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Brazil's legendary indigenous chief Raoni on Friday accused President Jair Bolsonaro of wanting to destroy the Amazon rainforest and called for international help to put out fires raging in the region. The elderly Kayapo chief, internationally recognizable through his traditional lip plate and feather headdress, called for Bolsonaro's removal from power, as a global outcry over the blazes ignites protests around the world. It's really terrible what he does," Raoni Metuktire told AFP by telephone from Germany, accusing Bolsonaro of emboldening farmers, loggers and miners.
Leaders of the G7 nations arrive in France on Saturday for a summit as a brewing U.S.-China confrontation over protectionism highlighted President Emmanuel Macron's tough task in delivering meaningful results on trade, Iran and climate change. The three-day meeting in the Atlantic seaside resort of Biarritz takes place amid sharp differences over a clutch of global issues that risk further dividing a group of countries already struggling to pull together. Summit host Macron wants the leaders of Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States to focus on the defence of democracy, gender equality, education and climate change, and has invited leaders from Asia, Africa and Latin America to join them for a global push on these issues.
Leaders of the G7 nations arrive in France on Saturday for a summit as a brewing U.S.-China confrontation over protectionism highlighted President Emmanuel Macron's tough task in delivering meaningful results on trade, Iran and climate change. The three-day meeting in the Atlantic seaside resort of Biarritz takes place amid sharp differences over a clutch of global issues that risk further dividing a group of countries already struggling to pull together. Summit host Macron wants the leaders of Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States to focus on the defense of democracy, gender equality, education and climate change, and has invited leaders from Asia, Africa and Latin America to join them for a global push on these issues.
President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday authorized the deployment of Brazil's armed forces to help combat fires raging in the Amazon rainforest, as a growing global outcry over the blazes sparks protests and threatens a huge trade deal. "It's not normal and it's like this because of the smoke from the fires," said a hotel employee in the state capital Porto Velho, which was covered by a layer of smoke as fires burned near the city. The fires in the world's largest rainforest have sparked street protests around the planet and ignited a war of words between Bolsonaro and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, who has described the wildfires as an "international crisis" and vowed to block a trade agreement between the European Union and South American countries.
France's Emmanuel Macron led a growing wave of international pressure on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro over the fires raging in the Amazon rainforest Friday, telling him Paris would block efforts to seal a major trade deal. The issue will be high on the agenda when global leaders meet for the G7 summit Saturday in the French resort of Biarritz, where they are also set to tackle global trade wars and the Iran nuclear standoff. Just days before hosting the summit, Macron called for urgent talks on the "international crisis" in the world's largest rainforest, saying leaders would hammer out "concrete measures" to tackle it.
Fires have been breaking out at an unusual pace in Brazil this year, causing global alarm over deforestation in the Amazon region. Brazil's National Space Research Institute, which monitors deforestation, has recorded 76,720 wildfires across the country this year, as of Thursday. The agency says it doesn't have figures for the area burned, but deforestation as a whole has accelerated in the Amazon this year.
Under increasing international pressure to contain record numbers of fires in the Amazon, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Friday he might send the military to battle the massive blazes. "That's the plan," said Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro has previously described rainforest protections as an obstacle to economic development, sparring with critics who note that the Amazon produces vast amounts of oxygen and is considered crucial in efforts to contain global warming.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Greta Thunberg want everyone to fly less to fight climate change. Germany and Sweden are already embracing the 'flight shame' movement
A Jurassic Park-style plan to bring back an effectively extinct species took a step towards being realised after scientists successfully harvested eggs from world's last two northern white rhino. Northern white rhino was thought to be doomed forever when Sudan, the planet's last male, died at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya in March 2018. He was survived only by Najin, 30 and her daughter Fatu, who live under 18 live under 24 hour armed guard in the same conservancy, but are both unable to become pregnant. But now an international consortium of scientists is using frozen sperm from four deceased males and eggs harvested from the two females to raise the species from the dead. "We succeeded in getting 10 eggs, which is fantastic. They arrived in Italy on Friday morning and will be matured before being applied to sperm to create embryos," said Steven Seet a spokesman for the IZW and partner in the project. Because neither Najin nor Fatu are healthy enough to carry a pregnancy to term, the plan is to implant the embryos in the wombs of southern white rhinos, a closely related subspecies still found in large numbers in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. Fatu is escorted by armed rangers around Ol Pejeta Conservancy near Nanyuki Credit: DAI KUROKAWA/EPA-EFE/REX It has not been tried before and the embryos will have to be frozen while scientists perfect the technique. They hope to produce living offspring withing three years. "I am pretty sure we will overcome that hurdle. But even if we are able to have those frozen embryos and store them for 