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Former president brands current leader a troglodyte who should be removed from office

Jair Bolsonaro is leading Brazilians to the slaughterhouse with his irresponsible handling of coronavirus, the countrys former president Luiz Incio Lula da Silva has said.

In an impassioned interview with the Guardian which came as Brazils Covid-19 death toll hit 1,924 Lula said that by undermining social distancing and defenestrating his own health minister, Brazils troglodyte leader risked repeating the devastating scenes playing out in Ecuador where families have had to dump their loved ones corpses in the streets.

Unfortunately I fear Brazil is going to suffer a great deal because of Bolsonaros recklessness I fear that if this grows Brazil could see some cases like those horrific, monstrous images we saw in Guayaquil, said the 74-year-old leftist.

We cant just want to topple a president because we dont like him, Lula admitted. [But] if Bolsonaro continues to commit crimes of responsibility [and] trying to lead society to the slaughterhouse which is what he is doing I think the institutions will need to find a way of sorting Bolsonaro out. And that will mean youll need to have an impeachment.

Bolsonaro a proudly homophobic former army captain already despised by progressive Brazilians for his hostility to the environment, indigenous rights and the arts, as well as his alleged links to Rios mafia has alienated millions more with his dismissive stance towards the coronavirus, which he belittles as media hysteria and a bit of a cold.

Since the World Health Organization declared the pandemic on 11 March, Brazils president has repeatedly thumbed his nose at social distancing, first by egging on and attending pro-Bolsonaro protests and then with a series of provocative visits to bakeries, supermarkets and pharmacies. During one unnecessary outing Bolsonaro declared: No one will hinder my right to come and go.

In March the rightwing populist even suggested Brazilians need not worry about Covid-19 since they could bathe in excrement and nothing happens.

Such moves put Bolsonaro at loggerheads with his own health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, a doctor-turned-politician who was fired on Thursday after challenging the presidents behaviour.

Meanwhile Bolsonaros politician son, Eduardo, has taken the wrecking ball to ties with Brazils most important trade partner, China, by accusing its Communist party leaders of being to blame for the coronavirus crisis.

Bolsonaros actions have sparked nightly pot-banging protests in cities up and down the country and drawn scorn from across the political spectrum.

Coronavirus must be laughing its head off, Eliane Cantanhde, a columnist for the conservative Estado de So Paulo newspaper, wrote of Bolsonaros antics this week.

The rightwing governor of Brazils most populous state, So Paulo, has declared the country at war with both the coronavirus and the Bolsonaro-virus.

Former
Lula da Silva, the former president of Brazil. Photograph: Andre Lucas/The Guardian

Lula, who governed from 2003 until 2010, claimed that Bolsonaros grotesque actions were endangering lives by ignoring distancing guidelines put in place by Brazils own health ministry.

Its natural that a portion of society doesnt understand the need to stay at home or how serious this is especially when the president of the republic is a troglodyte who says its just a little flu, Lula said by video call from the Brazilian city of So Bernardo do Campo, where he is in self-isolation after returning from a tour of Europe.

The truth is Bolsonaro doesnt think about the impact his destructive acts have on society. Hes reckless.

Bolsonaro says his opposition to distancing stems from his desire to protect Brazils most vulnerable citizens and their jobs.

After sacking his health minister, Bolsonaro claimed to be fighting for the long-suffering Brazilian people and warned coronavirus threatened to become a veritable meat grinder of jobs.

At no point has the government abandoned the neediest The impoverished masses cannot stay stuck up at home, Bolsonaro said. I know life is priceless. But the economy and jobs must return to normal.

Lula, who was born into rural poverty and won international plaudits for his fight against hunger, scoffed at the idea Bolsonaro was a champion of the poor.

Bolsonaro is only interested in himself, his kids, some pretty conservative generals and his paramilitary friends, he claimed, in reference to longstanding allegations over the Brazilian presidents family ties to the Rio de Janeiro mafia.

He doesnt speak to society. Bolsonaro doesnt have ears to listen. He just has a mouth to talk nonsense.

While Brazils former president claimed impeachment was an option, he conceded there was not currently support for that in the countrys congress, as there was when his leftwing successor Dilma Rousseff was removed from office in 2016.

He said many rightwing politicians thought it wiser to allow Bolsonaro to continue sabotaging his chances of re-election in 2022 through his own incompetence before electing another president from the right.

Lula, who was sidelined from 2018s election after being jailed on disputed corruption charges, signalled he would not be the leftwing candidate in that contest.

Workers
Workers in protective gear bury a person alongside rows of freshly dug graves at the Vila Formosa cemetery in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photograph: Andr Penner/AP

Ive lost my political rights so Im not talking about myself, said Lula, who was released in November 2019 from 580 days in prison after a supreme court ruling.

But Ill tell you something, you can be certain the left will be governing Brazil again after 2022. We dont need to talk about who the candidate is right now. But we will vote for someone who is committed to human rights and respects them, who respects environmental protection, who respects the Amazon who respects blacks and the indigenous. Were going to elect someone who is committed to the poor of this country.

