(TMU) — Brazil’s largest city was plunged into darkness earlier this week in the middle of the afternoon thanks to the massive fires that continue to wreak devastation on the Amazon rainforest as the country struggles with a record number of fires.
São Paulo’s skies were blackened for roughly an hour at around 3 p.m. Monday due to raging fires throughout the region and weather conditions that pushed particulate matter over the city, setting off intense speculation on social networks about the reason why the day was seemingly transformed into night.
Videos and images posted by local residents depicted disturbing scenes of pedestrians walking under black skies and cars driving in the mid-afternoon with their headlights on as the continued fires throughout the Amazon rainforest drove the hashtags #PrayforAmazonia and #PrayforAmazonas to worldwide viral status.
Local newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported that some meteorologists say that strong winds from the east of the city brought the thick plumes of smoke from nearly 2,000 miles away which, combined with cold and humid coastal conditions, blackened the skies.
By Wednesday, the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization released data showing that the smoke had drifted thousands of miles from the northwest of the Brazilian Amazon across the country over Rio de Janeiro to the country’s Atlantic coast.
A record-setting wave of forest fires have swept across the Amazon throughout the year, authorities confirmed on Tuesday, heightening global concerns about the fast-degrading state of the “lungs of the world.”
A beautiful picture of São Paulo Nightlife.
No. It isn’t.
This is São Paulo at 3pm!
Smoke from the Amazon fire blocked out the sun.
The planets lung has been burning for 3 weeks and I found out today.
— chiminssi⁷ ⟭⟬ (@ch1minssi) August 20, 2019
This year there have already been 72,843 fires in the Amazon, marking an increase of 83 percent over the same period in 2018—the highest number since records began in 2013, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE).
The agency said that since last Thursday, about 9,500 forest fires have erupted in the region.
Fire is typically employed by loggers, farmers and miners as a technique to clear land for agricultural use, especially during the current dry season in the region. The scope of the fires shows that they are a result of human activities according to the INPE.
People are deliberately starting fires in the #AmazonRainforest to illegally deforest indigenous land for cattle ranching
“These assholes came in and burned down [our reservation]… I want all of the media here to see this” pic.twitter.com/uGFp7RItHK
— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@sunrisemvmt) August 21, 2019
Alberto Setzer from INPE told Reuters:
“There is nothing abnormal about the climate this year or the rainfall in the Amazon region, which is just a little below average … The dry season creates the favorable conditions for the use and spread of fire, but starting a fire is the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident.”
The Amazon rainforest has been resistant to fire throughout its history due to its natural moisture and humidity, but according to NASA it has become susceptible to fires due to drought and human activity – primarily logging and “slash and burn” agriculture.
In a statement last Tuesday that accompanied satellite photos of the Brazil fires, the U.S. space agency said:
“Wildfires there today are caused by a combination of droughts and human activity; the intensity and frequency of droughts in turn, have been linked with increases in regional deforestation and anthropogenic [human-caused] climate change.”
Civil society groups and conservationists have blasted radically far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, whose cabinet has encouraged the illegal deforestation of the Amazon with his hostile attitude toward the environment and genocidal rhetoric toward indigenous groups whose ancestral land lies in the rainforests.
Bolsonaro and his officials regularly blame environmental laws, activist groups, non-governmental organizations and indigenous peoples for allegedly hindering Brazil’s economic potential.
The president recently lashed out at world leaders regarding what he calls their “environmental psychosis” in relation to the Amazon.
Last month, Bolsonaro accused the INPE of fabricating “lies” about the skyrocketing deforestation rate in hopes of sabotaging the country’s trade talks before sacking the agency’s chief and replacing him with a handpicked official from the military.
Philip Fearnside, a professor at Brazil’s National Institute of Amazonian Research, explained to Newsweek:
“The explosion of deforestation can be attributed both to changes in government actions, such as essentially ending inspections for illegal deforestation and fining those who are caught, and from the rhetoric from President Bolsonaro and his ministers, especially the minister of environment.
This has created a climate of impunity under the assumption that there will be no consequences for ignoring environmental regulations.”
Bolsonaro’s clear lack of concern for the burning Amazon was underscored at a press conference when he joked, “I used to be called Captain Chainsaw. Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame. But it is the season of the queimada,” using the Portuguese term for the time of year when farmers clear the land with fire.
Man’s Hand Amputated After Alabama Cops Hold Him In “Unbearably Tight” Handcuffs for Hours
An Alabama man is suing the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office for excessive force and civil rights violations after a sheriff’s deputy handcuffed him too tightly for several hours, resulting in major injuries that ultimately led to the amputation of his left hand.
Giovanni Loyola, 26, was at his mother’s trailer in Pinson, Alabama, on Feb. 16, 2020, when three sheriff’s deputies arrived in response to reports of an alleged fight between two men wielding firearms.
According to the lawsuit, a “Deputy Godber” grabbed Loyola by the wrist and roughly detained him mere moments after Loyola answered the door.
At that point, the deputy then pulled Loyola down the stairs and “slammed” him against the car before throwing him to the ground and punching him in the face. The deputy proceeded to handcuff Loyola in a manner that as “unbearably tight.”
Loyola claims that complications from the incident led to the amputation of his hand 10 months later.
According to the deputy’s report, Loyola was allegedly intoxicated and fighting with family members before he fought the deputies and resisted arrest. Loyola, however, claims that he was merely watching television.
During the arrest, Loyola complained that he was feeling numb in his left hand but deputy Godber ignored his pleas.
