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Brazil’s indigenous groups decry Bolsonaro’s escalating attacks | Brazil News

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Sao Paulo, Brazil – Brazilian indigenous groups say far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has ramped up land grabs, intimidation and even killings during his short time in office. 

On Wednesday, several indigenous organisations released a grim joint report to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, hosted in Bolivia.

The report, obtained by Al Jazeera, details a sharp uptick in attacks on indigenous people since Bolsonaro won the presidency in October 2018 elections. 

In less than three months, the report says, at least 16 attacks on indigenous communities in Brazil were documented. In addition to four homicides, the report recounts stonings, deforesting, threats and arson. 

Cosigning the document presented to the commission were the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB); the Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazi (APIB)l; Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of the North East, Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo (APOINME); and the Indian Law Resource Center (ILRC). 

According to the report, indigenous communities have seen healthcare centres set ablaze, been targeted by farmers with firebombs, and shot at with rubber bullets. Many were injured, and some were killed. 

“For 519 years indigenous people know what violence is,” said Angela Amanakwa Kaxuyana, coordinator at COIAB.

“The difference is that now these attacks are institutionalised, as in the president himself incites hatred,” she told Al Jazeera from Bolivia.

And as attacks ramp up, according to the indigenous groups, Bolsonaro has started dismantling many of the bodies responsible for protecting native land rights, paving the way for more land grabs. 

Prior to Bolsonaro’s ascent to government, the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), part of the Ministry of Justice, oversaw indigenous rights issues. 

But after Bolsonaro took office, he divided FUNAI’s responsibilities between the Ministry of Human Rights and the Ministry of Agriculture, which now controls land designations. 

‘Opening the door to enemies’

Bolsonaro’s picks to head both ministries sparked yet more controversy.

Bolsonaro chose Damares Alves to lead of the Human Right Ministry. Epoca magazine accused Alves of kidnapping her indigenous adopted child, an allegation Alves denies. 

Heading up the Ministry of Agriculture is Tereza Cristina, who has called for re-appropriating indigenous lands for commercial farming.

Cristina also presides over the the so-called rural bench, one of the most influential parliamentary groups and aligned with agricultural industry’s interests. 

“We considered the new minister might subordinate the rights to indigenous lands to the expansion necessities of the farming industry,” Wednesday’s report reads. 

COAIB coordinator Angela Amanakwa Kaxuyana added, “That’s like opening the door of indigenous lands to our enemies.” 

Al Jazeera’s efforts to obtain Brazilian officials’ response to the report’s allegations revealed how dismembered the new system is under Bolsonaro. 

The Ministry of Justice said the matter is now with the Ministry of Human Rights. The human rights ministry said the request should be filed to FUNAI, which was unavailable for comment.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture said it only deals “with new cases of land designation”, leaving it unclear who handles allegations of land grabs. 

“Unfortunately we are not seeing any action from the responsible authorities [regarding the attacks]”, said Cleber Buzzato, executive secretary at CIMI (Indigenous Missionary Council).

“We consider this change by the Brazilian government very negative, since the agriculture ministry has a history of acting in favor of the agribusiness’s interests,” Buzzato told Al Jazeera. 

“These are organisations with intense anti-indigenous action. In our view, giving responsibility of land designations to this structure means the government will violate the constitution.”

Brazil’s Prosecutor General Raquel Dodge said in a conference in January “there can be no backsliding on public policies toward the indigenous people”.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, also urged Bolsonaro to comply with international agreements signed by Brazil that guarantee protections for native groups.

‘Now it’s okay to kill’

Luiz Eloy Terena, a lawyer from APIB, said Bolsonaro’s ideas are like “saying it is now ok to kill [the indigenous]”.

Speaking to Al Jazeera by telephone from Bolivia, Terena insisted that the indigenous rights groups will “continue to bring the indigenous fight to the international stage”. 

