Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (C) addresses the
audience during a meeting of the annual Mercosur trade bloc presidential
summit in Mendoza June 29, 2012. (Credit: Reuters/Enrique Marcarian)

Chinese leader woos Latin America with deals

Chinese leader woos Latin America with deals
Chinese President Xi Jinping (4-L, first row) poses with leaders of the CELAC group of Latin American and Caribbean states, in Brasilia, on July 17, 2014 (AFP Photo/Nelson Almeida)
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

A student holds a sign reading "Don't shoot, listen!!!" during a protest
on June 17, 2013 in Brasilia (AFP, Evaristo)

Brazil's Rousseff claims nation 'ready for greatest World Cup'

Brazil's Rousseff claims nation 'ready for greatest World Cup'
Google: Ready, set, goooaaallll! The WorldCup is finally here.

Paraguay police search S. American football HQ

Paraguay police search S. American football HQ
The Conmebol headquarters in Luque, Paraguay, is seen on January 7, 2016, during a raid within the framework of the FIFA corruption scandal (AFP Photo/Norberto Duarte)

'Panama Papers' law firm under the media's lenses

'Panama Papers' law firm under the media's lenses
The Panama Papers: key facts on the huge journalists' investigation into tax evasion (AFP Photo/Thomas Saint-Cricq, Philippe Mouche)

Mossack Fonseca

Mossack Fonseca


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Almost entire population of Ecuador has online data leaked

Yahoo – AFP, September 16, 2019

The security company vpnMentor uncovered a data breach on the server run
by the firm Novaestrat, which included Ecuadoran citizens' full names, dates
and places of birth, education levels, phone numbers and national identity card
numbers (AFP Photo/Philippe HUGUEN)

Quito (AFP) - Almost the entire population of Ecuador had their personal data leaked online, security experts said Monday, a massive breach that the government called a "very delicate" issue.

An estimated 17 million people, including almost seven million minors and children, had their data exposed by a breach on an unsecured server run by an Ecuadorean marketing and analytics firm.

"The information that I can share with you at this moment is that this is a very delicate issue, it is a major concern for the whole of the government and the state," said Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo.

The security company vpnMentor uncovered the breach on the server run by the firm Novaestrat, which included citizens' full names, dates and places of birth, education levels, phone numbers and national identity card numbers.

ZDNet, the cybersecurity website that first reported the breach, said there was even data on the country's president and on Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder who applied for asylum in Ecuador and who spent years holed up in the country's London embassy before being arrested this year by British police.

As part of his application for asylum, Assange was issued with an Ecuadoran identity card.

The security company contacted Ecuador's Computer Emergency Response Team to secure the leaked data, ZDNet said.

Romo said the government was "working on an investigation which will permit us in the coming hours to assess who is responsible for what happened."

"I hope, too, that in the hours to come, the telecommunications ministry will be able to assess more thoroughly technical information about data protection," she said.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Water or Gold? Eternal question nags Ecuador tribes

Yahoo – AFP, Santiago PIEDRA SILVA, September 14, 2019

View of Quimsacocha where indigenous water rights are under threat from
expanding mineral exploration (AFP Photo/Rodrigo BUENDIA)

Quimsacocha (Ecuador) (AFP) - The indigenous people of Ecuador's wind-whipped alpine tundra of Quimsacocha face a stark choice, according to their leader, Yaku Perez.

"We have to decide between gold and water," he tells activists at a meeting held to oppose a landmark mining project.

"What do we prefer, companeros?" demands Perez, his voice rising.

He knows there's only one answer, and they shout back in unison: "Water!"

Ecuador's government has put its weight behind a giant gold-silver-copper mining project in the wild, high grasslands of Quimsacocha.

Quito has conceded half Quimsacocha's 20,000 hectares (49,421 acres) to Canadian miner INV Metals to develop a near billion dollar mine deep underground.

Indigenous people share a traditional lunch in Quimsacocha, Ecuador
(AFP Photo/Rodrigo BUENDIA)

The Loma Larga project is due to begin production in 2021 and would mean thousands of jobs.

