Global Events, the United Nations, and Disease

Guardian: Waterlogged wheat, rotting oranges: five crops devastated by a year of extreme weather

From Hurricanes Fiona and Ian, to flooding in eastern Kentucky and a record dry summer as the western US entered its 22nd year of a once-in-a-millennium megadrought, the US has already seen more than two dozen major climate disasters with losses exceeding $1bn (£864m).

On top of this economic toll, extreme weather is also upending the food system in the US and much of the world. As the climate crisis causes temperatures to rise, precipitation patterns to shift and drought conditions to lengthen, many crops are struggling to grow – and produce the same yields – as they would under normal weather conditions. In some parts of the country, crops that require dry conditions are getting too much rain, while in others, they’re not getting enough.

Changes to growing seasons, limitations on water rights and increasingly powerful storms are all forcing growers to consider whether to shut down, relocate or otherwise alter their operations. Extreme weather events are also disrupting the shipping of food across the country and world.

These five crops tell the story of the havoc the climate crisis is already causing.

After Hurricane Ian ripped through Florida’s Gulf coast counties in late September, citrus growers in the state’s main agricultural counties began reporting that 50% to 90% of their fruit had been torn off the trees by high winds and rain.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) predicted that the state will produce 28m boxes of oranges this season, down 32% from the previous season. This would be the smallest harvest since 1943. And the impact of Hurricane Ian may not yet be over, Royce said. In some areas, the storm didn’t just cause fruit to fall, but entirely uprooted or flooded trees.

Just three crops – rice, wheat and corn – provide nearly half of the world’s calories. And this year rice had a particularly tough growing season.

In California, rice farmers sowed the lowest number of seeds since the 1950s. According to the California Rice Commission, only 250,000 acres of rice will be harvested this year, about half of a typical season.

In August, the USDA forecasted that California would only grow 10.5m tons of tomatoes, down 10% from its estimates at the beginning of the year, as drought causes them to dry up on the vine.

California usually produces about 30% of the world’s processing tomatoes – the tomatoes used in paste, sauce and ketchup. But researchers predict that the global supply of processing tomatoes could fall by 6% in the next 30 years due to climate change.

As the war in Ukraine cut off the country’s large wheat exports, wheat growers across the world faced a difficult year due to extreme weather. Heatwaves across France, Spain, and India scorched wheat crops, while US growers struggled to survive a dry winter and then a waterlogged spring.

In the US, growers typically plant hard red winter wheat, used in bread, in the fall and sow spring wheat, for bagels and pizza, in the spring. The winter wheat harvest fell 25% this year as drought hit midwestern states like Kansas. Then, high rainfall and a surprise spring blizzard flooded spring crops.

Normally, southern New Mexico provides the perfect climate for the chilli harvest. But this year, parts of the state recorded their wettest monsoon seasons since 1893. Although the state struggled with severe drought early in the summer – with 45% of the state rating in “exceptional” drought, according to the US Drought Monitor – only about 1% of the state was still in that high state of drought by the end of monsoon season.

Common Dreams: US Spent 13 Times More on Fossil Fuels Than Renewables in Africa Since Paris Deal

Just days away from the United Nations climate summit in Egypt, The Guardian on Monday highlighted how the U.S. government is pouring billions into African fossil fuel projects while making relatively limited investments in renewables.

Using Oil Change International’s Public Finance for Energy Database, the newspaper found that since the 2015 Paris agreement, U.S. funding for fossil fuel development in Africa has soared, despite global goals to limit planet-heating emissions.

For fiscal years 2016-21, the U.S. spent $13 billion on fossil fuel projects globally, compared with $4 billion on renewable energy and $1 billion on other projects. Two-thirds of fossil fuel spending, or $9 billion, went to projects in Africa. Just $682 million went to renewables there—meaning the U.S. spent 13 times more on polluting projects across the continent.

Leading up to the COP27 summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, African campaigners and leaders have stressed not only the need for loss and damage funding from wealthy nations that have largely created the climate emergency, but also greater investments in renewables.

As Kenyan President William Ruto argued earlier this month, the continent has “immense potential for renewable energy, and this abundance of wind and solar energy can power the development of Africa.”

However, the data shows that rather than promoting clean energy development across Africa, the U.S. government has instead focused on producing fossil fuels—and not even to aid Africans. As Youba Sokona, a climate scientist from Mali who is a vice chair of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told The Guardian, “The U.S. isn’t investing for the interest of Africans, it’s investing for the interests of the U.S.”

Guardian: UK criticised for failing to pay $300m in promised climate funds ahead of Cop27

The British government has come under fire for sending a “strong negative signal” ahead of the Cop27 climate summit in Egypt, by failing to make $300m (£260m) of promised climate finance payments.

The UK has already caused upset among developing countries hit hardest by the climate crisis, after a statement from Downing Street that Rishi Sunak, the prime minister, would not attend Cop27 due to his focus on domestic issues.

Britain is the current holder of the Cop presidency and will hand over to Egypt in November.


RT: ECB set for further rate hikes despite recession risk – Lagarde

The European Central Bank (ECB) will continue to raise interest rates to curb inflation in the Eurozone, even though the risk of recession has grown, ECB President Christine Lagarde said in an interview with Delfi published on Tuesday.

Since July, the ECB has raised interest rates by a combined 200 basis points, the “fastest increase in the history of the euro,” taking Eurozone rates to 1.5%, the highest since 2009, in an attempt to combat soaring inflation. The bank seeks to ensure that inflation returns to the 2% target, “using all the tools we have available.”

WSWS: Europe’s governments prepare third winter of mass COVID-19 infection and death

Contrary to the propaganda of the European political establishment and the corporate media the COVID-19 pandemic is not over. Thousands of people continue to die each week across Europe from the virus and a new winter surge, alongside other respiratory illnesses and increasing poverty, will lead to hundreds of thousands more excess deaths on the continent.

Another winter of mass infection and death from COVID-19 is primarily a product of the European ruling class’s decision to allow the virus to freely spread through the population. With a “vaccine only” strategy and the near-total abandonment of even minimal measures to contain the spread of the virus, epidemiologists are warning of the deadly impact of two new vaccine resistant variants this winter.

