Brazil president still insists forest fire reports hyped up

Updated 30 October 2019

Brazil president still insists forest fire reports hyped up

  • Bolsonaro claims fake news, agendas targeting his country
  • Fires in Brazil’s rainforest were said to be at their peak in August

RIYADH: President Jair M. Bolsonaro is sticking to his guns, and his controversial comments surrounding the widely reported forest fires in his country, claiming they were blown out of proportion.

“At times, certain countries use an environmental agenda or human rights agenda, which is precisely what happened against Brazil,” he said during a discussion panel at the Future Investments Initiative (FII) in Riyadh.

The fires in Brazil’s rainforest were said to be at their peak in August, when the BBC reported 30,901 separate fires.

The same report from October said there were still many fires across parts of the Amazon, although fewer than before.

In September, National Geographic reported that the “unusually severe fires” were presenting a real risk to river life.

And in August, the Hindustan Times presented video footage from NASA showing satellite images of thick plumes of smoke rising from the forest below.

But despite the apparent evidence of the fires and the damage they were causing, Bolsonaro still says the reports were an agenda against his country and fake news.

“It’s a tropical rainforest. It can’t catch on fire,” he said during the panel session with  Lubna Al-Olayan, chairman of the Olayan Financing Company.

“Official data was monitored by satellite and managed. The armed forces immediately cleaned up the forests in order for the number of tourists to not be reduced,” he added. “We’re doing our homework and we’re opening our arms to all of you,” he told the audience.

Bolsonaro urged investors to “give Brazil a chance,” telling them: “We have a huge deal to offer all of you.”

He added: “As part of our ongoing reform efforts, we’ll be spending less than the revenue we’re collecting in taxes. That’s our main and most important guarantee.”

He said he wants his legacy to be a “much better Brazil,” and he wants to “reduce bureaucracy and establish a rational environment for investors.”

He added: “A speech from a head of state won’t convince investors, but facts and figures will. We’ve never had such a low interest rate — around 5.5 percent — and our inflation rate is lower than our target of around 3 percent.”

Bolsonaro met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday. He said the crown prince had pledged to invest $10 billion in Brazil. “These funds will be used in Agra bay, off Rio de Janeiro state, for touristic uses,” Bolsonaro said.


Spain’s former king leaving country amid financial scandal

Updated 03 August 2020

Spain’s former king leaving country amid financial scandal

  • The 82-year-old former king is credited with helping Spain peacefully restore democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975
  • Marred by scandals in the later years of his reign, Juan Carlos in 2014 abdicated in favor of his son Felipe VI

MADRID: Spain’s former monarch, King Juan Carlos I, says he is leaving Spain to live in another country amid a financial scandal.
The royal family’s website on Monday published a letter from Juan Carlos to his son, King Felipe VI, saying “I am informing you of my considered decision to move, during this period, out of Spain.”
Spain’s prime minister recently said he found the developments about Juan Carlos — including investigations in Spain and Switzerland — “disturbing.”
The 82-year-old former king is credited with helping Spain peacefully restore democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.
But marred by scandals in the later years of his reign, Juan Carlos in 2014 abdicated in favor of his son Felipe VI, losing the inviolability protection Spain’s Constitution grants to the head of state.
The royal house has denied that Felipe had any knowledge of his father’s alleged financial irregularities.