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Brazil judge orders Lula to remain in prison overturning earlier ruling to release former president

Brazil judge orders Lula to remain in prison overturning earlier ruling to release former presidentA Brazilian appeals court judge on Sunday quashed a fellow judge's bombshell ruling ordering the release of jailed former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in a day of legal tumult that comes just months before the South American country's presidential vote. Though he is serving a 12-year sentence for corruption, the wildly popular leftist Lula, 72, continues to lead opinion polls ahead of October's election and has vowed his name will be on the ballot. In his Sunday afternoon ruling, Judge Pedro Gebran Neto overturned a shock order to free Lula, which dropped just hours earlier from Judge Rogerio Favreto at an appeals court in Porto Alegre – the same one that had ordered the ex-president's arrest. Mr Favreto, the weekend duty judge, had ruled in favour of several deputies of Lula's Workers' Party, who on Friday submitted a habeas corpus application on the former president's behalf, arguing he had been illegally imprisoned. On the heels of the first ruling, top anti-corruption judge Sergio Moro – who originally sentenced Lula in July 2017 – said Mr Favreto did not have the power to secure the leftist's release. Supporters of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva demonstrate outside the Federal Police where he is detainee in Curitiba Credit: Franklin De Freitas/AFP Gebran Neto followed suit, instructing federal police at a prison in Curitiba to keep Lula behind bars. Lula has been imprisoned since April following his conviction for accepting a seaside apartment as a bribe from Brazilian construction company OAS. He has insisted on his innocence and branded the corruption accusations a political conspiracy aimed at thwarting his electoral aspirations. After ruling Brazil from 2003 to 2011, Lula left office with sky-high ratings following an economic boom and widely praised social programs to reduce poverty. "Lula free now!" read the popular politician's Twitter account after Favreto's order, praising the short-lived hope for "the end of the illegal imprisonment of Lula." But even if released, Lula could see his candidacy invalidated by the South American country's electoral court. Lula livre já!— Lula (@LulaOficial) July 8, 2018 Brazilian courts have repeatedly stifled his many efforts to secure release. Just last month the South American country's Supreme Court withdrew Lula's appeal from its agenda, after a lower appeals court ruled the prison sentence could not be referred to the top bench. The lower court said the top chamber should only handle cases related to possible constitutional violations, a standard which Lula's request did not meet. Lula's fall from grace Prosecutors in May filed new graft charges against Lula, his ex-economy minister and two other political figures allegedly promised $40 million by the Odebrecht conglomerate, which is also linked to corruption scandals elsewhere in Latin America. The charges are part of operation "Car Wash," Brazil's biggest ever anti-graft crackdown.It has targeted several former presidents, current President Michel Temer and politicians from all major parties. Federal Deputies Paulo Pimenta and Wadi Damous who filed the Habeas Corpus petition to release the former Brazilian president  Credit: Franklin De Freitas/AFP Investigators discovered that politicians and their parties were allegedly taking money from Odebrecht and other big companies in exchange for political favours and contracts with state oil company Petrobras. Yet Lula and his supporters remain steadfast in their goal to take back control of Brazil's executive branch. Just last week the former president – who had been writing football commentary from jail, which a veteran Brazilian sports journalist and leftist sympathizer then read on air – ceased commenting on the World Cup to comply with electoral rules forbidding potential candidates from making television and radio appearances after June 30.

Insurers warn of rising premiums after Trump axes Obamacare payments again

Insurers warn of rising premiums after Trump axes Obamacare payments againBy Amanda Becker and Carl O’Donnell WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Health insurers warned that a move by the Trump administration on Saturday to temporarily suspend a program that was set to pay out $10.4 billion to insurers for covering high-risk individuals last year could drive up premium costs and create marketplace uncertainty. The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) “risk adjustment” program is intended to incentivize health insurers to cover individuals with pre-existing and chronic conditions by collecting money from insurers with relatively healthy enrollees to offset the costs of other insurers with sicker ones. President Donald Trump’s administration has used its regulatory powers to undermine the ACA on multiple fronts after the Republican-controlled Congress last year failed to repeal and replace the law propelled by Democratic President Barack Obama.

