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tv   Amazon under Threat  BBC News  September 7, 2019 12:30am-1:01am BST

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rescuers in the bahamas are searching the island of great abaco for the bodies of people killed by hurricane dorian. hundreds are still missing. a relief operation is underway with un, us and british involvement. however, some communities haven't yet been reached and are in desperate need. the british prime minister's demand for an early general election looks set to be rejected, after opposition parties agreed to block it when it is put to mps on monday. they said that preventing the uk leaving the eu without a deal at the end of october is their priority. india's attempt to land a spacecraft on the moon appears to have failed. scientists lost contact with the landerjust as it was about to touch down on the lunar surface. the unmanned vikram probe was above the moon's south pole when data stopped transmitting from the spacecraft.
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the parents of a severely brain—damaged five—year—old girl are going to the high court on monday to try to persuade judges to allow them to take their daughter abroad. tafida raqeeb is on a life—support machine at the royal london hospital. doctors there will argue that further treatment is futile. our medical correspondent fergus walsh reports. # here i am, here i am... tafida was a bright and lively girl until february, when she suffered a ruptured blood vessel due to a rare condition. now, she is kept alive on a ventilator and fed through a tube. barts nhs trust says she has very serious, permanent and irreversible brain damage, and there is no further treatment to help her. but tafida's mother believes video taken in intensive care shows that she is responsive, and simply needs more time to recover. she and her husband want
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permission to transfer tafida to an italian hospital. it is my main argument that she continues to improve. why would you want end a child's life when she shows signs that she wants to live? she wants to continue with life. at the high court, barts nhs trust will ask permission to remove life support. a judge will have to decide what is in tafida's best interests. some will question how the courts can ever rule that it is in a child's best interests to die. surely that contradicts the sanctity of life. butjudges here must also consider potential pain and suffering, and whether simply prolonging a sick child's life will bring them any benefits. this case echoes those of charlie gard and alfie evans, which involved lengthy legal battles between parents and hospitals. in each of those cases, the courts backed doctors and life support was withdrawn.
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this is the fifth high—profile case to come to court in as many years and they are desperately sad and difficult cases. the problem is that, whilejudges have been recommending mediation, if there is no common ground between the parents and the doctors, then it has to be up to the courts to decide. once again, the courts are having to intervene between parents and doctors, and a judge decide whether a child should live or die. fergus walsh, bbc news. now on bbc news, david shukman reports on the battle to preserve the world's largest rainforest, in amazon under threat. the amazon rainforest is the largest in the world. home to an incredible variety of life, but suddenly, it is all at risk. the clearing of the
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trees is accelerating, and scientists are warning about the danger of irreversible loss. it's never going to come back again. we are never going to be able to build on amazon. it's going to be gone forever. brazil has a new president, and he wants to develop the amazon on, and he is encouraging his supporters to exploit it. so the people who live inside the forest fear that their days may be numbered. a gentle view of the field and forest in the amazon, but this region is now the scene of a struggle over land and a battle for
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survival. this is the home of these people, a tiny band ofjust 120. they are one people, a tiny band ofjust120. they are one of many indigenous groups that have lived in the ra i nfo rest groups that have lived in the rainforest for centuries. they are meant to be protected in special reserves , meant to be protected in special reserves, but they feel the new government of brazil is against them. one of the elders of the group describes the rituals of getting ready for war. a crucial task is preparing weapons. the wood for the arrows comes from particular trees.
