Now, Bolsonaro won't use French Bic ballpoint pens made in Brazil

Brazil President Bolsonaro had said earlier that Europe has "nothing to teach" Brazil about preserving the environment while hitting out at Macron asserting that the French president had a "colonialist mentality".

'No more France's Bic pens'

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said Friday he will stop using disposable pens made by France's Bic to sign official documents, while a diplomatic spat continues over fires in the Amazon basin. 

"A pen (of the Brazilian brand) Compactor and no more Bic, will work," Bolsonaro said, confirming remarks he made during a live broadcast on Facebook a day earlier.

Bolsonaro said Thursday he would stop using Bic "because it is French."

(Photograph:AFP)

Most Bic ballpoint pens made in Brazilian city of Manaus in the Amazon

Most of the Bic ballpoint pens sold in Brazil are made in the French company's factory in the Brazilian city of Manaus in the Amazon, a Bic spokesperson told AFP.  

Bolsonaro has previously cited Bic pens, which are cheap and commonly used in Brazil, as a sign of austerity after the expenses of his predecessors.

Bic said it felt "flattered" to be recognised as a "democratic brand," but would not comment on the president's decision. Bolsonaro has repeatedly clashed with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in recent days. 

On the eve of the G7 summit last week, Macron declared the forest fires, which are also affecting Bolivia, an "international crisis" and put them on the agenda of the gathering of the rich democracies.

Macron also accused Bolsonaro of lying to him about Brazil's climate change stance.

(Photograph:AFP)

Macron had a 'colonialist mentality': Bolsonaro

Bolsonaro in turn said Macron had a "colonialist mentality" and now refuses to speak to him unless the French president retracts remarks relating to Brazil's sovereignty over the Amazon.  

Bolsonaro had said earlier that Europe has "nothing to teach" Brazil about preserving the environment, as the country aligns itself with the United States over fires raging in the Amazon rainforest.

The far-right leader's comments come as thousands of new fires were ignited across Brazil on last Thursday -- the first day of a ban on burning -- with most of them in the Amazon basin. 

Offers of international help to combat the worst fires in the Amazon in years have been made, but the issue has provoked accusations in Brazil that foreign countries -- particularly in Europe -- were trying to meddle in its affairs.

Brazil has found an ally in the United States where President Donald Trump praised Bolsonaro's handling of the crisis and offered US assistance. After meeting Trump at the White House on Friday, Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo said the two countries had similar views on the fires.

The talks were also attended by Bolsonaro's son and hopeful ambassador to the United States, Eduardo.

(Photograph:AFP)

Bolsonaro accused France, Germany of 'buying' Brazil's sovereignty

Bolsonaro has accused France and Germany of "buying" Brazil's sovereignty after the G7 group of rich democracies offered $20 million in Amazon fire aid.

He initially rejected the money unless his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron withdrew "insults" made against him.

Bolsonaro later said Brazil would accept bilateral aid to fight the fires, but has insisted the Latin American country must control the money.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera announced that his country will send four water bombers to help fight the Brazilian blazes.

(Photograph:Reuters)

'Europe has nothing to teach us about preserving the environment'

On Wednesday Trump said the United States was ready to help Brazil fight the fires and criticized the G7 for failing to consult Bolsonaro over its initiative.

The Brazilian president told reporters he would talk to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and repeated a demand that "our dear Macron" retract remarks relating to Brazil's sovereignty over the Amazon before he would speak to him. 

"Europe has nothing to teach us about preserving the environment," Bolsonaro said, reiterating his plan for "sustainable exploitation" of the Amazon.

Bolsonaro later tweeted that he had a "productive" conversation with Merkel, who he said "reaffirmed Brazilian sovereignty over our Amazon region."

(Photograph:Reuters)

Bolsonaro issued a nationwide 60-day ban on burning

Under growing pressure to do more, Bolsonaro issued a nationwide 60-day ban on burning that took effect Thursday.

Activists quickly doused hopes that the prohibition would work in the remote Amazon region where deforestation has surged this year as agencies tasked with monitoring illegal activities were weakened.

On the same day as the ban took effect, 2,300 new fires were detected -- most of them in the Amazon basin -- taking the total number for this year to 87,257, the latest figures from the National Institute for Space Research show.

Nearly 1,500 of the new fires were in the vast Amazon basin. 

(Photograph:Reuters)

132,106 fires detected across Brazil this year

This year's total is the highest since 2010 when 132,106 fires were detected across the country.

Para was the hardest hit state on Thursday, with 587 new blazes -- up 67 percent from the previous day.

Police on Thursday arrested three people for burning several thousands hectares (acres) in a conservation area in Para.

Thousands of troops and firefighters, along with aircraft, have been deployed since the weekend, and the defense ministry says the fires are under control.

(Photograph:Reuters)

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