Observers of Brazilian politics are less sure Bolsonaro is totally finished or that the left is well positioned to replace him.

Some believe Bolsonaro one of just four world leaders still downplaying coronavirus alongside the authoritarian presidents of Nicaragua, Belarus and Turkmenistan has obliterated his chances of a second term with his response to the crisis.

But Thomas Traumann, a political commentator and communications minister under Rousseff, said such certainty was premature: There are two centuries to go until 2022.

Traumann said it was clear Bolsonaro had severely weakened himself but so far rightwing politicians such as the governors of Rio de Janeiro and So Paulo appeared to be capitalising on Bolsonaros blunders the most.

Jair
Jair Bolsonaro, right, with Luiz Henrique Mandetta, whom he has fired as health minister. Photograph: Adriano Machado/Reuters

And ultimately Brazil was hurtling into such an unpredictable and potentially tumultuous few weeks that it was impossible to know what the political fallout might be.

We know Bolsonaro will come out of this weaker. We know his mistakes will not be forgiven, Traumann said.

How the political chips would fall after that was anyones guess, Traumman added, likening Brazils predicament to the start of a rollercoaster ride.

All we know is that many loops lie ahead We are moving into an unknown world We are sailing in the darkness.

Lula said he was certain of one thing: that at a moment of national crisis, Brazil needed a leader capable of uniting its 211 million citizens.

A president should be like the conductor of an orchestra, he said. The problem is that our conductor knows nothing about music, cant read a score and doesnt even know how the batons work.

Hes trying to play classical music with the instruments you use to play samba. Hes turned his orchestra into a madness a Tower of Babel, Lula said. He doesnt know what hes doing in the presidential palace Not even Trump takes him seriously.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/17/lula-bolsonaro-brazil-to-slaughterhouse-covid-19-coronavirus

Socially conscious singers hit version of Young, Gifted and Black reached No 5 in the UK charts with duo Bob and Marcia

Bob Andy, the reggae vocalist who performed a hit version of Young, Gifted and Black as part of the duo Bob and Marcia, has died aged 75 after a short illness.

His death was confirmed by his collaborator on that song, Marcia Griffiths, who told the Jamaica Observer he died at 8am on Friday 27 March.

Bob & Marcia reached No 5 in the UK in 1970 with Young, Gifted and Black, an uptempo recording of the Nina Simone original. They also reached No 11 in 1971 with Pied Piper, which spent 13 weeks in the charts.

Andy was born Keith Anderson in Kingston, Jamaica, and began his career in the groups the Binders and the Paragons before going solo in the mid-1960s. Recording in the legendary Studio One under producer Coxsone Dodd, he cut songs that would become reggae standards, such as Ive Got to Go Back Home and Too Experienced.

He also wrote songs that would be recorded by reggae stars including Gregory Isaacs, Ken Boothe and Delroy Wilson, along with solo numbers for Griffiths, although their partnership ended when she joined the I Threes, Bob Marleys group of backing vocalists.

Young, Gifted and Black was just one of his socially conscious songs. Others, such as Fire Burning and Check It Out, castigated capitalism and the ruling classes. But he suffered from health issues, including migraines, and put music to one side for a number of years from the late 1970s onwards, broadening into acting. He also became an A&R for Tuff Gong records, the label founded by Marley.

As his health improved, Andy returned to music in the 1990s. In 2006, he was awarded Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government for his services to music.

Reggae DJ David Rodigan was among those paying tribute, writing on Twitter: We all loved you Bob Andy and we know how much you loved us, your legions of fans all over the world. At least you are at peace now; youve left us a truly remarkable repertoire of songs which we will all treasure for ever.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/mar/27/jamaican-reggae-vocalist-bob-andy-dies-aged-75-young-gifted-black

Royal expert sounds alarm after Prince Harry seemingly duped into thinking he was talking to Greta Thunberg

Russian hoaxers who apparently tricked Prince Harry into offering help to take penguins to the North Pole have raised serious questions over security and screening measures for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as they leave the royal fold, a royal expert said.

Posing as the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and her father, hoaxers Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexey Stolyarov managed to reach Harry on his landline at his rented Vancouver Island mansion on New Years Eve and on 22 January, it has been reported.

The royal, seemingly duped into thinking he was talking to Thunberg and her father Svante, also criticised Donald Trump and spoke of a bullying tabloid media trying to sink him and wife Meghan.

A spokeswoman for the Sussexes declined to comment when asked if there was any doubt the voice was that of Harry.

A former press secretary to the Queen, Dickie Arbiter, claimed the fact that the hoaxers, known as Vovan and Lexus, had reached Harry exposed weaknesses in their personal security. As long as Harry and Meghan are over there, theyre out of the protection of the system, he said. For all its faults, the system does, and is there to, protect.

