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tv   Our World  BBC News  April 25, 2021 3:30am-4:01am BST

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health ministry in the last three days alone. turkey has summoned the us ambassador in ankara following president biden�*s recognition of the massacre of armenians during the first world war as genocide, in a change to longstanding us foreign policy. turkey has always fiercely denied that the deaths were orchestrated by the ottoman empire. borisjohnson is being asked to explain how the refurbishment of his official downing street flat was paid for following allegations from his ex chief advisor. now on bbc news: our world. under cover of covid, the amazon rainforest, the greatest ecosystem on earth, is under attack.
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deforestation is at levels not seen for more than a decade. we meet the people on the frontline of the battle to the forest... shouting. translation: the prospectors used to be scared of being - caught by us, now they feel the president will protect them. ..and see the impact on the animals. the government is accused of encouraging the destruction. and i'm on a mission to contact some old friends, the members of the most threatened tribe in the world. their relatives have never had contact with civilisation. are they safe?
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are their precious trees still standing? two years ago, a right—wing ex—army officer became the president of brazil. jair bolsonaro had a clear agenda for the amazon — and its people.
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this is the story of my attempt to find what his policy of opening up the amazon means for each tribe i first met a decade ago. this is a community that grew up a couple of decades ago, uncontacted. to go to the jungle and meet people who've onlyjust made contact with the modern world is quite extraordinary. katou! katou, katou! �*katou' means hello, apparently. i thought there'd be a huge chasm, a kind of cultural gap between us, and that we'd struggle to understand each other. emuka, that means i'm happy.
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i'm here with the awa. the awa live deep in the amazon rainforest, they're some of the last people on earth who still try to live as traditional hunter—gatherers. wow, the village... i really felt that they welcomed me in. we felt like we had a real connection together. i'm not going to dress like that, no. pira'i was probably my best buddy in the village. he was the one that instigated most of the jokes. you know, towards the end we went on this big hunt for two or three hours. when we got back, everybody was really hot and sweaty. and they got to this lovely waterhole. and i thought, yeah, ok, i'll go swimming, and itjust seemed right to take my clothes off. laughter. then they played a trick on me, and it became clear that they were trying to,
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essentially, dress me like they dressed to hunt. you don't want to see it. laughter. it seemed they lived an idyllic life. but when i asked my new friend, pira'i, about what life was like when he was growing up, i learntjust how traumatic things had been for the tribe. this community that at that point had had no contact with the outside world. the first contact was with loggers who'd come into the forest to cut their trees and were willing to shoot the community to get them out of the way. you could occasionally hear chainsaws. that's how close the loggers were. all too soon i had to leave my new friends. but this was a special
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time for the amazon. in 2012, the brazilian government made stopping the destruction of the rainforest a priority and rates of deforestation were falling dramatically. a few years later, i received an extraordinary invitation. helicopter blades whirring. well, after years of neglect, the brazilian government has finally decided to do something. we are flying into a base camp they've set up just outside the indigenous reserves, and that's where they're operating from. and from there, we're going to go into the forest. it was like flying into a kind of forward base in afghanistan or something. you just thought, hold on a second. the brazilian government, it really means business about protecting the awa.
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when we went back to the village, suddenly i started seeing all these familiar faces. katou? i think that's hello. hey, hello. i remember you. do you remember me? very good. yeah! 0h! no. we went into his house and he came out with a bit of string and waved it in front of me. not again! i've been tricked once, it's not happening again. laughter. but probably the most amazing moment of all for me was when the operation awa decided they wanted to show the awa what they'd done. pira'i, who grew up uncontacted, now is flying in a helicopter.
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pira'i and a friend watched as government bulldozers destroyed the homes of farmers who'd illegally occupied the tribe's land and cut hundreds of hectares of trees. dogs barking. back at home, they wanted to tell the others what they'd seen. it showed the brazilian government can protect the forest, if it wants to. pira'i was hopeful for the future.