In Europe over the past two weeks cases have fallen slightly as the eighth wave of the virus slowly subsides. In the last seven days there were just over 1 million cases throughout Europe, compared to 1.5 million in the week before. There were 4,216 deaths in the last week, compared to 5,449 the week before.

However, scientists are warning that the rapid spread of immunity-evading new variants in Europe will lead to a massive surge of the virus on the scale of the Omicron wave last winter. Omicron was first detected in Europe on November 19, 2021, and the original variant and its offshoots have caused the majority of over 600,000 European COVID-19 deaths since.

Euro News: Severe drought impacts economies linked to the Danube

The most severe Danube drought in centuries has caused serious damage to countries whose economies are strongly tied with the big Central European river.

Very low-levels of water made the commercial navigation of the river extremely difficult adding further obstacles to trade sectors already affected by the war in Ukraine.

The most critical points are in Romania not far from the Delta and the port of Constanta, Edmon Șandru is a Danube grain transporter.

“We have units of 1,000, to 1,200 Tons, and during the period when there was no water we loaded somewhere around 700, maximum 740 Tons, so almost half. We were only using around 60% of our capacity.”

High demand for Ukrainian grain shipments from the Danube ports of Reni and Ismail provided a lifeline for shippers during these dry times. On the Tulcea-Galati-Constanta route, water-levels have allowed barges to reach the port of Constanta close to their limits.


AntiWar: Putin Skewers US Ineptitude

Speaking on Oct. 27 at the Valdai International Discussion Club, Russian President Vladimir Putin questioned the sanity of those who would “spoil relations with China at the same time they are supplying billions-worth of weapons to Ukraine in a fight against Russia.”

In answer to a question on “the growing tensions between China and the United States over Taiwan,” Putin labeled visits by top U.S. officials to Taiwan a “provocation.” Putin added:

“Frankly, I do not know why they are doing this. … Are they sane? It seems that this runs completely counter to common sense and logic … This is simply crazy.

“It may seem that there is a subtle, profound plot behind this. But I think there is nothing there, no subtle thought. It is just nonsense and arrogance, nothing else. … Such irrational actions are rooted in arrogance and a sense of impunity.”

What kind of people are behind what Putin describes? It turns out they come from the same stock of white-privileged, exceptional, ivy-mantled “Best and Brightest” that brought us Vietnam. This time, it is President Joe Biden who brought them in. Giving Biden the benefit of the doubt, I believe he was/is not smart enough to understand that they have made a big mess of things.

These are the sophomores, totally ignorant of how the Russia-China relationship had evolved, who told Biden at the Geneva summit on June 16, 2021 that “Russia is in a very, very difficult spot right now … being squeezed by China. …,” which Biden parroted planeside before departing Geneva.

In his Valdai speech Putin quoted from a Harvard Commencement address by Alexander Solzhenitsyn:

“A continuous blindness of superiority is typical of the West; it upholds the belief that vast regions everywhere on our planet should develop and mature to the level of present-day Western Systems.”

Putin adds:

“Solzhenitsyn said this in 1978. Nothing has changed. … Belief in one’s infallibility is very dangerous; it is only one step away from the desire of the infallible to destroy those they do not like. … “They arrogantly rejected all other variants and forms of government by the people and, I want to emphasize this, did so contemptuously and disdainfully … as if everyone else were second-rate, while they were exceptional.”

The day after Putin’s speech, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin, asked for comment, said: “We highly appreciate the positive remarks by President Putin on China-Russia relations; they have maintained the momentum of robust development.” The foreign ministry spokesman added that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the day Putin spoke at Valdai, and that the two diplomats “exchanged views on the Ukraine crisis.”

United Kingdom

Common Dreams: ‘They’re Ripping Us Off’: BP Profits Could Pay Energy Bills of 9.4 Million UK Households

The London-based oil and gas giant BP reported Tuesday that it brought in a staggering $8.2 billion in profits in the third quarter, more than doubling its total from the same period last year amid Europe’s worsening cost-of-living crisis.

The company announced it will be using its banner profits to buy back $2.5 billion worth of its own stock, rewarding shareholders as millions of people across the United Kingdom are having trouble heating their homes ahead of the winter season. According to the Financial Times, BP has repurchased more than $10 billion of its shares this year.

The advocacy group Global Witness estimates that BP’s $27 billion in profits over the past 12 months could pay the energy bills of 9.4 million U.K. households.

Guardian: BP expects to pay £700m in windfall tax after bumper profits

BP said it expected to pay about $800m (£693m) in windfall tax on its North Sea operations this year, as it posted bumper profits of $8.2bn in the third quarter.

WSWS: Strike cancellation provokes workers’ fury as UK’s Royal Mail declares war

On Sunday, Communication Workers Union (CWU) officials unilaterally cancelled six days of strikes due to start Wednesday, capitulating to legal threats from Royal Mail. One day later, the company unveiled sweeping attacks on employment contracts that it will start imposing from tomorrow.

Royal Mail presented a revised below-inflation offer of 7 percent over two years at ACAS conciliation talks on Monday. The two-year de facto pay cut is dependent on accepting productivity measures that will transform Royal Mail employees into a low-wage Uber-style workforce.

Royal Mail’s announcement has blown the CWU’s corporatist strategy out of the water. CWU General Secretary Dave Ward and Assistant General Secretary Terry Pullinger have repeatedly insisted—all evidence to the contrary—that Royal Mail can be pressured by limited strike action to reach a negotiated settlement.

At a mass meeting called by CWU officials on Sunday to announce the cancellation of strikes on November 2, 3, 4, 8, 9 and 10, Ward and CWU Acting Deputy General Secretary Andy Furey suggested their cancellation would have a positive effect of concentrating attention on 10 days of talks with Royal Mail at ACAS.

The CWU’s abject capitulation before Royal Mail—it did not even issue a legal challenge to the company’s anti-strike tactics—was the green light for Royal Mail bosses to commence a frontal onslaught on postal workers that amounts to a declaration of war.