For local indigenous communities however, the sweeping, cloud-scraping grasslands of Quimsacocha are a sacred, vital source of water.

'We can live without gold'

Perez, his Canari Quechua people and other indigenous communities are fighting the Loma Larga mine every step of the way.

In an unprecedented popular consultation held in March, local municipalities rejected mining in the southern Andes.

Perez sees local referenda "as the way for Ecuador to be declared a territory free of metal mining and its water sources and fragile ecosystems."

Community leader Yaku Perez, who is leading the indigenous struggle against
the threat to water resources posed by mining companies in Ecuador's high 
grasslands (AFP Photo/Rodrigo BUENDIA)

Just 3,200 hectares of the Quimsacocha is under protection, forming part of a biosphere reserve.

The government, anxious to develop its mineral resources, is hoping the Constitutional Court will block further popular consultations and demonstrate the legal protections necessary to attract mining sector investment.

"Mining, wherever it goes, generates dispossession of territories, violence in the community, destabilises democracy, generates institutional corruption, pollutes the waters and poisons the rivers," says Perez.

"It takes the meat, and leave the bone, but the contaminated bone."

Yaku Perez drinks water from a river in Quimsacocha 
(AFP Photo/Rodrigo BUENDIA)

Perez says this standing on the grassy bank of the Tarqui river, which hurries down from here to the city of Cuenca and into the Amazon.

Squatting, he scoops a palmful of cold clear water to his lips.

"We can live without gold, but without water, never."

'Defending the water'

A lawyer, Perez sees himself as a defender of the Quimsacocha and says he has been jailed on four occasions for "defending the water."

High on the tundra, he vaults a fence surrounding the mining concession. Others with him cut through chains blocking a narrow road, a symbolic gesture in a constant war of attrition with the mining company.

For indigenous communities the sweeping, cloud-scraping 
grasslands of Quimsacocha are a sacred, vital source 
of water. (AFP Photo/Rodrigo BUENDIA)

"We are not going to allow the miners here," said Maria Dorila Fajardo, a 60-year-old indigenous woman wearing a traditional large red skirt, her head covered with a wool hat.

A large blue sign with white lettering says: "Private Property. No Entry."

"This is not private property," Perez fumes. "This is communal property. We have deeds dating back to 1893, our grandparents bought all this land.

"We don't want to cultivate it, but keep it as the natural reservoir it is."

The government in Quito expects GDP to grow from 1.6 percent to 4.0 percent by 2021, boosted by mineral exploration.

An Ecuadorean indigenous woman stands in protest outside a mining 
concession in Quimsacocha, Azuay province, Ecuador (AFP Photo/Rodrigo BUENDIA)

Resource-rich Ecuador will receive about $554 million from Loma Larga, according to official figures.

"Mining is like a mirage. They give us money for a little while and later that money evaporates," says Perez.

"It goes up in smoke. It's bread today, but hunger and desolation tomorrow."

Monday, September 9, 2019

Battle over Marvel comic gay kiss is defused by Brazil court

Yahoo – AFP, September 9, 2019

Organizers of the Rio book fair appealed to the supreme court amid
worries about censorship and discrimination (AFP Photo/HO)

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) - Brazil's Supreme Court on Sunday made it illegal to ban any LGBT publication, after a lower court allowed conservative mayor to confiscate comic books at the Rio Book Fair containing content he considered "inappropriate" for minors.

Mayor Marcelo Crivella, an Evangelical Protestant, ordered the comic book removed from sale because of its "sexual content for minors" on Saturday.

Crivella -- a former bishop in the giant Universal Church of the Kingdom of God -- was elected Rio's mayor in 2016, promising to bring law and order to a city beset by crime.

The comic that sparked the mayor's ire showed the Marvel superhero characters Wiccan and Hulkling exchanging a kiss, fully dressed.

But the federal top court agreed with prosecutor Dias Toffoli and ruled that Crivella's actions were illegal because they targeted only LGBT content, violating the constitutional guarantee of equality for all.

