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President Bolsonaro says claims of hunger in Brazil ‘a big lie’

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Friday there was no hunger in the country, citing the lack of “poor people in the street with a skeletal physique” as evidence.

Speaking to foreign journalists, Bolsonaro blamed “populists” for propagating “a big lie” that some of Brazil’s 209 million people did not have enough to eat.

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“There is no hunger,” the far-right leader said, noting Brazil “was rich in practically every type of crop”.

“You don’t see poor people in the street with a skeletal physique like in other countries.

“To say that there is hunger in Brazil is a populist discourse to try to win popular sympathy, nothing more than that.”

Latest figures from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization show 5.1 million Brazilians are “undernourished.”

But the proportion of the population suffering had fallen to less than 2.5 percent between 2008 and 2010, compared with 11.9 percent in the 1999-2001 period.

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The FAO attributed the decline to social welfare programs introduced by the leftwing government of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, including the Zero Hunger campaign.

In a recent interview with O Globo, Rodrigo Maia, the powerful head of the lower house, accused Bolsonaro of showing no “concern” for the poor.

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Six dead in hours-long New York-area shootout

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Six people including a police officer and two suspects were killed during an hours-long shootout across a New York suburb not far from the Statue of Liberty, local officials said.

"Our officers were under fire for hours," Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly told reporters after the latest high-profile US shooting.

In addition to the officer and the suspects, three civilians were killed in the incident that began around midday at a cemetery and ended in a store, Kelly said.

Bomb squad officers were examining a stolen U-Haul vehicle "that may contain an incendiary device," he added.

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Climate pledges ‘misleading’, Greta Thunberg tells UN meet

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Swedish activist Greta Thunberg on Wednesday accused wealthier nations of inventing ways to avoid slashing their greenhouse gas emissions, branding their climate action "misleading" at a summit in Madrid.

The UN climate forum tasked with saving the world from runaway global warming has become an "opportunity for countries to negociate loopholes and to avoid raising their ambition" to act on climate, the 16-year-old told delegates.

"Countries are finding clever ways around having to take real action."

Nations are gathered in Spain's capital to finalise the rulebook of the 2015 landmark Paris climate accord, which aims to limit global temperature rises to "well below" two degrees Celsius and to a safer cap of 1.5C if possible.

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Scientists to harness the sun to break down plastic

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Scientists said Wednesday they have come up with an environmentally-friendly method that uses artificial sunlight to transform plastic into power-generating chemicals, as countries worldwide battle to reduce waste.

Huge quantities of plastic have piled up on land and been dumped in the sea across the world, with Asian nations in particular facing criticism for failing to tackle the problem.

Researchers in Singapore say they have converted plastic into "formic acid", which can be used in power plants to generate electricity, by using a catalyst which neither damages the environment nor costs a lot of money.

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