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the feathers from special birds. he has dark memories of the first contacts with the outside world. in the middle of the last century, settlers and loggers advanced into the forest and fought the indigenous people for territory. his wife was wounded as a young girl. an attack left her with scars and killed her family. there's been a long and violent history here, and she says she is now worried once more. here, they are making an ink to use asa here, they are making an ink to use as a war paint. a fruit is grated to
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get at thejuice, as a war paint. a fruit is grated to get at the juice, a process given special meaning now as the risks of an attack seemed to grow. the pulp is squeezed, and the liquid is mixed with charcoal. everything they hear from the president about their way of life sounds hostile. adorning themselves with the paint is more than just themselves with the paint is more thanjust tradition. themselves with the paint is more than just tradition. it's themselves with the paint is more thanjust tradition. it's because themselves with the paint is more than just tradition. it's because of a real sense of needing to be on guard. so they patrol what is meant to be there protected area. but they discover incursions. this track was carved out to steal timber or create new farmland. miners often break in
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as well. sites like this are painful because this is home. where they gatherfood because this is home. where they gather food and hunt. because this is home. where they gatherfood and hunt. previous governments saw indigenous people as guardians of the amazon. but now, their whole future is uncertain. the youngest generation may not grow up amid these trees. given the negative attitude of the new president, jair bolsonaro.
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we use our drone to get a view of the dark green edge of the reserve. farmland presses right up against it, and president bolsonaro says
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farmers should be allowed inside. in his view, indigenous people have too much land. his election heralded a right wing agenda, in favour of agriculture and of guns. he thrills his supporters with talk of opening up his supporters with talk of opening up the amazon. since he came to office, bullets were fired at the sign marking the land of the uru—eu—wau—wau. tensions are escalating. up the road, we get talking to some local farmers, and they say exactly the kind of things they say exactly the kind of things the president says, that the system of forest reserves for indigenous people is wrong, and that farmers need more land.
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with the president on their side, farmers and loggers feel a new freedom to clear trees. we found this vast area of bare earth and dead trunks, huge tracts of forest are being wiped out. my footsteps and distant birdsong are the only sounds. it is tragic to see this close—up. to bring these trees down to the ground, theyjust knock them over with a bulldozer. this is happening all over the amazon, to create new farmland, and the result is that the great forest has never been under such pressure. many trees
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have already made way for agriculture. nearly 18% of the forest. and the president is now pushing for much more aggressive development. we are guided to this tiny clearing, to see where illegal loggers were at work. this kind of word fetches a high price on the black market. stealing rare timber is nothing new here in the amazon, but under the new government, it's never been so easy. the agencies meant to stop this kind of thing from happening are incredibly overstretched, and the president wa nts to wea ken overstretched, and the president wants to weaken the legal protections for the forest. to make the timber less valuable, environment officials cut into the logs so they can't be turned into planks. but they can't talk about their work, because they've been banned from speaking to the media.
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so yourjob, banned from speaking to the media. so your job, protecting banned from speaking to the media. so yourjob, protecting the forests, must be very difficult. is it? you are trying to save the forest. so we have to meet this official in secret. his face hidden and voice changed. he says the government is trying to cover up the loss of the forest. and the scale of the deforestation he describes is so vast that it is ha rd to he describes is so vast that it is hard to visualise. up here, at the top of this 50 metre high observation tower, the view is just
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phenomenal, out over what looks like a great ocean of green. this is the canopy of the largest rainforest in the world. the problem is that more and more of it is being chopped down. it is hard to believe, but an area the size of a football pitch is being cleared every single minute. what that means is that forest that would cover more than 2000 pitches is just would cover more than 2000 pitches isjust managing would cover more than 2000 pitches is just managing every day. and the signs are that this rate of devastation could accelerate. the biggest single reason the forest likely it is to create pasture for cattle. they are grazing on land that used to be forest. brazilian beef is in big demand all over the world, and the president's vision for boosting exports has delighted farmers like this, who says other countries cut their forest down long ago.
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during ourtime in during our time in the amazon, we keep hearing that only brazil can decide what to do with the forest. but the trees store so much carbon that the more of them are cut down, the more we lose one of the very few things holding up a rise in global temperatures. so what happens here matters far beyond brazil. so my name is erica eranga, i am a scientist even though i don't wear a white coat. so i work in the amazon, this beautiful forest, and white coat. so i work in the amazon, this beautifulforest, and i am from brazil. that could have our weather. —— could affect.
