By Chris Arsenault ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Mines, palm oil plantations, large farms and mining projects are contributing to an alarming pace of forest destruction, a new report has found, hampering efforts to curb global warming. Satellite imagery indicates that more than 30,000 hectares of forest are lost daily, said the report "Securing Forests, Securing Rights", launched in Peru on Monday by a coalition of rights groups during international climate change talks. Forests play a key role in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; chopping them down worsens global warming. Over the last decade an average total of 13 million hectares of forest have been cleared annually, with tropical forests particularly affected. "The expansion of industries like mining, palm oil and agribusiness are the hidden drivers of deforestation," Helen Tugendhat, a coordinator with the Forest Peoples Programme, one of the groups who researched the report, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. The report aims to show that indigenous communities who live in the world's forests are often the best custodians of the land for maintaining trees and slowing climate change. But governments looking to spur economic growth are keen to exploit resources from forested areas, Tugendhat said, often triggering the displacement of indigenous communities. To allow major projects to proceed, these same states often blame local communities for poorly managing forests in order to access the land and the riches beneath it, she said. Forests cover 30 percent of the planet's surface and are home to an estimated 350 million indigenous people whose cultures and livelihoods depend upon them. The report urged companies, governments and consumers to halt the production and trade of commodities derived from deforestation and included case studies from Indonesia, Malaysia, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. More than 10 percent of Malaysia's forests were lost from 2000 to 2012, the world's highest national rate, the report said. The figure is three times higher than that the Malaysian government reported to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation, according to the report. The European Union and China are the main importers of timber from the Democratic Republic of Congo, even though much of this wood is obtained illegally. "Commercial operations on (DRC) forest lands involve land grabbing and the eviction, forced labor, arbitrary arrest, rape, torture and murder of community members," the report said. Some countries, however, including Brazil, have achieved notable reductions in rates of deforestation. (Reporting By Chris Arsenault; Editing by Ros Russell)
- Yahoo News
Biden’s use of masks in the West Wing is one of many ways he and his team say they plan to establish strict protocols in an effort to keep the White House safe and set an example for the rest of the country.
- The Independent
Rioters who entered Capitol building may not be charged if they didn’t engage in violence, report says
Federal officials do not want to crush court system with hundreds of cases
- Associated Press
Iran's capital and major cities plunged into darkness in recent weeks as rolling outages left millions without electricity for hours. With toxic smog blanketing Tehran skies and the country buckling under the pandemic and other mounting crises, social media has been rife with speculation. Within days, as frustration spread among residents, the government launched a wide-ranging crackdown on Bitcoin processing centers, which require immense amounts of electricity to power their specialized computers and to keep them cool — a burden on Iran's power grid.
The United States plans to reverse the Trump administration's "draconian" immigration approach while working on policies addressing the causes of migration, President Joe Biden told his Mexican counterpart, the White House said on Saturday. In a Friday call with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Biden outlined his plan to create new legal pathways for immigration and improve the process for people requesting asylum, according to an account of the call released by the White House.
- The Telegraph
Exclusive: Notorious Albanian gangster smuggles mobile phone into British prison cell to post birthday wishes to family
An Albanian gangster jailed for 27-years for smuggling huge quantities of heroin and cocaine into Britain has been making a mockery of justice by running a social media account from his prison cell. Posing with fellow gang members, Valjet Pepaj, has even used Instagram to flirt with women on the outside, boasting that he expects to be free in four years. The 31-year-old was given a lengthy sentence in April 2018 after admitting three counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. He was jailed alongside two other men following a six month undercover police operation which resulted in the seizure of 50 kilograms of heroin and cocaine, worth in excess of £2 million.
- Associated Press
The words of Donald Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the deadly U.S. Capitol riot may end up being used against him in his Senate impeachment trial as he faces the charge of inciting a violent insurrection. At least five supporters facing federal charges have suggested they were taking orders from the then-president when they marched on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 to challenge the certification of Joe Biden's election win. Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man photographed on the dais in the Senate who was shirtless and wore face paint and a furry hat with horns, has similarly pointed a finger at Trump.
- The Independent
Sean Hannity denounces Biden’s first week as ‘disastrous’ before the president completed a full day of work
‘The Biden administration is off to a very rocky start,’ Fox News host says
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that Pfizer had reassured him it would meet Canada's vaccine order in full by end-March as, with a second COVID wave spreading across the country, he hinted at a clampdown on citizens leaving home. Pfizer, which is retooling a European manufacturing plant, told Canada on Tuesday it would receive no vaccine next week, promising more pain for provinces already complaining about a shortage of supplies. Pfizer also said it would cut supplies to the European Union.
- NBC News
Attorneys for Rittenhouse did not object to the changes. Rittenhouse is accused of killing two amid protests last year.
- Associated Press
Syrian state media said Israeli warplanes fired several missiles toward central Syria early on Friday, killing a family of four — including two children — and wounding four other people. There was no immediate comment from Israel on the claim. Separately, the Israeli military said it downed a drone that had crossed into Israel from Lebanon.
