Best of the web: The violence behind Brazil's deforestation, the history of playgrounds, and Niger's forgotten uranium town

    by Best of the Web
    Wednesday, 19 July 2017 14:02 BST

Honour guards perform during military drill at navy base in Kaohsiung, Taiwan July 13, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Discover all the top land and property rights stories from across the web

This week, Brazil’s Ministry for the Environment proposed to open almost 350,000 hectares of protected rainforest for agricultural, mining and logging use.

Pushed by President Michel Temer, the decision would redraw the borders of Jamanxim national forest in the Amazon, a move that the World Wildlife Fund has called an "unprecedented offensive against [Brazil's] protected areas".

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has catastrophic environmental effects on global oxygen production and local wildlife, but has also seen the region turn into a front line in land-related conflicts.

More land rights campaigners were killed in Brazil last year - 49 - than anywhere else in the world, as the race for resources intensifies and levels of impunity remain high, particularly when indigenous communities are targeted.

Lobbyists and senior politicians in Brazil's parliament have highlighted the potential commercial benefits in repurposing rainforest for agricultural and industrial use.

Temer appointed a conservative evangelical to head the country's indigenous agency, while Justice Minister Osmar Serraglio said in April that indigenous communities need to “stop this discussion about lands”.

“Land doesn’t fill anyone’s belly,” he added. 

To understand the scale of the destruction, the Silent Forest project last month launched a map that uses data to visualize the extent of deforestation in Brazil.

As part of our Politics of Death series, Place investigated the spiraling violence in Brazil. Read the full report here: Land conflict and murder go "hand in hand" in Brazil

- Ruairi Casey

Discover more top stories from around the web this week. Have we missed anything? Tweet at @mjponsford or email


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