Sejam bem-vindos e bem-vindas a mais um episódio da nossa nova série de podcasts, o Fluency News! Aqui, você vai treinar a sua escuta e ficar por dentro do que está acontecendo no mundo, sempre com as três principais notícias da semana, tudo em inglês! Ao longo do episódio, nós também adicionamos explicações em português das coisas que achamos que precisam de mais atenção, assim você não perde nenhum detalhe!
Nesta semana, nós falamos sobre as controvérsias a respeito do filme live-action Mulan, a decisão judicial acerca das terras indígenas que gerou medo na população local, e a destruição do acampamento de imigrantes que acomodava quase 13 mil pessoas na Grécia.
E, para assistir o vídeo em que o Rhavi explica a pronúncia do TH em inglês, é só clicar aqui!
Activists call for Mulan boycott after Disney offers film on streaming platform
Moria migrants: Fire destroys Greece's camp on Lesbos
Brazil court decision sparks fears over Indigenous land
Hungary's researcher Roska wins award for procedure that could cure blindness
What is up, everyone! Welcome back to Fluency Academy’s Fluency News. This podcast series was created especially for you, someone who understands English but struggles with more specific structures, words, or expressions. Fluency News is the perfect way to give your English a boost while keeping you informed. I’m your host, Scott Lowe, American born and raised but a Brazilian at heart.
Before we get started, let me remind you! You can visit Fluencytv.com for the sources to this episode, as well as extra material to accompany today’s podcast and expand your knowledge. Our portal already has more than 500 free classes in five different languages, which are Inglês, Francês, Espanhol, Italiano e Alemão. Definitely go check out fluencytv.com!
So, how does this work, Scott? I’ll tell you! We’ll present to you three of the week's biggest news stories,100% in English, for you to train your listening and comprehension. After each story, we’ll explore points of interest in Portuguese. And we’ll always end with some good news because we definitely need it!
Our first story of the day doesn’t go far! We’re going to talk about how Brazil’s court decision sparked fears over Indigenous land.
When Kawore Parakana sees the smoke rising on the horizon, the Indigenous leader knows that another part of Brazil's Amazon rainforest is gone.
For more than three decades, the Parakana people have been fighting to protect their land in the Apyterewa reservation, in the northern state of Para, from illegal miners, loggers, and farmers who clear large swaths of trees.
"With each day that passes there is a huge amount of deforestation. They create large fields. There has been a lot of smoke here lately at the bottom of the area," Kawore said.
He said the Parakana fear there will be many more burning trees after a Supreme Court decision that could allow the municipality that oversees the reservation to legalize the presence of farmers already encroaching on the land.
In May, Justice Gilmar Mendes opened the door to negotiations between Brazil's government and the municipality of Sao Felix do Xingu, which wants to reduce the size of the Indigenous territory on behalf of a local farmers' association.
Land rights activists say the proposal, which would make Indigenous protected areas available for development, is unconstitutional.
The negotiations - referred to by the court as a conciliation - could set a precedent for the reduction of other Indigenous territories across the country, they warn. "Rights to (Indigenous) territories, as provided in the Constitution itself, are non-disposable rights - they are not subject to any type of negotiation," said Luiz Eloy Terena, a lawyer at APIB, Brazil's main Indigenous federation.
Eloy explained there are several other Supreme Court hearings set for the coming months to address similar land conflicts between Indigenous communities and illegal miners, loggers, and farmers.
Those hearings may be influenced by the result of the negotiations over Apyterewa, he added.
Eloy and other Indigenous rights advocates say the Parakana were not initially asked to participate in the negotiations about their own land.
In June, the Attorney General's Office published a document criticizing the lack of Indigenous representatives in the process.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation made several requests for comment to Mendes, the Attorney General's Office, the lawyer representing Sao Felix do Xingu, and the farmers' associations but received no replies.
For the Parakana people, negotiations are not an option, Kawore said - the only acceptable outcome for the community is the eviction of the invaders from their land.
"We don't want to give them even a millimeter," he said.
Covering 730,000 hectares, Apyterewa had the second-highest level of deforestation amongst Indigenous territories in 2019, according to the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), which tracks deforestation in Brazil.