He said the hoaxers would not have been able to get through the Buckingham Palace switchboard. Theyre pretty vigilant, he said, adding: If youre outside the system, youre open to anything and everything.

The couple has a 15-strong team of staff based at Buckingham Palace, but they will be disbanded when the couple transition on 31 March, with some staff being made redundant and others redeployed in other royal households. No details about any staff in Canada have been made public.

Arbiter spoke as the Sun, which published excerpts of the conversations, reported more details of the hoax calls. Harry failed to spot he was being pranked when the fake Greta and her father said they had 50 penguins that were stuck in land-locked Belarus and they were after a ship to transport them to the north pole, even though the animals are native to the south pole.

When asked if he had any contacts to help, the duke is said to have suggested: Ive got one person who is a polar guide in the north pole he may be able to help you, he knows all the right people.

Greta also asked if Harry could help her marry into the royal family and suggested she was interested in Prince George, the Sun reported. It said Harry replied: I can assure you, marrying a prince or princess is not all its made up to be.

When the hoaxers suggested there were discussions in Russia that Harry could become head of a restored monarchy, he replied chuckling: Well there you go, maybe thats our new purpose: to be able to take over Russia.

The hoaxers joked about Harry smoking weed with hippies on Thunbergs eco-catamaran, and also of forming a celebrity movement called Stars Save the Earth with Leonardo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie.

During one call they tricked him into believing mining companies close to Trump were exploiting the fictional island of Chunga-Changa the name of a Russian childrens song.

The rights to the audio recordings had been transferred to British media, the hoaxers said as they confirmed the Suns report in response to a Guardian inquiry.

In the audio, a person, reportedly Harry, says of the decision to stand down as a senior royal: Sometimes the right decision isnt always the easy one. And this decision certainly wasnt the easy one, but it was the right decision for our family, the right decision to be able to protect my son. And I think theres a hell of a lot of people around the world that can identify and respect us for putting our family first.

On Trump, he says: I think the mere fact that Donald Trump is pushing the coal industry so big in America, he has blood on his hands. He says he is confident things will change on the climate agenda within 10 years: But we cant wait five to 10 years, so I think if Donald Trump can become president of the United States of America, then anythings possible, right?

He continues: You forget, I was in the military for 10 years so Im more normal than my family would like to believe But certainly, being in a different position now gives us the ability to say things and do things that we might not have been able to do.

On Prince Andrew, who has stepped down from public duties over his friendship with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, he says: I have very little to say on that. But whatever he has done or hasnt done, is completely separate from me and my wife.

Harry speaks of Boris Johnson being a good man, and tells the person posing as Thunberg: So you are one of the few people who can reach into his soul and get him to feel and believe in you. But you have to understand that because he has been around for so long like all of these other people, they are already set in their ways.

In separate quotes, published by Mail Online, Harry reportedly says he has been part of a family and part of a country that is scared of the tabloid media because they have so much power and influence and no morals.

From the moment that I found a wife that was strong enough to be able to stand up for what we believe in together, [that] has basically scared them so much that theyve now come out incredibly angry, theyve come out fighting, and all they will try and do now is try and destroy our reputation and try and, you know, sink us.

He adds: It hasnt been very nice. Its been horrible, but we will come out of it stronger people.

Kuznetsov and Stolyarov have previously targeted Elton John, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoan, and the US senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/mar/11/prince-harry-tricked-into-megxit-revelations-by-fake-greta-thunberg

As the president completes his first year in power, his opponents are finding their voice and fighting back

Jair Bolsonaros presidency was still a week away when Edu Krieger penned his first critique a ballad lamenting the rise of Brazils incoming leader and lampooning him over the corruption allegations that continue to haunt his family.

Its important for us to counterattack with our art, said the 45-year-old singer-songwriter who has since become a specialist in musical parodies of the populist provocateur.

But as Bolsonaro completes his first year in power, Krieger is far from the only Brazilian artist finding their voice and continuing a rich tradition in one of the worlds most musical nations. From raperos to roqueiros, a growing chorus of musicians are denouncing the extremist politician and his assault on their trade.

We cant become anaesthetised and think, Oh, he won [the election]. Theres nothing we can do, said Krieger, who has written songs for some of Brazils most celebrated female voices.

At least through our music we can pester them a bit and make some noise. This is the most efficient kind of resistance we can mount right now We cant just passively accept the kind of situation they are trying to impose.

Another artist joining the resistance is Manu da Cuca, a 34-year-old composer who wrote the 2020 carnival anthem for one of Rios leading samba schools, Mangueira.

The songs standout lyric which warns of the perils of gun-toting messiahs is a clear swipe at the pro-gun president, whose middle name is Messias.

Edu
Edu Krieger says he wants to make some noise. Photograph: Felipe Fittipaldi

Theres no shortage of false prophets in todays Brazil, said Da Cuca, whose baby daughters name Havana hints at her leftist leanings. And its these messiahs who end up dragging us down with their hateful policies, added the musician, whose real name is Manuela Oiticica.

