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SAO PAULO, August 19, 2018 (News Wires) — Brazil's public security minister says the military will no longer be in charge of security forces in Rio de Janeiro state as of December.

Public Security Minister Raul Jungmann said in an interview with the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper on Saturday that he proposed extending the military intervention for another year, but the armed forces rejected the idea.

He said ending the intervention would jeopardize growing integration achieved by the military and local forces.

The military took control of security in February amid a spike in violence.

The measure put thousands of soldiers in the streets and increased operations against drug-trafficking gangs that largely operate in poor areas. But some say it has not helped to address underlying issues like unemployment and income inequality.

BEIRUT, August 17, 2018 (MENA) - Lebanese Minister of Interior Nuhad Mashnouk discussed with visiting Adviser to the Brazilian President for Strategic and International Affairs Hussein Kalout bilateral relations and preparations for Brazilian President Michel Tamer's visit to Lebanon, slated for November.

The two sides also discussed the inking of a joint defense and security agreement between Beirut and Brasilia, Lebanon's National News Agency reported on Friday.

In a statement, Kalout hailed as "successful" the meetings he held with President Michel Aoun, House Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Saad al Hariri and Interior Minister Nuhad Mashnouk.


MADRID, August 14, 2018 (News Wires) - Brazil soccer great Ronaldo said on Tuesday that he has been discharged from a hospital in Ibiza, where he had been treated for flu since Friday.

The 41-year-old Ronaldo, a three-time FIFA World Player of the Year, said on social media Tuesday that he is "already home after a few days at the clinic."

On Sunday the Brazilian said he was hospitalized because of a severe flu. He thanked doctors, nurses and his girlfriend Celina Locks for their support over the last five days.

Ronaldo won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002 and scored eight goals at the tournament to take the Golden Boot. He spends much of his time in Spain, where he played for Real Madrid between 2002-07.

He retired from football in 2011 after ending his career at Brazil's Corinthians.


CAIRO, August 10, 2018 (MENA) - Brazilian President Michel Temer received visiting Undersecretary of Al Azhar Abbas Shoman to discuss boosting cooperation and future communication between Al Azhar and Brazilian institutions.

During the meeting, both sides shed light on the concept of citizenship as a replacement to terms, such as minority and majority, which Al Azhar introduced at its conference "Freedom and Citizenship."

The Brazilian president stressed his country pursues this thought and there is no discrimination among citizens.

He praised Al Azhar's vision concerning citizenship, which is considered to be an important issue for humanitarian cooperation and coexistence.

Shoman's visit to Brazil came at an invitation of the Federation of Muslims Associations in Brazil (FAMBRAS), during which he met with a number of officials and discussed future cooperation between the two countries in the coming period. 

Shoman discussed in a meeting with Temer ways of boosting cooperation between Al Azhar and the Islamic institutions accredited to the Brazilian government for spreading the upright teachings of Islam and fighting extremism and terrorism.

During the meeting, Shoman asserted that Al Azhar seeks to support Islamic institutions working on portraying the true image of Islam that calls for promoting world peace and strengthening co-existence among peoples based on the principal of equal rights and duties.

The two sides also reviewed Al Azhar's vision to bolster interaction among peoples and support states and institutions advocating the values of peaceful coexistence and communication among people.

In this regard, the Brazilian president stressed his country's support of such positive initiatives.

Shoman told the Brazilian leader that Al Azhar categorically rejects all forms of violence, extremism and terrorism and stresses the necessity of promoting peaceful co- existence among followers of different faiths.

BRASILIA, August 9, 2018 (News Wires) - Brazil stages its first presidential election debate on Thursday with eight of the crowded field locking horns but also one notable absentee -- jailed frontrunner Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Thirteen candidates have officially entered the election, which starts with a first round on October 7 and is almost sure to go to a runoff two weeks later.

With deeply unpopular President Michel Temer not seeking a new term and Latin America's biggest country in a deep funk after years of recession and corruption scandals, it is the least predictable election in decades.

The debate on TV Bandeirantes will not feature four of the candidates, who have too small a presence in Congress to qualify.