On Sunday, the CWU’s decision to cancel strikes provoked fury among 15,000 Royal Mail workers who attended the union’s online “update” meeting. The meeting was a travesty. CWU officials ensured that members had no say, despite having delivered a massive 98 percent strike vote.

Inquirer: UK manufacturing shrinks at fastest rate since mid-2020

British manufacturing last month suffered its biggest contraction since the depths of the first COVID-19 lockdown in May 2020, with optimism draining fast, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The final S&P Global UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for October fell to 46.2 from 48.4 in September. While the October figure was revised up from an initial “flash” reading of 45.8, it still marked a 29-month low.

The survey’s gauge of future output fell to its lowest level since April 2020.

Overall, the PMI chimed with other leading indicators of Britain’s economy that point to a worsening slowdown underway – something that is likely to concern Bank of England officials who look set to raise interest rates markedly on Thursday.


RT: Dutch inflation ‘improves’ to 16.8%

Annual inflation in the Netherlands was 16.8% in October, slightly down from 17.1% in September but still well above expectations, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) said on Monday.

According to the report, inflation remains very high, driven by soaring energy and food costs. The CBS figure, based on the harmonized European measurement method, includes housing costs such as rent, and calculates energy prices based on new contracts.

Earlier, some media wrote that about 20 bakeries in the Netherlands were forced to close due to skyrocketing inflation amid the energy crunch. Bakery costs in the country have surged by 80%.


TeleSUR: Sweden Braces for ‘Grim Winter’: Finance Minister

The gross domestic product is expected to shrink by 0.4 percent next year, while inflation could be as high as 5.9 percent.

On Monday, Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson acknowledged that Sweden’s economy is heading for a “grim winter.”

The gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to shrink by 0.4 percent next year, while inflation could be as high as 5.9 percent. The unemployment rate is also projected to increase.

“It is important that the Swedish policy is well-balanced both in relation to the need to bring down the high inflation and to be able to handle the downturn in the economy,” Svantesson said.

Commenting on the projected slump in GDP, she said that Sweden is affected by the economies of its trading partners. By way of example, she mentioned Germany, which has big problems. “The high unemployment rate is problematic and as we are now facing a recession more people will be left outside” the job market, she said.

East Asia and Oceania

TeleSUR: Xi Holds Talks With Vietnam’s Communist Party Chief

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Chinese president, held talks on Monday with Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee.

The two sides agreed to consolidate the traditional friendship, strengthen strategic communication, enhance political mutual trust, and properly manage differences, so as to push the China-Vietnam comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership in the new era to a new level.

Xi warmly welcomed Trong’s official visit to China following the 20th CPC National Congress, noting that he has maintained close communication with Trong in various ways and reached many important consensuses on guiding the development of China-Vietnam relations in recent years. “These consensuses have been fully implemented and remarkable results have been achieved,” he said.

ANN: Vietnam, China sign 13 cooperation documents in Party leader’s visit

Việt Nam and China on Monday signed 13 documents on bilateral cooperation across fields as part of General Secretary of the Communist Party of Việt Nam (CPV) Central Committee Nguyễn Phú Trọng’s ongoing official visit to China.


SCMP: China’s factory activity shrinks in October as coronavirus curbs hit output, demand

China’s factory activity weakened in October as protracted coronavirus restrictions disrupted production and subdued demand, a private-sector survey showed on Tuesday, suggesting a weaker economic recovery in the fourth quarter.

The Caixin/S&P Global manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) stood at 49.2 in October, up from 48.1 in September and slightly above analysts’ expectations for 49.0. But the figure was still below the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.

In line with China’s official PMI, which unexpectedly fell into contraction last month, waning factory activity weighed on the fragile recovery of the world’s second-biggest economy amid a deepening property crisis and weakening demand.


Oil Price: Japan Will Retain Its Stake In Russia’s Sakhalin-1 Oil And Gas Project

Japan will remain a stakeholder in the Russian Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project after the government asked the Japanese companies that participated in the original consortium to retain their stakes in the new entity that will operate the project.

Russia’s president signed a decree to change the ownership of Sakhalin-1 last month, with the state setting up a new entity to manage the project. Previous shareholders such as Japan’s SODECO consortium were offered the chance to retain their stakes.

SODECO, or Sakhalin Oil and Gas Development Co, comprises Itochu, the conglomerate, Marubeni, and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. The Japanese government has a 50-percent stake in the consortium.

“The Sakhalin-1 is extremely important for Japan’s energy security as it is a valuable source outside of the Middle East,” said trade minister Yasutoshi Nishimura this week, as quoted by Reuters.

Central Asia and the Middle East


Al Jazeera: Pakistan approves deal to import 300,000 tonnes of Russian wheat

The government of Pakistan has approved a deal worth nearly $112m to import 300,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia to meet its domestic shortfall.

The deal endorsed by the Economic Cooperation Committee on Monday comes as Pakistan struggles to balance its fragile economy and manage the aftermath of devastating floods this summer that killed more than 1,700 people and affected some 33 million.


MEMO: Russia to donate 25,000 tonnes of wheat to Lebanon

Lebanon has been officially informed of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approval of a donation of 25,000 tonnes of wheat to the crisis-hit country, Lebanese Public Works Minister, Ali Hamie, told Reuters on Monday.

Russia would also donate 10,000 tonnes of fuel oil to Beirut, Hamie said.


AntiWar: Iraq Monthly Roundup: 105 Killed in October

During October, at least 105 people were killed, and 239 were wounded. The number of dead fell significantly from last month. In September, 179 people were killed and 294 people were wounded.

Militant-related violence left 58 dead and 82 wounded. At least 43 civilians were killed, and 58 more were wounded. Eight security personnel were killed, and 24 were wounded. Also, seven militants were killed.

The conflict involving Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (P.K.K.) continued in northern parts of Iraq. At least 45 P.K.K. members were killed, and six more were wounded. At least two Turkish soldiers died as well. Also, one civilian was wounded.

Anti-government protests commemorating the October 2019 protests took place at the beginning of the month. About 150 people were wounded in them.

Saudi Arabia

Finanacial Times: Saudi Aramco reports $42bn quarterly profit

Saudi Aramco reported its second-highest quarterly profits since listing its shares in 2019, as the world’s biggest oil exporter reaps a windfall from high energy prices.

