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Three Stories From Under the Radar: Brazil, Madagascar, and a Few Ugly Eco-Disasters

Brazil Madagascar News
by Eva Holland Mar 12, 2009

Welcome to a new, occasional feature here at Pulse: “Three Stories from Under the Radar” will showcase global news stories that aren’t necessarily making the front pages.

Ongoing Unrest in Madagascar

A few weeks ago we brought you the news from Madagascar, where a power struggle was dragging the country into chaotic paralysis.

In breaking news this afternoon, the chief of the military police force has announced that he has stopped taking orders from the government. The BBC article also has a good timeline of events leading up to this point.

On Twitter today — which, by the way, has been a key source for people following the crisis — Travelers’ Tales founder James O’Reilly said it all, in 140 characters:

Friend in Madagascar sending wife, daughter away bec of strife. “Anyone who thinks govt is a bad thing should try getting along w/o one.”

Madagascar didn’t even make the front page of the “World” section of the New York Times site today, let alone the front page proper.

Excommunication in Brazil

From Brazil — home to the world’s largest Roman Catholic community — comes a grim story of rape, abortion and excommunication.

A 9-year-old girl became pregnant with twins after being repeatedly raped by her stepfather.

Abortions are permitted in Brazil only in case of rape or serious risk of death to the mother, and — both those boxes being ticked in this instance — a legal abortion was performed.

Now, the Archbishop of Olinda and Recife has excommunicated the girl’s mother, her surgeon, and the entire medical team that was present.

The girl was exempt because she is a minor; the stepfather was also exempted, with the Archbishop declaring that abortion is “a graver act” than rape.

Hideous as the case is, it’s prompted some thoughtful discussion in Brazil about faith, medicine, and the limits of church power in a secular state.

Global Voices has reaction (in Portuguese and English) from around Brazil.

Eco-Disasters Worldwide

Okay… a little shameless self-promotion to wrap this one up!

If you haven’t yet, wander over to Matador Change to read up on 6 Ecological Disasters You’ve Probably Never Heard Of — and add more overlooked toxic hotspots in the comments!

What are some under-the-radar news stories you’ve been following this week?

Madagascar photo by oledoe (Creative Commons)

Photo of Brazilian girl by babasteve (Creative Commons)

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