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Anthropologist Jane Goodall: China is pillaging Africa like an old colonial power

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China is exploiting Africa’s resources just like European colonisers did, with disastrous effects for the environment, acclaimed primatologist Jane Goodall has told AFP.

On the eve of her 80th birthday, the fiery British wildlife crusader is whizzing across the world giving a series of lectures on the threats to our planet.

And the rising world power’s involvement on the continent especially raises alarms when it comes to her beloved chimpanzees and wildlife habitats.

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During the last decade China has been investing heavily in African natural resources, developing mines, oil wells and running related construction companies.

Activists accuse Chinese firms of paying little attention to the environmental impact of their race for resources.

“In Africa, China is merely doing what the colonialist did. They want raw materials for their economic growth, just as the colonialists were going into Africa and taking the natural resources, leaving people poorer,” she told AFP in an interview in Johannesburg.

The stakes for the environment may even be larger this time round, she warns.

“China is bigger, and the technology has improved… It is a disaster.”

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Other than massive investment in Africa’s mines, China is also a big market for elephant tusks and rhino horn, which has driven poaching of these animals to alarming heights.

But Goodall, who rose to fame through her ground-breaking research on chimpanzees in Tanzania, is optimistic.

“I do believe China is changing,” she said, citing as one example Beijing’s recent destruction of illegal ivory stockpiles.

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“I think 10 years ago, even with international pressure, we would never have had an ivory crush. But they have,” she added.

“I think 10 years ago the government would never have banned shark fin soup on official occasions. But they have.”

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– ‘Small window of time’ –

Her organisation Roots and Shoots, founded over two decades ago to instil conservation values in children, has also become involved in China.

“We work with hundreds of Chinese children, and they are not different from children we work with here. They all love nature, they love animals, they want to help, there’s no difference because they’re Chinese,” she said.

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Young people’s enthusiasm to change the world is a major reason to hope, for this lady with seemingly inexhaustible energy who can still keep an auditorium hanging on her words for more than an hour.

“These young people will become the next parents, the next teachers, the next lawyers, the next business people and the next politicians, some of them.”

“The biggest problem is that people understand but don’t know what to do,” she said.

“If you have one thousand, one million or eventually several million people all making the right choice, all thinking about the consequence of their behaviour, then we’re going to see big change.”

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Another glimmer of hope is “this amazing resilience of nature,” she continued, citing as an example the China’s Loess Plateau on the Yellow River bouncing back after massive soil erosion.

“It was set to be the biggest totally destroyed ecosystem in the world,” she said.

A $400-million project funded by the Chinese government and international donors introduced better farming methods in the area, which greatly reduced erosion and lifted 2.5 million people out of poverty, according to the World Bank.

“That took a lot of money, but if you look at it now, it’s all green, lush and farmland, and children have come back from the cities. It’s even got a whole area for wildlife,” said Goodall.

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“We still have a small window of time to change things.”

[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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‘Another hoax’: Trump whines and rambles about Supreme Court and New York in latest meeting

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After spending most of the day whining on Twitter, President Donald Trump spoke to the press from the White House Thursday afternoon to call questions about his taxes and financial documents a "witch hunt."

Trump has used the term to reference the Russia scandal, the Ukraine scandal, cases against Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, his friend Roger Stone and any other topics he chooses on any given day.

"Do you have a reaction to the Supreme Court rulings today?" asked a reporter that sounded like CNN's Kaitlan Collins.

"The rulings we're basically starting all over again," Trump said. "This is a political witch-hunt... it's a witch-hunt, it's a hoax, just like the Mueller investigation... this is purely political..."

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Ron DeSantis is secretly sabotaging Florida’s efforts to court the Republican National Convention: report

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After President Trump threatened to pull the Republican National Convention out of Charlotte, North Carolina, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis launched a push to bring the convention to his state. But according to a report from The New York Times, DeSantis is now hindering his state's efforts to bring in the event.

"Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, has directed his top fund-raiser, Heather Barker, to tell donors not to give to the convention because of a personal dispute between the governor and Susie Wiles, his former campaign manager who is serving as an informal adviser to the convention planners, according to multiple people familiar with his actions," the Times' Annie Karni and Patricia Mazzei write.

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Kayleigh McEnany has railed against recipients of government assistance — but her parents received $1-2 million in PPP loans: report

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White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has been highly critical of Americans who receive any type of government assistance and isn’t shy about expressing her disdain for “welfare recipients.” But McEnany’s parents, according to data released by the Small Business Administration earlier this week, received millions of dollars in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program.

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