Monday March 18, 2019
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Spix’s Macaw Parrot from Brazil Is Now Extinct

In the 2011 movie, Blu was raised in captivity and travels from Minnesota to Brazil with his owner to repopulate his species with the last wild female of their kind, Jewel.

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Spix's Macaw
Spix's Macaw, Brazilian parrot extinct in wild. Flickr

A new study has found the Spix’s macaw of Brazil has become extinct in the wild. The bird achieved onscreen fame as an animated character in the Disney movie “Rio” as a charming parrot named Blu.

The Spix’s macaw is one of eight bird species, half of them in Brazil, confirmed extinct or suspected extinct in the report from BirdLife International published on Sunday, reports CNN.

But 60 to 80 Spix’s macaws still live in captivity.

Spix's Macaw
Spix’s Macaw. Flickr

Deforestation is a leading cause of the Spix’s macaw’s disappearance from its natural habitat, according to the report.

For the first time, extinctions on the mainland are outpacing those on islands, it said.

“Ninety per cent of bird extinctions in recent centuries have been of species on islands,” said Stuart Butchart, BirdLife’s chief scientist and the paper’s lead author.

“However, our results confirm that there is a growing wave of extinctions sweeping across the continents, driven mainly by habitat loss and degradation from unsustainable agriculture and logging.”

 

Spix's Macaw
Poster of the Disney Movie ‘Rio 2’.

 

In the 2011 movie, Blu was raised in captivity and travels from Minnesota to Brazil with his owner to repopulate his species with the last wild female of their kind, Jewel.

Also Read: Thousands of Live Animals, Meat, Ivory, Seized In Illegal Trade: Interpol

But the movie was 11 years too late, the study found, as Jewel likely would have died in 2000. (IANS)

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Brazil’s President Bolsonaro Faces First Defeat in Congress

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal.

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Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro arrives at the inauguration ceremony of the new president of the Parliamentary Front of Agriculture (FPA), at the Clube Naval, in Brasilia, Jan. 19, 2019. VOA

Brazil’s lower chamber handed right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro his first defeat in Congress on Tuesday, the day before his government presents its most important legislative proposal to rein in a gaping budget deficit and spur growth.

The house voted overwhelmingly to suspend an executive order by the Bolsonaro government that altered Brazil’s freedom of information law to broaden the number of officials allowed to designate data and documents as secret or ultra-secret.

Lawmakers voted 367 to 57 to fast-track a bill overturning the secrecy measure and government whips were unable to muster votes to avoid defeat.

The bill must still be voted on by the Senate, but the reversal showed that Bolsonaro, who took office on Jan. 1, has not yet been able to organize a coalition in Congress to back his legislative agenda.

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro will send to Congress his plan to overhaul Brazil’s generous and costly pension system that eats up more than half of federal spending and is the main factor behind an unsustainable budget deficit.

Brazil, Bolsonaro
FILE – Gustavo Bebianno in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sept. 29, 2018. VOA

Approval of pension reform is vital for the recovery of investor confidence in Latin America’s largest economy.

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal involving campaign financing for some of his party’s congressional candidates in the October elections.

ALSO READ: Trump Chooses Jeffery Rosen as Deputy Attorney General, Says White House

The ousted minister, Gustavo Bebianno, was instrumental in getting Bolsonaro elected but had a run-in with one of the president’s sons, triggering the weeks-old government’s first cabinet crisis.

In a note to clients, analysts at Eurasia Group said the scandal indicated the administration’s political team was in disarray, but they still expected the pension reform to get passed, albeit in a less ambitious version. (VOA)