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Festival of India in Brazil kicks off with Carnatic Music and Gandhi Exhibition

The exhibition on the life of Mahatma Gandhi was inaugurated by Ambassador of India in Brazil Sunil Lal

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Festival of India
Carnatic Musical. Wikimedia
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September 2, 2017: In the opening of the 10-day Festival of India,  an exhibition on the life of Mahatma Gandhi and an enthralling performance of Carnatic music by renowned Indian musicians in Brasilia, that was attended by senior Brazilian government officials, ambassadors, media, culture lovers and friends of India.

The event, on August 31, was held at the University of Brasilia (UnB).

Also Read: Navratri is a Festival which can be Celebrated by all, Irrespective of their Caste or Religion

The Festival of India is being organised in Brasilia, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro by the Indian Ministry of Culture and the Embassy of India in Brazil to celebrate the completion of 70 years of India’s independence, an Indian Embassy press release said.

The exhibition on the life of Mahatma Gandhi was inaugurated by Ambassador of India in Brazil Sunil Lal. The bilingual exhibition in English and Portuguese familiarized the Brazilian visitors with fascinating aspects of the Mahatma’s life and his decisive role in India’s independence. This was followed by the soulful performance of Indian Carnatic music by Anuroop Sugathan on the violin, Govindarajan and Palakal who were the vocalists and Viswanathan on the Mridangam.

In an evening marked by patriotic fervour and invocation of the divine, the Brazilian audience were treated to renditions of Vande Mataram and devotional and classical Carnatic numbers, reaching the crescendo with a rendition of the Indian National Anthem.

The group of musicians are to perform in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

The Brazilian friends of India would be treated to another stellar evening of a Kathak performance by an 11-member group led by Nandini Singh in Brasilia on Friday. This would be followed by Kathak performances in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The widely appreciated exhibition on Mahatma Gandhi would also be on display in São Paulo.

The final leg of the festival would celebrate Indian literature with renowned Indian poets Siva Reddy Kolli, Shauq Mohammed Shafi Lone and Monalisa Jena sharing gems of Indian literature in Telugu, Kashmiri and Odia languages, with their translations, to introduce the Brazilian audience to the fascinating world of Indian poetry, in all the three cities. (IANS)

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Green Groups In Brazil Prepare A Climate Change Plan

A Brazilian version would draw on linkages between about 150 civil society groups who worked closely over the last year to oppose Bolsonaro's campaign

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Brazil, rainforests
This photo released by the Brazilian Environmental and Renewable Natural Resources Institute (Ibama) shows an illegally deforested area on Pirititi indigenous lands as Ibama agents inspect Roraima state in Brazil's Amazon basin. VOA

With its wooden walls and posters on protecting forests and fauna, Brazil’s pavilion at the U.N. climate talks in Poland offers no hint of the angst at home and abroad over mixed messages on global warming from its president-elect.

But campaign promises made by Jair Bolsonaro that could weaken protection for the Amazon rainforest are a hot topic of conversation among visitors, said Caio Henrique Scarmocin, one of three hosts on the stand.

At the conference, whose outcome will be key to implementing the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, scientists and environmental activists said they were laying the groundwork should calls for Bolsonaro to protect Brazil’s forests fail.

Campaign statements from Bolsonaro, who takes power in January, suggested indigenous lands could be opened up to economic exploitation, including agribusiness and mining, and environmental fines eased.

Brazil President, rainforest
Brazil’s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro arrives for a meeting in Brasilia. VOA

The ability of Ibama, Brazil’s environmental protection agency, to fine those who break environmental laws is one of the government’s best defenses against the destruction of forests, stoking fears of a deforestation spike under the new government.

Bolsonaro, who campaigned on a far-right platform, also pushed the Brazilian government to withdraw its offer to host next year’s U.N. climate conference.

“He has a hostile approach over environmental issues,” said Paulo Barreto, a researcher with Imazon, a Brazilian institute monitoring deforestation in the Amazon.

Brazil is home to about 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest, considered by many as nature’s best weapon against global warming, because trees absorb and store carbon from the air.

Alfredo Sirkis, executive secretary of the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change, said he thought dialogue with the incoming government was still possible.

Rainforest, Brazil
In this May 4, 2018 photo released by Ibama, the Brazilian Environmental and Renewable Natural Resources Institute, members of a specialized inspection group of Ibama walk with their weapons up through an area affected by illegal mining, after landing in helicopters in Munduruku indigenous lands in Para state in Brazil’s Amazon basin. VOA

But if environmental roll-backs proceed, there was a “contingency plan,” he told journalists.

A coalition would assemble regional governments committed to respecting Brazil’s emissions reduction goals set under the Paris pact, said Sirkis.

Governors in as many as seven Brazilian states, including Amazonas, Pernambuco, the Federal District, Espirito Santo, Parana and Rio Grande do Sul, had already expressed interest in joining, he said.

“This is for starters,” said the former congressman.

A spokesman for the presidency of Brazil at the climate talks declined to comment.

U.S. shows the way

The plan has similarities with “We Are Still In,” a U.S. group of more than 3,500 mayors, governors and business leaders who have promised they will not retreat from the Paris deal.

Brazil, cuban doctors, rainforest
Brazil’s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro talks to the media, in Brasilia, Brazil. VOA

Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump gave notice the United States would leave the accord — although it cannot formally withdraw until 2020 — arguing it was bad for the economy.

Mauricio Voivodic, executive director of WWF-Brazil, said his group had been in touch with the U.S. campaign through WWF-US, which is part of the “We Are Still In” secretariat.

The American coalition has its own pavilion at the U.N. climate talks.

“We are learning from ‘We Are Still In’ the importance of sub-national (governments) and companies enhancing commitments for the implementation of the Paris Agreement,” Voivodic said.

But WWF-Brazil is not yet trying to emulate the model because it wants to prioritize dialogue already under way with the transition government, he added.

“It could be an option, but we are not going in the direction of starting planning this,” said Voivodic.

Deforestation, Brazil
Brazil Surpasses 2020 Target to Cut Deforestation Emissions. Flickr

Brazil’s future environment minister told Reuters on Monday his “inclination” was not to leave the Paris Agreement, after Bolsonaro said on the campaign trail he might quit the deal, under which countries set their own targets to cut emissions.

Marcio Astrini, public policy coordinator for Greenpeace Brazil, said he also looked to the United States as a vague blueprint to build a similar “resistance movement.”

A Brazilian version would draw on linkages between about 150 civil society groups who worked closely over the last year to oppose Bolsonaro’s campaign, he said.

Also Read: Many Countries Refused To Endorse Landmark Study as Climate Conference Enters Second Week

Also mirroring tactics used in the United States, his group does not exclude filing lawsuits to push back against potential weakening of environmental and climate regulations in Brazil.

“It’s on the table,” he said, adding that it was still a last-resort option. (VOA)