‘Coronavirus could wipe us out’: indigenous South Americans blockade villages

Groups in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru withdraw into homes as physicians highlight history of diseases ‘decimating’ communities

Indigenous groups across South America are blockading their villages and retreating into their traditional forest and mountain homes in a bid to escape the potentially cataclysmic threat of coronavirus.

In recent days, as the number of cases in South America has risen to almost 8,000 – with many more cases likely to be unreported – indigenous groups in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru have all started taking steps to protect themselves from what they call a historic danger.

Related: The isolated tribes at risk of illness from Amazon missionaries

Related: Brazil: measles outbreak that infected 500 may devastate indigenous people

Related: ‘He wants to destroy us’: Bolsonaro poses gravest threat in decades, Amazon tribes say

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US indicts Nicolás Maduro and other top Venezuelan leaders for drug trafficking

  • $15m reward for information leading to president’s capture
  • William Barr alleges plot involving Farc guerrilla faction

The US has charged the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, and 14 members of his inner circle with drug trafficking, “narco-terrorism”, corruption and money laundering, and offered a $15m reward for information leading to Maduro’s capture and prosecution.

Unveiling the indictment, the attorney general, William Barr, said the Venezuelan leadership collaborated with a dissident faction of the former Colombian guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or Farc, operating on the Colombian-Venezuelan border, which Barr described as an “extremely violent terrorist organization”.

Related: Armed rebels impose brutal rules in Venezuela-Colombia border region

Related: What links a prison murder, a New York drug trial and the Honduras president?

Related: ‘Mask, gown, gloves – none of that exists’: Venezuela’s coronavirus crisis

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‘Mask, gown, gloves – none of that exists’: Venezuela’s coronavirus crisis

Continuing chaotic sitation under Nicolás Maduro leaves hospitals and health services desperately unprepared

There is no ideal time for a pandemic, but fewer countries are less equipped to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak than crisis-ridden Venezuela, warn doctors and public health experts.

Bed shortages, a lack of isolation areas and short supplies of soap are already a daily reality at one hospital in Ciudad Guayana, a city in the country’s east. There is a nearby centre set up for the pandemic response but workers there say there are not enough ambulances to ferry patients.

Related: Venezuela crisis takes deadly toll on buckling health system

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Ecosystems the size of Amazon ‘can collapse within decades’

Large biomes can break down like Jenga bricks once tipping point reached, research finds

Even large ecosystems the size of the Amazon rainforest can collapse in a few decades, according to a study that shows bigger biomes break up relatively faster than small ones.

The research reveals that once a tipping point has been passed, breakdowns do not occur gradually like an unravelling thread, but rapidly like a stack of Jenga bricks after a keystone piece has been dislodged.

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Venezuela’s president urges women to have six children each ‘for good of the country’

Nicolás Maduro’s comment sparked outrage amid a deepening economic crisis that’s led to rising rates of child malnutrition

Millions of Venezuelans may have fled their country to escape a grinding socio-economic crisis, but the country’s embattled president has a novel solution: have more children.

“Give birth!” Nicolás Maduro, the Venezuelan president, said at a televised event promoting a women’s healthcare plan on Tuesday evening. “Every woman is to have six children! Every one! For the good of the country!

#3Mar Nicolás Maduro invitó a las venezolanas “a parir. Todas las mujeres a tener 6 hijos para que crezca la patria”. #TVV #TVVNoticias Vídeo: Cortesía. pic.twitter.com/v9s0x8GzI5

Related: ‘It’s a pain you will never overcome’: crisis in Venezuela as babies die of malnutrition

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‘A generation that decided to fight’: making music amid chaos in Venezuela

As they endure a political crisis that has led millions to flee, Venezuela’s musicians are striving to make life worth living

‘Everything here happens at gunpoint,” someone tells me when I arrive in Caracas. Venezuela is in crisis, suffering from a lack of power, water and basic supplies and enduring widespread violence on the streets: the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence estimates that the country has the world’s highest murder rate at 81.4 per 100,000 people. According to the UN, around 4.5 million people have fled since 2015, escaping an economy in a state of hyperinflation and the authoritarian rule of president Nicolás Maduro.

The chaos has intensified recently, as opposition leader Juan Guaidó – recognised as the true president by more than 50 countries – was forced to storm a barricade of riot police to gain access to the country’s national assembly. Donald Trump has now rolled out economic sanctions to try to squeeze Maduro out of power – but they will squeeze an already embattled Venezuelan public, too.

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