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Revealed: Brazil Gold Miners Carve Illegal ‘Road to Chaos’ in Amazon Reserve (Maria)

The author writes, “The surveillance plane eased off the runway and banked west towards the frontline of one of Brazil’s most dramatic environmental and humanitarian crises. Its objective: a clandestine 120km (75-mile) road that illegal mining mafias have carved out of the jungles of Brazil’s largest Indigenous territory in recent months, in an audacious attempt to smuggle excavators into those supposedly protected lands. ‘I call it the Road to Chaos,’ said Danicley de Aguiar, the Greenpeace environmentalist leading the reconnaissance mission over the immense Indigenous sanctuary near the Brazilian border with Venezuela.”

Florida GOP Donor, DeSantis Ally Under ‘Active Investigation’ Weeks Before Death, Authorities Say (DonkeyHotey)

From Politico: “The death of the DeSantis donor and friend sent shockwaves through Florida political circles. Kent Stermon, a prominent Jacksonville-area Republican donor and friend of Gov. Ron DeSantis found dead in his car Thursday night, was under ‘active investigation’ by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene Deceptively Tells Trump Rally That Democrat ‘Killings’ of Republicans Have Already Started (Sean)

From Business Insider: “Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene deceptively claimed at a rally for former President Donald Trump in Warren, Michigan, on Saturday that Democrats are murdering Republicans. ‘I’m not going to mince words with you all,’ Greene said. ‘Democrats want Republicans dead. They’ve already started the killings.’”

GOP Sues Over Special Elections in Pennsylvania House Majority Battle (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “The top-ranking Republican in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives asked a court late Friday to prevent voters from filling three vacant seats in February that will determine majority control of the chamber. Rep. Bryan Cutler of Lancaster, who served as speaker until Nov. 30, asked Commonwealth Court to issue an injunction, naming the Department of State, acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman and the Allegheny County Elections Board as defendants.”

In Freeing Griner, Biden Faced Resistance Abroad and at Home (Russ)

The authors write, “President Biden’s 10-month effort to free Brittney Griner faced stubborn resistance from a Russian government bent on extracting maximum concessions for the WNBA star’s release. But the president also faced opposition from his own Justice Department, which viewed Thursday’s one-for-one prisoner swap involving Griner and the notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout as a mistake given the discrepancy of offenses by the two prisoners, officials familiar with the matter said.”

Scientists Uncover Evidence of What May Be Earth’s First Mass Animal Extinction (Mili)

From ScienceAlert: “Since the Cambrian explosion 538.8 million years ago — a time when many of the animal phyla we’re familiar with today were established — five major mass extinction events have whittled down the biodiversity of all creatures great and small. Researchers from the US have uncovered evidence of one occurring earlier, around 550 million years ago during a period known as the Ediacaran.”

In a Breakthrough Experiment, Nuclear Fusion Finally Makes More Energy Than It Uses (Kiana)

The author writes, “Scientists have finally managed to bottle the sun.  At 1:03 a.m. PST on December 5, researchers with the National Ignition Facility in Livermore, Calif., ignited controlled nuclear fusion that, for the first time, resulted in the net production of energy. A 3-million-joule burst emerged from a peppercorn-sized capsule of fuel when it was hit with a 2-million-joule laser pulse. Details of the long-awaited achievement, which mimics how the sun makes energy, were revealed in a news conference December 13 by U.S. Department of Energy officials.”

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