Net income at the state-controlled group was $42.4bn in the three months to September, up 39 per cent from the same quarter a year ago. Although the earnings were down from the record $48.4bn reported in the second quarter, Saudi Aramco has now reported profits of more than $130bn in the first nine months of the year.

As in previous quarters, $18.8bn in dividends, one of the biggest payouts in the world, will be returned to shareholders from the third-quarter profits.


RT: EU ignores its own free-market principles

EU nations that want to “fix” the gas market by capping prices are acting against their own laws that protect free competition, the energy minister of Qatar has said.

“Free market is always the best solution, and if you try to fix the market you are going against all the anti-competition laws that the Europeans were trying to put on sellers – and now they are doing it themselves,” Saad Al Kaabi told Bloomberg TV on Sunday.

Host Simone Foxman asked if he thought Brussels was being “a bit hypocritical” with the proposed cap, to which the Qatari official responded: “It’s not a bit, it’s a lot hypocritical.”


AllAfrica: Africa: Survey - Africans See China As Positive Force

A new global public opinion survey of people in 25 countries has revealed steep declines in support for China, although Beijing still is seen favorably by many in Africa, where it is vying for influence with Washington.

The survey by the Britain-based YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project was carried out between August and September this year, polling about 1,000 people in each country, including in three large African states: Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. The survey asked people about their opinions on China, the United States and Taiwan.

The data showed that in the West, support for China has dropped considerably in the past four years. One reason for that could be the pandemic. When respondents were asked about where it originated, most people placed blame for the outbreak of COVID-19 squarely on China.

I love that that’s the reason they came up with. Though honestly it wouldn’t surprise me if that was one of the major reasons now that I think about it. I guess I’m just so used to every single article on China mentioning the genocide against the Uighyurs at this point. It’s pretty clear that all of the West’s grievances against China are artificial and created by a propaganda effort so asking why Westerners hate China is kind of a silly question in my mind.

Asked if China had a “generally positive or negative effect on world affairs” only 17% of respondents in France said it was positive, down from 36% in the first survey in 2019. In Germany that figure was even lower, at 13%, down from 30% four years ago.

Many other Western countries mirrored this trend, but the story is slightly different in Africa, where China is the continent’s largest trading partner. Although its ranking also dropped slightly over the four-year-period in Nigeria and South Africa, across the continent, China was still widely seen as a force for good.

In South Africa 61% of respondents saw China’s influence in the world as positive, in Kenya the support for China was higher at 82% and, in Nigeria, it was highest out of the three, standing at 83%.

Still, despite Beijing’s no-strings loans and large infrastructure projects as part of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative, African support for the U.S. remained slightly higher.

In South Africa, 69% of people interviewed saw the U.S. as a generally positive force, and in both Kenya and Nigeria that number was at 88%.

On a separate question about which country, China or the U.S., respondents would prefer to have as the global superpower, 20 of the 25 countries polled chose the U.S., including all four Africa nations by a huge margin.

Seventy-seven percent of Nigerians chose the U.S. as the preferred superpower, as did 80% of Kenyans, and to a lesser extent 59% of South Africans.

“Results from the African countries in this study stand out for how they reflect such positive views toward both America and China as actors on the world stage,” Joel Rogers de Waal, academic director at YouGov, told VOA.

“At the same time, however, they show an obvious preference for having America, rather than China, as the reigning superpower, which perhaps raises some interesting questions about the progress of Chinese soft power in these parts of Africa.”

On other, more specific questions, the U.S. fared less favorably. For example, asked which country had engaged in “bullying” behavior globally, Washington trumped Beijing in all three African nations.

Likewise on the question of which country has “given military support to one side or another in a foreign civil war, in ways that do more harm than good to the people of that country.” Africans blamed the U.S. for this more than China. And in terms of being suspected of interference in other countries' national elections, the U.S. again fared worse than China.

And although Washington increasingly warns Africa and the world of the threat of Chinese spying and surveillance, respondents in both South Africa and Nigeria placed more blame for international cyberattacks on the U.S.

This kinda reminds me of the 2019 election in the UK, where basically everybody thought Corbyn was a better leader on specific issues, but in totality they thought that Johnson was the better overall leader for the UK, which was always bizarre to me. Opinion polling is, as the article says, more of a measure of soft power than a measure of the actual tendencies of African countries' leadership, who appear to broadly side with the eastern bloc over the West, so it’s not terribly insightful other than to reveal the strength of American propaganda abroad, and how some dude in a suit saying “freedom and democracy” 50 times in a row can seemingly be as powerful, if not more so, than a country coming in to build roads and bridges and pipelines for you and your development.

Africa News: Ethiopia peace talks marred by foreign interference - PM

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says there is “heavy foreign interference” in the continuing talks between the government and Tigray administration but remains hopeful a peace pact will be reached.

Speaking to the China Global Television Network (CGTN), Mr. Abiy said Ethiopians can solve their matters despite international pressure for a ceasefire.

“Of course, if there are lots of interventions from left and right, it’s very difficult,” Mr. Abiy said.

“Ethiopians should understand we can solve our own issues by ourselves.”


TeleSUR: Thousands Flee Fighting Between DRC Troops and Militia

A flare-up of fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has displaced thousands of people, with some fleeing into Uganda.

“Our colleagues in the DRC say that fighting over the weekend between the Congolese armed forces and the M23 militia in North Kivu has led to additional population displacement towards our peacekeeping base in Kiwanja,” said Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Peacekeepers from the UN mission continued to provide logistical and medical support to the Congolese armed forces and maintained a robust posture to protect civilians.

In the past 11 days, about 50,000 people were displaced, including around 12,000 who sought safety in neighboring Uganda.

North America

United States

Euro News: Biden slams oil firms for ‘war profiteering’ as he mulls windfall tax

US President Joe Biden on Monday accused oil companies of “war profiteering” as he raised the possibility of imposing a windfall tax if they do not boost domestic production.

In brief remarks, Biden criticised major oil companies for making record-setting profits while refusing to help lower prices at the petrol station for the American people.

