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Brazil leader defiant in face of possible charges

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BRAZIL-POLITICS

Temer has denied corruption allegations in recent weeks. Temer is expressing defiance in the face of possible corruption charges, the lowest approval rating for a Brazilian leader in a generation and calls for his resignation. "Nothing will destroy us - not me and not our ministers", he said.

Brazil's Attorney General Rodrigo Janot filed the charges accusing Temer of accepting bribes, including a $150,00 payoff from the former chairman of JBS, a Brazilian meatpacking company.

After meeting with Solberg, President Temer said in a statement that the environmental issue was one of the main topics discussed with Norwegian authorities.

Under Brazilian law, the country's lower house of congress must vote on whether to try a sitting president. House Speaker Rodrigo Maia, an ally of Temer, would then be president in the interim.

Rocha Loures was jailed after being filmed receiving a suitcase containing 500,000 reais (about 150,000 USA dollars), which were allegedly a bribe for Temer coming from meatpacking company Group J&F boss Joesley Batista. Batista reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. His decision to put forward only the corruption allegation may be a strategy to force the lower Chamber of Deputies to first deal with it before having to consider the other allegations.

The accusation comes with a blistering assessment of Temer and his actions as Brazil's top leader.

Monday's charging document alleges Temer arranged to eventually receive a total of 38 million reais ($11.5 million) from JBS in the next nine months. Batista also accused Temer and aides of negotiating millions of dollars in illegal donations for his Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB).

But Temer, in his first comments since arriving back from a trip to Russian Federation and Norway, said that he had no intention to step down. "Nothing will destroy us - not me and not our ministers".

In a further sign of Temer's weakening position, an important figure in his ruling coalition, former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, called for him to step down and help Brazil hold new elections.

His trip last week to Russian Federation and Norway ended up underscoring the president's problems and Brazil's diminished stature overseas.

Temer himself proposed legislation that would scale back protections for blocks of forested land seen as highly desirable by the bancada ruralista, the rural lobby of agribusiness and mining interests who supported Temer's rise to power and the impeachment of his predecessor, President Dilma Rousseff, last year.

The survey by the Datafolha polling institute shows just 7 percent of those questioned approved of his administration, down from 9 percent in April.

Even stalwart allies have begun to abandon Temer.

It would be "a gesture of greatness", Cardoso wrote in the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper.

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