But the real missing piece in the puzzle will be former two-term president Lula, who leads in opinion polls but is serving a 12-year sentence for corruption and looks almost sure to be barred from the ballot.

A court rejected his request to take part in the debate by jail cell video link.

So far, TV Bandeirantes has not responded to requests from Lula's leftist Workers' Party to mark his absence with an empty chair at the debate, or to allow his vice presidential pick, former Sao Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad, to take his place.

But for the Workers' Party, even an absent Lula is a powerful weapon. With around 30 per cent in the polls, he would lead a first round and easily win a runoff.

Because he has lost an appeal to his corruption conviction, he in theory will be barred under the Brazilian clean slate law.

But Lula's lawyers are pushing for an escape route in the courts.

The main candidates due to appear during the debate include right-winger Jair Bolsonaro, who is polling in second place after Lula, and his next biggest rivals: centre-right former Sao Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin and environmentalist Marina Silva.

The October polls will also see elections for 27 governors, all 513 congressional lower house deputies and two thirds of the 81 senators.

PRAIA GRANDE, July 22, 2018 (News Wires) - Brazil superstar Neymar admits that after his nation's quarter-final defeat to Belgium at the World Cup he couldn't look at a ball and didn't want to see any of the remaining matches.

“I wouldn't go as far as to say I didn't want to play again but, I didn't want to see a ball, or to see any more football played,” 26-year-old Neymar told AFP in an exclusive interview.

The Paris Saint Germain forward was talking at his Neymar Praia Grande institute where the Red Bull Neymar Jr 5's (five-a-side-football) tournament was being played.

Dressed in a sleeveless T-shirt, with his six-year-old son Davi Lucca sat upon his knee, the striker was however in a relaxed mood as he explained his post-World Cup blues.

“I was in mourning, I was really sad about it, but sadness passes, I have my son, my family, my friends and they don't want to see me moping around. I've got more reason to be happy than sad,” said Neymar, reflecting on his team's 2-1 quarter-final defeat to Belgium.

Asked about reports in Spain linking him with a transfer to Real Madrid the forward said “that's all speculation from the press.”

“The guys who come up with these stories seem to know more about my life than I do. I won't respond to this type of question because nothing happened,” he scoffed.

The Brazilian superstar, who moved to PSG for a world record €222 million last year, insists that the burden of expectation on his shoulders — whether with his club or country — does not weigh heavily.

“No, all the great players feel pressure,” he said.

“It's true that when it comes to me, there are double standards. I have been aware of this responsibility, not only for Brazil, but also in club fotball, since I was 17, 18 years old.

“I have prepared myself to handle this pressure and I know that when the results are not what they should be then that pressure increases.”

Neymar has been hit by a barrage of criticism for theatrical rolling around after being fouled at the World Cup, but says he should have been better protected.

“People were faster to criticise the one being fouled than the one doing the fouling,” he insisted.

“I went to the World Cup to play, to beat the opposition, not to get kicked. The criticism of me was exaggerated, but I'm a big boy, I'm used to dealing with this kind of thing

“And I can't be the referee and play at the same time, but there are times I wish I could,” he said.

Earlier this week, Neymar took a swipe at his critics with a tongue-in-cheek video in which he teaches children how to fall to the ground.

“One, two, three, go!” shouts Neymar on the Instagram video as around a dozen youngsters fall to the ground of a parking lot.

“That's a free-kick!” screams the Brazilian breaking into fits of laughter.

The video was released with a hashtag #ChallengeDAFALTA, the free-kick challenge in Portuguese.

During the recent World Cup, the player's antics sparked the “Neymar Challenge” where he was widely mocked.

In Mexico, a football club even rganised a competition in which contestants attempted to roll the entire length of the pitch.

Meanwhile, Neymar described PSG's new coach Thomas Tuchel as a great addition to the club. “He's a great coach and we're hoping for a great season,” he said.

“I'm really looking forward to it,” Neymar said of his second season in Paris.

“We have signed a football legend (Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon) who will bring with him all his experience and that will be a great help for this coming season.”


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