And Crivella's move backfired as copies of "Young Avengers: the Children's Crusade" quickly sold out after he demanded it be withdrawn from the book fair, organizers told AFP.

Popular Brazilian YouTuber Felipe Neto, who has more than 34 million subscribers to his channel, also bought 14,000 books on LGBT themes and distributed them free at the fair in protest.

The image of the Marvel comic kiss was also on display Saturday at news kiosks across the country, printed on the cover of the Folha de S. Paulo, Brazil's largest national newspaper.

Publishers and writers accuse the mayor of wanting to censor content.

Constitutional law specialist Michael Mohallem, of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, had previously said that the mayor's actions, and the court decision permitting them, would violate free speech and discriminate based on sexual orientation.

"Since the decision seems to be specifically aimed at prohibiting the circulation of magazines that show gay kisses (rather than any other), my interpretation is that it is motivated by discrimination, both by the mayor and the judge," Mohallem said.

Brazil's Supreme Court in June voted to criminalize homophobia, classifying it as a crime similar to racism.

It was an important step for sexual minorities in one of the most dangerous countries for LGBT people in the world, but was criticized by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has a history of homophobic remarks.

Brazil had already legalized same-sex marriage.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Amid fears of far higher Dorian death toll, islanders scramble to leave

Yahoo – AFP, Cyril JULIEN, September 7, 2019

Hurricane Dorian refugees arrive in the capital Nassau (AFP Photo/
Brendan Smialowski)

Marsh Harbour (Bahamas) (AFP) - Bahamians who lost everything in the devastating passage of Hurricane Dorian were scrambling Saturday to escape the worst-hit islands by sea or by air, after the powerful storm left at least 43 people dead with officials fearing a "significantly" higher toll.

A loosely coordinated armada of passenger planes, helicopters and both private and government boats and ships -- including redirected cruise liners -- was converging on the horribly battered Abaco Islands to help with evacuations, both to Nassau and to the US mainland.

But Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said that "Nassau cannot possibly accommodate" all the Abaco victims. He said plans were being hammered out for constructing tents and other temporary accommodations, the Nassau Guardian reported Saturday.

For now, he said, supplies of food and water were adequate, though several witnesses from Abaco contested that.

A cruise ship carrying 1,400 evacuees arrived Saturday in Riviera Beach, Florida, CNN reported.

More than 260 Abacos residents arrived Friday in Nassau on a government-chartered ferry. Another, carrying 200, was set to leave on Saturday.

The US Coast Guard and private organizations have been evacuating residents 
of Abaco and other islands to Nassau (AFP Photo/Hunter Medley)

Residents said conditions on the islands were brutal. They said the smell of unrecovered bodies, along with mounting piles of garbage, was oppressive and unsanitary.

Hundreds or even thousands of people were still missing, officials said, as search-and-rescue teams continued their grim search. Morticians with body bags were beginning to arrive.

Minnis said the death toll -- 35 so far in the Abacos and eight in Grand Bahama -- was likely to climb "significantly."

He called the loss of life "catastrophic and devastating."

The final death toll "will be staggering," Health Minister Duane Sands said earlier.

A UN World Food Program team estimated that 90 percent of buildings in Marsh Harbour were damaged.

UN relief officials said more than 70,000 people on Grand Bahama and Abaco were in need of assistance. The WFP was sending food and supplies.

The US Coast Guard, Britain's Royal Navy and private organizations have been helping evacuate island residents to Nassau, hampered by damaged piers and airport runways.

Hurricane Dorian left a deadly trail of destruction on Great Abaco Island (AFP
Photo/Adam DelGiudice)

The Coast Guard said Saturday, however, that all Bahamian ports had now reopened. It said it had deployed nine cutters to the islands and that six of its MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters had so far rescued 290 people.

'It's not right'

Chamika Durosier was waiting early Saturday at the Abaco airport. The island, she said, was unsafe.

"The home that we were in fell on us," she said. "We had to crawl -- got out crawling. By the grace of God we are alive."