3000 years or longer, we can say with have saved the whole organism for future generations," said Mr Seet. The BioRescue project was formally launched in June with four million Euros in funding from Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research, although the scientists involved have been working self-funded for several years. The IZW describes the project, which also involves the Italian biotech laboratory Avantea, the Dvur Kralove zoo in Czechia, and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), as an "attempt to push the boundaries of what is medically and technically feasible." While the plan is slightly less far fetched than the one depicted in Jurassic Park, which used DNA frozen for millions of years in amber to clone dinosaurs, its advocates admit it will faces major scientific hurdles and will raise new questions in medical ethics. In the best case scenario, only a handful of calves maybe born from Najin and Fatu's eggs, and the lack of genetic diversity between the half-siblings could make it impossible to create a viable breeding population. A team of scientists successfully harvested eggs from the two female northern white rhinos Credit: AMI VITALE/OL PEJETA CONSERVANCY/HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/ To tackle that, the project has bought in leading researchers from Germany, Italy, Japan, and the US to try and create artificial sex cells via stem cells sourced from the frozen skin tissue of unrelated northern whites. Using stem cells to create artificial life is one of the most controversial areas of medical science. Barabra Demori, a moral philosopher from the University of Padua, has been asked to oversee the ethical dimension of the work. John Waweru, the director general of the KWS, said: "We are delighted that this partnership gets us one step closer to prevent extinction of the northern white rhinos. This is particularly touching given the heartbreaking death of Sudan, the last male, who died of old age last year in Kenya." With no natural predators, northern white rhino once roamed in their thousands across the grassy plains that stretch along the southern edge of the Sahara desert, including in Uganda, the Central African Republic, Sudan, and Chad. But demand for rhino horn for use in Chinese medicine and dagger handles in Yemen fueled a poaching crisis that saw them wiped out in large parts of their range in the 1980s and 1970s. They were considered extinct in the wild in 2008 after a wide ranging survey failed to find any specimens. One last wild sighting was made by Russian helicopter pilots who saw three rhinos thought to be northern whites while overflying a remote part of Sudan in 2010, but none have been seen since.
PARIS/LONDON (Reuters) - Several hundred environmental activists demonstrated on Friday outside the Brazilian embassy in Paris as a clash between the two countries' leaders over the issue of climate change intensified, while similar protests took place in London. On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron and U.N. Secretary General António Guterres expressed concerns about wildfires that are raging in the Amazon, but Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro responded angrily to what he regarded as meddling.
(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Outraged over the Amazon fires, Emmanuel Macron branded Brazil’s president a liar and threatened to block the European Union’s trade deal with the Mercosur countries as he prepares to whip the Group of Seven leaders into climate action.The French president’s office said that it has become clear that Jair Bolsonaro wasn’t serious about his commitments on tackling climate change when he spoke to world leaders at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka earlier this year."The president can only conclude that President Bolsonaro lied to him in Osaka," at the G-20, the statement said. "Under these conditions, France is opposed to the Mercosur deal."A day before he’s due to welcome G-7 leaders to Biarritz, Macron said he would make the burning of the Amazon jungle a priority at the summit. That provoked an angry response from Bolsonaro, who accused him of acting like a colonialist."The news is really worrisome, but we need to lower the temperature, there are fires in Brazil every year," Brazilian Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Dias told reporters in Brasilia. "There were fires in Portugal, in Siberia, there were fires all over the world and Brazil wasn’t questioning them."Trade, ClimateThe way that an environmental dispute escalated so quickly into a new front in the global trade tensions shows the growing importance of climate as a fundamental plank of geopolitics. Even before Macron’s announcement, Ireland said it could not vote for the Mercosur agreement and Finland wants the EU to consider a ban on Brazilian beef.The EU has sought to leverage the size of its market to pressure trading partners into doing more to reduce emissions and is also concerned that its companies will be undercut by rivals operating in places with looser restrictions.But the configuration of the G-7 right now will make it difficult for Macron to make a lot headway. Donald Trump famously ripped up last year’s communique and does not want to be cornered. U.K.’s Boris Johnson is eager to tighten his bond with the U.S. president and at odds with European allies over Brexit. Italy is mired in a messy political crisis at home and has no prime minister. Japan is unlikely to stick its neck out -- it is more concerned about the potential fallout from the U.S. trade war with China.In fact, the run-up to the G-7 was overshadowed by China whacking the U.S. with higher tariffs on soybeans, cars and oil in retaliation for Trump’s latest planned levies.And Trump himself has signaled where his priorities lie. On waking up he began tweeting against the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and China’s Xi Jinping -- not on the Amazon fires. A U.S. official said that the U.S. are deeply concerned about the impact of the fires while indicating the administration did not see it as part of the broader climate issue. The EU wrapped up 20 years of negotiations to seal an accord with South America’s leading customs union just weeks ago, in