World Briefs: Brazil's Temer faces test as minister quits

Brazil's Temer faces test as minister quits

BRASILIA • It took only 11 days in office for Brazil's Acting President Michel Temer to suffer his first major setback.

The day before he was due to shepherd a Bill through Congress to help revive investor confidence, Mr Temer's Budget Minister Romero Juca on Monday was forced to step down over allegations that he wanted to obstruct a probe into graft and money laundering.

The controversy emboldened critics of Mr Temer who heckled the acting president when he entered Congress and prevented him from speaking to reporters.


Mercury poisoning emergency in Peru

LIMA • Peruvian President Ollanta Humala has declared a 60-day emergency in a remote part of the Amazon to curb high levels of mercury poisoning from rampant illegal gold mining, the country's environment minister said on Monday.

A growing number of studies show that residents of the Madre de Dios region near Peru's south-eastern border with Brazil have dangerous levels of mercury in their bodies, Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal said in announcing the move.

Tens of thousands of illegal miners who dredge for gold in the rivers and wetlands of Madre de Dios use mercury to separate ore from rock, often handling the neurotoxin with their bare hands and inhaling its fumes when it is burned off.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2016, with the headline 'World Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe