Sao Paulo, Oct 29 (AP/UNB) — Jair Bolsonaro, a brash far-right congressman who has waxed nostalgic for Brazil's old military dictatorship, won the presidency of Latin America's largest nation Sunday as voters looked past warnings that he would erode democracy and embraced a chance for radical change after years of turmoil.
The former army captain, who cast himself as a political outsider despite a 27-year career in Congress, became the latest world leader to rise to power by mixing tough, often violent talk with hard-right positions. His victory reflected widespread anger at the political class after years of corruption, an economy that has struggled to recover after a punishing recession and a surge in violence.
"I feel in my heart that things will change," Sandra Coccato, a 68-year-old small business owner, said after she voted for Bolsonaro in Sao Paulo. "Lots of bad people are leaving, and lots of new, good people are entering. There's a light at the end of the tunnel."
In Rio de Janeiro, thousands of Bolsonaro supporters gathered on iconic Copacabana Beach, where fireworks went off. In Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city, car horns could be heard honking and crowds celebrated as the results came in. There were also reports of clashes between his backers and opponents in Sao Paulo.
Speaking to supporters from his home in Rio, Bolsonaro recounted how he was stabbed while campaigning last month and almost died.
"I was never alone. I always felt the presence of God and the force of the Brazilian people," he said.
Bolsonaro, who ran on promises to clean up Brazil and bring back "traditional values," said he would respect the constitution and personal liberty.
"That is a promise, not of a party, not the vain word of a man. It's a promise to God," he said, standing next to his wife and many cheering supporters.
Later, he said in a Facebook Live transmission that he had received a call from some world leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump who wished him good luck.
Addressing supporters in Sao Paulo, his rival, Fernando Haddad of the Workers' Party, did not concede or even mention Bolsonaro by name. Instead, his speech was a promise to resist.
"We have the responsibility to mount an opposition, putting national interests, the interests of the entire Brazilian people, above everything," Haddad said. "Brazil has never needed the exercise of citizenship more than right now."
He later added: "Don't be afraid. We are here. We are together!"
Brazil's top electoral court said Bolsonaro won with just over 55 percent of the vote, compared with just under 45 percent for Haddad.
Bolsonaro went into Sunday the clear front-runner after getting 46 percent of the vote to Haddad's 29 percent in the first round of voting on Oct. 7, when 13 contenders were on the ballot. Opinion polls in recent weeks had him leading by as much as 18 percentage points, but the race tightened in the last few days. Several Brazilian heavyweights came out against him, arguing that he was a direct risk to the world's fourth-largest democracy.
His rise was powered by disgust with the political system. In particular, many Brazilians were furious with the Workers' Party for its role in the graft scheme known as "Carwash." Haddad struggled to build momentum with his promises of a return to the boom times by investing in health and education and reducing poverty.
Along the way, Bolsonaro's candidacy also raised serious concerns that he would roll back civil rights and weaken institutions in what remains a young democracy. He frequently disparaged women, gays and blacks, and said he would name military men to his Cabinet.
Minutes after he was elected, several international human rights groups put out statements demanding that Bolsonaro respect Brazil's democracy.
In a highly unusual moment earlier Sunday, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Jose Dias Toffoli, read out part of the Constitution to reporters after he voted.
"The future president must respect institutions, must respect democracy, the rule of law, the judiciary branch, the national Congress and the legislative branch," Toffoli said in remarks many took to be a rebuke of Bolsonaro and his more extreme positions.
As late as Sunday morning, Haddad was still holding out hope that he could win after receiving several key endorsements late Saturday.
Among them was a popular former Supreme Court justice, Joaquim Barbosa, who tweeted support for Haddad, saying Bolsonaro's candidacy scared him. Likewise, former Attorney General Rodrigo Janot, one of the biggest crusaders against corruption in the Workers' Party in recent years, also endorsed Haddad.
One of the most important endorsements, particularly for young people, came from YouTube personality Felipe Neto, whose channel has nearly 27 million followers.
Neto said he was troubled by Bolsonaro's comments a week ago that "red" leftists would be run out of Brazil.
"In 16 years of the (Workers' Party), I have been robbed, but never threatened," Neto said on Twitter.
The past few years in Brazil have been exceptionally turbulent. In 2016, then-President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers' Party was impeached and removed from office on charges that many on the left felt were politically motivated. The economy suffered a two-year recession and is only beginning to emerge, with growth stagnant and unemployment high.
Scores of politicians and executives have been jailed in the Carwash corruption investigation, which uncovered a multibillion-dollar scheme to trade public contracts and official favors for bribes and kickbacks.
That instability unleashed sharp anger against the political class but also revealed deep divisions in Brazilian society, and the campaign was the most polarized in decades. There were numerous reports of politically motivated violence, especially directed at gay people.
Many observers predicted that a newcomer would emerge to harness the anti-establishment anger. Instead, support coalesced around Bolsonaro, who at the margins in Congress painted himself as just the strong man Brazil needed to dismantle a failing system.
Bolsonaro's campaign first gained traction with his promises to go after violent crime in a country that leads the world in homicides and where many Brazilians live in daily fear of muggings or burglaries. But his vows to loosen gun laws and give police a freer hand to use force have also raised concerns that his presidency could lead to a bloody crackdown and an erosion of civil rights.
The campaign gained momentum by winning over much of the business community with promises of enacting market-friendly reforms that would reduce the size of the Brazilian state, including cutting ministries and privatizing state companies.
"I hope that with these elections we're not signing a blank check again, and that we don't close our eyes to everything that has happened," said Jose Nobrega, a 53-year-old waiter in Mare, one of Rio's most violent neighborhoods.
Leicester, Oct 28 (AP/UNB) — A helicopter belonging to Leicester City's owner crashed in flames in a carpark next to the soccer club's stadium shortly after it took off from the field following a Premier League game on Saturday.
The central England team said it was assisting authorities with "a major incident" at the stadium but there were no details about who was on board or their condition.
The Air Accident Investigation Branch is working alongside the emergency services and the club to "establish the exact circumstances of the collision," Leicestershire Police said in a statement.
Billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who owns Thai duty-free retail giant King Power, bought Leicester in 2010 and provided the funds that helped the team improbably win the Premier League at odds of 5,000-1 in 2016.
Leicester has not said if its owner was on the helicopter. In a scene regularly seen after matches, Vichai's aircraft arrived in the King Power Stadium after Saturday's 1-1 draw against West Ham before taking off from the center circle more than an hour after full time.
Photographer Ryan Brown reported hearing the engine stopping after the helicopter cleared the stadium.
"I turned round and it made a bit of a whirring noise, like a grinding noise," Brown told the BBC. "The helicopter just went silent, I turned round and it was just spinning, out of control. And then there was a big bang and then (a) big fireball."
British broadcaster BT Sport was presenting its post-game show in the stadium when the helicopter took off.
"It suddenly got very serious," BT presenter Jake Humphrey announced later on air. "The helicopter has crashed. It has crashed in the club carpark ... we heard a commotion."
The local ambulance service said it received reports of a helicopter crash at 8:38 p.m. local time and sent a doctor, two paramedics in ambulance cars, a crewed ambulance and its Hazardous Area Response Team.
"The first resource (arrived) within two minutes of the call," the ambulance service said.
An indication of concerns within the Leicester squad came on social media.
The emoji of praying hands was tweeted by several players, including striker Jamie Vardy, whose goals helped the 134-year-old team win the English title for the first time in 2016.
The competition's organizers tweeted: "Thoughts from all at the Premier League are with everyone affected by tonight's incident."
Mexico, Oct 25 (AP/UNB) — Emergency workers and federal troops struggled to reach beach towns left incommunicado by a blow from Hurricane Willa, and the storm continued to force evacuations Wednesday due to fear of flooding even as it dissipated over northern Mexico. Thousands of homes were still without power.
There were no immediate reports of deaths or missing people, but the storm's 120 mph (195 kph) winds damaged a hospital, knocked out power, toppled wood-shack homes and ripped metal roofing off other houses in the Sinaloa state municipality of Escuinapa when it came ashore Tuesday evening.
Nearly 102,000 homes in Sinaloa lost electricity after the storm made landfall, the head of the state electricity company said on Twitter. Service had been restored to about 62 percent of those.
The state civil defense office said the hospital's ceiling and some other areas were damaged in Escuinapa.
The worst damage was expected to be in the handful of coastal communities that were cut off by road and without communications. Workers were trying to remove toppled power poles and trees blocking the roads.
In the farming neighborhood of Pueblo Nuevo, a half mile (kilometer) from Escuinapa's center, neighbors cried when describing how the wind swept up their tin roofs and wooden house frames while they sheltered under their heaviest furniture.
Ruben Avila and his wife, Juana, told The Associated Press they were disappointed that government officials had not yet arrived with help, as they sat among their scattered belongings under pouring rain Wednesday. Mattresses and remains of their belongings lay soaked on the ground.
Meanwhile, pictures on social media depicted plastic-wrapped mattresses supposedly donated to Sinaloa residents after the storm in the name of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the jailed leader of the Sinaloa Cartel. The Mexican drug lord was extradited to New York in 2017 to face trafficking charges.
In neighboring Nayarit state, Gov. Antonio Echevarria asked the federal government to send a helicopter, boats and rescue equipment. He said the state was trying to evacuate people in communities at risk of flooding. A government-run hospital shared pictures of a baby delivered in Acaponeta as the storm passed through.
The Interior Department announced late Wednesday that 12,000 soldiers, 3,800 sailors and 120 federal police officers had been sent to help. It said federal aircraft also were being deployed.
Before hitting the mainland near Isla del Bosque, Willa swept over an offshore penal colony about 60 miles (100 kilometers) out in the Pacific. Federal authorities declined to comment on precautions that were taken at the prison, citing security concerns, but said the safety of inmates was a priority.
Willa peaked as a Category 5 storm with winds of 155 mph (250 kph) over the Pacific on Monday. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm rapidly lost force and dissipated over northern Mexico Wednesday morning. Rain from Willa continued to fall across 10 Mexican states after the cyclone was downgraded to a tropical storm.
Concern about rains led Durango state to say it was evacuating 200 people threatened by possible spills from the Santa Elena dam. In Nayarit, the fire department urged residents in villages near the Acaponeta river to "evacuate immediately" as the river rose to dangerous levels.
Willa came ashore about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Mazatlan, a resort city that is home to high-rise hotels and about 500,000 people, including many U.S. and Canadian expatriates.
Torrential rains began in the afternoon, and emergency officials said they had evacuated more than 4,250 people in coastal towns and set up 58 shelters ahead of the storm. Schools were ordered closed.
Mexico City, Oct 23 (AP/UNB) — A potential catastrophic Hurricane Willa swept toward Mexico's Pacific coast with winds of 150 mph (240 kph) Monday, threatening a stretch of high-rise resort hotels, surfing beaches and fishing villages.
After briefly reaching Category 5 strength, the storm's maximum sustained winds weakened slightly to Category 4 by the evening. But it remained "extremely dangerous" and was expected to bring "life-threatening storm surge, wind and rainfall" to parts of west-central and southwestern Mexico ahead of an expected Tuesday landfall, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Hotel workers started taping up windows, and officials began evacuating thousands of people and shuttered schools in a low-lying landscape where towns sit amid farmland tucked between the sea and lagoons. A decree of "extraordinary emergency" was issued for 19 municipalities in Nayarit and Sinaloa states, the federal Interior Department announced.
