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September 2017
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Rahul 'thanks' Sushma for recognising Cong legacy        Bangla govt dismisses reports about plot to kill Hasina        India beat Aus by 5 wkts to clinch ODI series, grab No. 1 spot        Pak's UN envoy tries to pass off Gaza image as Kashmir        Kerala minister Thomas Chandy rejects encroachment charges; opposition press for resignation        Shiv Sena takes to streets against inflation, fuel price hike        Journalist KJ Singh, mother found dead: Punjab Police sets up SIT to probe case, IJU condemns the murder        We created institutions of excellence, Pakistan created terror factories: Sushma at UN General Assembly        Early count puts Bill English ahead in New Zealand election        Another powerful aftershock jolts Mexico with 6.1 magnitude        Pakistan name five upcapped players in 16-man squad for Sri Lanka Tests        Rajasthan's 'Falahari Baba' arrested for rape        LDF entry of BDJS: : Kanam breaks silence        Chandy issue: Achuthanandan takes a dig at Pinarayi        Malappuram genital chopping case: Police confused        Injustice being done, says Manju        Thomas Chandy alleges conspiracy in encroachment row        Medium-intensity earthquake in Kashmir Valley        IRCTC denies reports of some banks cards barred for payment        We don't indulge in vote bank politics: Modi        
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International News
Former Brazil president Lula da Silva gets nearly 10 years in jail for graft
 
(Brasília,July 13, 2017):Brazil’s former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison for graft in a stark fall from grace for the iconic leftist leader.

Lula, who ruled Brazil from 2003-2010, was convicted and handed a 9.5-year prison term on Wednesday for accepting a luxury seaside apartment and $1.1 million, the latest twist in a giant corruption probe engulfing Latin America’s largest economy.

But anti-corruption judge Sergio Moro said the 71-year-old Lula would remain free pending an appeal -- something his lawyers immediately said they would lodge.

“We are appealing and will prove his innocence,” the lawyers said in a statement sent to AFP.

The conviction nevertheless landed a heavy blow on the prospect of Lula making a political comeback in presidential elections due in October next year.

The verdict also sent a dramatic message to much of Brazil’s political class that they, too, risked falling afoul of the anti-graft drive.

Even the current president, Michel Temer, has been charged with taking bribes and several of his ministers have resigned after corruption claims were made.

The sea change has come about because of Operation “Car Wash,” a sweeping probe looking into a giant embezzlement and kickbacks scheme involving state-owned oil group Petrobras, construction firms and several political parties -- Lula’s Workers’ Party chief among them.

Lula denies charges

But while many Brazilians welcome the long-overdue clean-up, the uncertainty is hobbling their country’s struggle to exit from a historic recession.

The verdict against Lula “all but rules him out of the running for next year’s presidential election,” said Capital Economics, an economic analysis firm.

It said the court’s decision was “likely to give a near-term boost to Brazilian markets” as the likelihood waned of Lula, a former union leader, returning to power and quashing needed economic reforms championed by Temer.

Lula has repeatedly denied taking any bribes during or after his presidency.

He has described the investigation against him as a campaign to prevent his return to power.

The Workers’ Party called Lula’s conviction and sentence “an attack on democracy” and Brazil’s constitution, accusing the judge of bias.

Lula was “serene” upon receiving the news, though he felt “a natural indignation, like anyone convicted without proof,” said one of his lawyers, Cristiano Zanin Martins.

Another lawyer, Valeska Zanin Martins, added: “They want to leave Lula out of the presidential race, and Lula leads the polls.”

The conviction focused on allegations that Lula received the triplex apartment and cash as bribes from one of Brazil’s biggest construction companies, OAS.

The judge ordered that the apartment be confiscated.

“Between the crimes of corruption and money laundering, there are sufficient grounds for sentences totaling nine years and six months of incarceration,” Moro said in his verdict.

Political fallout

The sentence by Moro -- whose wide popularity in Brazil for his anti-corruption work has prompted some to see him as a possible presidential candidate -- fed into broader political ructions in Brazil.

Lula’s chosen successor, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached and booted from office last year, with Temer, her vice president, taking over.

Two weeks ago, Moro sentenced an influential minister in the Lula and Rousseff governments, Antonio Palocci, to 12 years in prison for corruption.

Palocci played a central role in the “Car Wash” scheme, most of which unfolded when Lula’s Workers’ Party was in power from 2003 to 2016.

Prosecutors said Palocci was a pointman in the flow of “bribes between the Odebrecht construction group and intermediaries of the Workers’ Party,” laundering more than $10 million used for party campaign finances.

Odebrecht, an industrial conglomerate with projects around the world, named Palocci “the Italian” in its list of code names for politicians regularly taking bribes in exchange for lucrative contracts with Petrobras and other favors.

The apartment bribe is one of five corruption cases stacked against Lula.

Others include allegations that Odebrecht gave $3.7 million to Lula so he could buy land to build the Lula Institution highlighting his political legacy, and that he received a kickback in Brazil’s purchase of Swedish warplanes.


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KERALA NEWS
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 (Malappuram, Sep 23, 2017, DG): CPI State Secretary Kanam Rajendran today invited BDJS into t
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NATIONAL NEWS
Rahul 'thanks' Sushma for recognising Cong legacy
 (New Delhi, Sep 24, 2017):Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today thanked External Affairs
Shiv Sena takes to streets against inflation, fuel price hike
Journalist KJ Singh, mother found dead: Punjab Police sets up SIT to probe case, IJU condemns the murder
Rajasthan's 'Falahari Baba' arrested for rape
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