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Monday
February 2020
5:37 AM IST
News Headlines
China says significant drop in coronavirus cases; death toll climbs to 1,665        Two more Indians test positive for coronavirus on cruise ship off Japan        Agarwal back among runs, Pant too gets some form back        India to play day-night Test in Australia        Chennaiyin FC beat ATK 3-1 to boost play-off hopes        17 people from Delhi who returned from abroad before coronavirus screening showed symptoms, hospitalised        Kejriwal calls ministers-designate for dinner ahead of swearing-in, discusses development roadmap        Shaheen Bagh protesters say ready to meet Shah, but onus on govt to call them for talks        Surendran new Kerala BJP President        France confirms first coronavirus death outside Asia        Making efforts to disembark Indians from cruise ship after quarantine period ends: Indian Embassy        Kerala beat Chattisgarh by nine wickets in C K Nayudu trophy        Ishant passes fitness test, to join Indian team in NZ for Test series        Kerala Blasters register first win over Bengaluru FC in Hero ISL        Smriti Mandhana rises to 4th in ICC T20 rankings        Bopanna-Shapovalov pair enters semifinals in Rotterdam        DoT withdraws order that asked for no coercive action against defaulting telcos        Sensex, Nifty fall for 2nd day as banking, auto stocks slide        Erdogan raises Kashmir in Pak Parliament, says issue close to both countries        Born on a boat: new baby among 87 rescued off Canary Islands        
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International News
UN, France raise concern over Amazon wildfires 'crisis'
 
Salvador: Paris and the United Nations called Thursday for the protection of the fire-plagued Amazon rainforest as Brazil's right-wing president accused his French counterpart of having a "colonialist mentality" over the issue.

Official figures show nearly 73,000 forest fires were recorded in Brazil in the first eight months of the year -- the highest number for any year since 2013. Most were in the Amazon.

The extent of the area damaged by fires has yet to be determined, but smoke has choked Sao Paulo and several other Brazilian cities in the past week.

UN chief Antonio Guterres said he was "deeply concerned" by the fires.

"In the midst of the global climate crisis, we cannot afford more damage to a major source of oxygen and biodiversity," he said on Twitter.

"The Amazon must be protected."

France's President Emmanuel Macron said the wildfires were "an international crisis" and called on the globe's most industrialized nations to address it at their summit this weekend.

"Our house is on fire. Literally. The Amazon, the lung of our planet which produces 20 percent of our oxygen is burning," Macron said on Twitter.

"It is an international crisis. Members of the G7, let's talk in two days about this emergency." That did not sit well with Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro.

"The French president's suggestion that Amazon issues be discussed at the G-7 without participation by the countries in the region evokes a colonialist mentality that is out of place in the 21st century," Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter.

Neighboring Peru, which contains much of the Amazon basin, announced it was "on alert" for wildfires spreading from the rainforest in Brazil and Bolivia.

Paraguay and Bolivia are battling separate wildfires that have devastated large areas of their rainforests.

Environmental specialists say the fires have accompanied a rapid rate of deforestation in the Amazon region, which in July quadrupled compared to the same month in 2018, according to data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

Bolsonaro instead attributes the fires to increased drought, and accuses environmental groups and NGOs of whipping up an "environmental psychosis" to harm Brazil's economic interests.

"This environmental psychosis lets you do nothing," the president lamented, adding that it was hampering the country's development.

"I don't want to finish the environment, I want to save Brazil," said Bolsonaro, a climate change skeptic who had advocated opening up tribal lands and protected areas to farming and mining interests since assuming office in January.

Bolsonaro's comments come as Brazil hosts a UN regional meeting on climate change in the northeastern city of Salvador ahead of December's summit in Chile.

A senior Brazilian official defended Brazil's environmental policy at the conference and said it complied with the Paris Agreement against global warming.

"We are teaching the world how to produce. In only 29 percent of our territory we produce food for everyone.

