Friday, July 20, 2018
Brazil’s president has until 22 June to approve or veto two bills (PLC 4 and PLC 5) turning over more than 600,000 hectares (2,317 square miles) of federally protected Amazon forest to illegal loggers, illegal miners and land thieves. The measures, initiated by Temer and already approved by Congress, are seen as a reward to the bancada ruralista...
Main image: Gamela indigenous people talk to police after the brutal attack by farmers in Maranhão state, Brazil. Photo: Ana Mendes/Indigenous Missionary Congress (CIMI) SÃO PAULO, 9 May, 2017 − A recent violent attack on a group of indigenous people in the Amazon rainforest of northern Brazil is seen by environmentalists as a symptom of a new climate of hostility...
The battle for the Amazon is being fought over two opposing viewpoints: the first, mostly held by indigenous and traditional people and their conservationist allies, sees forests and rivers as valuable for their own sake, and for the livelihoods, biodiversity, ecological services and climate change mitigation they provide. For them the forests need protection. The second worldview holds...
Land grabbing and illegal ranching (even on public lands) has long been, and still is, big business in the Brazilian Amazon. Last year the Brazilian government launched its most ambitious crackdown ever. And some of the criminals caught up in the federal police net were members of Brazil’s richest families. In June 2016, federal law enforcement pounced on...
In the early 2000s, public outrage over Amazon clear cutting for soy production caused transnational grain companies including Cargill, Bunge and Brazil’s Amaggi, to join with soy producers and environmental NGOs including Greenpeace to sign the voluntary Amazon Soy Moratorium, banning direct conversion of Amazon forests to soy after 2006. The agreement’s signatories have long proclaimed its phenomenal...
The meteoric rise in soy production in the state of Mato Grosso is eating up rainforest and savanna at a staggering rate, with 1.2 million hectares under production in 1991; 6.2 million hectares in 2010; and 9.4 million hectares by 2016. Much of that soy is being exported to China, and it is expected that Brazil will grow...
The Tapajós River Basin lies at the heart of the Amazon, and at the heart of an exploding controversy: whether to build 40+ large dams, a railway, and highways, turning the Basin into a vast industrialized commodities export corridor; or to curb this development impulse and conserve one of the most biologically and culturally rich regions on the planet. Those...
The Tapajós River Basin lies at the heart of the Amazon, and also at the heart of an exploding controversy: whether to build more than 40 large dams, a railway, roads, canals and port complexes, turning the Basin into a vast industrialized commodities export corridor; or to curb this development impulse and conserve one of the most biologically and...
On 4 January, a congressional commission with full investigative powers was created to deal with the accusations of illegal payments to government officials by Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction company. These relate to infrastructure contracts obtained from the Peruvian government from at least 2005 onwards. The information came to light as part of the wider investigation into the so-called ‘Lava...

Rio: from kudos to chaos

In less than three months Rio has passed from the splendour and success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to a state of public calamity and chaos. The state government is bankrupt; salaries are in arrears, hospitals are at breaking point, suppliers are unpaid.  The causes include the steep drop in the royalties enjoyed by Rio when the oil price...

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