While campaigning, Bolsonaro appealed to a large swath of farmers by promising “to not demarcate another centimetre of indigenous land” for protected status. 

But rights groups insist policies like these threaten the safety of indigenous people and could harm the country’s vast environmental wealth.

As of now, reservation lands untouched by farming constitute 12 percent of Brazilian territory. 

But of the 700 indigenous territories nationwide, at least a third are still waiting for official recognition and protection. With Bolsonaro in office, indigenous people and rights groups fear these lands are at even greater risk. 

Even before Bolsonaro took office, matters were worsening quickly. Between 2017 and 2018, deforestation increased by 124 percent and incursions by 62 percent, according to the CIMI group.

Meanwhile, indigenous communities endured a record-high 110 killings and 128 suicides. 

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Tiger-Cats claim victory against the Argos to maintain home record on Labour Day

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The Hamilton Tiger-Cats were at their devastating best against the Toronto Argonauts when the two locked horns on Labour Day at the Tim Hortons Field.

Just like with previous Labour Day fixtures, the Ticats produced a stellar performance with Dane Evans throwing two touchdown passes while Frankie Williams scored on a 67-yard punt return as they claimed a 32-19 victory on Monday. With this vital win, the Ticats extended their Labour Day home record to 7-0.

For players and fans of the Tiger-Cats, games on Labour Day are a lot more special and losing is something the Ticats aren’t used to.

“We know the fans are going to be behind us, we know Toronto is going to be chippy, we know it’s going to be sunny; we know it’s going to be windy. Everything that happened (Monday) we prepared for. There is something extremely special about Tim Hortons Field on Labour Day . . . you can feel it in the air, I can’t put it into words,” said Evans.

After the COVID-19 induced hiatus, the CFL is back in full action and fans can now bet on their favourite teams and just like with online slots Canada, real money can be won. Hamilton (2-2) recorded its second straight win to move into a tie atop the CFL East Division standings with Montreal Alouettes (2-2). Also, the Ticats lead the overall Labour Day series with Toronto 36-13-1.

In the sun-drenched gathering of 15,000—the maximum allowed under Ontario government COVID-19 protocols—the fans loved every minute of this feisty game. After all, this was the Ticats first home game in 659 days, since their 36-16 East Division final win over Edmonton in November 2019.

The contest between the Ticats and Argos was certainly not bereft of emotions, typical of a Labour Day fixture, as it ended with an on-field melee. But the Argos often found themselves on the wrong end of the decisions with several penalty calls and most of the game’s explosive plays.

Hamilton quarterback Evans completed 21-of-29 passing for 248 yards and the two touchdowns while Toronto’s make-shift quarterback Arbuckle completed 18-of-32 attempts for 207 yards. Arbuckle also made a touchdown and two interceptions before eventually being substituted by McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

Bethel-Thompson made an eight-yard TD pass to wide receiver Eric Rogers late in the final quarter of the game.

“They got after us a bit . . . we didn’t block, or pass protect well,” said Ryan Dinwiddie, rookie head coach of the Argos in a post-match interview. “They just kicked our butts; we’ve got to come back and be a better team next week.”

The Labour Day contest was the first of four fixtures this year between Toronto and Hamilton. The two teams would face off again on Friday at BMO Field. Afterwards, the Tim Hortons Field will play host to the Argonauts again on Oct. 11 with the regular-season finale scheduled for Nov. 12 in Toronto.

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Roughriders looking to bounce back after Labor Day defeat

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In what an unusual feeling for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, they would now need to dust themselves up after a 23-8 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in what was a Labor Day Classic showdown in front of a full capacity crowd at Mosaic stadium.

Craig Dickenson, head coach of the Riders, witnessed his team with an unbeaten record get utterly dominated by a more superior team from Winnipeg. Now, he has got a lot of work on his hands getting his team back to winning ways as they visit the Banjo Bowl next.

