♦ Cuts to welfare payments in the UK will hit northern communities as much as five times as hard as the Conservative heartlands of the south. Take a look at the FT’s Austerity Audit interactive to see all the research and reporting on the effects of the current government’s radical reforms.
♦ Brazil is grappling with a Congress where “foxes” are often in charge of the henhouse.
♦ The Egyptian armed forces participated in forced disappearances, torture and killings during the 2011 uprising, despite publicly declaring their neutrality.
♦ Mona Eltahawy explains why satire is a serious subject in Egypt: “What is satire if not a marriage of civil disobedience to a laugh track, a potent brew of derision and lack of respect that acts as a nettle sting on the thin skin of the humourless? And what is revolution if not the ultimate act of derision against the established powers.”
♦ Marc Lynch wonders if his initial assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood was wrong: “both academics and policymakers need to recognize that the lessons of the past no longer apply so cleanly, and that many of the analytical conclusions developed during the Mubarak years are obsolete.”
♦ Robert Driessen, one of the world’s most successful art forgers, tells his story (from Thailand, out of the reach of European authorities).
♦ Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader who plans to run in the 2018 presidential election, will be put on trial next week. Georgy Bovt explains why he will go to jail. Read more
What next for the Brics?
The Brics started life as a marketing gimmick dreamt up by Goldman Sachs to promote emerging markets, but the notion has taken on a life of its own and this group of nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – are now a formal organisation who have just met for their fifth summit. In this week’s podcast, Gideon Rachman is joined by Stefan Wagstyl, editor of beyondbrics, and Andrew England, South Africa correspondent, reporting from Durban, where the group has agreed to set up a Brics-led development bank. But do the Brics matter, what unites and divides these nations, and are we likely to still be discussing this group in ten years’ time?
Relativies wait to identify victims killed in the Kiss night club fire, at the municipal gymnasium on January 27, 2013 in Santa Maria (JEFFERSON BERNARDES/AFP/Getty Images)
What was to have been just a funky Saturday night out instead became a tragedy.
As many as 232 people died after a fire swept through the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, a relatively prosperous student town in southern Brazil.
Shortly before the blaze, one club DJ posted a photograph on Facebook, according to Globo, saying: “KISSS is pumping”. A few hours later, videos posted on social media networks instead showed Brazilians frantically trying to remove bodies from the charred building. Read more
These are the pieces that kept us reading today:
Amazon rainforest destruction. Reuters
Rio de Janeiro, where tens of thousands of delegates are gathered this week for the Rio +20 summit, is sometimes described as more of a landscape than a city. But what a landscape: the hard rock mountains and jungles that percolate down to Rio’s beaches give the impression that modernity and the environment can coexist. Read more
Twenty years on from the 1992 Rio earth summit, more than 100 leaders have convened for the Rio+20 sustainable development conference. The 1992 summit launched a number of landmark treaties, but what has actually been achieved since then?
Josefina Vázquez Mota. Photo AP
Women currently govern some 40 per cent of Latin America’s population. If Josefina Vázquez Mota wins Mexico’s presidential elections in July, that figure will rise to 60 per cent. “I will be Mexico’s first presidenta (female president),” Ms Vázquez said this month after she won the primary of the conservative National Action Party. Read more
Here come the Brics, ready to bail out the eurozone. Really? We heard this before with China and Greece. It was implausible then – unless we are talking about China snapping up a few real assets going cheap rather than buying sovereign debt – and it is implausible now. Read more
First in a potentially infinite series. Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva given world food prize for undoubtedly impressive Brazilian domestic welfare programme; advances radical notion that hungry people need food; co-opts, or is co-opted by, the aid agency Oxfam.
This must be a different Lula to the one who just got a new head of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation installed who defends land-hungry biofuels and whose government helped to block legal restrictions on agricultural export bans, a big cause of volatile food prices in the developing world. Read more
By Daniel Dombey, US diplomatic correspondent
There was a flash in Hillary Clinton’s eyes just now as she talked about the issue that is occupying ever more of her time as Secretary of State – Iran’s nuclear programme.
Last month the US-led campaign to increase pressure on Tehran took her to Qatar and Saudi. Arabia, where King Abdullah welcomed her with a lavish lunch and watched a few minutes of a football match as he sat beside her wearing a frayed pair of Nike trainers. (Later on he switched his giant television to off-road truck racing.)
Iran has also been a constant concern for Clinton during her present swing through Latin America and the position of Brazil, which is currently sitting on the UN Security Council, is particularly important. Read more