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World in Brief: November 2 2018

BRAZIL: The judge who jailed former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on trumped-up corruption charges will be Justice Minister in Jair Bolsonaro’s government, they confirmed yesterday.

Sergio Moro sent Lula down for more than nine years for allegedly receiving a flat as a bribe from construction company OAS, a conviction based on the word of a single convict who had his sentence reduced in return.

SYRIA: The Foreign Ministry has called on the UN to order the United States to halt air strikes on Syrian territory, citing the discovery of a mass grave in Raqqa.

Raqqa Doctors’ Syndicate chief Jamal al-Issa said the grave contained over 1,500 bodies of people killed by US bombardment of the city when it was under Islamic State (Isis) occupation.

Raqqa was occupied by Isis until last year. The group was driven out by the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces with US assistance, after having wiped out many of the city’s minorities.

UNITED STATES: Robert Bowers, the man accused of killing 11 Jewish people in an anti-semitic massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue last Saturday, pleaded not guilty in a court appearance yesterday.

His plea comes a day after a grand jury issued a 44-count indictment charging him with murder, hate crimes and obstructing the practice of religion. Mr Bowers, who has a history of online anti-semitic activity, is reported to have raged against Jews during and after the massacre.

ARMENIA: Parliament has been dissolved after it failed to pick a new prime minister.

Former protest leader Nikol Pashinian, who became Prime Minister in May after leading anti-government demonstrations, resigned last week as he struggled to get support from parliament. He hopes snap elections will return an assembly more in line with his wishes.

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