World Bulletin / News Desk
Brazil's Supreme Court has ordered corruption probes against around 100 politicians, including at least eight government ministers and a third of the Senate.
- What are they accused of? -
The probes expand an existing investigation named "Car Wash" and focusing on embezzlement and bribery at the highest levels of Brazilian politics.
For years, contractors like the Odebrecht construction conglomerate paid bribes to top politicians and parties to get business deals. At the center of the scheme, the politicians and Odebrecht conspired in a pay-to-play scheme at state oil company Petrobras.
Once investigators unravelled the scheme, 77 Odebrecht executives entered plea bargains in hopes of getting lighter sentences.
Their tell-all testimony formed the basis for the deluge of new probes announced by the Supreme Court late Tuesday.
- Who's getting probed? -
It's almost easier to ask who's not getting probed.
The list of around 100 politicians includes around a third of the Senate and nearly 40 members of the lower house of Congress. There are at least eight ministers in President Michel Temer's cabinet.
These include: chief of staff Eliseu Padhila and another key adviser with ministerial ranking, Wellington Moreira Franco, both of them close to Temer.
There's also Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes, Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi, and the ministers for science, national integration, cities, and foreign trade.
From Congress, notable names include Senate speaker Eunicio Oliveira and lower house speaker Rodrigo Maia.
The list targets rival political parties fairly equally, with 20 figures from the leftist Workers' Party, which was in power during the period investigated by Car Wash.
Next comes Temer's center-right PMDB with 18 members probed and the centrist PSDB with 13. PMDB leader Romero Juca, a senator, is on the list, as is the president of the PSDB, Senator Aecio Neves.
- Ex-presidents in firing line -
There are no fewer than four ex-presidents named.
They are leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (2003-2010) and his handpicked successor Dilma Rousseff (2011-2016), then Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1995-2002) and Fernando Collor (1990-1992).
Lula is already facing five separate trials linked to Car Wash allegations and on May 3 he will go before the chief investigating judge, Sergio Moro.
Despite his mounting legal problems, and speculation over whether he will end up being convicted and jailed, polls show that Lula remains Brazil's most popular politician. He is the frontrunner in polls for the 2018 presidential elections.
The current president escapes for now. But Temer has previously been named in testimony alleging illegal transfers of campaign funds from Odebrecht to his center-right PMDB party.
- Prison time? Not necessarily -
The crackdown is dramatic, reflecting the incredible reach of Brazil's bribery problem. But it does not necessarily mean that dozens of big name politicians will end up behind bars.
Some prominent figures have already been imprisoned by Car Wash judges, including the former speaker of the lower house, Eduardo Cunha.
But most of those facing the new corruption allegations are sitting politicians. That means their cases are handled by the Supreme Court, not the lower courts.
The high court is so slow and overburdened that it can take years to bring cases to trial, let alone convictions. Supreme Court status is basically seen by many as a form of immunity.
Those without the privilege, including Lula and Rousseff, are not so lucky. Moro has proved he is able to move quickly from charges to sentencing.
The European Commission's powerful competition regulator on Tuesday hit Google with the biggest fine ever against a company for abuse of a dominant market position.
Vatican experts said Zerbo, 74, was recovering from an illness but had managed to make the trip to the Vatican to be appointed cardinal along with four others by Pope Francis on Wednesday.
Monday's hearing saw sentence handed down to Folly Satchivi as well as to another student involved in this month's demonstrations, Marius Amagbegnon.
"On Monday, we rescued about 5,000 people from four large boats, one smaller one and 18 rubber dinghies," a spokesman said.
Speaking to reporters on a military plane late Monday as he headed for meetings in Europe, Mattis said the US-led coalition was determined to keep a strict focus on fighting the ISIL group.
"Part of my political life is coming to an end. I am leaving the Socialist Party, or the Socialist Party is leaving me," the 54-year-old told RTL radio.
His comments came as rival Cypriot leaders were headed to Switzerland for a make-or-break summit aiming to seal a long-elusive peace deal for their divided island.
If the feuding main parties cannot agree to form a semi-autonomous government in Belfast by 4:00pm (1500 GMT) Thursday, then the province will be fully governed from London.
With 96 percent of polling stations tallied, the Socialists had grabbed 49 percent of the vote cast in Sunday's election. Their main rivals in the centre-right Democratic Party took less than 30 percent.
"The deceased was a serviceman in the armed forces," ministry spokesman Artem Shevchenko said at a briefing.
"As from tomorrow (Tuesday), 206 of my clients are claiming compensation of 22,000 euros each," their lawyer told Dutch late night talk show Jinek on Monday.
The bribery charge filed by Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot swept Temer into the forefront of a giant graft scandal that has engulfed Latin America's biggest country over the last three years.
Here are five key elements of the peace accord that the sides say will end Latin America's oldest civil conflict.
No causalities reported from Israeli shelling on Hamas target in Gaza Strip
Nationals of 6 Muslim-majority nations without 'bona fide relationship' with U.S. person or group banned until ruling