Chico Csar, a 55-year-old troubadour with seven albums to his name, is another setting his scores on Bolsonaro.

Csar, from the northern state of Maranho, said he received insults and threats for a song skewering Bolsonaros fascist followers. The presidents assault on Brazilian culture was the reason for the artists backlash, he said.

Since taking office in January, Bolsonaro has enraged musicians, film-makers and visual artists alike by slashing public support for their work in what many see as payback for their opposition to his rule.

Art is like an anthill, Csar said. When you tread on it it bites the aggressor.

Marina Iris, a 35-year-old singer from Rio, makes no explicit reference to the president on her new album. But it is infused with angst and upset over growing police violence and discrimination in Bolsonaros Brazil.

One track, a Brazilian standard called Onze Fitas, tells the story of a woman shot dead with 11 bullets a song Iris said spoke to growing state repression under a new wave of far-right politicians.

We are trying to stop ourselves going backwards, Iris said. Theres no way my music could ignore this.

Not all Brazilian artists are joining the cultural counterattack, however and a small number of rightwing rappers have even used their verses to sing Bolsonaros praises.Krieger, the son of one of Brazils leading conductors, said many artists still felt reluctant to challenge the president for fear of alienating his supporters and harming their careers.

Artists have bills to pay. Artists have to work. They need places to perform, he said. I understand its really hard for artists to speak out in a way that might make them lose their audience. Like it or not, 58 million people voted for this guy.

Jair
Jair Bolsonaro responded to the attacks by slashing funding to the arts. Photograph: Adriano Machado/Reuters

But as Bolsonaros first year in power draws to a close and Krieger prepared to fashion another post-Christmas critique of his countrys radical leader the composer said more and more artists were taking up instruments.

I think were moving out of the period of general anaesthetic that started the year.

Krieger said his music was battling not just against Bolsonaro, but against the kind of intolerant and lopsided country Brazil had become over more than 500 years of inequality.

Bolsonaro and his team are a faithful portrait of this Brazil: the Brazil of intolerance, the Brazil of homophobia, the Brazil of inequality, the Brazil of privilege, Krieger said.

Through our art we need to show that those people who are now in power represent exactly the kind of society we do not want to be.

Or is that actually the society we do want? he wondered. Thats the big question now.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/28/brazil-artists-lead-chorus-of-resistance-jair-bolsonaro

(CNN)Three decades ago in Rio de Janeiro, Freddy Mercury made history with a performance of the Queen hit “Love of My Life,” at the now-legendary Rock in Rio music festival. The scene of thousands of Queen fans all singing along was an indelible one — and one recently featured in the film “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

“Rock music leads to drugs, which leads to sex, which leads to abortions,” claimed Dante Mantovani, newly-appointed head of the National Arts Foundation (Funarte), in a recent post on his personal YouTube page.
“At the same time, the abortion industry feeds into something much more serious which is Satanism,” he added.
    In the eleven-minute video, posted on October 30th, Mantovani criticizes rock icons Elvis Presley and John Lennon. “Lennon openly said, more than once, that he made a pact with the devil — with Satan, in order to be famous and successful,” he says.
    “In the 1950’s this so-called Elvis Presley emerges with rock music that makes everyone bounce and shake their hips,” Mantovani adds. “This is when certain behaviors start being introduced — Elvis Presley, for instance, died of an overdose.”
    On Dec 2, Mantovani was appointed to run Funarte, a Brazilian government agency with a mission to “promote and incentivize the production, practice, development and diffusion of the arts throughout the country.” Founded in 1975, it fell under the Ministry of Culture until that ministry was dissolved by Bolsonaro’s government, and became a subdivision of the Ministry of Citizenship.
    It is unclear whether Mantovani’s views could affect any projects that might finance initiatives for rock music events. But as a government entity responsible for determining public policy and federal funding for music and arts initiatives, the foundation’s support can be critical. In the past, cultural projects could request up to 60 million Brazilian reals (roughly US$14 million) in federal funds through Funarte, though that figure has since been reduced under Bolsonaro.
    Mantovani himself seems to tend toward classical styles. Born in 1984, he identifies himself as a “maestro” with a master’s degree in linguistics, according to his personal website. He studied the violin, trumpet, piano and led choirs and orchestras in different cities throughout Brazil.
    In the same video, Mantovani also blames rock music for destroying the fabric of the American “moral” family in the 1960s and indulges “certain theories” that the CIA distributed the hallucinogenic drug LSD at the 1969 Woodstock festival.
    “Woodstock, that festival from the 1960s that gather a bunch of people, where hippies took drugs and LSD — there are certain theories that suggest that the large scale distribution of the drug was actually carried out by the CIA,” Mantovani said.
    He has held forth on what he views as rock’s problems before, even asking, “Is rock music?” in a video posted February 2018.
    “What happens with rock is that the rhythm is always very repetitive. When a musical genre is more based on rhythm is speaks more to the body than the soul,” Mantovani said. “That’s why you see in rock shows people jumping, sometimes hitting each other — in punk rock there is the tradition of people beating each other and then leaving as old friends.”
    In the video, he does makes exceptions for two bands in the genre — Metallica and Brazilian band Angra — arguing that they alone are worth listening to “when you’re driving in traffic” or “feeling a bit tired.”
    On Monday, Angra bassist Felipe Andreoli responded that he was “embarrassed” to have his band associated with Mantovani, in a post on his personal Instagram account.
    “So much ignorance, so much disinformation, SO EMBARRASSED to have my band associated in any way with this guy. I’m not going to waste my time attacking his comments because, those of us who live off of and know about rock music know that he is delirious,” Andreoli said.
      “It scares me to see such a retrograde, fanatical person in such an important position for our country’s culture.”
      CNN has reached out to Mantovani for comment. Funarte forwarded CNN’s request for comment to the Secretariat of Culture, a subdivision of the Ministry of Citizenship.

      Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/05/americas/bolsonaro-funarte-abortion-intl/index.html

      Incident has landed the prime minister in hot water as his Liberal party fights to secure another term in a tightly contested election

      Canadians have long been aware that Justin Trudeau likes to dress up.

      His tendency to appropriate dress and customs from other cultures has prompted gentle mockery from rival politicians and the media: on a trip to India last year, he was photographed in a kurta on numerous occasions. He has Indigenous art tattooed his shoulder. He wears Ramadan socks and dances to bhangra music.

      But the emergence of three damning images of the Canadian prime minister in blackface have shattered the prime ministers carefully curated image as a progressive leader.

      The incident has landed the prime minister in hot water as his Liberal party fights to secure another four-year term in a tightly contested federal election.

      Trudeau quickly apologized Im pissed off at myself. Im disappointed in myself, he told reporters but the damage may already have been done, said Amarnath Amarasingam, a professor of religion at Queens University.

      I have a difficult time seeing him wiggle his way out of this one. Hes not an authentic kind of messenger on the race issue. Hes not an authentic messenger on the discrimination issue because hes never led that conversation in the country before, he said.

      The timing for Trudeau is particularly bad: only weeks ago, the prime minister publicly castigated the Conservative leader, Andrew Scheer, over a recently unearthed video clip from 2005, in which Scheer expressed skepticism over the idea of gay marriage.

      Scheer has seized on the blackface images, saying Trudeau has lost the moral authority to govern.

      But the Conservative leader also has to grapple with that fact members of his own party have a history of racist or homophobic statements and social media posts. Scheer told reporters he would stand by candidates who showed genuine remorse for previous actions a standard he appeared unprepared to offer to Trudeau.

      The more we get caught up in dichotomization of You said something racist and therefore youre bad, the more were likely to miss the real point, said Aditya Rao, an Ottawa-based human rights lawyer. I worry that people are looking to score political points off of this.

      While Trudeau will likely sustain political damage in the coming days, hes unlikely to be facing an existential crisis, said Nelson Wiseman, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto.

      The immediate winners may be the leftwing New Democratic party. The NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh, gave a powerful speech on Wednesday, in which he described the chilling impact the images had on him and on millions of other Canadians who faced racism growing up.

      The kids that see this image, the people that see this image, are going to think about all the times in their life that they were made fun of, that they were hurt, that they were hit, that they were insulted, that they were made to feel less because of who they are, Singh said.

      But that boost for the NDP may fade away as the election draws closer: progressive voters turned off by Trudeaus escapades are unlikely to transfer their support to Scheers party. A lot of those people will just fall back to the Liberals, because their primary objective will be to vote against the Conservatives Its going to be a rough few days for the Liberals, but I dont think its gonna move the needle in the polls much as the Conservatives might hope, said Wiseman.

      Beyond the immediate political frenzy, the emergence of Trudeaus blackface images has also cast a spotlight on a deeper thread of systematic racism in Canada.

      Canadas Indigenous population is disproportionately represented among murder victims, prison inmates and the child welfare system. First Nation communities struggle with enduring poverty and exclusion. Black residents of Toronto are 20 times more likely to be shot dead by the police than their white neighbours.

      Canadians generally see racism through the lens of what we are not. We are not the United States. We are not Europe. Were not having tiki-torch marches, said Amarasingam. We always feel like were kind of above the rest when it comes to issues of race and racism and discrimination.

      Balpreet Singh of the World Sikh Organization, describe Trudeaus use of blackface as mocking and hurtful but then pointed to Quebecs provincial government which recently introduced legislation banning public sector employees from wearing religious symbols a law that disproportionately targets visible minorities.

      A picture of the prime minister in blackface is bad. But the fact that theres a province in Canada that is telling the members of certain religious groups that theyre second-class citizens and wont be employed thats really a thousand times worse, he said.

      Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/19/how-will-justin-trudeaus-blackface-photos-affect-canadas-federal-election

      Campos Amazonicos National Park, Brazil (CNN)An orange hue greets dusk in the Campos Amazonicos. It is then, as the sun’s punishing glare ends, that the firefighters can comfortably approach the flames hurtling across the parched savanna.

      The challenge is equal to the global stakes involved. Much of the Amazon is canopy, but parts of it — like the National Park of the Campos Amazonicos — are also savanna, where fires are stoked by powerful wind. Fire walks, confident and all-consuming, across vast swaths of pasture.
      The tiny band of a few dozen firefighters — based in a two-story house three hours’ drive away from the nearest village — cover an immense area, across which the green has turned to ashes at an alarming rate in the past four days.
        The firefighters have helpful but anxious neighbors, the Tenharim indigenous people. The Tenharim have called this area “Mother” for centuries, but fear the raging inferno of this year and the rampant deforestation around the Amazon may soon leave them orphans.
        It is the land they live on and identify with. But Marcio Tenharim, the president of their association, looks on at the flames exhaustively fought, knowing his delicate world is changing. “The next generation will have a darker future,” he said. “Since this president came to power these things are happening a lot more.”

          CNN takes you into the heart of the Amazon fires

        He means President Jair Bolsonaro, globally criticized for his exploitative approach to the Amazon and his mixed response to the fires raging this year through it. The Tenharim say the fires in their area — 900,000 hectares, which they say their thousand people legally own — have increased yearly. There were 93 last year, they said, a third up on the year before that. They simply don’t know how heavily hit they’ve been this year, yet.
        Tenharim’s indigenous headdress glows in the orange inferno, as he looks, somewhat resigned and blank in his expression, into the wall of flame. “It’s sad to see what we have preserved,” he said.
        “Four days of fires on preserved land where you could breathe fresh, clean air. And now we breathe smoke.”
        The Tenharim contribute ten men in shifts to the fire brigade, from a pool of 23. At the center of their world is a gathering of huts, where modern and abnormally loud pop music often blares. This place is disconnected from the bustling businessmen in Brazil’s capitals who would happily invest in the forest. Yet the outside world has long wanted a piece of their paradise.
        Their land is bisected by the highway 230, the Trans-Amazonian, built by the military in 1972.
        Then it brought in diseases, they said, and caused intense protest. Now it churns with dust and huge trucks stream past cattle and discarded logs. The highway lined with signs of how fast the outside world is stripping the Amazon of its riches. Deforestation to help grow soy, to feed China, and to create pasture for cattle to graze in. The global appetite for beef is stoking the pace of destruction, at a rate of one and a half soccer fields per minute, according to Brazil’s National Institute of Space Research.
        One enduring question is how the fires are started. Most policemen, officials, investigators, and firefighters CNN spoke to over a week accepted that a large number were started by people eager to clear land and exploit it afterward. President Bolsonaro has suggested some of the 85% rise in fires throughout Brazil this year may be natural, although some experts have challenged that idea, saying many are man-made.
        Yet on flat and dry savannas, natural fires do occur more commonly, sometimes because of lightning, said Daniel Botini-Alves, a researcher into tropical savanna forest fires at Sao Paulo State University.
          “Fires in indigenous forests are mostly man-made and that’s where the biggest fires are,” he added. “For five or six months now we’ve been seeing increased deforestation and fires are a consequence of that.” He added that later in the year, when the dry season ends, more fires could occur when fires are lit to clear the pasture to grow afresh in the rainy season.
          But Marcio Tenharim retains hope, because without that, there are only ashes. Asked about his children’s chances there, he said: “Probably they’ll have time, and this isn’t the end. It won’t be like before.”​

          Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/29/americas/amazon-rainforest-fires-indigenous-community/index.html

          Prior to the victory over the Golden State Warriors, many had fallen victim to the music stars reputation for bringing bad luck

          His repeated interactions with athletes before critical games and their subsequent losses have earned Drake the unfortunate reputation of bringing bad fortune to teams. But one historic basketball game may have broken the curse.

          High-profile victims of the so-called Drake curse include Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose team lost to Everton three days after meeting the Canadian rapper in London, and Paris Saint-Germain, who had their biggest loss in almost two decades after defender Layvin Kurzawa posed for a picture with him.

          Also, boxer Anthony Joshua was so confident before his fight with Andy Ruiz Jr that he posted a photo with Drake on Instagram with the caption bout to break the curse only to subsequently lose to his little-known rival.

          Such is the extent of Drakes reputation for bringing bad luck that AS Roma enforced a tongue-in-cheek ban on its players taking pictures with the star until the end of the season.

          But following the Toronto Raptors historic 114-110 win over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night, which made them the first ever Canadian NBA champions, Drakes cursed influence appears for now at least to be over.

          Following the game, an exultant Drake, a Raptors mega-fan who, as the official global ambassador of his hometown team, has been a court-side fixture throughout the finals, declared the curse null and void. Wearing a 2019 champions baseball cap he said: They said I was a curse, now they cursing each other out.

