Jeffrey Epstein’s friend calls the billionaire’s victims ‘trollop’

Jeffrey Epstein’s best friend gives bizarre interview calling the billionaire pedophile’s underage victims ‘trollops’ who were ‘complicit’ in his lewd behavior and insists the disgraced financier had a ‘mental disorder’ that made him crave sex

  • An art collector and scientist claiming to be Jeffrey Epstein’s best friend for decades referred to the pedophile’s underage victims as ‘trollops’ 
  • Stuart Pivar, 89, claimed the girls were ‘complicit’ and that Epstein had a mental disorder called satyriasis which made him crave sex
  • Pivar claimed Epstein ‘shielded’ him from lurid behavior during their friendship and he didn’t know about it until he was informed by one of his alleged victims 
  • Maria Farmer told Pivar a ‘terrible thing’ about Epstein which he never realized 
  • Pivar said he would go to dinner parties hosted by Epstein and he would interrupt conversations by saying: ‘What does that got to do with p***y?!”
  • The scientist and author claimed he was never invited to Epstein’s ‘Isle of Babes’
  • Pivar claimed that Epstein ‘did stuff with underage girls, who knew what the hell they were doing’ and made an industry out of it
  • He also said Epstein asked him to take care of his alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell following the death of her father, describing her as a ‘basket case’ 

An art collector and scientist claiming to be Jeffrey Epstein’s best friend for decades referred to the pedophile’s underage victims as ‘trollops’ who were complicit and claimed he had a mental disorder which made him crave sex.

Stuart Pivar, 89, an industrialist based in New York, spoke in a wide-ranging and rambling interview about his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein until he claimed he cut contact when he started to ‘notice certain things’ about his behavior.

Epstein, 66, killed himself August 10 in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan while awaiting trial next year on federal sex-trafficking charges. Numerous women in the United States have claimed they were sexually abused by Epstein.

Pivar helped establish the New York Academy of Art alongside Andy Warhol and Epstein would later serve on the academy’s board.   

Stuart Pivar, 89, an industrialist based in New York, spoke in a wide-ranging and rambling interview about his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein until he he cut contact with him when he started to ‘notice certain things’ about his behavior

Stuart Pivar, 89, (left), who said he was best friends with Jeffrey Epstein for decades, referred to the pedophile’s underage victims as ‘trollops’ who were complicit and claimed he had a mental disorder which made him crave sex. 

He claimed Epstein was ‘profoundly sick’ and put his sexual compulsions down to a condition called ‘satyriasis,’ suggesting that he could treat himself to sex three times a day with young girls because he had the financial means to do so.

Asked if he believed Epstein was guilty of the allegations against him, Pivar told Mother Jones: ‘Let’s put it this way. What’s the difference between the punishment which befalls a murderer and a serial murderer? It’s the same. 

‘If Jeffrey Epstein was found guilty of fooling around with one 16-year-old trollop, nobody would pay any attention. The trouble is, what he did was quantitative and not qualitative.’

‘What Jeffrey did is nothing in comparison to the rapes and the forceful things, which people did. Jeffrey had to do with a bunch of women who were totally complicit.

‘For years, they went, came there time and time and time again. And if there was only one of them who did it, no one would have noticed—except he made an industry out of it.’

Pivar claimed Epstein ‘shielded’ him from lurid behavior during their friendship and he never witnessed him assaulting young girls. 

He also said that Epstein never invited him to what he called the ‘Isle of Babes,’ an island owned by the financier just off the southeast coast of St. Thomas.

Federal authorities consider Little St. James Island to have been Epstein’s primary residence in the United States, a place where at least one alleged victim said in a court affidavit that she participated in an orgy as well as had sex with Epstein and other people.

Sources say Epstein flew girls into St. Thomas then shuttled them over to his island on a boat named after his alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite accused of soliciting young girls on his behalf.

Pivar added: ‘I never saw him fool around with—in fact, Jeffrey was a very, very close friend of mine.

Pivar, (pictured), claimed Epstein was ‘profoundly sick’ and put his sexual compulsions down to a condition called ‘satyriasis,’ and suggested that he could treat himself to sex three times a day with young girls because he had the financial means 

Pivar claimed Epstein asked him to take care of Ghislaine Maxwell while she was profoundly depressed following the death of her father, the media mogul Robert Maxwell. Epstein is pictured together with Maxwell in 1995 

‘And he shielded me. I never saw what he did until finally I did notice certain things, and that was the end of me having to do with him. 

‘But for a very long time, for years and years and years, Jeffrey did amazing, incredible, amazing, remarkable things for science and all kinds of stuff. He was a very, very good friend to me.

‘He never invited me to the Isle of Babes, luckily. I never knew it was even there.’

In 1995, Pivar met an aspiring artist named Maria Farmer, who claims she was sexually assaulted by Epstein and Maxwell in an Ohio apartment. 

In an affidavit, she also claimed Epstein and Maxwell ‘took an interest’ in her younger sister Annie and took both of them to a movie in New York where he ‘rubbed her in a sexual manner’ without her knowledge.

She claimed in her deposition that the pair then flew Annie to a ranch in New Mexico and ‘touched her inappropriately’ on a massage table in 1996 when she was just 15, according to the affidavit. 

