This Week’s Under-reported News Summary April 8, 2020

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • 'BolsoNero' fiddles as Brazil burns with Covid-19 fever
  • Lengthy war in the Sahel strains France
  • Work on border wall despite fears of contagion

Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro continues to defy warnings from public health experts, by ignoring the recommendations to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. Bolsonaro routinely attacks state governors for imposing strict stay-at-home social distancing policies. Bolsonaro, who is facing daily protests against his mismanagement of the pandemic, blasted his former ally, Rio de Janeiro Gov. Wilson Wetzel, for ordering 17 million people to stay at home and closing Rio’s famous beaches. Bolsonaro has threatened to fire his health minister if he dares criticize his handling of the coronavirus crisis.

For seven years, elite soldiers of the French Foreign Legion have waged a war against an Islamist insurgency across Mali and the Sahel in West Africa. The Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, a potent armed group with loose ties to the Islamic State, has been conducting sophisticated attacks in the border regions of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. In the past four months, militants have raided four major military outposts in Mali and Niger, killing 300 soldiers.

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads into new states in the American South, the Trump administration is moving full speed ahead constructing its border wall with Mexico. Work crews from across the U.S. have descended on southern Arizona, packing hotels, mobile home parks and local Airbnbs. There’s concern that this influx will increase the likelihood of coronavirus exposure for residents living in small border towns.  Some disease specialists warn that workers clustered in tight quarters along the border could spread the virus around the country when they return to their families.

This week’s News Summary was narrated by Anna Manzo.

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