The hurricane was expected to pass over or near the Islas Marias — a set of islands about 60 miles (96 kilometers) offshore that include a nature preserve and a federal prison — early Tuesday.
Forecasters said Willa would then blow ashore in the afternoon or evening somewhere along a 140-mile (220-kilometer) stretch extending from the resort town of Mazatlan to San Blas.
It was projected to weaken somewhat before hitting land but was still expected to be extremely dangerous.
Yamile Bustamante, assistant general manager at the Crown Plaza de Mazatlan, said hotel executives were not ruling out the possibility of evacuating guests but were awaiting instructions from authorities.
The governments of Sinaloa and Nayarit ordered coastal region schools to close and began preparing emergency shelters.
Enrique Moreno, mayor of Escuinapa, a municipality of about 60,000 people on Willa's track, said officials were trying to evacuate everybody in the seaside village of Teacapan. He estimated 3,000 were affected but he expected some would try to stay.
"The people don't want to evacuate, but it's for their security," he said.
About 60 miles (100 kilometers) up the coast in Mazatlan, with a metropolitan-area population of about 500,000, Mayor Jose Joel Boucieguez said officials prepared shelters and were closely monitoring low-lying areas. Mazatlan is a popular vacation spot and home to a large number of American and Canadian expatriates.
Willa was centered about 100 miles (160 kilometers) west of Cabo Corrientes and moving north at 8 mph (13 kph).
Hurricane-force winds extended 35 miles (55 kilometers) from the storm's center, and tropical storm-force winds were up to 125 miles (205 kilometers) out.
The U.S. hurricane center warned that Willa could bring 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of rain — with up to 18 inches (45 centimeters) in some places — to parts of Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa states, with flash flooding and landslides possible in mountainous areas.
Farther to the south, Tropical Storm Vicente weakened and was expected to dissipate soon, but still produce heavy rainfall and flooding over parts of southern and southwestern Mexico.
Mexico City, October 22 (AP/UNB) — Hurricane Willa has grown rapidly into an "extremely dangerous" near-Category 5 storm in the eastern Pacific, on a path to smash into Mexico's western coast between Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta by Wednesday.
The governments of Sinaloa and Nayarit states ordered coastal region schools to close on Monday and began preparing emergency shelters ahead of the onslaught.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said that Willa could "produce life-threatening storm surge, wind and rainfall over portions of southwestern and west-central Mexico beginning on Tuesday." It predicted that Willa could become a Category 5 hurricane later Monday, generating life-threatening surf and rip tide conditions.
A hurricane warning was posted for Mexico's western coast between San Blas and Mazatlan, including the Islas Marias, a nature reserve and federal prison directly in the forecast track of the storm.
Tropical storm warnings ranged from Playa Perula north to San Blas and from Mazatlan north to Bahia Tempehuaya. The center said Willa is expected make landfall late Tuesday or early Wednesday.
By early Monday, Willa had maximum sustained winds of 155 mph (255 kph) — the same windspeed Hurricane Michael had at landfall in Florida — and was centered about 200 miles (325 kilometers) south-southwest of the Islas Marias and 155 miles (250 kilometers) south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes. It was moving north at 7 mph (11 kph).
Hurricane force winds extended 30 miles (45 kilometers) from the storm's core and tropical storm force winds were up to 90 miles (150 kilometers) out.
The hurricane center said 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of rain should fall and some places could see up to 18 inches (45 centimeters) — on parts of western Jalisco, western Nayarit and southern Sinaloa states. It warned of the danger of flash flooding and landslides in mountainous areas.
Farther to the south, Tropical Storm Vicente weakened but was still expected to produce heavy rainfall and flooding over parts of southern and southwestern Mexico.
By early Monday, its core was about 195 miles (310 kilometers) southeast of Acapulco with top sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph). The hurricane center said it could produce 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 centimeters) of rain in parts of Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco states.