More than 85sq km of forest were cleared last year alone, the institute's data shows.
Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon hit an 11-year high last year and has soared a further 25 percent in the first half of 2020, according to INPE.
The tree loss is driven mainly by forest being cleared for cattle ranching, soy cultivation, and illegal gold mining and logging.
Forests are vital for curbing climate change, as trees absorb about a third of the planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions produced worldwide.
The Amazon forest also plays a crucial role in producing moisture that falls as rainfall in the southern agricultural heartlands of Brazil and Argentina - areas hit by heavy drought in recent years as the forest disappears.
Under Brazil's current constitution, enacted in 1988, Indigenous lands belong to the state, which grants Indigenous peoples the permanent right to live and work on them.
Indigenous reservations, which the federal Indigenous affairs agency, Funai, said make up more than 12 percent of Brazil's territory, have long been targeted by outsiders looking to tap their natural resources.
Human rights groups say invaders have been stepping up their activities in recent years, emboldened by Brazil's right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro and his plans to introduce mining and farming in protected and Indigenous lands in the Amazon region.
"The government wants to exchange Indigenous people for cattle. That is the government's main interest - to transform the forest into farmland and put cattle on Indigenous land," Kawore said.
Carlos Fausto, an anthropologist and lecturer at the National Museum, a leading research institution in Brazil, said the Supreme Court's decision could have long-lasting implications for Indigenous land rights and for the Amazon.
"It means all Indigenous land will be a target from now on," he said.
In destroying large swaths of forest cover, the illegal miners and loggers are also affecting water sources vital to the animals that the Parakana hunt for food, he added.
"Worst of all, we are talking about an area where springs that serve as subsistence to the Parakana people are located," said Fausto, who carried out his doctoral research among the Indigenous community.
"One of the greatest threats caused in the process of forest clearing is to the area where game breeds," he noted, adding that the community relies on the springs for fishing and hunting.
As the Parakana wait to hear the government's position on the reduction of their territory, Aluisio Azanha, the lawyer representing the community, noted that Brazil's constitution "imposes a duty on the Union to demarcate and protect [Indigenous lands]."
Kawore said the negotiations are "clearly a threat".
"It's nothing more than that: The government is threatening our territory," he said.
"If this happens to the Parakana people, the people will die together with the land, because how will we practice our culture? It could suddenly die. We don't want that."
Nessa história, eu falei algumas palavras que grande parte dos brasileiros têm dificuldade em pronunciar. São palavras que têm o TH. Esse som é causa de receio em brasileiros que estão aprendendo inglês, mas eu acho importante você saber que não é problema de brasileiro não. Esse som é exclusivo do inglês, mas com a prática, você chega à perfeição. Para falar as palavras anthropologist, swath e threats, por exemplo, é só colocar a língua entre os dentes e fazer o som de S. É um som sem voz, como se fosse um sopro de ar. Para treinar mais a sua pronúncia, eu recomendo que você visite o nosso portal, fluencytv.com e escute os Walk ‘n’ Talk, que são a nossa série de podcasts feitos pra treinar a sua pronúncia. A versão Essentials tem as explicações em português, e a versão Level Up é toda em inglês, pra você treinar a sua compreensão também. Depois que você escutar aqui, corre lá pra ouvir. Além disso, o Rhavi tem uma tip incrível sobre essa pronúncia. Nós vamos colocar o link aqui na descrição, pra você assistir quando terminar aqui. Agora repete comigo aquelas três palavrinhas que eu citei.
With that, we move to the second story of today’s episode. How Disney’s live-action Mulan sparked outrage across the globe.
Disney has publicly thanked a Chinese government agency accused of human rights abuses in Xinjiang for its help in making "Mulan" — a revelation that has provoked a storm of criticism online.
Disney acknowledges several Chinese government bodies in the credits for the live-action remake of the 1998 animated picture of the same name, but a few, in particular, have raised red flags: The Xinjiang government's publicity department and the Public Security and Tourism bureaus for Turpan, a city of about 633,400 people just outside Xinjiang's capital Urumqi.