She described the increasingly desperate plight of those left behind.

"People have no food. People have no water, and it's not right. They should have been gone.

"Dead bodies are still around and it's not sanitary."

At Marsh Harbour's commercial port, Miralda Smith, a Haitian national, had arrived overnight on foot and was waiting in sweltering heat with dozens of other evacuees for passage to Nassau.

"We have no water, no electricity -- we're dying," she said. "It's really catastrophic."

Waves crash on Rodanthe Pier as Hurricane Dorian hits Cape Hatteras in 
North Carolina on September 6 (AFP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Many evacuees were Haitian workers who had seen their makeshift homes in a shantytown known as The Mudd completely flattened.

Those who have made it to safety awaited news of loved ones.

Diane Forbes was desperately searching for her two sons among some 200 evacuees at a shelter in Nassau.

On Tuesday, when last she heard from them, her sons told her that "they were hungry, and the scent of the bodies, the dead, was really getting to them."

Dorian, a monstrous Category 5 hurricane when it raked through the Bahamas, was buffeting southwestern Nova Scotia, Canada, on Saturday with tropical storm-force winds, the National Hurricane Center said at 11:00 am (1500 GMT).

The Canadian Hurricane Centre predicted a landfall near Halifax and issued hurricane warnings for parts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Earlier, Dorian brought flooding and power outages but no major damage to the coastal Carolinas and Virginia.

In the Bahamas, the scene was very different, as the newly homeless were growing frustrated at the slow speed of relief and evacuation efforts.

A shop floods in Rodanthe Sound as Hurricane Dorian hits Cape Hatteras 
(AFP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

"There's no gas station, no food stores, my job is gone," said Melanie Lowe of Marsh Harbour. She survived the storm packed in a two-bedroom apartment with 16 other people.

Hazmat suits and body bags

Arrangements were being made Saturday to care for the dead and account for the missing.

Mortuary workers in white hazmat suits, blue gloves and masks could be seen in Marsh Harbour carrying corpses in green body bags and loading them onto flatbed trucks.

President Donald Trump offered US support, adding in a video statement that "any cruise ship companies willing to act as stationary housing, etc., I am sure would be appreciated!"

At the Abaco airport on Saturday, Tanya McDermott was waiting with her husband and young son for a plane to Nassau.

With the injured given priority on outbound flights, they waited.

"We are going to wait around all day if we have to," Tanya McDermott said.

"We are going to hope for the best."

Friday, September 6, 2019

Amazon's 'tallest tree' safe from fires, say scientists

Yahoo – AFP, September 4, 2019

Handout picture released by SETEC (Science and Technology Secretary of
Amapa State) showing the giant Dinizia Excelsa tree, found in the Paru State
Forest in the Amazon basin, on August 21, 2019 (AFP Photo/Rafael ALEIXO)

Sao Paulo (AFP) - Intrepid Brazilian and British scientists say they have located the Amazon's tallest tree in northern Brazil, untouched by a spate of wildfires that have raged in the rainforest for weeks.

The scientists say they located an unusually large specimen of the giant Dinizia Excelsa species -- measuring 88 meters (288-feet) with a circumference of 5.50 meters -- in a sanctuary of other Dinizia trees.

"The species generally reach a height of 60 meters. We have a great discovery here and now a commitment to preserve the largest trees in the Amazon," said research coordinator Eric Bastos.

Bastos led research conducted in August by scientists from the Federal University of the Valleys of the Jequitinhonha and Britain's Cambridge University and the University of Swansea.

The discovery was made by using aerial sensors over Paru State Forest, which is shared by the Brazilian Amazon basin states of Amapa and Para.

The sanctuary of Dinizia Excelsa trees lies outside the areas affected by the wildfires which have caused international concern, Amapu State scientific sourcees told AFP.

According to National Geographic, scientists earlier this year discovered the world's tallest tropical tree, a 100 meter meranti tree in Sabah on the island of Borneo.