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erica is a researcher based at the university of oxford. she has studied the trees of the amazon for the past ten years and she has a lwa ys the past ten years and she has always loved them. for me it is really important because the amazon cannot speak up, the trees can't speak up, they cannot say" they are worth it, they have a value, they are worth it, they have a value, they a re really worth it, they have a value, they are really important. " worth it, they have a value, they are really important." so i have made it as my life, i have made to study them, understand them, understand the forest and speak about its importance. erica has got to know the forest very well. she guides me through a stretch of it thatis guides me through a stretch of it that is constantly under assault from loggers and invaders. so you have become used to seeing a thriving forest, what is it like when you see the opposite, the forest cleared 7 when you see the opposite, the forest cleared? it is very sad, very very sad. because emotionally, i know everything i am losing, the connection is not there anymore, the life, but also i know how much biodiversity you are losing, how
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much it is contributing to climate change, so the emotions are really difficult. here is one of the biggest trees in this stretch of forest. that is just immense, isn't it. yeah. it is a really beautiful brazil nut. and you can see how far it stands above everybody else. how tall do you reckon that is? it is about a0 metres, yeah, i would say 120 feet. that is a long way up. (laughs) yeah, it is. it probably took centuries to get to this size and also that tall. to fight for the sun. they love the sun, don't they. yeah. the challenge for scientists is to get accurate measurement of the forest. and this is one way to do that. erica waits down on the
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ground. she is asking for samples of wood. her assistant, way above, cuts away a few branches and throws them down. what she is trying to find out is the flow of carbon in the forest. so when we are in the forest like this and want to know how much carbon is stored, you have to measure the diameter of all the trees, so you know its size. so these ones for example is... 15.6 centimetres, and once we do it... we paint the tree... she has followed the growth of the same batch of trees year after year, to assess the role they play in the climate. they
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are helping us forfree, to remove carbon from the atmosphere, and put it in the forest and lock it up in here. it's the sheer size of the forest that makes it significant. we have used graphics to show how the cou ntless have used graphics to show how the countless leaves absorb carbon dioxide. that is the gas heating up the planet. as human activity keeps adding more and more carbon dioxide to the air, magnificent trees like this pull a lot of it in. but chop it down, and bernard, and all the carbon that has been stored inside over the many years is suddenly released back to the atmosphere. which of course, increases the speed of global warming. so erica's researches all the more urgent. in this lab she studies that wood collected from the forest to work out how much carbon the amazon holds. in this batch here we have
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lots of little bits of wood that come from different forests, and what we do is that we collect the wood from the forest, put them in these big ivens behind me to remove these big ivens behind me to remove the moisture, so they become super dry, put them on the stale, half of the weight here on the scale is actually carbon. this is really important to help us understand how much carbon the amazon is removing from the air in the atmosphere and locking up in vegetation. to understand the importance of the amazon to fight climate change. the latest science is revealing about the amazon's store of carbon. it is the amazon's store of carbon. it is the equivalent of america burning fossil fuels for nearly a century. 97 years of the us fossil fuel emissions, that is how much carbon there is in this place, because a bigotry might store three tons of carbon, four tons of carbon, it's a lot of carbon. the rich greens of
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the forest have another vital role as well. they form the most vibrant habitat on earth. home to an extraordinary 10th of all species in the natural world. some of them are no “— the natural world. some of them are no —— are unnerving, others adorable. they are so wonderful, it's so full of life, so full... just so beautiful, and to lose it... it is never going to come back again. whenever going to be able to build on amazon. it's going to be gone forever. so once it is gone is just gone, we can't rebuild it. field by field, this whole region is being transformed. it has triggered a barrage of international criticism of brazil. our research shows how
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easily and rapidly trees can be wiped out. and the brazilian government is now saying to the outside world, pay us to keep the forest. in the meantime the onslaught on the trees continues. and it can be dangerous asking awkward questions. asi dangerous asking awkward questions. as i hearfrom thisjournalist dangerous asking awkward questions. as i hear from this journalist and charity worker, gabriel oshida, as we travel through land that was forest. the landscape we are driving through looks very charming, with
