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BREAKING: Brazil’s President Bolsonaro tests positive for coronavirus

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Brazil's President Bolsonaro tests positive for coronavirus

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for the coronavirus Tuesday, shortly after the presidential palace said he had been displaying symptoms associated with the disease.

Bolsonaro announced his diagnosis to journalists, saying he had begun feeling ill on Sunday, multiple outlets reported.

The president reportedly also confirmed that he is taking hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug touted by President Donald Trump as a possible preventive treatment for the disease, as well as azithromycin. Neither drug has been proven to be an effective prophylactic for .

The right-wing leader, 65, has consistently downplayed the threat of the virus in recent months, describing it as nothing more than “a little flu.” He also suggested that his past as an athlete would make him immune to the worst symptoms of the disease.

has suffered one of the world’s worst outbreaks of the coronavirus, with more than 1.6 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and over 65,000 related deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

South America’s largest country is second only to the U.S. for the highest number of confirmed cases.

The government confirmed to NBC on Monday that Bolsonaro had been feeling unwell and was running a fever of 38 degrees Celsius (about 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit). Bolsonaro had been tested for the virus after his symptoms emerged, the presidential palace told NBC.

Last month, a judge ordered Bolsonaro to wear a face mask in public, something he has frequently failed to do. However, a separate court order later rescinded this ruling.

On Saturday, Bolsonaro was pictured alongside Todd Chapman, the U.S. ambassador to Brazil, and several others at the U.S. embassy in Brasilia. 

Brazil’s Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo posted a photo of the meeting on July 4, showing Bolsonaro, Chapman and others gathered around a table, not wearing face masks.

Bolsonaro has insisted throughout the pandemic that maintaining social distancing and avoiding public gatherings are unnecessary when it comes to tackling the spread of the virus. Instead, Bolsonaro has claimed that abiding by these guidelines will negatively impact the country’s economic recovery.

In April, Bolsonaro fired his health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, who supported social distancing restrictions and had reportedly received high marks from the Brazilian people for his handling of the pandemic. 

The president had in March tested negative for Covid-19 after his press secretary, Fabio Wajngarten, was diagnosed with the virus. Days earlier, Wajngarten, Bolsonaro and other Brazilian officials had traveled to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, where an Instagram photo showed them dining in close proximity. 

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who also attended that gathering, were not immediately tested after Wajngarten’s diagnosis was revealed. Trump said at the time that he was “not concerned” about his contact with the Brazilian delegation, and then-White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said that Trump and Pence did not require testing because they “had almost no interactions” with Wajngarten.

Trump and Pence have since repeatedly tested negative for the coronavirus, according to the White House.

Bolsonaro is not the first world leader to be infected with the virus: United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who tested positive in April, suffered symptoms so severe that he was transferred to an intensive care unit for multiple days.

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World’s richest banker Joseph Safra dies aged 82

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Joseph Safra

Lebanese-Brazilian banking magnate Joseph Safra, the wealthiest man in , died Thursday at age 82 of natural causes, his bank said.

Safra, who had an estimated fortune of $23.2 billion, ranked 63rd on Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s wealthiest people.

Born in 1938 to a Lebanese Jewish family in Beirut, he emigrated with his family to Brazil, where his father founded what would become Banco Safra.

In 1962, he and his brothers took over the bank from their father, who died the following year.

They turned it into a major financial group, with operations in more than 25 countries.

A patron of the arts and philanthropist, Safra donated part of his fortune to medical research, and also purchased artworks for Sao Paulo’s Pinacoteca, one of the leading museums in Brazil.


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US Removes Visa Reciprocity Fees For Nigerian Applicants

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The United States has removed the reciprocity fee imposed on visa applications for Nigerians.

The development which took effect from December 3, was disclosed in a statement on Friday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The ministry of foreign affairs wishes to inform that the United States government has removed all visa reciprocity fees for Nigerian citizens seeking visas to the United States,” the ministry’s spokesman, Ferdinand Nwonye, said.

In August 2019, the United States had increased the cost of visa application for Nigerians.

The US Consulate explained that the increment was to “reciprocate” the extra visa fee that the Nigerian government had charged American citizens.

Consequently, Nigerians were required to pay a fee called visa ‘issuance fee’, or ‘reciprocity fee’, for all applications for non-immigrant visas in B, F, H1B, I, L, and R visa classifications.

But the Nigerian Government announced Friday that the extra fees have been reversed.

Nwoye said the development “is in line with the removal of excess visa application, processing and biometric fees for United States citizens applying for Nigerian visas by the Nigerian government”.

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