The tallest known trees are California redwoods, which have been measured up to 379.7 feet, or 115.7 meters.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Cruise companies pledge aid after Dorian wreaks havoc on Bahamas

Yahoo – AFP, Virginie MONTET, September 5, 2019

The Royal Caribbean ship Allure of the Seas (L) and Carnival Cruise ships Liberty
and Elation are seen in Nassau, Bahamas in April 2019 (AFP Photo/Daniel SLIM)

Washington (AFP) - For the Atlantic's major cruise operators, deadly Hurricane Dorian has meant nothing but trouble in paradise as ships have been diverted from the Bahamas.

But as the widespread devastation becomes more apparent on the ravaged archipelago, a bread-and-butter staple of the tourist industry, the companies are pledging to help fund major relief.

At least 20 deaths have already been attributed to Dorian in the Bahamas in what Prime Minister Hubert Minnis called "one of the greatest national crises in our country's history."

Royal Caribbean, which has shuttled thousands of tourists every year to the Bahamas for more than half a century, said it is "rolling up our sleeves to help our friends" in the Bahamas by committing $1 million to Dorian disaster relief.

Similarly, the Disney Cruise Line has pledged, through its parent the Walt Disney Company, to give more than $1 million in cash and in-kind support to those who found themselves in the storm's path.

On Wednesday, the hurricane was advancing northward off the US Coast as a strong Category 2 storm, threatening the eastern states of Georgia and South and North Carolina.

"To make sure our donations go where they can do the most good, we are collaborating with the Bahamian government and our non-profit partner, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), and a network of Bahamian charities and organizations," Royal Caribbean said.

Port Everglades, Florida, where several major cruise lines are docked, was 
closed due to Hurricane Dorian (AFP Photo/Michele Eve Sandberg)

Rerouted, canceled cruises

The company urged guest and employee contributions as well by promising to match every dollar donated.

It also said it had loaded generators, water, cleaning supplies, clean sheets, towels and other items onto its ships for delivery to the Bahamas.

The company's Mexican partner ITM, with which it has formed the Holistica joint venture that is developing a resort in Freeport, is donating an additional $100,000, Royal Caribbean added.

The 700 islands that constitute the Bahamas archipelago are located just 50 miles (80 kilometers) off the coast of Florida and are the home port to multiple cruise ships.

But for three days, the cruises were forced to avoid the region, with several prolonging their voyages so as to avoid the storm.

Norwegian Cruise Line temporarily substituted New Orleans as its terminus rather than Port Canaveral or Miami in Florida, and Royal Caribbean extended several routes, forcing cruise-goers to spend a few additional nights at sea.

Carnival Cruise Line, meanwhile, canceled several trips and reimbursed the would-be voyagers.

A spokeswoman for the company said cruise ships loaded with humanitarian and economic assistance would head to several Bahamas ports, including Nassau and Freeport, as soon as possible.

It added that it was evaluating how best to help the Grand Bahama shipyard and its employees, as well as tour operators.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Mexico's AMLO doubles down on stump speech in key address

Yahoo – AFP, September 1, 2019

Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador shows his first annual report at 
the National Palace in Mexico City, on September 1, 2019 (AFP Photo/Alfredo 

Mexico City (AFP) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador brushed off problems including a stagnant economy and spiralling violence to insist Sunday in his first state of the nation address that he is delivering the "transformation" he promised.

Elected last year in a swell of anti-establishment sentiment, the left-wing populist has radically changed the style of the presidency -- ditching the presidential mansion, guards and jet -- but has struggled to deliver on key promises, including economic growth and an end to rampant violence fueled by drug trafficking.

In his first annual "Government Report," the leader known as "AMLO" briefly acknowledged that "the economy is growing little," and that "we still suffer from insecurity and violence."

But he devoted much of his address to rehashing his campaign stump speech, heavy on anti-corruption, austerity-crusading rhetoric and finger-pointing at the leaders of the past.

"The essence of our approach is to turn honesty and austerity into a way of life and a form of government," he said.

