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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - (Reuters) Aggressive deforestation is starting earlier this year in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, environmental enforcement agents say, with government data on Friday showing destruction doubling in January compared with a year ago.

More than 280 square kilometers (108 square miles) of rainforest were destroyed last month, according to preliminary statistics released by space research agency INPE. The agency released data only for the first 30 days of the month, without explanation.

Deforestation surged last year in Brazil and right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro drew condemnation at home and abroad from environmentalists for policies seen as weakening . . .

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