Movement against racist murder in Bolsonaro’s Brazil


Activists including members of Black Lives Matter march against the murder of Black man Joao Alberto Silveira Freitas at a Carrefour supermarket the night before, on Brazil's National Black Consciousness Day in Sao Paulo

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 22 November 2020:

Funeral of a black man beaten to death by security guards sparks anti-racism protests across Brazil

THE funeral of a black man beaten to death by supermarket security guards on the eve of Brazil’s Black Awareness Day was accompanied by anti-racist demonstrations across the country at the weekend.

Joao Alberto Silveira Freitas, a father of four, was buried on Saturday in the southern city of Porto Alegre in a coffin draped in the blue and white chequers of the Gremio football team.

“I just want justice,” his partner, Milena Borges Alves, told Brazilian media. “That’s all. I just want them to pay for what they did to him.”

She said they had planned to formally marry in a few days after living together for nine.

Last Friday, Brazil’s national Black Consciousness Day, citizens awoke to footage circulating on social media of two white security guards repeatedly punching Mr Freitas in the face before throwing him to the ground.

One of the guards is then seen kneeling on Mr Freitas’s neck.

Demonstrators enraged by Mr Freitas’s death painted “Black Lives Matter” on the pavement of Paulista Avenue, one of the most famous thoroughfares in Sao Paulo.

Military police used pepper spray to disperse protesters outside a supermarket in the north-eastern city of Recife.

In a video message to the G20 summit in Saudi Arabia, Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro denied that his country suffered from racism and complained of an unspecified movement seeking to “divide” Brazilians.

Black and mixed-race people account for about 57 per cent of Brazil’s population but 74 per cent of victims of lethal violence, according to the Brazilian Forum on Public Safety, a non-governmental organisation.

This figure is even higher, 79 per cent, for those killed by police.

Lost frogs rediscovered in Brazil


Megaeloisa bocainensis. Photo Délio Baêta/Provided

From Cornell University in the USA:

Lost frogs rediscovered with environmental DNA

September 8, 2020

Scientists have detected signs of a frog listed extinct and not seen since 1968, using an innovative technique to locate declining and missing species in two regions of Brazil.

The frog, Megaelosia bocainensis, was among seven total species — including four other declining species, and two that had disappeared locally for many years — that were detected. The findings appeared in a paper, “Lost and Found: Frogs in a Biodiversity Hotspot Rediscovered with Environmental DNA,” published in August in Molecular Ecology.

Megaelosia bocainensis. A disappeared species from Parque Nacional da Serra da Bocaina, Brazil, known only from this museum specimen collected in 1968, and detected by eDNA surveys. In the study, the researchers collected and screened environmental DNA (eDNA) in the biodiverse Atlantic Coastal Forest and Cerrado grasslands of Brazil.

The eDNA technique offers a way to survey that can confirm the presence of species undetected by traditional methods, providing a tool for conservation scientists to evaluate the presence of threatened species, especially those with low population densities and those not seen in years.

After careful research to identify species at various levels of threat in these regions of Brazil, the researchers used the eDNA method to search for 30 target amphibian species in six localities where the frogs were known to previously live.

“Little bits of DNA in the environment don’t tell us about how many individuals there are or whether those individuals are healthy, but it does tell us that the species is still present,” said senior author Kelly Zamudio, the Goldwin Smith Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“This is one more kind of survey data, and for species that are declining or locally disappeared, it not only means they are there, but there’s now the potential to study them in more detail,” she said, noting that for many species, very little is known.

Around the world, conservationists have been challenged to keep pace with declining and disappearing amphibians. At the same time, living organisms leave DNA traces in the soil, water and air. Now, scientists are increasingly using highly sensitive sampling techniques to detect eDNA for conservation purposes.

In the study, the researchers targeted 13 frog species that have totally disappeared and are presumed extinct; 12 frogs that have disappeared locally but are still found in other parts of their range; and five species that were once very abundant and are still there but hard to find.

The researchers hiked into the sampling sites carrying battery packs, a shoebox-sized peristaltic pump and backpacks of sterile tubing. They used the pump and tubing to draw up to 60 liters of stream or pond water through a capsule fitted with a filter for capturing DNA. A buffer was then applied to stabilize and preserve the DNA on the filter.

Back in the lab, the researchers extracted the DNA, genetically sequenced it, weeded out genetic material from humans, pigs, chickens and other organisms until they could isolate all the frog DNA.

“Now you’ve got a subset of genetic sequences that we know only belong to frogs, and then it’s step by step, going finer and finer, until you get to the genus and species you are looking for,” Zamudio said.

Identifying M. bocainensis required clever detective work: The species disappeared long ago, and there were no tissues from which to extract DNA for comparison with the eDNA. But the researchers did have the sequences for all the sister species in the genus Megaelosia and they knew the ranges of the sister species and M. bocainensis.