what was then seen as a major retort to Trump’s attacks on the global system of free trade. The deal could affect almost 90 billion euros ($100 billion) of goods and Brazil expects to see its economy increased by about $90 billion over the next 15 years.Officials on both sides are still fine-tuning the agreement and it still needs to be approved by EU governments before it can enter into force. A Brazilian official, with direct knowledge of the government’s position, said that the EU-Mercosur deal is not ready to be signed yet, and that while the deal could be rejected or put to one side, it could not be changed.The official added that France stood to lose a lot if the agreement didn’t go through, citing the presence of supermarket chain Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA and carmakers such as Renault SA and Peugeot SA.Another senior government official however said that France’s position is a cause of concern and that the Bolsonaro administration needed to change the narrative. There are signs that the president is already poised to do that.Speaking on Friday morning in Brasilia, Bolsonaro said the government is considering declaring a state of emergency in the region, allowing the president to deploy armed forces and extra funding to the region: “We discussed a lot of things and whatever is within our reach we will do. The problem is resources.”(Adds graph on Trump and on the record comments from Brazilian minister.)\--With assistance from Arne Delfs, Alex Morales, Kati Pohjanpalo, Peter Flanagan, Rachel Gamarski, Mario Sergio Lima and Josh Wingrove.To contact the reporters on this story: Helene Fouquet in Bairritz, France at email@example.com;Simone Iglesias in Brasília at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Flavia Krause-Jackson at email@example.com, Ben SillsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Russia's first floating nuclear power plant sailed Friday to its destination on the nation's Arctic coast, a project that environmentalists have criticized as unsafe. The Akademik Lomonosov is a 140-meter (459-foot) long towed platform that carries two 35-megawatt nuclear reactors. On Friday, it set out from the Arctic port of Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula on a three-week journey to Pevek on the Chukotka Peninsula more than 4,900 kilometers (about 2,650 nautical miles) east.
Wildlife experts and veterinarians said Friday there is hope to prevent the extinction of the northern white rhino because they successfully extracted eggs from the last two remaining females of the species. The eggs will be used to reproduce the species through a surrogate. The groundbreaking procedure was carried out Thursday on the northern white rhinos known as Najin and Fatu who cannot carry a pregnancy.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- When the universe was born, it was hostile to life. There wasn’t even any carbon until after the first stars forged it from lighter elements. We know life emerged from a nonliving universe, but how this happened is such a profound mystery that humanity has struggled to imagine that it could have happened without supernatural help. People often insist that it requires just as much faith to assume the origin of life happened by natural processes alone as it does to attribute it to gods.But they are wrong. Scientists who want to investigate such a mystery make gambles, not leaps of faith. They are betting their time, effort and career status on the hope that there is a natural explanation, and that they can learn something about it. As new discoveries shed light on the mystery, it’s becoming ever more apparent that they made a winning bet.Betting on natural explanations for natural phenomena has paid off time and time again, while betting on supernatural explanations has never paid off, at least not in revealing useful physical and biological rules. There’s no experiment that can tell us about the nature of the supernatural. It’s an intellectual dead end.The origin of life can seem like magic though. A long-held notion known as vitalism once cut a hard line between the living and non-living world. People thought living things were made of a different substance entirely from inanimate things. But now we know the basic elements of chemistry are the same in living things as in the earth’s crust and atmosphere. Some of the complex organic molecules associated with life crop up in asteroids, comets and deep space.Discoveries in chemistry are showing how components of living things can assemble themselves. Recently, scientists from the University of Washington showed how something very much like a cell membrane could form spontaneously from fatty acids and amino acids, which themselves can appear without life. The process of membrane formation may help assemble critical molecules – the proteins – from smaller building blocks.Life is not made from membranes alone, though, and other groups are trying to understand the origin of DNA, which living things use to carry instructions. Scientists think early life used a related information-carrying molecule, RNA, and that this evolved from some simpler information-carrying precursor. There’s been progress testing this idea, too.Understanding how those building blocks came together to make earthly life could help scientists understand how widespread life might be in the universe, and where to look for it.It's possible that piece by piece, scientists will solve the origin-of-life mystery within the coming decades. It will take guts to delve into the unknown and take some chances in pursuit of evidence – testing the plausibility of various steps and precursors that may or may not have been on the road to the formation of life on earth. There will be leaps required, but no faith.To contact the author of this story: Faye Flam at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Philip Gray at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Faye Flam is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. She has written for the Economist, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Psychology Today, Science and other publications. She has a degree in geophysics from the California Institute of Technology.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.