- Yahoo News Video
During a White House briefing on Friday, press secretary Jen Psaki announced the Biden administration’s plans to fight violent extremism in the U.S.
- Yahoo News
These are the issues the Biden administration will be dealing with on the foreign policy front.
- The Independent
Infowars founder claimed shooting was 'a giant hoax’ and that grieving parents were actors
- NBC News
Biden's acting attorney general signed off on reassigning prosecutor who objected to family separations
The incident would have made Wilkinson aware families were being separated long before the Texas pilot program for zero tolerance was known to the public.
- Associated Press
Someone in Michigan bought the winning ticket for the $1.05 billion Mega Millions jackpot, which is the third-largest lottery prize in U.S. history. The winning numbers for Friday night’s drawing were 4, 26, 42, 50 and 60, with a Mega Ball of 24. The winning ticket was purchased at a Kroger store in the Detroit suburb of Novi, the Michigan Lottery said.
- The Week
President Biden reeled in a record-breaking $145 million in so-called dark money from anonymous donors during his presidential campaign, topping the $113 million that went to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) before his failed presidential bid in 2012, Bloomberg reports.It's not surprising that Biden set the mark given that the $1.5 billion he hauled in overall was the most ever for a challenger to an incumbent president, but it's notable in large part because Democrats have been at the forefront of a movement to ban dark money in politics since it means that supporters can back a candidate without scrutiny. Plus, Bloomberg notes, anonymous donors "will have the same access to decision makers as those whose names were disclosed, but without public awareness of who they are or what influence they might wield." As Meredith McGehee, the executive director of campaign finance reform advocacy group Issue One, told Bloomberg, "the whole point of dark money is to avoid public disclosure while getting private credit."Still, it seems the Democratic Party was willing to embrace the strategy in the hopes of defeating former President Donald Trump, who only brought in $28.4 million from anonymous donors. Read more at Bloomberg.More stories from theweek.com 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency 'No way' McConnell has had a post-Trump 'epiphany,' political scientist says
- Architectural Digest
“The materials and colors took center stage,” said David Lucas when it came to the design of the home.Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- National Review
Tulsi Gabbard, the former Democratic representative from Hawaii, on Friday expressed concern that a proposed measure to combat domestic terrorism could be used to undermine civil liberties. Gabbard’s comments came during an appearance on Fox News Primetime when host Brian Kilmeade asked her if she was “surprised they’re pushing forward with this extra surveillance on would-be domestic terror.” “It’s so dangerous as you guys have been talking about, this is an issue that all Democrats, Republicans, independents, Libertarians should be extremely concerned about, especially because we don’t have to guess about where this goes or how this ends,” Gabbard said. She continued: “When you have people like former CIA Director John Brennan openly talking about how he’s spoken with or heard from appointees and nominees in the Biden administration who are already starting to look across our country for these types of movements similar to the insurgencies they’ve seen overseas, that in his words, he says make up this unholy alliance of religious extremists, racists, bigots, he lists a few others and at the end, even libertarians.” She said her concern lies in how officials will define the characteristics they are searching for in potential threats. “What characteristics are we looking for as we are building this profile of a potential extremist, what are we talking about? Religious extremists, are we talking about Christians, evangelical Christians, what is a religious extremist? Is it somebody who is pro-life? Where do you take this?” Gabbard said. She said the proposed legislation could create “a very dangerous undermining of our civil liberties, our freedoms in our Constitution, and a targeting of almost half of the country.” “You start looking at obviously, have to be a white person, obviously likely male, libertarians, anyone who loves freedom, liberty, maybe has an American flag outside their house, or people who, you know, attended a Trump rally,” Gabbard said. The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2021 was introduced in the House earlier this week in the aftermath of rioting at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month that left five dead. “Unlike after 9/11, the threat that reared its ugly head on January 6th is from domestic terror groups and extremists, often racially-motivated violent individuals,” Representative Brad Schneider (D., Ill.) said in a statement announcing the bipartisan legislation. “America must be vigilant to combat those radicalized to violence, and the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act gives our government the tools to identify, monitor and thwart their illegal activities. Combatting the threat of domestic terrorism and white supremacy is not a Democratic or Republican issue, not left versus right or urban versus rural. Domestic Terrorism is an American issue, a serious threat the we can and must address together,” he said.
Severe allergic reactions to Moderna Inc's coronavirus vaccine appear to be quite rare, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Friday, after over 4 million people had received their first dose. Based on the data, the CDC said anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction, occurred at a rate of 2.5 cases per 1 million shots administered. The agency cautioned that the risk of anaphylaxis was difficult to compare to non–COVID-19 vaccines because it is still so early in the vaccination program.
- Associated Press
Brazil's government on Friday received 2 million doses of coronavirus vaccine from India, but experts warned the shipment will do little to shore up an insufficient supply in South America’s biggest nation. Brazil’s Health Ministry announced that the vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, landed in Sao Paulo before being flown to Rio de Janeiro, where Brazil’s state-run Fiocruz Institute is based.