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Brazil's defense minister resigns in new flap over comments; 3rd minister to quit this year
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) ' Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim resigned late Thursday after a newspaper said he had criticized two Cabinet colleagues, becoming the third Cabinet member to quit since the administration took office Jan. 1.
Communications Minister Helena Chagas said Jobim submitted his resignation to President Dilma Rousseff and would be replaced by former Foreign Minister Celso Amorim.
Earlier this year, Cabinet chief Antonio Palocci resigned amid questions over how his personal wealth soared while he was a legislator in 2006-10, and Transportation Minister Alfredo Nascimento stepped down following allegations of corruption in his agency.
Jobim's resignation came after the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo published extracts of an interview that the defense minister gave to Piaui magazine. The issue of the magazine with the full interview was to go on sale Friday.
Jobim reportedly called Institutional Relations Minister Ideli Salvatti "weak" and said Cabinet chief Gleisi Hoffmann "doesn't even know Brasilia," the nation's capital.
Jobim released a statement denying he criticized his fellow ministers, calling it "part of a game of intrigues" against him.
He was appointed by the previous president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and had already irritated Rousseff by telling a television station last week that he voted for her rival in elections last October.