“We’re going to see what we’re made of now…the jury’s out,” said Dickenson.

Dan Clark, who played centre for the Riders expressed his disappointment in losing what was “the biggest game of the year”.

 “If you lose every other game, you don’t want to lose that one. We’ve just got to take the next step,” said Clark in a report. “There are 12 steps to the Grey Cup left and it’s just about taking that next step and focusing on what Saturday will bring.”

With their first defeat to Winnipeg, the Riders (3-1) now rank second place in the CFL’s West Division, trailing the Bombers by one victory (4-1). However, the Riders will have the chance to even the season series during their trip to Winnipeg this Saturday. With the CFL heating up, fans can now enjoy online sports betting Canada as they look forward to their team’s victory.

The Rider’s offensive line will once again have a busy time dealing with the Blue Bombers’ defence.

Quarterback Cody Fajardo, who played one of the best games of his career two weeks earlier, had quite a stinker against the Bombers in the Labour Day Classic—which is the most anticipated game for Rider fans.

Fajardo had a 59 per cent completion percentage which wasn’t quite indicative of what the actual figure was considering he was at 50 per cent before going on a late drive in the final quarter with the Bombers already becoming laid back just to protect the win.

Fajardo also registered a personal worst when he threw three interceptions, but in all fairness, he was always swarmed by the Bomber’s defence.

While Fajardo has claimed responsibility for the loss and letting his teammates down, many would be curious to see how the team fares in their next game and with less than a week of preparation.

Dickenson is confident that his team would improve during their rematch in the 17th edition of the Banjo Bowl in Winnipeg. The only challenge now would be the loss of home advantage and dealing with the noisy home crowd, he added.

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Canadian report reveals spike in food-related litter during pandemic

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TORONTO — Restaurants’ inability to offer their usual dine-in service during much of 2020 may explain why an unusually high amount of food-related litter was found across the country, a new report says.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (GCSC) is an annual program in which volunteers are encouraged to clean up green spaces and other natural areas.

Last year, single-use food and beverage containers made up 26.6 per cent of waste collected through the program – nearly twice as high a percentage as in 2019, before the pandemic.

“We suspect the change may be one of the many implications of COVID-19, including more people ordering restaurant takeaway and consuming more individually packaged foods,” GCSC spokesperson Julia Wakeling said in a press release.

While food- and beverage-related litter accounted for a greater percentage of waste uncovered by GCSC than in the past, it wasn’t the single largest category of items picked up through the program last year.

That dubious honour goes to cigarette butts and other smoking-related paraphernalia, which comprised nearly 29 per cent of all items collected. There were more than 83,000 cigarette butts among the 42,000 kilograms of waste found and clean up last year.

So-called “tiny trash” – little pieces of plastic and foam – also accounted for a sizeable share of the waste, making up 26.8 per cent of the total haul.

In addition to smoking-related items and tiny trash, the main pieces of litter removed by GCSC volunteers last year included nearly 22,000 food wrappers, more than 17,500 pieces of paper, more than 13,000 bottle caps and more than 10,000 beverage cans.

Discarded face masks and other forms of personal protective equipment were also detected and cleaned up, although not tallied in their own category.  PPE waste has been repeatedly cited as a concern by environmental advocates during the pandemic; a robin in Chilliwack, B.C. is the earliest known example of an animal that died due to coronavirus-related litter.

The GCSC is an annual program organized by Ocean Wise and the World Wildlife Fund Canada. Its operations were disrupted by the pandemic as well; only 15,000 volunteers took part in the program last year, versus 85,000 in 2019, due to delays and public health restrictions making large group clean-ups impossible.

Still, there was GCSC participation from every province and the Northwest Territories in 2020. Nearly half of the volunteers who took part were based in B.C., where the program began in 1994.

Data from past GCSC reports was used as part of the research backing Canada’s ban on certain single-use plastic items, which is scheduled to take effect by the end of 2021.

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