Rabat – The Brazilian government has rejected $22 million in aid offered by the Group of Seven (G7) countries, the seven largest economies in the world.The G7 pledged the funding during their annual summit held from August 24 to August 26 in France, in an effort to curb the wildfires raging in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro previously accused Macron of having a “colonialist” mindset when he said he wanted to make the fires a priority at the summit. Bolsonaro’s Chief of Staff Onyx Lorenzoni echoed a similar sentiment when he announced Brazil’s decision to reject the aid to online media outlet G1, saying Macron instead needed to take care of “his home and his colonies.”“We appreciate the offer, but maybe those resources are more relevant to reforest Europe,” continued Lorenzoni.“Brazil is a democratic, free nation that never had colonialist and imperialist practices, as perhaps is the objective of the Frenchman Macron.”Referencing the Notre Dame fire in April, Lorenzoni sniped that “Macron cannot even avoid a foreseeable fire in a church that is a world heritage site. What does he intend to teach our country?”“Brazil is a democratic, free nation that never had colonialist and imperialist practices, as perhaps is the objective of the Frenchman Macron.”“The Amazon forest is a subject for the whole planet”Speaking to French TV on the evening of Monday, August 27, Macron responded to the Brazilian government’s criticism.“We respect your sovereignty. It’s your country,” Macron said. “But the trees in the Amazon are the lungs of the planet.”“The Amazon forest is a subject for the whole planet. We can help you reforest. We can find the means for your economic development that respects the natural balance. But we cannot allow you to destroy everything,” said Macron.He also acknowledged that by importing soja from Brazil, France is “partly complicit,” as the industry puts further pressure on the rainforest.He added that Europe’s dependence on Brazil for imported proteins “was a very bad choice,” and that Europe needs to develop alternatives.73,000 Amazon fires this summer aloneEarlier this month, Brazil declared a state of emergency over the rising number of fires in the Amazon, and as the situation is thrust into the spotlight of international media, a global outcry has ensued.So far this year, almost 73,000 fires have been detected by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), with a sharp spike in July and August. The number is an 83% increase from last year. Brazilian scientists believe that at least 50% of the fires are set by loggers and ranchers to clear land for cattle.Environmental agencies have attributed the spike in deliberate fire setting to Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro relaxing environmental policies and regulations in favor of economic growth.On Thursday, August 22, Bolsonaro said the Brazilian government lacks the resources to fight the fires.The Brazilian federal government has not yet provided any major organized effort to fight the fires, but following the G7’s monetary pledge Bolsonaro said that he would send 44,000 soldiers to help battle the blazes, and military planes began dumping water on fires in the Amazon state of Rondonia.The move has been dubbed “too little, too late” by many critics.Read also: The Blond Breakfast: Trump and Boris Johnson Meet at G7 in France
The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) says talks with the government to free Sarath Fonseka have been positive.DNA MP Arjuna Ranatunga said this at a media briefing in Colombo today. The DNA also said that a new organization has been formed to organize demonstrations in support of Fonseka.