“Oil companies' record profits today are not because of doing something new or innovative,” Biden said.

“Their profits are a windfall of war, a windfall for the brutal conflict that’s ravaging Ukraine and hurting tens of millions of people around the globe.”

A bold move for the midterms. Let’s see if it works out for them.

WSWS: Studies indicate that new Omicron subvariants could cause devastating COVID-19 surge in US

Over the past month, the United States has seen a steady rise in the prevalence of the dangerous new immune-evading Omicron subvariants of SARS-CoV-2, threatening yet another surge of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths in the coming weeks, and potentially millions more cases of Long COVID.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that the highly immune-evasive BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 subvariants increased in prevalence from 11 percent to more than 27 percent in just two weeks, or a doubling time of 10 days. By mid-November, these two subvariants will likely be dominant across the country.

The anticipated COVID-19 surge will take place amid a flood of pediatric hospitalizations across the country for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and an unusually harsh beginning to the influenza season. The simultaneous surge of these three respiratory airborne pathogens will severely impact health care systems during the winter months, under conditions in which the industry is already on the verge of collapse three years into the COVID-19 pandemic.

While so far the crisis in children’s hospitals has been most acute, the elderly are particularly predisposed to complications with RSV and flu due to declines in their immunity. Among those 65 years and older, RSV leads to 177,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths annually.

The typical flu season causes upwards of 16,000 deaths among adults. However, a severe flu season can be far worse. In 2017-18, the US experienced 41 million flu-related illnesses, 19 million flu-related medical visits, 710,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 52,000 deaths. Data from the CDC for the first four weeks of October shows that outpatient medical visits for flu-like symptoms are two to three times higher than the five-year average baseline.

The exact magnitude of the next surge of COVID-19 is impossible to predict, but a number of recent studies indicate that it could potentially be the third catastrophic winter of the pandemic.

Naked Capitalism: The U.S. Diesel Shortage Is Worsening

We’ve been warning for months that diesel supplies were tight in the US and Europe, with no strong reason to think they’d get much better and cause to think the squeeze could worsen.

Even though the mainstream press is finally taking notice of diesel scarcity, the commentary has gone from largely ignoring the issue to undue panic. The right wing has been hammering on the “US down to only 25 days of diesel storage” as if that means the US will be out of diesel in 25 days. No trucking! No Santa, um Amazon deliveries for the holidays! Grocers bereft of perishables like fresh veg, bread, and milk!

Playing “25 days of storage” as if it means “out in 25 days” is fact-free fearmongering. What will determine the degree of further drawdown of is new supplies versus usage. It is also worth keeping in mind that this level is only 20% below the five year average for this time of year.

However, there are distribution issues, with some parts of the US particularly hard up. It is also pretty certain that the shortages will be largely addressed via rationing via price. That means the diesel shortfall will produce higher delivery costs, which will then get built into end prices for business and consumer goods and services. So even though widespread transit paralysis isn’t in store, letting price be the device to force businesses and consumers to cut back isn’t pretty.

For instance, Fox News picked up and amplified a memo by Mansfield Energy last Friday confirming diesel shortages. Mansfield issued a statement Monday meant to counter the Fox histrionics…but it was far from cheery. Key section:

For diesel specifically, the shortage will be painful at the macro level, but hopefully manageable at the micro level. Put another way – a tight diesel supply will force prices to go up, which will eventually make it too expensive for some people. High prices will bring demand back down enough that it balances with limited supply. At the US economy level, that means pain as consumers cut back and businesses slash costs. At the local, load-by-load level, supply will still be available for those for whom diesel is a business-critical priority.

That’s not to say there won’t occasionally be situations where there is a true physical lack of products. Some cities might run dry on diesel for a few days, at least at the terminal level. But the fuel supply chain is dynamic, and suppliers will rally to fill in any gaps in supply. Once again, those shortages will drive up prices, which will make it economical to long-haul product from surrounding markets which do have supply. The fuel will be delivered but at higher costs.

Now to the take from OilPrice.

I’m not sure I agree with that analysis from Mansfield. Given diesel’s importance, I’m not sure if it can be approximated to obey the same supply-demand laws as, I don’t know, game consoles. It feels like more of an inelastic good than not.

WSWS: One in ten New York City public school students is homeless

Over the last year almost one in ten students in New York City lived in homeless shelters, doubled up with other families, lived in cars, abandoned buildings or outside, according to a new report by Advocates for Children of New York. This means that over 104,000 children were homeless, out of a total school enrollment of more than one million. This marks a 3 percent increase for the 2021-22 school year at a time when enrollment has dropped because of the COVID pandemic.

People’s Daily: U.S. murder rates up, police morale down: report

The United States saw an increase in shootings during the pandemic while the police morale is down, CBC News has reported.

Murders in the United States surged almost 30 percent in 2020, then inched up and down in the two years since, the report said, citing FBI statistics.

Meanwhile, public opinion of law enforcement temporarily dropped in 2020, a year of global outrage over police killings of Black Americans.

According to the report, applications to police forces are down and forces are resorting to increasingly desperate tactics to recruit applicants. In Pittsburgh, staffing is 6 percent below budgeted levels and 16 percent below what the department calls ideal.

A veteran homicide detective said in the report that “there is none” of officer morale and there’s a high alcoholism rate, drug-abuse rate, suicide rate and divorce rate among law enforcement.

The police officers interviewed in the report said the pandemic had two major effects: one on public mental health, the other on policing strategy.

The change in tactics coincided with gun sales surging at an unprecedented pace, which means more guns sold second-hand, more guns stolen, and more guns used illegally, the report said.

Caribbean and South America


MercoPress: Argentine drought will force Brazil to purchase wheat in non-Mercosur suppliers

Brazil will need alternative wheat sources because Argentina, its traditional supplier, is facing a serious crop insufficiency as a result of a serious drought that has curtailed production and compromised export volumes. Market analysts expect Brazil will thus have to look for supplies in potential providers such as the United States, Canada and even Russia.

Brazil is a net wheat importer and neighboring Argentina, which is currently suffering a prolonged drought, is its most important source of the cereal.

