboratories, clinics, markets and state farms and in the private sector, not only in the face of Covid -19, but to prevent other diseases.


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European Parliament thanks Cuba’s solidarity in the face of Covid-19


Brussels, April 3 (Prensa Latina) The European Parliament’s Group of Friendship and Solidarity with Cuba thanked on Friday the decision of the Cuban government to send medical brigades to countries of the so-called old continent affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

We deeply appreciate the help in containing the pandemic outbreak, a gesture of solidarity that shows the altruistic spirit of a people that does not give its surplus, but shares what it has, said the group formed on 19 February for the 9th Parliamentary term.

MEPs highlighted the presence of 50 Cuban health professionals in the battered Italian region of Lombardy and around 40 in the principality of Andorra.

They also pointed out that this cooperation in times of the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is part of the characteristic generosity of Cuba, despite the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States, which has been in place for six decades.

‘Since 1963, Cuba has sent more than 400,000 health professionals to 164 countries and has been present in the most serious health crises. Proof of this was the medical assistance it provided after the devastating earthquakes in Pakistan (2005) and Haiti (2010), as well as during the Ebola crisis in West Africa in 2014,’ they said.

The Friendship and Solidarity Group of the European Parliament also recognized the support of Cuban doctors to several Latin American and Caribbean nations.


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Cuba applies law to those not complying with anti-covid-19 measures


Santa Clara, Cuba, Apr 2 (Prensa Latina) Six complaints were filed in the central province of Villa Clara for violations of the article of the Penal Code referring to the crime of spreading an epidemic, was announced today.

This confirms the strict application of the law to deal with Covid-19, classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, and to whose fight the Cuban government is dedicating its greatest efforts together with the population.

Villa Clara’s chief prosecutor, Lisnay Mederos, said that the crimes were located in the municipalities of Encrucijada, Placetas, Sagua la Grande, Santa Clara, Santo Domingo and Manicaragua.

‘These are citizens residing in the United States who are in the national territory and isolated in their houses,’ she explained.

He noted that the defendants had been warned by Interior Ministry officials of the need to stay at home for their own safety, that of their family and that of the rest of the citizens.

They didn’t comply with what was established, some even moved to other municipalities and one to another province. Article 8-3 of the Penal Code was applied, which refers to administrative treatment with fines of up to 3,000 pesos.

‘They all paid them and showed repentance at the time of their imposition,’ added Mederos.

He explained that the presentation to the courts is made when individuals are reluctant to comply with the law.


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Eight Cubans recover from Covid-19


Havana, Mar 31 (Prensa Latina) The Ministry of Public Health of Cuba informed that eight people have recovered from the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Francisco Duran, Director of Epidemiology of the Ministry said that the recovered people are discharged with the utmost responsibility.

He also said that the positive cases in Cuba number 186, and another 16 people turned out positive since Monday, of them 14 Cubans.

Duran said there are three critical patients, four severe ones and two have died, both Cubans, for a total of six in the pre-epidemic phase.

The specialist stressed that in order to determine contagion with the virus 315 cases were studied up until Monday, thus amounting to 2,322 samples analyzed.

He also pointed out that since last March 24th, all who arrive in the country are quarantined for 14 days in sites enabled to this end, and if they exhibit respiratory symptoms are then relocated to designated hospitals and isolation centers.

Duran stressed that out of the 186 positive cases, 165 remain stable and are progressing satisfactorily.


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China creates material capable of destroying SARS-CoV-2


Beijing, March 31 (Prensa Latina) China’s scientific center created a catalytic material that absorbs and eradicates SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus on the basis of a project developed in 2003 during the SARS epidemic, reported this Tuesday local press.

According to the Global Times, the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics obtained the product and checked it has 96, 5 and 99, 9 percent of effectiveness to destroy the pathogen, causing the lethal Covid-19 disease.

Researchers realized that for the virus’ characteristics, it is prone to absorption, and trials achieved to eradicate it.

Specialists expect to use it as an ingredient of products for epidemiologic control, water purification, facial masks’ and air conditioners’ filters.

The Institute set out to have created a similar material after the outbreak of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) from 2002 to 2003 and the scientific branch of the Popular Liberation Army evidenced its utility.

Experts now resumed the project because of similarities between SARS-CoV-2 and the causing pathogen of SARS.

In addition, it seeks the cooperation of some company to manufacture articles with such component in support of the fight inside and outside China against Covid-19 pandemic.


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Cuba boosts food program in light of Covid-19


Mar 31 (Prensa Latina) Cuba is boosting a food program to guarantee the quality of supplies of agricultural and manufactured products, in light of the health emergency caused by Covid-
According to Ministers Gustavo Rodriguez (Agriculture) and Manuel Santiago Sobrino (Food Industry), Cuban products have to deal with, in addition to this contingency, the persistent US blockade that hinders the acquisition of inputs, raw materials and technology.

On speaking at the Mesa Redonda TV program, Rodriguez assured that despite those adversities, the country has more than 30 years of experience in urban, suburban and family agriculture, as well as in agrarian polices for the benefit of producers and companies.

He noted that in light of the threat posed by the pandemic that is affecting more than 170 countries, Cuba prioritizes key crops for self-sufficiency like rice, beans, corn, potato and roots, as well as egg and pork production.

Investments in the sector grew 12%, and a strategy to change the food importing mentality is in place, the minister explained.

For his part, Manuel Santiago Sobrino said that Cuba’s food industry is in a position to comply with its commitments and guarantee the high quality and safety of its products.

There are no problems in more than 700 food-processing establishments, and their workers are willing to guarantee that important sector for the population, he pointed out.

Since last week, Cuban authorities have implemented new measures to reorder investments, foreign trade and food production, as part of the economic plan to cope with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes Covid-19.


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Special educational programming on Cuban television starting on Monday (+ programming)

The Ministry of Education and Cuban Television report that as of Monday, March 30, the transmission of educational programming begins as part of the implementation of the decisions of our Government in the confrontation with COVID-19.

The Educational Channel will begin its programming at 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. On Mondays and Fridays it will do so with the school bulletin board and a complementary program, while Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with reviews for entrance exams to higher education. The programming of this channel includes broadcasts from the primary level to the Pedagogical Training.

For its part, the Tele Rebelde Channel will broadcast from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, the reviews for entering Higher Education, and includes subjects aimed at Youth and Adult Education.

This programming will allow methodologists and tele-teachers to orient the objectives and contents expected to expire in the stage according to the different educational levels, grades and subjects, with the support of the available school materials.

We urge the family to collaborate and create the appropriate conditions so that these emissions are viewed by the students and carry out the activities that are oriented, to contribute to the successful fulfillment of the objectives of the different disciplines.