Unprecedented fires are sweeping through Brazil’s Amazon rainforest and causing record-setting deforestation in the area. Scientists all over the world are sounding the alarm and warning that this could have disastrous implications for the rainforest and even the global environment.
These are the worst fires seen in the region since the establishment of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), the country’s space research center. The center began tracking such statistics after it was opened in 2013, and the organization has said that this is the most serious fire situation that they have seen in the rainforest.
The number of forest fires in the Amazon Rainforest in #Brazil is up 82% from last year. The fires are purposely set by ranchers to clear land. They then burn out of control. The Bolsonaro govt has eliminated restrictions on burnings. This must be stopped! #PrayforAmazonia. RT pic.twitter.com/cAyUlqjdRz
— Daniel Schneider (@BiologistDan) August 20, 2019
The center reported that there have been roughly 72,843 fires in Brazil this year. More than half of those fires have occurred in the Amazon region, which is an 80% increase when compared with last year’s numbers.
These statistics are extremely disturbing, especially considering how important that amazon rainforest is to the global ecosystem. As the largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon has many times been called the lungs of the earth, because the region produces about 20% of the oxygen in the planet’s atmosphere.
#ICantSleepBecause The Amazon has been burning for 3 weeks, and I’m just now finding out because of the lack of media coverage. THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ECOSYSTEMS ON EARTH. SPREAD AWARENESS #PrayforAmazonia . Let's save it. Retweet to spread the information. pic.twitter.com/N5MhWz5DDp
— Dominic Onderi Nyabuto (@HonDommy) August 20, 2019
Photos and videos released by the international media show the grim scene on the ground in the Amazon, with huge clouds of smoke rising up from the burning treeline.
Witnesses have reported that the smoke has already traveled all the way to Sao Paolo, which is more than 1,700 miles away. Residents of the city are facing pitch-black skies in the middle of the afternoon, and they aren’t even anywhere near the fire.
The Amazon rainforest has been on fire for weeks, and it's so bad it's literally blotting out the sun miles away https://t.co/oDjcECJVgp
— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) August 20, 2019
According to the INPE, more than one and a half soccer fields of Amazon rainforest are being destroyed every single minute of every single day.
This is the Brazilian environmental policy under president Bolsonaro. He doesn't care about life. The Amazon Rainforest's burning for about 3 weeks and nothing's been done. @BadAstronomer @azmoderate #PrayforAmazonia #PrayforRondonia pic.twitter.com/haIrQzFdk9
— olhaoalho (@olhaoalho) August 20, 2019
The state of the Amazon has been a contentious issue in Brazilian politics, especially since the recent election of the far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro.
Bolsonaro has been especially hostile towards native tribes who have a claim to land in the Amazon, and he also seems to have a close and comfortable relationship with the corporations who are looking to exploit the Amazon for personal profit. Bolsonaro actually ran on the campaign platform of using the resources of the Amazon to restore the country’s economy.
Since coming into office, Bolsonaro has significantly cut funding for the rainforest, while simultaneously rolling back regulations that protected the region from miners and loggers. The budget for Brazil’s environmental enforcement agency was cut by $23 million on Bolsonaro’s orders and their operations have been scaled back to the point of ineffectiveness shortly after the new president was sworn into office.
Earlier this year, the environmentalist group Greenpeace said that Bolsonaro and his government were a threat to the environment and warned that these policies would ultimately backfire, and would result in a “heavy cost” for the economy of Brazil.
Many experts and organizations like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are concerned that the Amazon could soon be reaching a tipping point, in which the region will turn into a dry savannah and be unable to recover, according to CNN. If this happens, it could have disastrous results for the ecosystem.
Nancy Pelosi Reelected As House Speaker In Narrow Vote
Nancy Pelosi won another term as Speaker of the House of Representatives on Sunday, after a narrow vote.
80-year-old Pelosi will hold the position for a second consecutive two-year term and fourth overall, having previously been elected in 2007, 2009 and 2019.
Pelosi has served as a US representative from California since 1987. A member of the Democratic Party, she is the only woman in U.S. history to serve as Speaker and, until the inauguration of Kamala Harris as Vice President, is the highest-ranking female elected official in United States history.
— Kaivan Shroff (@KaivanShroff) January 3, 2021
As House speaker, Pelosi is second in the presidential line of succession, after the vice president.
During her first speakership, she was instrumental in the passage of many of the Obama administration’s landmark bills, including the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the 2010 Tax Relief Act.
BREAKING: The floor of the House of Representatives erupts in applause as Rep. Nancy Pelosi is reelected as speaker of the House for the 117th congress, with 216 votes. https://t.co/z1mlyK1BJN pic.twitter.com/6Wdt3N9ulD
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) January 3, 2021
Pelosi lost the speakership in 2011 after the Republican Party won a majority in the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections.
She retained her role as leader of the House Democratic Caucus and returned to the role of House minority leader. In the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats regained control of the House.