“Generally, Brazil buys some 6 million tons from Argentina,” said StoneX risk management consultant Fabio Lima. But now, Brazil is anticipated will have to look for one to 1,5 million tons of imports outside the Mercosur trade block.

TeleSUR: Argentine Teachers Go on Strike in Buenos Aires

On Monday, Argentina’s Union of Education Workers (UTE) announced a general strike in the Buenos Aires City’s educational centers to reject the decrease in the educational budget and to demand the tenure of interim and contract teachers.


TeleSUR: Brazilian Electoral Judge Orders the Clearance of Roadblocks

On Monday, Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) President Alexandre de Moraes ordered the “immediate clearance of the roads” blocked by truckers who do not accept the defeat of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro in the second round held on Oct. 30.

Since Sunday night, Bolsonarista truckers have carried out some 270 roadblocks in 20 states to protest against the victory of the Workers' Party candidate Lula da Silva.

Moraes maintains that the Federal Highway Police (PRF) “has not fulfilled its constitutional and legal task,” which could lead to the dismissal or arrest of Director Silvinei Vasques.

The TSE judge ordered Vasques to adopt “immediately all the necessary measures to clear” the roads. In the event that this does not happen, the PRF could receive a fine of US$19,500 per day as of midnight this Monday.

TeleSUR: Maduro and Lula Agree to Resume Cooperation Agenda

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced Monday that he agreed with Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to resume the cooperation agenda between both nations.

“I had a good telephone conversation with the president-elect of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, with whom we agreed to resume the binational agenda of cooperation between our countries. We appreciate his willingness!” Maduro said through his Twitter account.

TeleSUR: Petro Talks to Lula: Close Ties Between Brazil and Colombia

The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, communicated this Monday with the president-elect of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and said that the link between the two governments would be close due to the position of both on the Amazon.

“I have spoken by telephone with President Lula da Silva. I extended my most sincere congratulations. ‘Relations between Colombia and Brazil will be close because we both love the Amazon,’ he told me. So will be president Lula,” Petro wrote on his Twitter account.


TeleSUR: Bolivian Right-Wing Opposition Fuels Violence in Santa Cruz

In this Bolivian department, militia groups are attacking social, political, and Indigenous activists who support President Luis Arce.

On Monday, the Bolivian Presidency Minister Maria Nela Prada denounced violent acts unleashed during the “indefinite strike” promoted by Santa Cruz Governor Fernando Camacho and other far-right subnational leaders.

In this Bolivian department, militia groups are attacking social, political, and Indigenous activists who support President Luis Arce, who belongs to the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) led by Evo Morales.

This wave of violence focused on Bolivian progressives is causing concern given that popular organizations will lead today a large march that will enter the city of Santa Cruz to protest against the right-wing indefinite strike.

Rocio Picanere, the spokeswoman for the Indigenous Central of the Bolivian East (CANOB), denounced that militiamen burned houses and beat residents in five communities in the Conception municipality.

The Ukraine Proxy Conflict

Inquirer: Putin: we are not ending participation in grain export deal, just suspending it

Russia is not ending its participation in a deal to export much-needed Ukrainian grain through Black Sea ports but rather is suspending it, President Vladimir Putin said on Monday.

Putin’s comments were his first since Moscow announced on Saturday it was freezing participation in the United Nations-brokered Black Sea agreement after what it said was a major Ukrainian drone attack on its fleet in Crimea.

“We are not saying that we are ceasing our participation in this operation. No, we are saying that we are suspending it,” Putin told a televised news conference.

Putin said the Ukrainian drones had traveled through the same corridors the grain ships used.

“And thus they created a threat both to our ships, which must ensure the safety of grain exports, and to the civilian ships that are engaged in this,” he said. Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for the attack.

Other participants in the deal pressed ahead with export of grain on Monday, even though Russia said this was risky.

“Ukraine must guarantee that there will be no threats to civilian vessels or to Russian supply vessels,” said Putin, noting that under the terms of the deal, Russia is responsible for ensuring security.

Reuters: Russia says movement of ships in Black Sea corridor is ‘unacceptable’

Russia said on Monday it was “unacceptable” for shipping to pass through a Black Sea security corridor after it suspended its participation in a Turkish- and U.N.-brokered deal that had allowed Ukraine to resume grain exports.

“The movement of ships along the security corridor is unacceptable, since the Ukrainian leadership and the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine use it to conduct military operations against the Russian Federation,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.

“Under the current conditions, there can be no question of guaranteeing the security of any object in the indicated direction until the Ukrainian side accepts additional obligations not to use this route for military purposes.”

Reuters: IAEA’s Ukraine inspections to address ‘dirty bomb’ accusations have begun

The U.N. atomic watchdog has started its inspections of two nuclear sites in Ukraine being carried out at Kyiv’s request to address Russian accusations that it is working on a so-called ‘dirty bomb’, the watchdog’s chief Rafael Grossi said on Monday.

“Director General Grossi said IAEA inspectors had begun – and would soon complete – verification activities at (the) two locations in Ukraine,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement, adding that Grossi would “later this week provide his initial conclusions” about the inspections.

Analysis and Retrospectives

The Right, Broadly Construed

Monthly Review: Liberal Democracy: The Bedfellow of fascism

Multipolarista: NAFO troll operation founded by Nazi: Researcher exposes far-right Ukrainian networks

Independent researcher Moss Robeson documented how the vociferously pro-Ukraine, anti-Russia troll operation NAFO was founded by a Hitler-admiring anti-Semite.

In the interview below with Multipolarista editor Ben Norton, Robeson discusses the pro-NATO propaganda campaign’s far-right roots, and the very real influence of fascist groups in Kiev’s state security services.

He also addresses how the fascist LaRouche cult has tried to disrupt the anti-war movement in the United States.

Inside the Imperial Core

Financial Times: Germany struggles with its dependency on China

Rarely has a deal encountered such strong government opposition. Six German ministries came out last month against Chinese shipper Cosco’s planned acquisition of a stake in a Hamburg container terminal. But it went through anyway.

The man who ensured its safe passage through the German cabinet was Chancellor Olaf Scholz. He insisted on a compromise — Cosco would have to make do with a 25 per cent stake, rather than the 35 per cent that was initially proposed.