"Nothing has harmed Mexico worse than the dishonesty of its leaders. That is the main cause of social and economic inequality, of the violence from which we suffer."

In a sign of the polarizing nature of his presidency, some 2,500 protesters marched down Mexico City's main avenue, Paseo de la Reforma, chanting "Get out, Lopez Obrador!"

But the opposition remains badly fragmented from the July 2018 elections, which Lopez Obrador and his upstart party, Morena, won in a landslide.

Nine months in, the president remains overwhelmingly popular: recent polls put his approval rating around 65 percent.

Many Mexicans like his folksy style -- a break with the elite ruling class of the past -- and most appear willing to wait for him to deliver concrete results.

The question is how long.

Latin America's second-largest economy shrank by 0.2 percent in the first quarter of 2019, and registered zero growth in the second -- far from Lopez Obrador's pledge to deliver two-percent growth this year and an average of four percent across his six-year term.

And the number of people murdered -- a closely watched indicator of the violence from the country's "drug war" -- appears on track to set a new record this year, with 20,135 homicides so far.

Monday, August 26, 2019

G7 pledges millions to help fight Amazon fires

Yahoo – AFP, 26 August 2019

Nearly 80,000 forest fires have been detected in Brazil since the beginning
of the year, a little over half in the Amazon region

The G7 has agreed to spend $20 million (18 million euros) on the Amazon, mainly to send fire-fighting aircraft to tackle huge blazes engulfing parts of the world's biggest rainforest, the presidents of France and Chile said Monday.

The G7 club -- comprising Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States -- also agreed to support a medium-term reforestation plan which will be unveiled at the UN in September, France's Emmanuel Macron and Chile's Sebastian Pinera said at a summit in southwest France.

Brazil would have to agree to any reforestation plan, as would indigenous communities living in the Amazon.

The initiative was announced after G7 leaders meeting in the resort of Biarritz held talks on the environment, focusing on the record number of fires destroying chunks of the Amazon.

Macron had declared the situation in the Amazon region an "international crisis" and made it one of the summit's priorities.

He has threatened to block a huge new trade deal between the EU and Latin America unless Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a climate change sceptic, takes serious steps to protect the forest from logging and mining.

"We must respond to the call of the forest which is burning today in the Amazon," Macron said Monday.

Nearly 80,000 forest fires have been detected in Brazil since the beginning of the year, a little over half in the massive Amazon basin.

Bolsonaro has lashed out at Macron over his criticism and suggested that NGOs could be setting the fires to embarrass him -- without giving any evidence to back the claim.

But at the weekend he finally caved in to international pressure to save a region crucial for maintaining a stable global climate, deploying two aircraft to douse fires and authorising the army to help tackle the blazes.

Speaking in Biarritz, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said new planting was needed "to preserve this universal heritage, which is absolutely essential for the well-being of the world's population."

He said the issue would be discussed during the UN General Assembly in New York in September.

Brazil's army fights Amazon fires after hundreds of new blazes ignite

France24 – AFP, 25 August 2019

Porto Velho (Brazil) (AFP) - Brazil on Sunday deployed two Hercules C-130 aircraft to douse fires devouring parts of the Amazon rainforest, as hundreds of new blazes were ignited ahead of nationwide protests over the destruction.

Heavy smoke covered the city of Porto Velho in the northwestern state of Rondonia where the defense ministry said the planes have started dumping thousands of liters of water, amid a global uproar over the worst fires in years.

Swathes of the remote region bordering Bolivia have been scorched by the blazes, sending thick smoke billowing into the sky and increasing air pollution across the world's largest rainforest.

Experts say increased land clearing during the months-long dry season to make way for crops or grazing has aggravated the problem this year.

"It gets worse every year -- this year, the smoke has been really serious," Deliana Amorim, 46, told AFP in Porto Velho where half a million people live.

At least seven states, including Rondonia, have requested the army's help in the Amazon, where more than 43,000 troops are based and available to combat fires, officials said.

The fires have triggered a global outcry and are a major topic of concern at the G7 meeting in Biarritz in southern France.