When the 116th Congress convened on January 3, 2019, Pelosi was again elected speaker, becoming the first former speaker to return to the post since Sam Rayburn in 1955.
Under Pelosi’s leadership, the House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump on December 18, 2019.
Despite supporting the $2000 checks for struggling Americans, Pelosi, along with everyone in congress have provoked anger from citizens who see them as being out of touch with the average people.
The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) estimated in 2009 that Pelosi’s average net worth was $58 million which ranks her 13th among 25 wealthiest members of Congress.
Roll Call said Pelosi’s earnings are connected to her husband’s heavy investments in stocks that include Apple, Disney, Comcast, and Facebook. Roll Call reported that the Pelosis have $13.46 million in liabilities including mortgages on seven properties.
According to Roll Call, Pelosi and her husband hold properties “worth at least $14.65 million, including a St. Helena vineyard in Napa Valley worth at least $5 million, and commercial real estate in San Francisco”.
FAA Responds To Numerous Reports Of A UFO Over Hawaii
The FAA was notified after multiple people reported seeing an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) in the sky over Leeward Oahu on Tuesday evening. Witnesses all over the region called into 911 at around 8:30 p.m.
Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration said that there were no aircraft incidents or accidents in this area at the time of the reports, but multiple witnesses reported seeing a large blue object fall out of the sky and into the ocean.
Some of the witnesses managed to get video or photos of the incident.
Witness Misitina Sape told Hawaii News Now she captured a photo of the object at 8:26 p.m. near Haleakala Avenue in Nanakuli.
Another witness named Moriah said she had never been a believer in UFOs until she saw the object fall from the sky.
“I started calling my husband and them because they were all in the garage. I was like hey. Come look up there. See if you see what I see. They all said yea!” Moriah said.
They jumped in the car to follow the object and see what it was.
“I don’t know what it was,” she said. “This one was going so fast.”
About three miles down the road, they saw the object fall into the water.
She said that it was larger than a telephone pole but didn’t make any sound when it hit the ground.
“We called 911,” Moriah said, “For have like one cop or somebody for come out and come check em out.”
She also says that they saw another light in the sky after the blue object fell into the water. She says that police saw the second light as well.
“My husband went look up and he seen the white one coming,” she said. “The white one was smaller. Was coming in the same direction as the blue one.”
FAA spokesperson Ian Gregor said the agency received a report from police Tuesday night about a possible plane down in the area “but had no aircraft disappear off radars. And no reports of overdue or missing aircraft.”
Earlier this year, the Pentagon announced the formation of a new task force that will be studying UFOs or “Unidentified Flying Objects.”
The formation of this new task force was revealed last year when the Pentagon acknowledged that military pilots were encountering aircraft that might not have been made by humans.
The new task force was officially revealed to the public after the Pentagon released declassified videos that appeared to show government aircraft interacting with UFOs in the sky.
One of the videos, taken from US Navy aircraft, seems to show the pilots chasing a UFO off the east coast of the United States.
Navy pilots reported spotting the objects flying around 30,000 feet in the air at hypersonic speeds and showing no visible engines or exhaust plumes typical of any known aircraft currently on Earth.
The new agency has been called, The Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF).
Mitch McConnell’s House Vandalized Over $2,000 Checks
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had his home vandalized this week, after blocking the vote to increase stimulus payments to $2,000.
Messages like ‘WERES MY MONEY’ and ‘MITCH K1LLS THE POOR.’ were spray-painted on the building.
Police said that they don’t have any suspects.
On Saturday, McConnell released a statement to the Louisville Courier Journal which read: “Vandalism and the politics of fear have no place in our society. My wife and I have never been intimidated by this toxic playbook. We just hope our neighbors in Louisville aren’t too inconvenienced by this radical tantrum.”
In 2015, Time listed McConnell as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. McConnell is the longest-serving U.S. senator for Kentucky in history, and the longest-serving leader of U.S. Senate Republicans in history.
During the Trump administration, Senate Republicans, under McConnell’s leadership, broke records on the number of judicial nominees confirmed. Among those nominees were Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh who were recently confirmed to the Supreme Court.
McConnell’s critics have called him by a variety of different nicknames, including “Moscow Mitch”, “Cocaine Mitch”, the “Grim Reaper”, “Darth Vader”, “Rich Mitch”, “Nuclear Mitch”, and “Midnight Mitch.” On some occasions, he has even embraced these nicknames, although he was apparently unhappy with the more recent “Moscow Mitch.”
McConnell has a net worth of $35 million dollars, and many Americans feel that he is out of touch. He isn’t the only US politician that was a target for vandalism this week.
According to a report from TMZ this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had her house vandalized with a pig’s head and fake blood.
Spray painted in black on the white garage door were the messages “$2K,” an apparent reference to the $2,000 COVID stimulus checks that have been held up in the U.S. Senate, as well as “CANCEL RENT!” and “WE WANT EVERYTHING!”
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