Novichok: Woman dies after exposure to nerve agent – police launch murder investigation

Novichok: Woman dies after exposure to nerve agent - police launch murder investigationA mother-of-three has died after she and her partner were exposed to Novichok in Amesbury. Dawn Sturgess, 44, died on Sunday evening in hospital. Her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, is still in a critical condition after the couple fell ill last Saturday. Scotland Yard said they have launched a murder investigation – the second major probe involving the nerve agent this year, following the case of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March. Tests have revealed that the Amesbury couple were exposed to the nerve agent after touching a contaminated item with their hands. The possibility that the two investigations might be linked is "clearly a key line of inquiry for police", the Met said. Novichok strikes Salisbury area again Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said: "This is shocking and tragic news. "Dawn leaves behind her family, including three children, and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this extremely difficult time. "The 45-year-old man who fell ill with Dawn remains critically ill in hospital and our thoughts are with him and his family as well. "This terrible news has only served to strengthen our resolve to identify and bring to justice the person or persons responsible for what I can only describe as an outrageous, reckless and barbaric act. "Detectives will continue with their painstaking and meticulous work to gather all the available evidence so that we can understand how two citizens came to be exposed with such a deadly substance that tragically cost Dawn her life." Ms Sturgess's family are being given support by specialist officers and have asked for privacy. About | Novichok agent Prime Minister Theresa May said she was "appalled and shocked", and sent her "thoughts and condolences" to the family. "Police and security officials are working urgently to establish the facts of this incident, which is now being investigated as a murder," she added. "The Government is committed to providing full support to the local community as it deals with this tragedy." A post-mortem examination will be scheduled to take place in due course. Amesbury poisoning Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, had earlier said there were "no current plans" to impose fresh sanctions on Russia, despite accusing the country of using Britain as a "dumping ground" for poison. During a brief tour of Amesbury on Sunday, he said he would not "jump to conclusions" over the latest attack. Ms Sturgess and her partner Charlie Rowley, 45 It comes four months after former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia fell ill after being exposed to Novichok in nearby Salisbury. Police have yet to identify any individuals responsible for the poisoning, and are working to establish how Ms Sturgess, 44, and her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, came into contact with the nerve agent. Mr Javid said: "Clearly what we have already determined, what our expert scientists have determined, is that the nerve agent in this incident is the exact same nerve agent as was used back in March (when the Skripals were poisoned). "We know back in March that was the Russians. We know it was a barbaric inhuman act by the Russian state. Again for this particular incident we need to learn more and let the police do their work." This is a breaking news story – more to follow.

Syria says Israeli strikes target air base

Syria says Israeli strikes target air baseSyria on Sunday accused Israel of targeting an air base in the central Homs province, saying its defences hit a jet involved in the attack. “Our air defences are responding to an Israeli aggression and intercepting a number of missiles targeting the airport, hitting one of the attacking planes and forcing the rest to leave the airspace,” the official SANA news agency quoted a military source as saying. Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP that a missile bombardment killed an unspecified number of “Iranian and pro-regime fighters” at the T-4 base and was “likely to be Israeli”.

UK woman dies after poisoning by Soviet-era nerve agent

UK woman dies after poisoning by Soviet-era nerve agentBy Paul Sandle and William Schomberg LONDON (Reuters) – A British woman died on Sunday after she was poisoned by the same nerve agent that struck a former Russian spy in March and triggered a crisis in relations between Western capitals and Moscow. Dawn Sturgess, 44, died after she was exposed to Novichok on June 30 in western England, just a few miles from where Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were attacked with the same poison four months ago. The death of Sturgess was being investigated as a murder, police said in a statement.