5 COVID-19 myths politicians have repeated that just aren’t true ; The Conversation

The purveyors of these myths, including politicians who have been soft peddling the impact of the coronavirus, aren’t doing the country any favors.

Source: 5 COVID-19 myths politicians have repeated that just aren’t true : The Conversation

Only 8 People in This Indigenous Tribe Still Speak Their Native Language. The Amazon Fires May Wipe It Out Completely. – VICE

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Brazil’s indigenous Manoki have been watching fires tear through their ancestral land for weeks, fearing the devastating damage to their forests may mean the end of their cultural heritage as well.

“The fires did irreversible damage to the places we hunt and collect medicine. Huge trees that took centuries to grow have been cut and burned,” tribe member Giovani Tapura, 38, told VICE News from the Amazon’s smaller Irantxe Indigenous Territory, where the Manoki live.

But just as much as their hunting grounds, Tapura and other Manoki fear the loss of their language. It was already on the cusp of extinction, between population loss from Portuguese massacres and disease, and missionaries forbidding Manoki to speak their language. Of the 400 remaining Manoki left in Brazil, only eight speak the tribe’s native language, also called Manoki, according to Tapura.

Holding onto their land is not just essential for their own survival — forests managed by indigenous groups like the Manoki sequester significant amounts of carbon, and indigenous people conserve an estimated 80% of the world’s biodiversity.

Read more: Bolsonaro is spreading conspiracy theories about the fires.

They are far from alone with this problem: There are nearly 1 million indigenous Brazilians living in the Amazon, speaking roughly 200 languages, and almost half are endangered. The Amazon fires encroaching on many of their territories are heightening fears that if indigenous groups are driven out of the Amazon and forced into cities, their languages will go extinct.

Indigenous groups say government policies — and lack thereof — have set them up for failure. “There are no government incentives to help revive our language, and the policies for indigenous people the government is suggesting will decimate our culture — the most valuable thing we have,” said Tapura.

Brazil’s current President Jair Bolsonaro has stated that indigenous peoples should be assimilated into Brazilian society by opening up their lands to large-scale agriculture and mining — a move that would be unconstitutional. But experts believe that many of the fires set this year – and the rapid deforestation that preceded them – are strongly linked to land-grabbing and criminal networks. Amid an international outcry over thousands of fires raging in the Amazon rainforest, Bolsonaro, during a meeting of state governors, criticized indigenous territories and suggested he would soon draft measures preventing more indigenous territories from having the formal borders drawn that would give tribes more land rights.

Any threats to their land are a risk to the long-term existence of the Manoki as a cohesive community, said Bernat Bardagil Mas, a postdoctoral fellow specializing in Amazonian indigenous languages at the University of California, Berkeley. He added that their territory is “where the language revitalization efforts could be successful, where maintaining their traditions, their spiritual life, and their identity as Manoki is possible.”

“The fires did irreversible damage to the places we hunt and collect medicine.”

Without access to the Amazon rainforest, the community, surrounded on almost all sides by the steadily encroaching agricultural frontier in the southwestern edge of Mato Grosso state “would shift to a more and more urban type of life, moving progressively to the neighbouring cities of Brasnorte and Campo Novo do Parecís to find jobs and make living possible.” This would almost certainly drive their language to extinction.

Angel Corbera Mori, a linguist at the Institute of Language Studies at the University of Campinas, explained in an interview with Telesur that language itself is critical to the preservation of culture as a whole. “If a language is lost, so is the medicine, culinary, histories, traditional knowledge.”

The Manoki currently live on a much smaller territory than they did historically. The smaller Irantxe Indigenous Territory is adjacent to the larger Manoki Indigenous Territory in Mato Grosso, the state with the largest amount of fire alerts. The tribe has been awaiting official recognition of their land for nine years. It remains stalled because of appeals by squatters who illegally purchased land in indigenous territory. The Manoki and other tribes fear that outsiders are now emboldened by Bolsonaro’s pro-development and anti-indigenous rhetoric to invade their territory.

The environmental impact of the fires has been catastrophic, torching at least 130,000 acres of the rainforest — the equivalent to 72,000 soccer fields. The Amazon in its natural, humid state is essentially fireproof, but deforestation prepped it for the fires that some experts have suggested were in almost entirely all started by humans. Despite a ban issued by Bolsonaro against intentional burning at the end of August, the fires are still burning, and will likely continue through the dry season. Mato Grosso is currently the state with the highest number of fires detected by satellites.


Source: Only 8 People in This Indigenous Tribe Still Speak Their Native Language. The Amazon Fires May Wipe It Out Completely. – VICE

Nationalist strongmen are bent on controlling women’s bodies | Afua Hirsch | Opinion | The Guardian

When Brazil, where I am writing from this week, became worried that almost two-thirds of its population was black or mixed race, radical steps were taken. Never mind that the blackness of its population was thanks to its own dependence on African slavery: in the first part of the 20th century, Brazil actively recruitedEuropean migrants with the explicit aim of whitening itself, or keeping, in the words of a presidential decree of 1945, “the most convenient features of its European ancestry”.

The resulting class and race inequalities in the South American country are part of a complex mix that has resulted in Brazil’s own variation on the populist theme. Now, under the Trump of the tropics, as Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is sometimes described, reproductive fascism is back, and focused – so far – on controlling women’s bodies.