“We know there’s a Megaelosia there,” Zamudio said, “we just don’t know which one it is, but the only one that has ever been reported there historically is the one that went missing. Do we believe it? That’s how far the analysis can take us.”

Zamudio added that samples from nearby areas may be worth collecting for more signs of M. bocainensis.

Carla Martins Lopes, a researcher at São Paulo State University in Brazil, is the paper’s first author.

The Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development and the São Paulo Research Foundation funded the study.

Brazilian poultry COVID-19 infected


This 1 June 2020 video says about itself:

Gravediggers in Brazil cannot keep up with Covid-19 deaths as virus spreads in favelas

An escalating death toll and soaring infection rates have made Brazil one of the most virus-affected countries in the world.

Its president Jair Bolsonaro was out and about yesterday without a mask, hugging supporters, despite the rising numbers.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Coronavirus has been found on a sample of chicken wings imported from Brazil, authorities in the Chinese city of Shenzhen report. Residents of the city are advised to exercise caution when purchasing frozen food products.

The virus was found on the meat. It was previously found by China on boxes of Ecuadorian frozen shrimp.

Brazilian punk rock against Bolsonaro


This 16 May 2019 Portuguese language video from Brazil says about itself (translated):

Bolsonaro is making punk rock resurge in Brazil“, says Mao, of Garotos Podres

History professor José Rodrigues Mao Júnior, lead singer of the punk band Garotos Podres, had a coffee with journalist Fred Melo Paiva. They talked about the controversy of the Dead Kennedys poster, about politics and Bolsonaro.

A resident of São Bernardo (São Paolo region), [leftist ex-president] Lula’s political birthplace, Mao thinks that the ex-president will only get out of jail with the people on the streets. “Bolsonaro managed to turn Lula into a hero, in the sense of Greek mythology.”

The legendary singer credits the revival of punk in the São Paolo region to the “barbarism” of Bolsonaro. “Nothing is more invigorating,” he says, “than having a cause to fight for.”

Now, after Bolsonaro’s Amazon rainforest wildfires and his anti-science coronavirus policies, leading to massive disaster, there is more reason than ever to rock against Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro’s son sparks row with bid to ban communist symbols: here.

Punk’s not dead — this 10-year-old drummer gives it life.

Brazilian coronavirus denialist Bolsonaro gets COVID-19


This 24 June 2020 video says about itself:

Coronavirus Is Killing Brazil and Bolsonaro Still Doesn’t Think There’s a Problem

Brazil has the second-highest coronavirus death rate in the world, after the United States. VICE News’ Seb Walker traveled from Rio de Janeiro to the remote regions of the Amazon to show the impact of COVID-19 and government inaction on some of Brazil’s most vulnerable populations.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Brazilian President Bolsonaro has coronavirus symptoms. A coronavirus test was taken on him, the result of which is expected later today.

Bolsonaro, 65, says he has, eg a 38-degree centigrade fever. According to Brazilian media, he is also given the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine. All his appointments for this week have been canceled.

So, hydroxychloroquine. Apparently, Bolsonaro believes himself in his propaganda quackery about that non-working ‘cure’, recommended by Bolsonaro’s fellow science denialist Donald Trump. If, as is predictable, that ‘miracle’ drug will not help, then Bolsonaro might try another ‘cure’ prescribed by Trump: injection with bleach.

Brazil is one of the most affected countries with over 1.6 million coronavirus infections and more than 65,000 deaths. Bolsonaro regularly opposes measures to prevent the spread of the virus. A judge also had to force him to wear a face mask in public.

NOS radio also reports that the mayor of Atlanta city in the USA, Ms Keisha Lance Bottoms, has become infected. And so have at least six students at Enschede university in the Netherlands.

Coronavirus, Bolsonaro’s Brazil and elsewhere


This 12 June 2020 video says about itself:

Brazil‘s symbolic COVID-19 ‘graveyard’

Brazilians critical of their government’s ambiguous response to a surging coronavirus pandemic dug 100 graves and stuck black crosses in the sand of Rio’s Copacabana beach in a tribute to the people who have died so far.

So far, 40,000 Brazilians have died from COVID-19 and still counting. These are conservative official figures.

The crosses remind me of the many crosses put on a beach in the USA, to commemorate the thousands of soldiers then-President George W Bush sent to his wars to die.

Dutch NOS radio reports today that a fanatical Bolsonaro supporter has smashed some of the crosses.

NOS radio also reports today:

Many coronavirus patients [not admitted to hospitals, so supposedly ‘mild’ coronavirus patients] still have serious health problems months after their healing. This is evident from a survey conducted by the Lung Fund and the CIRO knowledge center among 1622 people with such complaints.

More than 90 percent of the respondents say they have problems with simple daily activities, such as walking. 85 percent say he or she was in good health before the infection. Now that is only 6 percent.