São Paulo Violence — The Brazilian government has unveiled plans to tackle violence in the country’s largest city, São Paulo, where more than 90 police officers have been killed since the beginning of 2012, notes the BBC. The measures include the creation of a new police agency, which will coordinate the work of state and federal security forces, the transfer of prisoners to more secure jails, and stronger security and surveillance at ports, airports and major highways.
Raising Alarm — Dengue fever is sweeping across India and raising alarm, as government officials publicly refuse to acknowledge the scope of the epidemic, which is threatening hundreds of millions of people in India and around the world, reports the New York Times. Official reports say 30,002 people in India have contracted the mosquito-borne disease through October this year, but public health experts said the real count of people who get dengue fever annually could be in the millions. According to the NYT, India’s severe underreporting of dengue cases and its failure to implement a surveillance system and to clean up sources of the disease have contributed to the spread of the epidemic and slowed the search for a vaccine.
China’s Reform? — The Atlantic reports that although China has a freedom of information law that allows citizens to request specific government disclosure, the government’s compliance to the law has varied among localities. The regulation on Open Government Information (OGI) was implemented in 2008 to increase government accountability, but according to the Atlantic, “agencies routinely fail to respond to OGI requests, and when they do respond, they sometimes cite rationales that appear arbitrary and even deceitful.”
Global Reaction – As Barack Obama is re-elected as president of the United States, the BBC has rounded up some reactions from international leaders. The French president François Hollande called the re-election a “clear choice for an open, united America that is totally engaged on the international scene,” while British Prime Minister David Cameron sent his warm congratulations to his “friend Barack Obama” who he looks forward to continuing to work with. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he would “continue to work with president Obama to preserve the strategic interests of Israel’s citizens.” A Guardian editorialist also commented on the re-election, saying that Obama’s victory was “more impressive than in 2008 precisely because it was not more symbolic.”
Damascus Attacks – The Syrian capital city was rocked by four mortar attacks Wednesday in what has been seen as a significant escalation in violence, writes the New York Times. Shelling and airstrikes were also reported in several Damascus suburbs. “The situation inside Syria is turning grimmer every day,” explained Jeffrey D. Feltman, the United Nations under secretary general for political affairs, to a meeting of the Security Council on Tuesday. “The risk is growing that this crisis could explode outward into an already volatile region.” Lakhdar Brahimi, the international envoy to the conflict, has warned that unless there is a greater international effort, Syria risks becoming another Somalia.
Palestinian Bid – Israel is set to counter a Palestinian bid for enhanced United Nations status, reports Aljazeera. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has called Israel’s 27 ambassadors together in Vienna for an urgent meeting. Lieberman is reported as saying that “if the Palestinians pursue their project at the U.N., they are definitively destroying the chances of peace talks.” He continued that if they persisted, he would “ensure that the Palestinian Authority collapses.” There have been no direct Palestinian talks with Israel since 2010.