One of Bolsonaro’s early acts in office was to replace the government department for human rights with a department for “family values”, and with a rightwing evangelical preacher at the helm. Damares Alves may have said she would help low-income women, but she is also anti-abortion, and is so comfortable with post-truth leadership that she has claimed the Dutch are taught to masturbate from the age of seven months.

In her wisdom, Alves has in turn appointed another woman to run public policy for motherhood. For this she chose Sara Winter, formerly a member of the feminist group Femen but now someone who credits Christianity with “curing” her feminism.

Populist strongmen love a good female antifeminist. Donald Trump recently appointed Rebecca Kleefisch – a conservative former TV anchor who says women should be subservient to their husbands – as the new head of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. Such appointments must be great fun for populist misogynist men – you get to kill two birds with one stone. First you weaponise anti-women’s rights women against other women, thereby infuriating feminists – who hate you anyway – while simultaneously reducing initiatives that were designed to promote gender equality to a laughing stock, which serves your interests quite nicely.

But when anti-women policies are masquerading as those intended to help women, things get more complicated. Take Poland’s Family 500+ measure, for example, a policy introduced by the ruling Law and Justice party that gives families 500 złotys (£100) a month for each second and subsequent child. As someone who cares equally about the suffering of low-income mothers and child poverty, I’m all for helping families with children. But the idea that assistance for those in poverty is conditional on obedient reproduction is verging on the dystopian.


Source: Nationalist strongmen are bent on controlling women’s bodies | Afua Hirsch | Opinion | The Guardian

Potential Conflicts Around the Globe for Trump, the Businessman President – The New York Times

In many of the president-elect’s international development ventures, his business partners have close ties to foreign governments.

Source: Potential Conflicts Around the Globe for Trump, the Businessman President – The New York Times

Team GB’s 100m hero Jonnie Peacock blasts Rio over its ‘joke’ Paralympics | Daily Mail Online

British sprint golden boy Jonnie Peacock yesterday delivered a furious criticism of ‘ridiculous’ transport arrangements for Paralympic athletes in the Rio traffic gridlock.

Source: Team GB’s 100m hero Jonnie Peacock blasts Rio over its ‘joke’ Paralympics | Daily Mail Online

Team GB Fencer Laurence Halsted: Olympic Athletes Must Exercise Their Right to Speak Beyond Their Sport

A difficult stance for any athlete for they live for their sport and the span in which they can compete is short and many will need sponsors to enable them to complete.

But when they have other convictions how can thse mix into their sport and the sponsors of sport.

Unfortunately this is left to the indivdual sports person, until, if they ever do, the sports organisers take this on board.

Stop Making Sense

Team GB fencer Laurence Halsted writes for The Guardian:

As a Team GB fencer in my hometown Games at London 2012 and part of the squad for Rio this summer, I have spent my whole life working towards the Olympics. But I feel torn looking at the protests in Brazil as I prepare for Rio.

It would be irresponsible not to take notice of the outcry in Rio around hosting the Olympics while the health and social wellbeing of everyday cariocas suffer. If I were Brazilian I would be on the streets too. As an athlete proud to represent my country at the Games, I have been forced to grapple with the fact that the Olympics come with negative side effects for the host nation. Silence in the face of such injustice could be wrongly interpreted as implicit approval.

Controversy has stalked the hosting of recent Games. Just look at the vast…

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How Starbucks Gets Away With Charging a Fortune for Cheap Beans

Original post from Bloomberg


1. Lock in low coffee costs. 2. Raise prices.

Millions of groggy people this morning grubbed up an additional 5¢ to 20¢ for their Starbucks fix. No biggie. Most probably swiped or scanned and didn’t even notice it.

But for Starbucks, those nickels and dimes add up–especially since it is paying less for the beans while ringing up higher-priced lattes.

The cost of coffee on commodity markets–the green, unroasted beans, or “berries,” that are stripped off the branch–has been swooning, thanks primarily to a lot of rain and high temperatures in Brazil.

graph2 -1x-1

So, cheaper beans for them, higher prices for you–a simple and strong mix, with financial markets swirled just so and a light dash of marketing.

The Arabica empire said it hadn’t tinkered with prices on many of its drinks for about two years. It has “to balance the need to run our business profitably while continuing to provide value to loyal customers and to attract new customers,” spokeswoman Lisa Passe said in a statement. Translation: Sometimes we realize you’ll pay more.

Seeing the big dip in coffee bean prices this spring, Starbucks went ahead and locked in all the beans it will need for the rest of the year and about two-thirds of the beans it will need next year. “We expected coffee prices to come down, just given what we saw in the market,” Chief Financial Officer Scott Maw said during a conference call in late April. “We waited, we were patient, and when they came into our target range, we filled up our needs for the year.”

Hedging goes the other way, too: The recent dip in coffee prices meant that Starbucks was forced to buy some of the beans it brewed this spring at above-market rates because it had locked the price in months earlier, when it was higher.

Still, if the market pans out as Starbucks expects, coffee prices will tick up next year and the company will still be paying this year’s low rates. Meanwhile, it will keep plinking that extra 5¢ to 20¢ per cup into the profit sack (and the bonus pool for that savvy hedging team).

In short, Starbucks is raising prices for one very simple reason: because it can.  ……….’