“The handcuffs remained tightly on Plaintiff’s wrists until they were removed hours later at the jail,” the amended complaint read. “After Plaintiff got out of jail on February 28, 2020, his left wrist was still in tremendous pain.”
Following his release from jail, Loyola checked into a local hospital and was told that he had a severe blood flow issue requiring surgery. Upon admission at Ascension St. Vincent’s East hospital in Birmingham, his fingertips were grey and doctors had a “concern for necrosis.”
Following multiple hospital visits and four surgeries over the course of 10 months, he eventually had the left hand amputated.
“Deputy Godber handcuffed Plaintiff’s wrists so tightly that Plaintiff immediately lost sensation in one hand, and Deputy Godber refused to loosen the handcuffs even after Plaintiff told him that they were too tight and were causing him pain,” Loyola’s attorneys argued. “These actions and inactions constituted unreasonable and excessive force.”
The lawsuit also alleges that deputies unlawfully searched his home without a warrant. Loyola is now suing for compensatory damages related to the physical and mental toll of the ordeal, his loss of income due to an inability to work, as well as medical costs, legal fees, and punitive damages.
‘Horrible History’: Mass Grave for 215 Indigenous Children Found at Canada Boarding School
Indigenous people are in shock and Canadians are reeling after a grim discovery cast a harsh light on the North American country’s bloody history of native genocide.
On Thursday, the chief of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Indigenous community confirmed that it had found the remains of 215 children buried in a mass grave at a state-run boarding school, including some as young as three.
The discovery of the mass grave at the Kamloops Indian Residential School offers a sobering confirmation of why such a large number of Indigenous children seized from their homes by Canadian authorities never made it back home – validating some of the worst fears of Tk’emlúps community members as to why their lost loved ones seemingly disappeared.
“It’s a harsh reality and it’s our truth, it’s our history,” said Chief Rosanne Casimir said at a news conference, reports New York Times. “And it’s something that we’ve always had to fight to prove. To me, it’s always been a horrible, horrible history.”
Chief Casimir said that there was always “a knowing” about the disturbing history at boarding schools like the Kamloops Indian Residential School and that proof finally came this past weekend thanks to ground-penetrating radar technology.
The school operated from 1890 to the late 1970s, with enrollment peaking at around 500 during the 1950s. Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has confirmed that large amounts of Indigenous children fled the schools or died there, their whereabouts unknown. Former students have testified to the horrific sexual, mental and physical abuse they suffered while enrolled at the schols.
The Tk’emlúps Heritage Park where the school was located has now been closed as crews scour the area for more possible remains.
Children as young as three were students at the school, which was once the largest in Canada’s boarding schools for First Nations children.
It is believed that the deaths were swept under the rug and never documented, although Indigenous scholars are working with the Royal British Columbia Museum to find any possible records that may exist.
Chief Casimir has vowed that the Tk’emlups community would take full responsibility to do justice to the hundreds of “lost children” and their families.
“We sought out a way to confirm that knowing out of deepest respect and love for those lost children and their families, understanding that Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is the final resting place of these children,” Chief Casimir said in a statement.
Work to identify the site began in the early 2000s and was led by Indigenous authorities in tandem with ceremonial Knowledge Keepers to ensure that cultural protocols were respected. State-of-the-art radar technology used to identify potential mass graves led to the recent breakthrough.
“With access to the latest technology, the true accounting of the missing students will hopefully bring some peace and closure to those lives lost and their home communities,” Casimir noted.
“At this time we have more questions than answers,” Casimir added.
CA Prison Guards Caught Lying About Brutal Torture and Beheading by Satanist Inmate
Some California prison guards are in hot water after they were found to have lied in their reports after a Satan-worshipping inmate brutally slaughtered his cellmate, according to a state investigation.
On March 9, 2019, 31-year-old inmate Jaime Osuna decapitated his cellmate Luis Romero, 44, and then dissected him in what the Los Angeles Times has described as “one of the most heinous slayings inside the California prison system.” The grisly murder also raises fresh questions about why Romero was assigned to a cell with Osuna, a self-described satanist with a long history of attacking his cellmates.
Osuna had been serving a life sentence for the murder and torture of a woman in 2011, and had never been given a cellmate in the past. Decked out in face tattoos and known for his over-the-top Charles Manson-like antics, Osuna boasted of his love for torturing people and mocked his victim’s family in court.
Romero, an inmate who had spent 27 years in prison for a second-degree murder he was convicted for as a teenager, was assigned to the same cell as Osuna just before he was going to be eligible for parole.
Using a homemade knife, Osuna cut out one of Romero’s eyes, chopped off his finger, removed a portion of his ribs and sliced off a part of a lung before eventually decapitating him. He then manipulated the corpse into a pose and cut the sides of his mouth to resemble a smile. He allegedly used sheets to cover the bars of the cell.
When guards finally discovered the scene, Osuna was wearing a necklace he made from Romero’s body parts.
However, guards reported on the prior night that both men had been alive. The cell was never checked throughout the night, according to a state probe, while two officers falsely reported that Romero was alive at the time when he was being brutally murdered. Two other officers also failed to properly count inmates on the night of the horrific slaying.
The state report adds that the prison’s internal affairs process was shoddy, while officers who lied and witnesses were never interviewed.
Osuna has since been transferred to the psychiatric inpatient program at Salinas Valley State Prison. He has been diagnosed with unspecified schizophrenia spectrum, antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder and has been ruled not competent to stand trial for the brutal murder of Romero.
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