World News Brief, Wednesday June 19

Demonstrators protest government corruption and police violence in Brazil; Russia and Japan agree to future talks; China starts trading carbon dioxide permits; deadly blast marks Afghan security handover; Obama appoints official to lead Guantanamo closure; and more

Top of the Agenda: Brazil Protests Signal Growing Unrest

Around 200,000 demonstrators marched through Brazil's biggest cities on Monday in a burgeoning wave of protests (BBC) signaling widespread anger at poor public services, police violence, and government corruption. The protests began as a movement against a hike in public transportation and the billions being spent ahead of next year's World Cup (MercoPress), which Brazil is hosting, and have intensified after images of police violence against protestors spread on social networks. The demonstrations rank among the largest (NYT) since the nation's military dictatorship ended in 1985, and have centralized in cities including São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Curitiba, Belém and its capital, Brasília, where marchers made their way to the roof of Congress.


"Few doubt that the upgrades [for the World Cup and Olympics] are necessary, but civil rights groups question whether the money has been used as well as it should be and whether the rights of long-term residents and poor communities are being adequately addressed," writes Jonathan Watts for The Guardian.

"President Dilma Rousseff, who inherited an economy growing at 7.5 percent, has made an effort to stimulate recovery by hiking up public spending, minimum wages, and encouraging bank lending. Her attempts at reform have been welcomed by Brazilians--who gave her a near-80 percent approval rating in March--but her influence is limited and her popularity falling, as it becomes increasingly clear that Brazil is stuck," writes Jake Maxwell Watts for Quartz.

"Their bright banners bore diverse demands--but all reflected a fatigue with what people here get from the state. I repeatedly heard the word 'tired': protesters told me they were tired of corruption, of nepotism, of high taxes paid for poor public services. People chanted that others should join the movement and that 'the people have awakened,'" writes Julia Carneiro for the BBC.



Russia, Japan Agree on Future Talks

Russian president Vladimir Putin agreed to send its top diplomat to Japan in the fall to boost political dialogue (JapanTimes). Putin also shored up bilateral talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on an island dispute that has prevented the two countries from signing a peace treaty.

CHINA: China launched the Shenzhen Emissions Exchange program Tuesday, trading its first carbon dioxide permits (Bloomberg) at 22 percent below the European price.

CFR's Scott Snyder discusses North Korea's defiant proposal for denuclearization talks in this blog post.


Deadly blast marks Afghan security handover

Obama appoints lawyer to oversee Guantanamo closure

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