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Amazon Wildfires Should be At Top of Group of Seven (G-7) Summit Agenda: French President

Brazil's ultra-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, is accusing his French counterpart of having a "colonialist mentality"

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Amazon, Wildfires, G7
This satellite image provided by NASA shows the fires in Brazil on Aug. 20, 2019. As fires raged in the Amazon rainforest, the government denounced critics who say President Jair Bolsonaro is not doing enough. VOA

Brazil’s ultra-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, is accusing his French counterpart of having a “colonialist mentality” for saying the Amazon wildfires should be at the top of the Group of Seven (G-7) summit agenda.

“The French president’s suggestion that Amazon issues be discussed at the G-7 without participation by the countries in the region evoke a colonialist mentality that is out of place in the 21st century,” Bolsonaro tweeted Thursday.

He said countries that send money to Brazil for the Amazon are not doing it out of charity but “with the aim of interfering with our sovereignty.”

Thousands of wildfires burning in the Amazon rainforest threaten to wipe out large parts of a vital and irreplaceable ecosystem.

Amazon, Wildfires, G7
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro speaks at the opening of the Brazilian Steel Congress, in Brasilia, Brazil, Aug. 21, 2019. VOA

“Our house is burning. Literally,” French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted Thursday. “The Amazon rainforest, the lungs which produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen, is on fire. It is an international crisis.”

Images from U.S. satellites show smoke blanketing South America from the thousands of fires burning in the Amazon.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he is very concerned and the Bishops Conference for Latin America Thursday said the fires are a “tragedy” and called on the world to take immediate action to protect the Amazon.

Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research reported this week it has spotted about 73,000 fires in the Amazon so far this year — an 83% surge over the first eight months of 2018.Environmentalists put much of the blame on Bolsonaro, saying he encourages farmers and others to burn land for development and pasture.

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They decry what they say are his anti-environment stance in favor of oil, mineral, logging and ranching interests. Bolsonaro has called the Amazon an economic resource that should be exploited.

With no evidence to back it up, Bolsonaro has accused nongovernmental organizations that have lost funding of deliberately setting the fires to “try to take me down.”

But he said Thursday that farmers may have illegally set fires.

Bolsonaro also said his government lacks the resources to fight the fires in such a huge area.

Amazon, Wildfires, G7
French President Emmanuel Macron pauses after greeting Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Elysee Palace, Aug. 22, 2019 in Paris. VOA

Brazilian prosecutors say they will investigate allegations that the government has cut back on monitoring and enforcing environmental laws in the Amazon. They also plan to look into who was behind a newspaper advertisement in Para state encouraging farmers to set fires and burn large areas.

The Amazon rainforest is the world’s biggest ecosystem and irreplaceable. Environmentalists call it “the world’s lungs” because it creates 20% of the globe’s oxygen and is able to absorb carbon dioxide, the gas primarily responsible for global warming.

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The Amazon is also home to much of Brazil’s indigenous population and thousands of species of mammals, birds and reptiles. (VOA)

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Festival Sales by Amazon, Flipkart Violating FDI Norms

“Such festive sales offering deep discounts are nothing but influencing the prices directly or indirectly which is a clear violation of the policy,” it said

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Amazon, online retailer, Drones
The Amazon warehouse in San Fernando de Henares is seen during a 3-day walkout to demand better wages and working conditions, on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain. VOA

Reiterating its demand for ban on festival sales by Amazon and Flipkart, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Tuesday said that the two e-commerce majors are flouting the norms for foreign direct investment (FDI) by carrying out festival sales.

The traders’ body urged the Commerce Minister to look into the violation of the FDI policy by these e-commerce companies and impose a ban on the declared festival sales. It also urged the government to institute an investigation into the business models of these companies.

“Holding such sales and offering deep discounts are clear violations of Press Note No.2 of FDI policy 2018. The CAIT has earlier written to Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal to ban the declared festival sales by these e-commerce portals,” a CAIT statement said.

“CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal strongly opposed the statements of Amazon and Flipkart that appeared in media couple of days back that they empower the sellers on their respective platforms to decide the prices and offer their choice of selection to customers at the prices they deem fit and offer best value of their products to consumers.

“The said statement of both the companies are devoid of any logic and just an eye wash to keep right the wrong practices they are conducting on their platform,” it said.

Flipkart Buys Back Shares Worth $350 mn.
New e-commerce norms to impact e-tailers: Flipkart. IANS

Khandelwal also said that these companies are indulging in blatant violation of the FDI policy of the Centre. CAIT noted that the key provisions of the FDI policy say that 100 per cent FDI is allowed in the e-commerce marketplace model and under which e-commerce companies can act only act as technical platforms.

The policy clearly says that e-commerce entities will not influence the prices directly or indirectly and shall maintain a level playing field, the statement said.

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“Since these e-commerce companies are not owners of the inventory how can they offer deep discounts on the inventory hold by the sellers registered on their platform. As per policy, it should be the seller offering discounts but in this case the discounts are offered by e-commerce companies which is again a violation of e-commerce policy.

“Such festive sales offering deep discounts are nothing but influencing the prices directly or indirectly which is a clear violation of the policy,” it said. (IANS)