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tv   Our World Anarchy in the Amazon  BBC News  April 28, 2021 3:30am-4:01am BST

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i'm david eades, with the headlines: evidence is growing that the official death toll in india's covid crisis is a massive underestimate. the number of reported deaths is nearly 200,000 but crematorium figures show that number could be twice as high, at least. some experts suggest the number of infections could be 20 times as high as officially recorded figures. brazil's president, jair bolsonaro, is now under formal investigation for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. the president has attempted to stop state governors from imposing lockdowns and mandating the use of masks. 400,000 brazilians have died from the coronavirus — that's the world's second highest pandemic death toll. and us health authorities say americans fully vaccinated against coronavirus are no longer obliged to wear face masks outdoors. it is hoped this will get more americans motivated to get
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vaccinated. in britain the pressure of borisjohnson shows no sign of easing. his formeradviser, dominic cummings, has claimed the prime minister plan to get secret funding to get work done on his flat. vicki young reports. leading the country and setting the tone for the rest of government, the decisions prime ministers make everyday into this room have far reaching consequences for us all. they will not always be right but criticism about boris johnson is notjust about his judgement but about his integrity. ministers have been asked similar questions about the loss�*s behaviour. reporter: has the prime minister broken the rules? that referred to the refurbishment of the flat mr
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johnson shows with his fiancee. dominic cummins said that tory leader tried to get party donors to secretly pay for the renovations. labour says it is time to come clean. who was given the line, the money? we need to know who borisjohnson is beholden to. we have not had that full and frank explanation. to be honest he lied yesterday and that is not good enough. there is no denial that somebody else picked up the bill. if they did, the rules state that must be made public. rules state that must be made ublic. ., ,., , ., public. the reason why we have rules around _ public. the reason why we have rules around transparency - public. the reason why we have rules around transparency is - public. the reason why we have rules around transparency is so | rules around transparency is so the public know who decision including the prime minister, what their interests are and be clear they are acting on behalf of the people, citizens, taxpayers are not overly
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influenced by donations or loans or private interests stop number ten insists mrjohnson has acted in accordance to codes of conduct and electoral rules. a , codes of conduct and electoral rules. , ., ~ , rules. many conservative mps are keen to — rules. many conservative mps are keen to downplay - rules. many conservative mps are keen to downplay the - are keen to downplay the significance of all of this. one said borisjohnson has a knack of getting away with things others would not concern that lots of individual accusations could combine together and erode trust in the prime minister. 0ne together and erode trust in the prime minister. one of the most damaging accusations is about his views on shutting down of the country because of covid. he denies saying he would rather see bodies piled height then approve a third lockdown but sources told the bbc and other media organisations that he did make the remark. another question being fired at cabinet ministers. i question being fired at cabinet ministers. ., ., ., ministers. i do not need to worry about _ ministers. i do not need to worry about who _ ministers. i do not need to worry about who may - ministers. i do not need to worry about who may or. ministers. i do not need to | worry about who may or did ministers. i do not need to - worry about who may or did not state what because actually, saving lives is where it
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matters and that is what this prime minister has done. mr johnson would rather focus on campaigning but there are bucketloads of questions still to be answered. vicki young reporting. now onto bbc news, our world. under cover of covid, the amazon rainforest, the greatest ecosystem on earth, is under attack. 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.
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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? are their precious trees still standing? cheering. 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
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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. 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
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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, 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
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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 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.
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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. 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! but the best one was pira'i. 0h! 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.
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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. 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.
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it showed the brazilian government can protect the forest, if it wants to. pira'i was hopeful for the future. 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.
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"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 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. -
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the price of gold is higher than ever. 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 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
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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 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...
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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 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."
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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 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.
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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 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.
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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 ? a 12—year high. those involved in illegal deforestation often believe the government will pardon their actions. 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
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that tried to rescue wildlife during the fires. 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.
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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, 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
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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. the brazilian government told the bbc it believes it is necessary to bring economic prosperity
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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... and experts worry the amazon ecosystem itself is changing. i'm very concerned. previous research have been understanding that the amazon
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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 in the remaining islands of trees. a team of local people patrol the forest in an effort to protect them from the loggers.
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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. 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,
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"of constant fear." hello. april 2021 is now officially the frostiest april on record. that is since records began in 1960 and it is based on the number of frosty nights we've seen. every night so far this april, temperatures have fallen below freezing and we've had an air frost. it may well be the case though that as we make our way into the early hours of wednesday, we escape and there's a lot of cloud sitting across the uk at the moment
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thanks to an area of low pressure sinking its way south. quite a strong wind across scotland and where skies clear, the chance of frost will be pretty limited. here's the centre of that low as we get wednesday underway to the south of the uk. to the north, the skies are clearer but there will be some chilly air around, those isobars are close together and that means a stiff north easterly wind. the heaviest of the shower on wednesday would be close to the low centre for wales, the midlands and the southwest of england. certainly for the first part of the day, some of the wind will drift further eastwards later in the afternoon. some isolated showers across the scotland and northern ireland but more in the way of sunny spells here. but generally quite a chilly feel to proceedings across the north across the uk as we pick up the northwesterly, northeasterly, i should say, wind. the low pulls away towards the continent on thursday, as it does so, the northeasterly wind drags arctic air right away across the uk. the isobars open up as well. without the strength of the wind, that leaves us open to seeing quite a wider spread
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of frost as we move into the early hours on thursday. perhaps the southeast still close enough to the low to escape. through the day, there will be a lot of sunshine across the uk, but it will feel chilly and particularly on the north sea coast. just light breezes in contrast to wednesday, but with lighter breezes, where we do see some showers developing and we are seeing some that will be quite slow—moving. locally some heavy downpours but disappointing temperatures with ten to 12 as highs. things look very similar for friday and indeed it looks like we will hold on to a cooler air and light winds and like we will hold on to a cooler air and light winds and some decent spells of sunshine, but isolated showers as we move into the bank holiday weekend. but what will be a talking point for us is the overnight frost.
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welcome to bbc news. i'm david eades. our top stories: india's covid catastrophe — it is here the official death count is underestimated. you told me there _ count is underestimated. you told me there was _ count is underestimated. you told me there was a - count is underestimated. 7m, told me there was a bed. in brazil, president bolsonaro is now under formal investigation for his handling of the pandemic. 400,000 brazilians have died with covid. the damage could be very serious and it could recommend impeachment and even criminal charges against the president.

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