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but that hope was short—lived. soon after i left, brazil entered a time of political turmoil. deforestation started to rise again. the most dramatic increase came two years ago, when president bolsonaro took power. as the coronavirus raged through brazil, killing tens of thousands of people, brazil's environment minister had other issues on his mind, as this recording of a cabinet meeting reveals. "we have a chance at this moment, when the media's attention is almost exclusively on covid, and not the amazon," he says. "while things are quiet, let's do it all at once and change all the rules." there was a media storm. minister salles subsequently claimed what he wanted was to simplify the existing rules. but after that meeting, he withdrew protection from some of the forested
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areas of brazil. and president bolsonaro�*s government certainly appears to be dismantling some of the structures that had succeeded in holding back destruction in the amazon. the environmental police force, ibama, is on the front line of brazil's efforts to protect the forest. but some officers say they aren't getting the support from the president that they need. one of them agreed to speak to us anonymously. translation: i've never seen so many illegal goldmines. - but also, the prospectors used to be scared of being caught by us. now they feel the president will protect them. explosion. in places where we didn't have incidents in the past, now loggers, prospectors, squatters are rioting. last year, an officer was trying to seize a vehicle
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that was taking timber from indigenous land. he got hit with a bottle, while the police that was meant to protect him just watched. the police are loyal to the president. in the past, the police would give us security during the operations. the brazilian government admits some local officials have withdrawn protection for environmental officers, but says this is not official policy. it has become guerrilla warfare. thejob is getting more and more risky. people are blocking the road to stop us from doing ourjob. they feel they have the support from the government. we have just landed the helicopter, and the officers are going over to the truck here, which clearly has freshly cut logs on it. it is very different from how
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things used to work. over the years, i have been on a number ofjungle raids with the environmental police. the most impressive was, we flew with this female officer... ..to raid an illegal sawmill. we found the account books. look at this... so they have the total value, a700 reals, and then, look, there's a fee here — 200 to pay the police, leaving them with a500 so this is extraordinary. this book is like the diary of the business and we've got payments to policemen, we've got how much money they are putting in the bank — and it is a lot of money. we're £20,000, $30,000
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they are making here. it was obvious that the guy with the money had run and left the little guys behind. and i remember talking to one of the guys about what it was like. at then at the end i remember saying to her, what are you going to do now and she said, "well, we can't leave it like this." with fire. she is going to burn it down. it was obvious that ibama had the weight of law behind them. when we got to places where illegal activity was happening, people
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were genuinely frightened. burning the equipment used for deforestation has always been a key tactic, says our whistleblowing officer. the owners of the equipment normally escape when they hear the helicopter so we cannot prosecute them. over the years, we have seen that the most effective strategy to stop deforestation is to destroy their expensive equipment. not any more, according to the brazilian president. despite what president bolsonaro says, when we asked the government, they said the rules on burning equipment
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have not changed, but funds have been cut. this year the environmental police received its lowest budget ever, and because deforestation is so high, germany and norway say they won't pay for its helicopters and vehicles any more. that and the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic explain why, when we spoke, there were no environmental police patrolling the amazon. it is a first time this has ever happened. none of us are out in the field. last year, 4200 square miles of forest was cleared 7 a 12—year high. those involved in illegal deforestation often believe the government will pardon their actions.
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it is notjust the amazon that's under attack, the neighbouring wetland, the pantanal, is burning too. last year, 50,000 hectares of this unique ecosystem was lost in the biggest fires ever recorded there. juliana camargo heads a charity that tried to rescue wildlife during the fires.
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a source in the environmental police told us the government ordered them not to attend the fires. the brazilian government describes these claims as lies.
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once the trees have been cleared, the land is often used forfarming. ibama has just caught red—handed this illegal deforestation, using chains. the chains destroyed the vegetation and killed the wildlife, especially the babies who do not have time to escape. there used to be a system where farmers caught in illegal activities like this would be blacklisted, making it harderfor them to sell their produce and to get loans. the farmers who were found deforesting, their name would be put on an align system whereby buyers would be able to check if they are buying from an area which has strong evidence of illegal deforestation. but since last year,
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there's been some major changes that make it harder for people to be embargoed, so enter the blacklist. the government told this programme the system of fines and blacklisting is obsolete and ineffective and is being modernised. but it makes it hard for buyers to check that agricultural products are deforestation—free and, all the while, business has been booming for amazon farmers. but there is still some resistance to president bolsonaro. almost all my professional life, i was a legislative consultant in the chamber of deputies. suely araujo helped write the environmental laws that underpin brazil's efforts to tackle deforestation.