But the German foreign ministry remained opposed, even after Scholz pushed it through. State secretary Susanne Baumann wrote an angry letter to Scholz’s chief of staff, Wolfgang Schmidt, saying the transaction “disproportionately increases China’s strategic influence over German and European transport infrastructure and Germany’s dependence on China”.

Scholz, however, clearly could not afford to see the deal collapse. On Friday he will become the first G7 leader to hold talks in Beijing with Chinese president Xi Jinping since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Nixing the Cosco transaction would have cast a long shadow over a trip with huge symbolic importance to both Beijing and Berlin.

Still, China-watchers found his intervention puzzling. “It gives the impression he’s offering the newly crowned Xi Jinping a gift before the trip — one he was under no obligation to make,” says Noah Barkin of Rhodium Group, a New York-based research firm.

The Cosco affair also disappointed those who had hoped that Scholz would adopt a new approach to Beijing and break definitively with the mercantilism of the Angela Merkel era.

The coalition agreement negotiated last year by Scholz’s Social Democrats, the Greens and the liberal Free Democrats was notable for its critical tone on China and its focus on human rights. But the Hamburg deal shows deep divisions persist between the Greens and parts of the SPD about the future of the relationship.

Naked Capitalism: “Nikkei-Owned Financial Times Begins to Crack on Sanctions”

A journalist contact who knows the ins and outs of the Financial Times exceedingly well pinged about a new article, Japan cannot survive without Russian oil, warns trading house chief, bleating about the oil and gas sanctions, and without saying so, the going-live-soon G7 oil price cap. Yes, Japan is a member of the G7.

The piece is noteworthy, as our alert colleague correctly noted, because the Financial Times has been a hardliner on Russia generally and the sanctions/economic war in particular.

His remarks:

Roula Khalaf was summoned to Tokyo to have this dictated to her…Khalaf is a careerist and there is no way she would have run this without being ordered to.

Consider additionally:

It is very unusual for the Japanese to make a stink like this. Using a venue like the Financial Times means they wanted the noisemaking to be noticed. The Japanese complain in public only after they’ve tried hard in private and gotten nowhere. This article looks to be the result of official Japan, which has sought and gotten some waivers from the oil and gas sanctions, believing it’s going to be in a very bad way without more relief.

Recall that the EU version of the oil sanctions, was set to add extreme provisions, like permanently barring any vessel that violated the price cap regime from ever getting any services from EU companies, like insurance or even one assumes, resupply at an EU port.

Remember further that Russia has said it simply won’t sell oil subject to a price cap regime. Experts anticipate that response would produce a big jump in oil prices. Japan is already in bad economic shape due to the yen being very weak at a time when commodity prices are high. The article points out that Japan gets 9% of its gas and 4% of its oil from Russia. Those levels may not seem like much, but as the cliche goes, you will be just as dead whether you drown in 6 inches or 6 feet of water.

Or Japan’s real concern may be that the imposition of non-leaky sanctions will lead to those aforementioned big oil price increases. Simon Watkins in a new OilPrice story contends:1 sources: In the short term, Russia could secure at least three-quarters of the shipping needed to move its oil as usual to established buyers.

However, the imposition of the price cap regime is sure to produce near-term dislocations as the work arounds (and likely longer transit processes) are implemented, so the immediate shortfalls would be greater than the “three-quarters of the shipping” suggests. Would it be mere weeks, or more on the order of months for these new mechanisms to be working smoothly?

Or is the Japanese complaint more narrow, as in “We’ll cheat if we have to so don’t go looking too hard?” The interviewee is Masahiro Okafuji, the head of Itochu, long one of the smaller but sometimes particularly aggressive Japanese trading companies. Okafuji is also one of the few Japanese who has license to be candid.

Trading companies help preserve Japan’s cultural insularity by being major brokers of foreign trade transactions. They are still enormous in revenue terms with very small profit margins.

One could read Okafuji as effectively saying Japan needs foreign energy and the trading companies will get it, even if it infuriates the West. So he may be speaking from more of an institutional perspective. And given the fact that the US is escalating with China and Japan is America’s best military ally in the region, Okafuji and his confreres are likely counting on the US not being so self destructive as to cause a ruckus with Japan too by insisting on rigid compliance at a time when Japan simply can’t handle it.

Notice that Okafuji initially goes through the ritual of submission, that of course he and Japan will comply, then goes on to explain why this can’t and perhaps therefore won’t happen. This isn’t quite the Japanese “Very difficult!” with an inward hiss, which equals “no”, but it’s not terribly far from that either.

Responsible Statecraft: Rishi Sunak and the UK’s desire to project power in the Middle East

With Rishi Sunak’s appointment as British Prime Minister on October 24, the United Kingdom has selected its third prime minister in less than two months. Despite the turmoil under Liz Truss’s 44-day tenure after Boris Johnson’s forced resignation in July, Rishi Sunak has temporarily saved the party as a unity candidate, with most Conservative MPs nominating him in a fast-track vote.

Currently, Sunak’s outlook on foreign policy seems almost identical to that of his predecessor Liz Truss, while echoing Britain’s post-Brexit position under the banner of “Global Britain.”

The mantra of “Global Britain” is important for understanding the UK’s present ambitions in the world. Its stated aims are to enhance Britain’s diplomatic and international trade ties and improve defense and technological capabilities while upholding an international rules-based order. Simultaneously, Britain has sought free-trade agreements with Australia, Canada, Africa, India, and countries in the Indo-Pacific. London has also adopted a sanctions approach to countering Russia over the Ukraine war and has also proposed designating China as a similar adversary.

As for the Middle East, Britain seeks to strengthen ties with the Gulf Cooperation Council, including seeking a free-trade agreement. A UK-GCC FTA would be the first such agreement between the bloc and any European power.

Sunak’s unequivocal support for Israel and tightening British-Israeli relations also stands out. Sunak has opposed the labelling of Israel as an apartheid state — despite such labelling coming from organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and B’Tselem. He has also committed to a pledge under Boris Johnson’s government to crack down on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, by banning it from public bodies. Sunak has also trumpeted pro-Israel narratives like the country being “a shining beacon of hope in a region of autocracies and religious extremists.”