          As well as announcing that he would be releasing not one but two songs to celebrate the victory Omert and Money in the Grave (ft. Rick Ross), he took the opportunity to gloat to Warriors guard Klay Thompson.

          Yo Klay! when youre wakeboarding this summer in your Quicksilver shorts when you see me, you better wave. Friendly, too, he said.

          His erratic and highly meme-able court-side posturing and emotional outbursts during the playoffs have attracted almost as much attention as the players on court. Drake taunted opposing players, wore provocative clothing, gesticulated wildly and even gave Raptors coach Nick Nurse a quick shoulder rub.

          Drake described the Raptors win as poetic. And said: We did this off of heart. We did this off of love. We willed this into existence.

          Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/14/the-drake-curse-canadian-rapper-vindicated-after-raptors-nba-championship-win

          The debate is a difficult one. Yet not every interloper is a colonialist in disguise, says Ash Sarkar, a senior editor at Novara Media

          Is Gordon Ramsay allowed to cook Chinese food ? Is it OK to dress up as Disneys Moana? Can Jamie Oliver cook jollof rice despite plainly not knowing what it is? Exactly what is cultural appropriation? To take a glance at Good Morning Britain, the ITV show that never takes its finger off the pulse of Middle Englands clogged arteries, youd think its a question of white people seeking permission to have fun. And in return, new media outlets have guaranteed traffic from anxious millennials by listing things that fall into the category of problematic when white people adopt them (blaccents, bindis and box braids).

          Why has cultural appropriation, an imperfect term mobilised in imperfect contexts, become such live ammunition for the socially conscious? And what does it mean especially for people of colour when we turn our fire on each other? It is striking that a phrase intended to sharpen a political analysis of life under postcolonial capitalism seems to have drawn the most blood between people who share overlapping experiences of racism and displacement.

          The debate over cultural appropriation has been around for decades. Black writers and artists from the Harlem Renaissance voiced their concerns about the distortion of African cultures in some modernist artworks, and wrote at length about the demeaning caricatures of black identity in minstrel shows. Elvis Presley was said to have exploited negro music.

          The artist Kenneth Coutts-Smith wrote one of the first essays on the subject in 1976, entitled Some General Observations on the Concept of Cultural Colonialism. He never actually used the term cultural appropriation, but he was the first to bring together the Marxist idea of class appropriation (in which notions of high culture are appropriated and defined by the dominant social and economic class) and cultural colonialism, which describes the way western cultures take ownership of art forms that originate from racially oppressed or colonised peoples.

          Disneys
          Is it OK to dress up as Disneys Moana? Can Jamie Oliver cook jollof rice despite plainly not knowing what it is? Photograph: 2016 Disney

          This is important to bear in mind. Our modern understanding of cultural appropriation is highly individualised. Its all about what Halloween costume you wear, or whos cooking biryani. But the way in which the idea was first used was to describe a relationship of dominance and exploitation between a global ruling class and a globally subjugated one. The idea that cultural appropriation is primarily a form of erasure a kind of emotional violence in which people are rendered invisible came along later. And this is the sticky point. Is it right to level the same criticism at an act of cultural borrowing that doesnt have a clear angle of economic or political exploitation as for one that does?

          This month, news broke that Inuit singers were boycotting Canadas Indigenous Music Awards over the nomination of a Cree singer who, it is claimed, utilises specifically Inuit throat-singing techniques without coming from that culture herself. The Guardians own coverage of the story headlined Canada: one Indigenous group accuses other of cultural appropriation in award row treats the two different cultures as interchangeable. The point of commonality both Inuit and Cree being Canadian indigenous people positions a shared history of dispossession by a white settler colony as erasing cultural and artistic distinctions. The implicit question seems to be: Why are you lot even fighting? Youre all the same anyway.

          Daniel Heath Justice, a Cherokee professor of indigenous studies at the University of British Columbia, points out that the row isnt the result of oversensitivity or prickliness. The throat-singing technique in question was banned by Christian missionaries, and discouraged by colonial governments. In his words: Were talking about continuity in spite of traumatic, sustained and systemic multi-generational assaults on every aspect of our beings including our artistic practice.

          Yet I find it strange that a recognition of the pain caused by colonialism is being projected on to fellow indigenous artists. Its possible to argue against a colonial viewpoint that homogenises those whom it dominates, without using language that holds responsible people who have also been affected by centuries of dispossession.

          Drake
          London MC Wiley got it right when he talked about Canadian rapper Drake (above) being a culture vulture. Photograph: Arthur Mola/AP

          Its worth pointing out that conflicts between racially oppressed people often result from the fact that colonialism worked on divide and rule. Certain ethnic, religious, racial or indigenous groups were deliberately privileged over others in order to create a sense of investment in upholding the power structure.