Disney did not respond to a request for comment from CNN Business to its media inquiry line, and to US press officers about the film and the credits. It's not clear how much of "Mulan" may have been shot in Xinjiang, though people who worked on the movie have said on social media and in interviews that they scouted and filmed locations there.
The US State Department estimates that since 2015 as many as two million of the Muslim-majority Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities have been imprisoned in enormous re-education camps in Xinjiang.
The Turpan Public Security Bureau has been listed by the US government as an organization involved in "human rights violations and abuses" in the region.
Beijing has long defended the crackdown in Xinjiang as necessary to tackle extremism and terrorism, and said it is in line with Chinese law and international practice, calling accusations of mass detentions a "groundless lie" and "sensational rumor." A spokesperson for the country's foreign ministry on Tuesday reiterated its defense of what it calls its Xinjiang "vocational skills education and training centers." CNN Business has reached out to the Xinjiang government and Turpan's tourism bureau, but Turpan's Public Security Bureau could not be reached for comment.
"There are no so-called concentration camps in Xinjiang," said China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian. "The establishment of vocational skills education and training centers in Xinjiang in accordance with the law is a useful attempt and active exploration for preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization."
But the connections between Xinjiang and "Mulan" have ignited widespread criticism on social media since its release Friday on Disney+, the company's streaming service. Human rights advocates are now calling on Disney to make public any agreements with the Chinese government over filming in the region.
"[It's] deeply disturbing that Disney thought it was okay to partner with, and also thank, government departments, specifically propaganda departments, and a public security bureau from a region in China that is complicit with genocide," said Isaac Stone Fish, senior fellow at the Asia Society, a New York-based non-profit organization focused on raising awareness of Asia.
Disney hoped that "Mulan" would be a major success at the lucrative Chinese box office, now the second-largest in the world. The company spoke last year about its dedication to making the film culturally accurate — remarks that were reported in Chinese state media.
"We spent a lot of time in the beginning with scholars, experts, and people from the region. And we spent a great deal of time in China," said Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, at a Disney expo event last year, reported the state-run news agency Xinhua. Bailey added that the studio "not only has a Chinese cast but also brought in a Chinese producer to make the movie with them," the outlet noted.
Eschewing the musicality of Disney's earlier animated feature of the same name, one box office analyst told CNN Business earlier this year that the live-action epic was "tailor-made for success."
But the film — which is based on a traditional Chinese legend about a female warrior who disguised herself as a man and took her father's place in the army — has already faced controversy and setbacks.
In August 2019, pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong called for a boycott of "Mulan" after the lead actor expressed support for Hong Kong police on her social media account.
"I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong," Liu Yifei, a Chinese-born US citizen who plays the titular Hua Mulan, posted to her official Weibo account. At the time, Hong Kong police faced allegations of excessive violence against protesters. (Hong Kong police defended their actions in September 2019, saying they had been "so restrained.")
Then in March, Disney was forced to delay the film's release as the coronavirus pandemic shuttered movie theaters.
Disney is the latest U.S. business to be embroiled in a political controversy involving China. Last year, the National Basketball Association was plunged into turmoil after a team manager tweeted in support of the Hong Kong demonstrators, triggering a backlash and a blackout of games in China. DreamWorks Animation’s movie “Abominable” stirred up a storm in Asia after the film featured a map reflecting China’s maritime claims disputed by its neighbors.
Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, slammed Disney on Twitter Tuesday, saying the entertainment giant is “addicted to Chinese cash and will do just about anything to please the Communist Party.”
Disney has a lot at stake in China. The company spent $5.5 billion developing its Shanghai Disneyland resort and has been expanding its smaller park in Hong Kong. The movie market there is also on track to become the world’s largest. But with both Republicans and Democrats focusing on China trade and cultural issues in the run-up to the presidential election, the company could continue to find itself in the political crossfire.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re called before Congress,” said Stanley Rosen, a political-science professor and specialist on China at the University of Southern California.
