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A burned area after a fire in the Amazon Rainforest in Novo Progresso, Para state, Brazil, on Saturday. Photo: Joao Laet/AFP/Getty Images

Some 1,200 new fires have been identified burning in the Amazon Rainforest region this week, Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) reported Saturday.

By the numbers: There have been 40,341 fires in the Amazon this year, per the New York Times. More than 1,330 square miles burned in the first 7 months of 2019. The largest swaths of the Amazon rainforest, in Brazil and Peru, are burning at the highest rates since records began in 2013 — a rise of 84% compared to the same period last year, according to INPE.

The big picture: Brazil began deploying 44,000 troops on Saturday to fight fires across the region, amid anti-government protests and global condemnation, with 6 states requesting military assistance, according to Al Jazeera.

  • The new fires were ignited Thursday and Friday, according to the official data.
  • The Colorado-based Global SuperTanker sent its Boeing 747-400 firefighting plane to Bolivia on Friday to help fight fires over Bolivia's portion of the rainforest, CNN reports.

Go deeper: Earth's lungs are burning

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use"

Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

The CDC is urging “universal face mask use” for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, citing recent case spikes as the U.S. has entered a phase of “high-level transmission” before winter officially begins.

Why it matters: Daily COVID-related deaths across the U.S. hit a new record on Wednesday. Face coverings have been shown to increase protection of the wearer and those around them, despite some Americans' reluctance to use them.

2 hours ago - World

Saudi Arabia and Qatar near deal to end standoff, sources say

Qatar's prime minister (R) attends the 2019 Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Saudi Arabia. Photo: Fayez Nureldine/AFP via Getty

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are close to a deal to end the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf following U.S.-mediated reconciliation talks this week, sources familiar with the talks tell me.

Why it matters: Restoring relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar would bring a sense of stability back to the Gulf after a 3.5 year standoff. It could also notch a last-minute achievement for the Trump administration before Jan. 20.

House passes bill to decriminalize marijuana

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a longtime marijuana legalization advocate and co-sponsor of the bill. Photo: Pete Marovich For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The House on Friday voted 228-164 in favor of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, marking the first time a congressional chamber has voted in favor of decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level.

Why it matters: The Washington Post describes the bill as a "landmark retreat in the nation’s decades-long war on drugs," which has disproportionately affected people of color.