          Today, arguments rage about non-African Americans participating in (and making money from) hip-hop culture, or whether black people should wear south Asian head ornaments. I get that its tempting to see such pop-cultural phenomena as a replication of centuries-old colonial dynamics. But maybe our own frustration at the erasure of difference risks erasing certain crucial differences in itself. Not all cultural borrowing is a form of social violence: some of it is just cringe. I thought London MC Wiley got it right when he talked about Canadian rapper Drake being a culture vulture profiting off the UK music scene. The godfather of grime didnt need to raid the library of Soas University of London to come up with his critique. A straightforward Listen, bumbahole did the trick just fine.

          But young, socially conscious people of colour do need to be a bit more honest with themselves about whats driving our political interventions when it comes to cultural appropriation on this issue. Ive felt that anger myself: such as when someone very earnestly told me how henna actually looks better on pale skin; or when I see Indian food staples marketed by English gentrifiers. Theres a very particular feeling when you know that the identity I wear on my skin is an outfit for someone else that culture is valued more than the humanity that produced it. But theres another uncomfortable feeling lurking at the bottom of it.

          When youre a second- or third-generation migrant, your ties to your heritage can feel a little precarious. Youre a foreigner here, youre a tourist back in your ancestral land, and home is the magpie nest you construct of the bits of culture youre able to hold close. The appropriation debate peddles a comforting lie that theres such thing as a stable and authentic connection to culture that can remain intact after the seismic interruptions of colonialism and migration.

          Im not suggesting we stop using the term cultural appropriation altogether: its clearly meaningful when talking about systems of exploitation and dominance. But we do need to become a lot more discerning about how we use the idea in discussing interpersonal dynamics. Theres a difference between understanding how these frustrations have a politicised background, and treating these issues as sites of political contestation in themselves. Not everyone who participates in a misguided attempt at cultural borrowing is a coloniser in disguise. Some people are just sad try-hards.

          Ash Sarkar is a senior editor at Novara Media, and lectures in political theory at the Sandberg Instituut

          Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/29/cultural-appropriation-racial-oppression-exploitation-colonialism

          (CNN)Billionaire businessman Richard Branson says he hopes his Live Aid-inspired concert to raise funds for Venezuelans will persuade members of the country’s military to defy President Nicolas Maduro and allow humanitarian aid to cross the border.

          The event will feature performances from more than 30 artists, according to the concert’s website. These include huge names in Latin America, like Colombian musical legends Carlos Vives, Juanes and reggaetón singer Maluma — all three of whom have collaborated with pop-star Shakira in the past.
          Swedish DJ Alesso is also on the lineup, alongside Mexican rock band Mana, who have won seven Latin Grammys and four Grammys, and Spanish singer and songwriter Alejandro Sanz.
            Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who invoked a constitutional provision last month to declare himself acting president, has been working with a raft of global partners, including the United States, to bring aid into the country. Maduro has repeatedly refused assistance, leaving aid languishing on the border despite growing shortages.
            Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, told CNN en Espanol on Thursday that he was asked to do the concert by Guaido, who traveled to Cucuta on Friday despite a travel ban imposed by a Venezuelan court. Guaido met with the presidents of Colombia, Chile and Paraguay at the event.
            “He (Guaido) will be coming to the other side of the bridge with maybe a million of his supporters, and I suspect both of us, both sides, will be handing flowers to the military and the people guarding the bridge, and seeing whether they can be persuaded to do what they must realize is the right thing,” Branson said.
            Maduro is planning to stage a rival concert on the other side of the Tienditas Bridge in Tachira, Venezuela.
            Photos showed workers setting up scaffolding and stages some 1,000 feet from each other, separated only by the containers that the Venezuelan government has installed to block access to the country.
            “We just want peace and tranquility,” Maduro said during a televised speech on Thursday.
            Guaido left Caracas on Thursday with a group of lawmakers headed to the border to “welcome the humanitarian aid,” his spokesman, Edward Rodriguez, told CNN.
            A convoy of buses carrying members of Venezuela’s National Assembly, who were traveling separately from Guaido, was blocked briefly en route to the border.
            The opposition plans to bring humanitarian aid into Venezuela on Saturday in a move that could prompt a showdown with authorities.
            Maduro, who is facing growing calls to step down by the international community following his disputed re-election last year, denies that a humanitarian crisis exists in his country. He has suggested instead that aid efforts are part of a plot by the US to orchestrate a coup.
              The beleaguered president said on Thursday that he had closed the border with Brazil and was considering shutting the Colombia border too ahead of the planned aid deliveries. Venezuela closed its maritime border with Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire and, in the western state of Falcon, stopped flights to and from those islands.
              “We hope that Colombian President Ivan Duque won’t follow the orders of President Donald Trump to seek violence at the border,” Maduro said. “Is Trump the Commander in Chief of the Venezuelan Armed Forces? The answer is obvious. And the answer to imperialism is also obvious.”

              Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/22/americas/richard-branson-venezuela-aid-concerts-intl/index.html