Nun’s murder spurs Amazon protections

Outrage over the Feb. 12 murder of nun and Amazon defender Dorothy Stang has finally catalyzed Brazil’s government to protect the forest Stang worked for decades to save. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in addition to once again pulling logging permits he had restored just a week before Stang’s assassination due to intense pro-logging protests, announced on Thursday that nearly 20,000 square miles of Amazon forest will be federally protected. But so far, laws and reserves have made little difference in the Para region, since loggers and ranchers seize more and more land illegally using forged deeds or sheer force, something Stang died trying to stop. Even with federal troops now in the area, business as usual hasn’t halted. But at least those suspected of orchestrating her killing are being brought to justice: one surrendered to police and another was apprehended on Sunday, though the rancher believed to have ordered the hit seems to have fled the region.