"Worldwide, the average land use for agriculture exceeds 50 percent -- we only use 29 percent," said Roberto Castelo, an environment ministry official who was roundly booed by greens at the conference.

"I do not defend the burnings, because there always was and always will be burnings. Unfortunately, this has always happened in the Amazon," Bolsonaro said, referring to dry season, land-clearing fires.

"But accusing me of being a Captain Nero setting fire to things is irresponsible. It is campaigning against Brazil," the president told reporters outside his Brasilia residence.

The reference to Captain Nero appeared to be to the Roman emperor said to have fiddled while Rome burned. Bolsonaro is a former army captain.

Forest fires tend to intensify during the dry season, which usually ends in late October or early November, as land is cleared to make way for crops or grazing.

"Just think, if the world begins imposing trade barriers, our agribusiness will fall, we will start to go backwards, the economy will start to get worse -- your life, the lives of newspaper editors, television owners, the lives of all Brazilians will be complicated, without exception. The press is committing suicide," Bolsonaro said.

However, there are signs of growing concern from within the powerful agribusiness sector over Bolsonaro's environmental isolationism.

The governors of Brazil's Amazon states have also criticized the government for recent decisions by Germany and Norway to suspend Amazon aid projects.

"This week two big German media outlets expressed the idea that it was time to start boycotting Brazilian products. It's only a matter of time," Marcello Brito, head of the Brazilian Agribusiness Association, told the Valor daily.

"The question is, who is interested in transforming Brazil into an environmental pariah," he asked.

"We cannot change the president of the republic. What our sector can do is work, in a unified way, to try to reverse the damage as much as possible.


China says significant drop in coronavirus cases; death toll climbs to 1,665
Two more Indians test positive for coronavirus on cruise ship off Japan
France confirms first coronavirus death outside Asia
Making efforts to disembark Indians from cruise ship after quarantine period ends: Indian Embassy
Erdogan raises Kashmir in Pak Parliament, says issue close to both countries
Born on a boat: new baby among 87 rescued off Canary Islands
China rejects US charge of lack of transparency in sharing coronavirus info
China''s coronavirus death toll nears 1,500
Narayana Murthy''s son-in-law Rishi Sunak named new British finance minister
British finance minister Javid quits in reshuffle
Nepal shuts resort where 8 Indian tourists died
Trump says looking forward to visiting India
VIRUS Coronavirus death toll in China crosses 1,000
At least 15 refugees drown after boat sinks off Bangladesh
Sudanese official says al-Bashir to be handed over to ICC
Thai city copes with sorrowful fallout from mass shooting
Soldiers and police enter El Salvador's parliament
EU calls emergency talks on new coronavirus
Hong Kong border towns welcome virus controls, despite trade hit
US presidency gains more power with Trump's acquittal
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
'Joker' earns Joaquin Phoenix his maiden Oscar
 Los Angeles: Hollywood star Joaquin Phoenix finally ended his dry run at the Oscars as he picked up  
'Batman' script is beautiful, dark and moving: Colin Farrell
Scriptwriting is underrated: Ayushmann Khurrana
Abhishek Bachchan starts filming 'Bob Biswas'
KERALA NEWS
Surendran new Kerala BJP President
 Thiruvananthapuram: Young firebrand leader K Surendran has been named as the President of BJP Kerala
Student who tested Positive for coronavirus discharged
CM Assembly Election : Kerala CM congrats Arvind Kejriwal for AAP''s victory
Coronavirus: 15 Kerala students stranded in China's Hubei reach Kochi
NATIONAL NEWS
Kejriwal calls ministers-designate for dinner ahead of swearing-in, discusses development roadmap
 New Delhi: On the eve of his swearing-in as chief minister of Delhi, AAP national convener Arvind Ke
Shaheen Bagh protesters say ready to meet Shah, but onus on govt to call them for talks
SC allows Karti Chidambaram to travel to UK, France
Trump visit: Cong says AMC building wall to mask slum area
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