Water in Brazil Olympic venues dangerously contaminated

CNBC – 7/29/2015

Athletes competing in next year’s Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will be swimming and boating in waters so contaminated with human feces that they risk becoming violently ill and unable to compete in the games, an Associated Press investigation has found.

An AP analysis of water quality revealed dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria from human sewage in Olympic and Paralympic venues — results that alarmed international experts and dismayed competitors training in Rio, some of whom have already fallen ill with fevers, vomiting and diarrhea.

It is the first independent comprehensive testing for both viruses and bacteria at the Olympic sites.

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Sebastião Salgado focuses on big picture with parable of reforestation in Brazil

John Vidal – The Guardian, 7/27/2015

When the renowned Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado took over family land in the state of Minas Gerais, instead of the tropical paradise that he remembered as a child, he found the trees cut down and the wildlife gone. He was devastated.

It was 1994 and he had just returned from a traumatic assignment reporting on the genocide in Rwanda, he told a meeting of religious leaders discussing climate change in Paris last week.

“The land was as sick as I was – everything was destroyed,” said Salgado. “Only about 0.5% of the land was covered in trees. Then my wife had a fabulous idea to replant this forest. And when we began to do that, then all the insects and birds and fish returned and, thanks to this increase of the trees I, too, was reborn – this was the most important moment.”

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Brazil prosecutors investigate death of thousands of aquarium fish

AFP – The Guardian, 7/12/2015

A Brazilian plan to create the world’s largest freshwater aquarium has backfired spectacularly after more than 10,000 fish in temporary holding tanks died suddenly.

Prosecutors in Campo Grande, the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul state, are investigating who is at fault after the local government and the company that dealt with the fish blamed each other.

Billed as “the biggest freshwater aquarium in the world” by the former governor of the state, work on the $53m (£34m) facility was supposed to have been completed at the end of last year but has been delayed, the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper reported.

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Brazil’s Special Forces wage uphill fight against Amazon destroyers

Vincent Bevins – Los Angeles Times, 7/10/2015

Carrying guns and wearing jungle fatigues, the three men don’t look like scientists as they push their way through the thick foliage of the Amazon.

They’re trying to reach a clearing they’ve seen on satellite images. When they finally get there, they discover that the largest trees have been uprooted by a tractor. The ground has been seeded with grass to create a pasture for cattle.

Rodrigo Numeriano, 31, finds a piece of a fruit peel, puts it up to his nose and sniffs.

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Brazil’s Amazon wilderness at risk from organised crime

Wyre Davies – BBC News, 7/09/2015

No country has done more than Brazil in recent years to tackle the previously rampant levels of deforestation but there is a good reason the agents have their guns drawn – we have seen statistics which show that rates of Amazon destruction are again on the rise.

There are big profits to be made from illegal logging and the fraudulent clearing of rainforest for valuable cash crops and these helicopter patrols are often shot at.

Trying to locate illegal logging operations in the midst of this dense jungle from the air is like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.

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Brazil cane crush hits 46.5 million tonnes in late June, tops expectations

Reese Ewing – Reuters, 7/08/2015

Mills in Brazil’s center-south sugar cane region crushed 46.5 million tonnes (51.26 million tons) in the second half of June, up from 39.4 million in the first fortnight of last month, the cane industry association Unica said on Wednesday.

The numbers exceeded market expectations of 43 million to 45 million tonnes, which were already on the high end of the region’s capacity to harvest the crop. Dry weather over the second half of last month raised forecasts for crushing over the period.

ICE sugar futures erased earlier gains after publication of Unica’s report to trade at nearly unchanged on the day at 12.31 cents/lb.

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In U.S.-Brazil statement on climate change, Rousseff misses opportunity for international leadership

Steve Schwartzman – EDF, 6/30/2015

Presidents Obama and Rousseff deserve credit for putting climate change at the top of their bilateral agenda today.

Public commitment to a strong Paris outcome from two major emitters that are already taking significant action on climate is more than welcome. Restoring 12 million hectares of degraded forest, as President Rousseff has pledged, is a positive contribution – albeit no more than Brazil’s current law mandates.

It is highly promising that the two major economies are creating a high-level working group to move the climate change agenda forward. Particularly interesting is the pledge to develop innovative public-private finance mechanisms both for clean energy and the forestry sector.

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