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the brazilian government told the bbc it believes it is necessary to bring economic prosperity to the amazon. "poverty is the biggest enemy of the environment," a spokesperson told us. i cannot travel to the amazon because of the pandemic but i did manage to get in touch with my friend who sent me these pictures and recorded a message...
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and experts worry the amazon ecosystem itself is changing. i'm very concerned. previous research have been understanding that the amazon was much more resilient and that our tipping point, leading to the decivilization the large trenches of the forest would happen if about 40% of the amazon was lost and now recent research is pointing towards figures closer to 20% — and we already are at those figures. it appears to be becoming less rainy and the fear is the forest could begin to give way to grassland. and the fortunes of the people who live in the jungle are also in the balance. to my astonishment, footage is released that shows some awa people still live uncontacted
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in the remaining islands of trees. a team of local people patrol the forest in an effort to protect them from the loggers. the locals normally do not film out of respect. they decided to release this footage because the situation has become so critical, they want to highlight the danger these last remaining, uncontacted tribal people are in.
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this is an astonishing glimpse of one of the last people on earth who lives outside of what we call "civilisation". we will probably never know his name but my friend told me what it was like when he lived like this. "it is a life," he told me, "of constant fear."
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hello. the temperature rose to near 20 celsius in the warmest parts of wales and scotland on saturday in a day of virtually unbroken sunshine once again. plenty of sunshine again during sunday. if you are looking for some rain though, there is a bit coming in the forecast. how much? you may be left feeling underwhelmed. high—pressure still around on sunday, the flow of air around that, particularly to england and wales will be a stronger easterly. it will feel a bit cooler but especially if you're along that north sea coast it will be a rather chilly day even when you do get to see some sunshine. it's a cold start to sunday with another frost in many areas away from larger towns and city centres, —3 possible in the coldest parts of eastern scotland. there will be some areas of patchy cloud around to begin with. a lot of that will clear away though, some areas will stay hazy during the day. some cloud will continue to push in towards eastern parts of england. maybe producing a light shower. it will be cloudy a little on the down side in shetland
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and there may be an isolted on heavy shower later in the day in the scottish highlands. notice the winds are strongest through england and wales. very gusty through the channel, channel islands and into southwest england, overall it's a bit cooler. especially along that north sea coast but around 17 in the sunniest parts of the west. on through sunday night and into monday we do start to bring in more cloud. monday morning is looking cloudier. notjust cloudier but wetter in north—west scotland as the weather system moves in. but still where there are some clear spells overnight and into monday, you could still have a touch of frost. it is a different looking picture on monday. high pressure being squeezed away as we see this area of low pressure begin a rather slow journey southwards throughout monday and tuesday, bringing at least the chance for rain. there will be some falling in scotland on monday, just edging its way slowly south. later in the day, you could see a little bit feeding into parts of northern ireland and england whereas for the rest of england and wales it stays dry. could still be a fair amount of sunshine around here. that continues moving south overnight and into tuesday. again the chance for a little rain. beyond that as the week goes on, there will be a few showers around.
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it will, though, be on the cool side still and there is still, overnight, the risk of frost. that's your weather.
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this is bbc news. welcome if you're watching here in the uk or around the globe. i'm lewis vaughan jones. our top stories: hospitals in delhi issue an sos for supplies of oxygen and beds as coronavirus case numbers and deaths reach a new record in india. another night of scuffles in eastjerusalem between palestinians and israeli police, despite an appeal for calm by israel's prime minister. turkey summons the us ambassador to protest against president biden�*s decision to recognise the massacres of armenians 100 years ago as genocide. calls for borisjohnson to explain how the refurbishment of his downing street flat was paid for, following allegations from his former chief advisor.

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