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The Wednesday Politics Thread Composes Itself

Once again I stumble out of bed, lurch towards the computer, and shield my eyes from the rising sun as I undertake my duties as a worker in that that oldest and noblest of professions: Avocado Header Writer. Rarely is procrastination such a virtue, so enjoy this news, gathered fresh as could be, from my lazy ass to yours 😘

Brazil’s Lula and Bolsonaro trade religious barbs in war for evangelical vote

At a rally launching his campaign on Tuesday, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva claimed his opponent, the far-right incumbent, Jair Bolsonaro, was “possessed by the devil.”

Bolsonaro’s wife, Michelle, had shared a video of da Silva, who is Christian, at an African-derived religious ritual. The video alleged the former president, who is commonly called Lula, was connected with “the underworld.”

Over the past 20 years, Brazil’s evangelical population has more than doubled. Today, experts estimate around 30 percent of the country’s 210-plus million people identify as evangelical. That rise is mirrored in Brazilian politics, with a growing evangelical congressional caucus gaining power.

The Washington Post [archive]

Facebook failed to detect misinformation about Brazil election, group warns

Facebook failed to detect blatant election-related misinformation in ads ahead of Brazil’s 2022 election, a new report from Global Witness has found, continuing a pattern of not catching material that violates its policies the group describes as “alarming.”

The advertisements contained false information about the country’s upcoming election, such as promoting the wrong election date, incorrect voting methods and questioning the integrity of the election — including Brazil’s electronic voting system.

This is the fourth time that the London-based nonprofit has tested Meta’s ability to catch blatant violations of the rules of its most popular social media platform— and the fourth such test Facebook has flubbed.

NBC News [archive]

South Korean leader: Seoul won’t seek own nuclear deterrent

Yoon’s call for Pyongyang to return to diplomacy aimed at exchanging denuclearization steps for economic benefits came hours after the South’s military detected that the North fired the missiles from the western coastal town of Onchon toward the sea.

Tensions could further rise as the United States and South Korea kick off their biggest combined training in years next week to counter the North Korean threat. The North describes such drills as invasion rehearsals and has often responded to them with missile tests or other provocations.

AP News [archive]

Thailand: Explosions, fires hit several sites in the southern provinces

The seemingly coordinated attacks happened after midnight in Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala provinces, military spokesperson Pramote Promin said.

Pramote said the attackers “dressed up as women, using motorcycles and in many cases using petrol bombs, throwing them into the target sites.”

Muslim residents have long alleged they are treated like second-class citizens in Thailand.

The goals of the insurgency movements range from greater autonomy to independence. Heavy-handed crackdowns by the Thai security forces have fueled the discontent.

Wednesday’s attacks came after the Thai government restarted discussions with the main insurgent group, the Barisan Revolusi Nasional, earlier this year after a two-year pandemic hiatus.

Deutsche Welle [archive]

Why East Africa’s Facing Its Worst Famine in Decades

A humanitarian disaster is unfolding in East Africa, which is in the grip of its worst drought in at least four decades. More than 80 million people across Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda and Djibouti are food insecure, and almost half of them are having to sell their possessions in order to eat, according to the World Health Organization.

An infestation of locusts, which thrive in hot and dry conditions, have wiped out crops across large parts of eastern Africa. Somalia and Ethiopia have also been contending with internal conflict that’s disrupted farming and made it dangerous to distribute aid.

Bloomberg [archive]

Architectural Digest Altered Photos to Edit Out Allegedly Looted Artifacts from Billionaire’s Daughter’s Home

The photos, which appeared in the January 2021 issue, show numerous empty pedestals in Lindemann Barnett’s courtyard. However, the Post found photos on the website of the couple’s architect, Peter Marino, that showed the pedestals actually held numerous Khmer artifacts that the Cambodian government has said were looted from the country years ago.

AD frequently obscures images of artworks and artifacts, something that becomes obvious when watching their YouTube series Open Door, in which celebrities give tours of their homes, often with large paintings or sculptures blurred out in the background due to licensing agreements. When the Post reached out to AD, a spokesperson said that they had simply edited the photos due to “unresolved publication rights around select artworks.”

ARTnews [archive]

We made it to Wednesday! Please to Hogpoggle within the (very reasonable) constraints of the Mayor McSquirrel Rule. Mind the clams, but especially mind the AI-generated images of clams because they’re terrifying.

P.S. I may have become addicted to the quality of life improvement brought on by the button and subjected myself to hours of Disqus code to better understand my adversary. Probably the best thing to do is paint myself into a corner by suggesting it’s not only possible to write a browser extension, but that I could write it myself. So stay tuned for that because it’s 100% sure to happen 🙄