World leaders at the summit have agreed to help the countries affected by the fires "as fast as possible," French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday.

His remarks come amid an escalating war of words with his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro, who he has accused of lying over Brazil's stance on climate change.

Bolsonaro has denounced what he calls Macron's "colonialist mentality."

Trade deal at risk

The fires threaten to torpedo a huge trade agreement between the European Union and South American countries, including Brazil, that took 20 years to negotiate.

Pope Francis on Sunday also voiced concern for the rainforest, which he described as a "vital" lung for the planet.

The latest official figures show 79,513 forest fires have been recorded in Brazil this year, the highest number of any year since 2013.

More than half of the fires are in the massive Amazon basin, where more than 20 million people live. Some 1,130 new fires were ignited between Friday and Saturday, according to Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

The new data come as protesters plan to take to the streets across Brazil on Sunday, after thousands held demonstrations in the country and in Europe on Friday.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Bolsonaro takes on Norway for whaling, but bungles it

Yahoo – AFP, August 19, 2019

Bolsonaro was ridiculed on social media after criticising Norway for whaling
techniques which the country does not use (AFP Photo/Andrija ILIC)

Oslo (AFP) - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday responded to Norway's decision to halt its forest protection subsidies, taking to Twitter to criticise the Scandinavian country for its whaling practice and post spectacular -- albeit misleading -- images.

"Look at the killing of whales sponsored by Norway," Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter.

The post includes a video and photographs of a spectacular whale hunt, where mammals in the shallow waters of a bay are slaughtered by people wading on shore, armed with hooked knives. The whales' blood turns the waters red.

However, the images, reportedly taken on May 29 in Norway, illustrate a "grind", a type of pilot whale hunt practised exclusively in the Faroe Islands -- a Danish territory in the North Atlantic.

Norway is one of the few countries in the world that authorises commercial whaling, but the whales are hunted individually, at sea from a ship, and with grenade-mounted harpoons.

"We can confirm that the video/the photos are not from Norway," the Norwegian fisheries ministry told AFP in an email.

"Our whale hunt takes place from ships at sea," he said, arguing that the Norwegian practice was "sustainable".

Bolsonaro was ridiculed on social media for the mix-up.

Bolsonaro posted images of a spectacular whale hunt of a kind practised not in 
Norway, the target of his criticism, but the Faroe Islands -- a Danish territory in 
the North Atlantic (AFP Photo/Mauro Pimentel)

"Haha what a stupid president Brazil has! This is NOT from Norway! We don't kill whales like that. Do your homework to get respected! 'Fake news' as Trump would have said," wrote one Twitter user.

"False information is a crime Mr President," wrote another.

Bolsonaro has been taking digs at Norway since the country announced last week that it, like Germany, was blocking 30 million euros ($33 million) of subsidies to Brazil, accusing it of turning its back on the fight against deforestation.

Norway has been the single largest donor to the Amazon Fund for forest protection, giving almost 830 million euros since its creation 11 years ago, equivalent to almost 95 percent of total funding, with Germany providing most of the remainder.


Oslo said Brazil, under Bolsonaro's leadership, "no longer wishes to stop deforestation" and added it unilaterally "broke the agreement" on the Amazon Fund.

Bolsonaro reacted immediately and angrily.

"Norway, isn't that the country that kills whales up there, at the North Pole? And that produces oil too? That is not at all a role model to us. Let them keep their money and let them help Angela Merkel reforest Germany," he said.

Bolsonaro's comments drew an angry reaction from the governors of federal states in the Amazon region which form an inter-state consortium on sustainable development for the world's largest and most diverse tropical rainforest dubbed the Earth's 'lung'.

"We regret the Brazilian government's positions which provoked the suspension of the subsidies" to the Fund," the governors said in a statement.

"We completely oppose all illegal practice of economic activities in the (Amazon) region, they added, saying they would "speak directly with the countries which finance the Fund."

The governors furthermore proposed that the regional Bank of Amazonia become the "financial manager" of the fund in future rather than the state development bank BNDES.