Such remarks from Sunak may not help his push for better relations with other states like Egypt and the GCC. But Sunak has previously praised Israel’s normalization with several Arab states including the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Sudan, adding that “the UK is in a strong position to leverage its historic relationships with other Gulf states to widen the accords and I would like to see UK diplomats place a greater focus on this.”

Yet more consequentially, Sunak also said at a Conservative Friends of Israel event in August that there was a “very strong case” for moving the UK embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — a step Truss also proposed.

While this could bolster British and Israeli relations, particularly as Sunak discussed an FTA with Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman in April 2022 when he was Johnson’s Chancellor, it could have diplomatic repercussions. Kuwait said it would vote against any FTA with the GCC should Britain proceed with the embassy move.

Even though Britain sees ties with Israel as necessary for projecting power in the Middle East and compensating for the loss of EU trade, bilateral relations with the GCC are perhaps of greater importance for the UK.

Outside the Imperial Core

Naked Capitalism: Is Venezuela’s US-Appointed “Interim” President Juan Guaidó On His Way Out?

Gauidó has long outlived his usefulness. Now, he and the “interim” government he fronts are an obstacle in the way of reopening Venezuela’s oil market to US oil majors.

The foreign policy establishment in Washington is in the process of redrawing the lines of its relationship with Venezuela, whose economy it has been trying to systematically destroy for the past seven or eight years, with devastating consequences. In 2019, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) acknowledged that U.S. sanctions on Venezuela had killed tens of thousands of people and eviscerated the country’s economy, largely by crippling its ability to produce its number-one export commodity, oil, or import basic goods.

Venezuela boasts the largest oil reserves on the planet, estimated at more than 300 billion barrels, as well as 201 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven gas reserves. And the US economy desperately needs to tap new energy sources to cushion the impact of the Biden Administration’s backfiring sanctions on Russia. To that end, Washington is considering loosening sanctions on Venezuela so Chevron Corp and other US oil companies can once again begin pumping oil in the country.

The price Washington appears to be willing to pay is the head of Juan Guaidó, the man it helped propel from near-obscurity to become the so-called “interim” president of Venezuela. Of course, when Guaidó proclaimed himself president of Venezuela from a city square in downtown Caracas in January 2019, he had — and still has — zero democratic legitimacy. But that didn’t stop the governments of dozens of countries around the world from recognizing him as Venezuela’s legitimate leader. Ambassadors were appointed in his name, assets were seized (stolen), and military interventions were requested.

As the Argentinean journalist Bruno Sgarzini notes, the story could have been lifted straight out of a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel. But the saga now appears to be reaching its closing act. Gauidó has long outlived his usefulness, apart from to himself and his entourage. Now, he and the parallel government he fronts are an obstacle in the way of re-normalizing economic relations between the US and Venezuela and reopening Venezuela’s oil market to US oil majors. That is what matters to Washington right now.

For the Maduro government in Caracas, putting an end to the sanctions regime that has crippled Venezuela’s economy is also a priority. During a visit to a petrochemical complex in the north of Venezuela in September, Maduro offered to provide Venezuela’s energy resources to Europe and the US, claiming that a shortage of gas and oil supplies in winter could be “tragic”:

“Now winter is coming in the north, there is a crisis in the supply of gas, oil, a crisis that could be tragic and I say to Europe and to the president of the United States, Joe Biden, Venezuela is here”.

A White House official recently told The Miami Herald that the Biden administration would not interfere if Venezuela’s opposition movement decided to oust Guaidó. “The United States continues to recognize Juan Guaidó as the interim government of Venezuela,” a U.S. national security official said. But if the Venezuelan opposition decides to call an end to the interim government, “it is their decision.”

Roughly translated, Washington is giving Venezuela’s opposition parties permission to cast Gaudó aside, which has not gone down well among Republican senators like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. According to two separate reports from Reuters and the Financial Times, three of Venezuela’s four opposition parties are unwilling to back Guaidó’s Washington-selected interim government as of next year. Reuters cited “four people familiar with the matter” while the FT quoted “a senior figure in the opposition alliance.”

Members of the Venezuelan opposition closest to Washington were also excluded from the recent direct negotiations between the White House and Miraflores. Those negotiations have produced important advances including a prisoner swap between the two countries as well as a slight relaxation in the sanctions regime. The Biden Administration has also called for a resumption in talks in Mexico between Venezuela’s government and opposition aimed at resolving the country’s political crisis.

Again, it’s a sign that Guaidó’s interim government is increasingly being sidelined by Washington. A spokesman for Guaido recently said there was no clear position among the opposition parties about the continuation of the interim government. But his own “ambassador” to Washington, Carlos Vecchio, appeared to contradict that argument by stating in a recent televised interview that he felt more like an exile than an ambassador.

Climate Change

Climate Home News: Brazil election: Lula victory raises hope for Amazon rainforest

The vote has raised environmentalists’ hopes that the Amazon rainforest will be protected from ranchers, illegal loggers and gold miners.

While Bolsonaro gutted environmental protection agencies and oversaw a rise in deforestation, Lula’s previous tenure as president saw a steady decline in forest clearance.

Deforestation speeds up climate change as the trees and soil, particularly in untouched rainforest, suck in carbon dioxide.

“For climate, [Lula’s election] is a huge hope,” Lula’s environmental advisor and former environment minister Izabella Teixeira told Climate Home News. She said that climate action and “a new relationship between humankind and nature” are critical to Brazil’s economic development.

“We know that we need to work hard but [we] now have a president that believes and is committed not only to tackle deforestation but to move forward to make sure that [we] can promote inclusive development,” she added.

In his victory speech, Lula pledged to reduce the level of forest destruction in the Brazilian Amazon to zero. According to another former environment minister Marina Silva, Lula’s administration will turn areas of the Amazon the size of France into indigenous or nature reserves. This would introduce harsher penalties for illegal deforestation in these areas.

But Amazon campaigners warned that right-wing control of Congress and the “inertia” of rising deforestation would make this target hard to achieve.

Link back to the discussion thread.