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small fields, very rapidly road but a few cows, a few trees, but what is actually going on here behind what is it really like? even though it looks quiet and peaceful, this area is quite dangerous. this is like a wild west movie. so people are around carrying weapons, and people are doing whatever they want, they can invade new territories, i myself have already been threatened here. i have already been threatened here. i have actually received death threats in this region. made by illegal loggers. what effect has there been from the election of president bolsonaro? after bolsonaro got elected, we can clearly see that these guys here, these invaders, these guys here, these invaders, these land grabbers, they feel much more confident about what they are doing. and they feel that now they have the law on their side, and now they have, they can do whatever they wa nt they have, they can do whatever they want because our presidency will support them. so indigenous people
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in the forest, like the uru—eu—wau—wau now face a lot more pressure. so this is the forest of the uru—eu—wau—wau? i show them the view of space, and what they are experiencing everyday on the ground. this farmland all around you, and you are about their, just in that little corner. so you have farms, deforested land, right next to you. and while we are with them, we hear a very depressing fact. that the uru—eu—wau—wau have had such a troubled experience with the outside world, that to describe white people and invaders, they havejust a single word. papuya means invader but also white people. that is all they knew. they didn't know there we re they knew. they didn't know there were white people who could be
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friends with them. because in the past they were always having battle and conflicts against white people. so now they don't have these words, one single word for white people and invaders. the fate of these people hangs in the balance. the children here are learning traditional skills, and they have rights under brazilian law. but they are outnumbered and powerful forces are circling outside.
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for many of us the weekend is fair, it will be mostly dry with some sunshine but there will also be a few showers. we have one or two around at the moment, north scotland, northern ireland, north wales and north—west england. if you are heading outside here, might be worth taking umbrella with you. showers will be fleeting in nature so they won't last very long in any one place. for some of us then it will be a chilly start to the weekend, particularly across north—eastern areas, but it is a mostly dry prospect, those showers
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will continue for a time, northern ireland, north wales, north—west england, perhaps sneaking into the midlands. we may well see a few light showers pop up later in the day across east anglia and south—east england. but still for the vast majority it is a dry day with sunny spells — that said we have a cool northerly wind so temperatures just 13 degrees in aberdeen, the highest temperatures towards the south—west, where 19 in cardiff and plymouth should feel pretty pleasant throughout the afternoon. saturday night is going to turn to be quite a cold night, with clear skies, light winds, temperatures would get down to about 3 celsius or so in newcastle, perhaps a few patches of frost in eastern scotland and north—east england, the very coldest areas. so sunday does promise to be a cold start this time of year. for most of us a lovely start today, plenty of sunshine, a bit of clad will bubble up across the north—west quite a change here for northern ireland and west scotland, as a warm front moves in, that cloud will bring the threat of a bit of light,
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patchy drizzle for a time, quite misty around some of our western hills and coast. temperatures coming up a bit across north—east england, not quite as chilly but the highest temperatures further south. monday's weather dominated by this area of low pressure, the low pressure itself is forming really across england and wales, so there is quite a degree of uncertainty exactly where the heaviest rain will be and how far east it gets. the forecast could change but the general idea is that monday is going to be quite an unsettled day for many of us, rain at times and temperatures not too impressive, highs of 1a—16 degrees. let's take a quick look now at hurricane dorian, this is the last port of call, dorian is going to make another landfall, this time in canada's nova scotia. gusts about 100km/h. ——gusts about 100mph. that's the last you'll hear of dorian, it will spin up to iceland where it will be an area of low pressure, it is not coming to the uk — but this might. this is expected to be hurricane dorian. it will turn into an area of low
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pressure, but later in the week that could effect our weather.
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this is bbc news, i'm ben bland. our top stories: hundreds remain missing in the bahamas after hurricane dorian. i said, hey, we have been friends for a0 years. we arrived together, we're going to die together here. india's mission to the moon appears to have failed. scientists lose contact with the lunar lander just before touchdown. revolutionary hero turned dictator. zimbabwe's robert mugabe dies, leaving a complex legacy. a wild week in british politics ends with opposition parties uniting

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