The financial impact of the controversies on “Mulan” remains to be seen. The movie already faced a steep climb to profitability because so many theaters were closed by the coronavirus. The film was released as a $30 video-on-demand last Friday on Disney+, which is only available in certain markets, including the United States. It makes its debut in Chinese theaters this weekend. (Disney+ is not available in China.)
The release of the film has renewed the controversy surrounding it, however. Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, Thailand and Taiwan have once again called on people to boycott the film because of Liu's remarks last year.
And it's not even clear that the film will win over Chinese audiences, who were already chilly toward the original animated version because of its westernized flair and unfaithful retelling of the original legend.
After the release of the trailer in 2019, Chinese state-run media Global Times criticized the film for using Japanese "ninja gestures" and Chinese stereotypes.
Now, however, while many eagerly await the release of “Mulan,” some users of Weibo, the country’s largest social media platform, touched upon the Xinjiang controversy in their posts and voiced support for the movie.
“The western anti-Chinese forces, Hong Kong and Taiwan independence forces and others are spreading hatred against China’s soft power using Xinjiang,” said one user. Another said, “I seriously don’t understand.”
Rich Gelfond, chief executive officer of Imax Corp., which has a big presence in China, predicts no backlash against U.S. pictures there -- even with the trade war and other issues between the countries. The Warner Bros. sci-fi thriller “Tenet” took in $30 million in China last weekend, the biggest opening for a Christopher Nolan-directed film in the country.
The bigger problems for “Mulan” could be ones that studios are more accustomed to: piracy, for example, because the movie is already available online. The reviews have also been less than unanimous -- 76% of critics and 54% of the audience gave it a thumbs up, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
But the woes for U.S. companies doing business in China aren’t close to being over, said Michael Berry, who teaches Chinese culture at the University of California, Los Angeles.
“Part of this feels like a political pile-on,” he said. “Companies like Disney are faced with difficult decisions when it comes to balancing where they stand with core principles like human rights and access to global markets.”
Nessa história, eu usei a palavra eschewing. Você sabe o que ela significa? Em português, nós podemos traduzir para evitando, ou afastando-se. Ela é sinônimo de “refrain from”, “reject” ou “steer clear of”. Então quando eu digo “Eschewing the musicality of Disney's earlier animated feature of the same name”, eu estou dizendo que a Disney rejeitou, evitou, a musicalidade do original animado de mesmo nome.
And now, our third story of the day, a fire has destroyed Greece's largest migrant camp, the overcrowded Moria facility on the island of Lesbos.
About 25 firefighters with 10 engines battled the flames as migrants were evacuated. Some suffered injuries from smoke exposure.
Fire broke out in more than three places in a short space of time, local fire chief Konstantinos Theofilopoulos told state television channel ERT. Protesting migrants hindered firefighters who tried to tackle the flames, he said.
The main blaze was put out by Wednesday morning, although Mr. Theofilopoulos said there were still some small fires burning inside some containers at the site.
One local resident told the BBC that almost the whole camp had been on fire.
"Now with the first light I can see that there is a few tents that make it, they are okay, but the rest of the camp, as I can see from this distance, is burnt out," Thanasis Voulgarakis said.
Lesbos deputy governor Aris Hatzikomninos reportedly told local radio the camp had been "completely destroyed". Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called an emergency meeting on the fire on Wednesday morning, and several ministers are now heading to Lesbos to assess the situation.
The EU has offered to help with the response. European Commission Vice-President ssaid he had spoken to Mr Mitsotakis and that the commission was "ready to assist Greece directly at all levels during these difficult times".
EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson meanwhile said she had agreed to finance the transfer of 400 unaccompanied teenagers and children to the mainland and their accommodation.
"The safety and shelter of all people in Moria is a priority," she tweeted.
Authorities placed the camp under quarantine last week after a Somali migrant tested positive for the coronavirus. There are now 35 confirmed cases.
Greek news agency ANA said the fires had broken out after some of the 35 had refused to move into isolation with their families but this is unconfirmed. There are wildfires burning elsewhere on Lesbos, fanned by strong winds in the region.
Michalis Fratzeskos, deputy mayor for civil protection, told ERT the blaze was "premeditated". Migrant tents had been empty, he said, and arsonists had "taken advantage of strong winds".
