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Peruvian Amazon undergoing deforestation at accelerating pace: official

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The Peruvian Amazon lost nearly two million hectares (five million acres) of forest between 2001 and 2016, or more than 123,000 hectares (300,000 acres) a year, figures made public Tuesday by the ministry of the environment.

Agriculture, livestock raising, illegal logging, clandestine mining and drug trafficking were the main culprits, Cesar Calmet, the head of the ministry’s forest preservation program, told AFP.

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“Unless decisions are taken on the matter, forest loss could reach 300,000 to 400,000 hectares a year,” he warned.

Satellite images show that deforestation continued apace in 2017, with 143,000 hectares of Amazon forest wiped from the map of Peru, “the equivalent of 200,000 football fields,” according to the environmental website Mongabay.

Peru is one of 17 “mega diverse” countries on Earth, which together contain 70 percent of the world’s biodiversity, according to the UN’s environmental agency.

It also is the country with the second largest expanse of Amazon forest after Brazil.

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Located in the country’s east, the Amazon basin accounts for a third of Peru’s territory, and is a precious resource for absorbing greenhouse gases, the cause of global warming.

Calmet’s group at the environment ministry says the situation is particularly troubling in the southern Amazon region of Madre de Dios where panning for gold is widespread and deforestation is advancing rapidly, from 5,000 hectares in 2001 to 17,000 in 2016.

Pope Francis traveled to the region in January and called for protection of the Amazon and its indigenous inhabitants.

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New testimony adds 2 stunning — and previously unknown — details about the Ukraine extortion

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New testimony released Monday from the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of the Ukraine scandal included at least two new stunning details about the quid pro quo scheme at the heart of the matter.

Overall, the transcripts for depositions of Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson, who were advisers to U.S. envoy Kurt Volker, built on the story of that we already know: that President Donald Trump pushed a shadow foreign policy to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political opponents, a scheme that involved using his office and military aid as leverage over the country in opposition to the official policy.

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Trump blasted for his ‘Endorsement of Doom’ after Sean Spicer loses on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

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Team Trump had gone all in urging supporters to vote for former White House press secretary Sean Spicer on the game show "Dancing with the Stars."

Votes had been urged by RNC officials and Trump himself had urged his 66 million Twitter followers to vote for Spicer.

Despite the full heft of the Trump campaign, Spicer lost on Monday's show.

Trump deleted his failed tweet urging votes for Spicer -- and instead said it was a "great try" by his former advisor.

Looks like this endorsement was as successful as your last one!

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‘He’s misunderstood’: Nikki Haley tells Fox News how Trump is actually a really good listener

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Former Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley defended President Donald Trump during a Monday appearance with Fox News personality Sean Hannity.

Hannity asked the former South Carolina governor if Trump was "misunderstood."

"I do think he’s misunderstood," Haley replied.

"I can tell you, from the first day to the last day that I worked for the president, he always listened, he was always conscious of hearing other voices, allowing people to debate out the issues, and then he made his decision," Haley claimed.

She argued that, "I saw a president that was very thoughtful, looked at all of the issues, made decisions, and it was a pleasure and honor to work with him."

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