But some migrants told BBC Persian the fire had broken out after scuffles between migrants and Greek forces at the camp. Several blamed "far-right Greeks" for the blaze after the announcement of coronavirus cases, and took photos of what they said were canisters used to set the flames.
A government spokesman said reports of arson were under investigation and a state of emergency would be declared across the island.
Marco Sandrone, Lesbos project coordinator for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), told BBC World Service it was difficult to say what had caused the blaze, with several different fires and protests erupting in the camp.
"It's a time bomb that finally exploded," he said, adding that people had been kept in "inhumane conditions" at the site for years.
"The disaster at Moria is total," Greek migration ministry secretary Manos Logothetis told ANA news agency, and announced he was heading to the site.
The Moria Refugee Camp lies north-east of Mytilene, the capital of Lesbos.
It was built for just 2,000 people but has been overwhelmed by huge numbers of refugees. An overflow site - the Kara Tepe Refugee Camp - has since been built but there is still not enough space to accommodate all arrivals.
For years, thousands of people who arrived on Lesbos were placed in the camp and could not leave until their asylum application was oprocessed on the mainland - a slow, bureaucratic process.
The EU has tried to resettle migrants among different member states. But governments across the bloc have rejected different proposals, and migrants have waited in squalid conditions.
Human rights groups have repeatedly attacked the poor conditions at the site.
In April, Human Rights Watch said the Greek authorities had not done enough to tackle "acute overcrowding" at the site, warning it was not prepared for an outbreak of coronavirus.
The Greek government plans to build closed detention sites to house migrants on the Greek islands. Protesters on Lesbos attacked authorities in February who brought construction equipment to the island.
Voê sabia que existe uma palavra em inglês para “incêndio culposo”? A palavra é “arson”. Então quando um incêndio acontece de forma premeditada, quando alguém resolve colocar fogo em alguma coisa, o nome disso é “arson”. E a pessoa que comete esse crime é chamapda “arsonist”. Em inglês é incomum que profissões, descrições e adjetivos em geral sejam diferenciados por gênero. “Arsonist”, por exemplo, pode se referir à incendiário ou incendiária.
Our last story of the day is a feel-good story! Hungary's researcher Roska wins award for a procedure that could cure blindness.
Medical scientist Botond Roska has landed a €1 million check, which is over 6 million reais, from Germany's Körber Foundation for his groundbreaking research.
Botond Roska, who works in the Swiss city of Basel, has uncovered a gene-based therapy that reprograms cells in the human eye so that they can perform the work of the light-sensitive receptors needed for human vision, according to the Körber Foundation that hands out the annual prize. It is hoped the procedure will reactivate the retinas of the blind.
The medical scientist said that, for the time being, the process creates a level of vision similar to watching television in black and white. Clinical tests on blind volunteers are already underway as a result of the Budapest-born researcher's groundbreaking work.
"Roska's research has woken up hope that new treatment methods might restore the ability to see in the blind," said Hamburg Mayor Peter Tschentscher at the ceremony on Monday.
The Körber Foundation's prize was first awarded in 1985, and it recognizes scientists whose work has applied futuristic techniques to physical sciences.
The son of a computer scientist and a pianist, Roska began his career in medicine "after a detour," said Tschentscher. The scientist first studied the cello at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest, but had to give up the instrument following an injury. He then began to pursue medicine and mathematics.
Last year's winner of the prestigious prize was German artificial intelligence scientist Bernhard Schölkopf of the Max Planck Society.
Lá no começo dessa história, eu disse que a pesquisa foi “groundbreaking”. Se traduzirmos isso literalmente, seria algo como “quebradora de chãos”. Mas isso não faz sentido nenhum, né? Groundbreaking na verdade significa inovador, inovadora.
And with all of that, we’re done! I hope you enjoyed catching up with the world’s news and working on your listening skills at the same time here with me. As I mentioned before, you can check out fluencytv.com for more free content and the sources for all the stories we explored together today.
There’s a new episode of Fluency News every week, and I’ll be waiting for you. Peace out.
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