He recalled meeting her at a New York flea market where she told him a ‘terrible thing’ about Epstein which is when he first became aware of the other life he was leading.

Pivar claimed he attended lavish dinner parties hosted by Epstein along with scientists and other philosophical thinkers, despite he said, Epstein having ‘no knowledge whatsoever about anything’

Pivar claimed that Epstein ‘did stuff with underage girls, by the hundreds, who knew what the hell they were doing’ and made an industry out of it

‘One day at the flea market there was Maria Farmer there, and I said, “What are you doing here?.”

‘And she told me this bizarre story, and then Jeffrey shows up, and I realized oh my god something was happening after years and years, which he didn’t tell me.’

‘Jeffrey brought her there, and what he did to Maria was inexcusable, of course. He locked her up, and she couldn’t get away, and her father had to come and rescue her. That’s a story she told. 

‘And, of course, that’s the least of what she told me. Forget that, her little sister, for Christ’s sake, the guy actually brought her to his place and did those kind of things, which, of course, is inexcusable and that’s the kind of thing which satyriasists do because they can’t help themselves.’

Pivar claimed he attended lavish dinner parties hosted by Epstein along with scientists and other philosophical thinkers, despite he said, Epstein having ‘no knowledge whatsoever about anything.’

He recalled having a conversation at one point about gravity and Epstein interjected with the expression: ‘What has that go to do with p***y.?’

Pivar said that Epstein never invited him to what he called the  ‘Isle of Babes,’ an island owned by the financier just off the southeast coast of St. Thomas

Sources say Epstein flew girls into St. Thomas then shuttled them over to his island on a boat named after his alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite accused of soliciting young girls on his behalf

Pivar claimed: ‘While everybody was watching, we began to realize he didn’t know what he was talking about. 

‘Then after a couple of minutes—Jeffrey had no attention span whatsoever—he would interrupt the conversation and change it and say things like, “What does that got to do with p***y?!.”

‘That was his favorite expression. It was a subject changer. And it revealed what was really in his mind. 

‘Of course, that was the only thing that was going on in his mind. The poor guy had—it’s hard to, you can’t describe Jeffrey. 

‘And because he had dough, he was able to realize the weirdest situations, which he would convoke by bringing brilliant people together and proposing silly ideas at dinner, and everyone would listen because he was handing out dough.

‘And it was an indescribable situation—trying to create some kind of a mini university of thought while he himself knew zero.’

Pivar claimed Epstein asked him to take care of Ghislaine Maxwell while she was depressed following the death of her father, the media mogul Robert Maxwell.

Pivar described Ghislaine Maxwell as a ‘basketcase’ and he had helped her following the death of her father Robert 

Asked if this happened when he first met Epstein, he claimed: ‘No, that was much later. I knew Jeffrey a long time before that. But when she arrived, after her father jumped off the boat or whatever happened, she was a total wreck.

‘And my job was to amuse her, take her to dinner and lunch and what have you until she finally came around, and then was okay.

‘When I watched this happen, I had no idea what the hell it was all about. And the idea that no one has recognized that Jeffrey was profoundly sick, with a male counterpart of nymphomania, which he could not control.’

Pivar claimed that Epstein ‘did stuff with underage girls’, by the hundreds, who ‘knew what the hell they were doing’ and made an industry out of it.

‘If he only did one, no one would pay attention. Nor, on the other hand, did he actually rape any of them or anything like that, which happens, you know. 

‘If you want to make a list of, let us say, in the past several years, of the kind of stuff going on of sexual abuse of children and what the hell not—you want to compare that with what Jeffrey did?.

‘What Jeffrey did in comparison with the kind of stuff which gets exposed every day of people who are abusing children left and right and all kinds of institutions? Jeffrey never did anything like that. Everything he had to do with these girls was complicit.’

Pivar recalled bringing Epstein to a prominent art dealer to buy furniture along with an assistant who was a ‘very attractive young girl.’ 

He claimed Epstein grabbed her from behind and squeezed her as he interjected and said: “Jeffrey put her down! What are you doing?.”

‘And the three or four of us who were watching were horrified, and he put her down. He was out of control. Have you ever seen anyone do a thing like that?.’

He claimed Epstein would rely on him to help him furnish him with art at his numerous residences , adding that it amused him to ‘have fake art in his house.’

Maria Farmer claimed she and her sister, Annie, (pictured), were both sexually exploited by Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.  Maria claimed in her deposition that the pair flew Annie to a ranch in New Mexico and ‘touched her inappropriately’ on a massage table in 1996

During the interview, Pivar apparently referred to Virginia Roberts Giuffre as a ‘trollop’. She alleged that she was trafficked by  Maxwell and Epstein to have sex with and provide erotic massages for politicians and affluent businessmen.

‘Jeffrey had a collection of underage Rodins, for example, because what difference does it make if it’s real or not real? And if the real one costs nothing and the expensive one—it doesn’t make a difference. 

‘He was amused to put one over on the world by having fake art. He thought that he was seeing through the fallacy.’ 

The conversation between Pivar and Mother Jones reporter Leland Nally took place and was posted on its website.

He concluded by saying: ‘I had no idea of what the hell Jeffrey was doing in all the years I knew him until it became clear, and then I divorced myself from having anything to do with him. 

‘But before that happened, for years and years and years, I watched Jeffrey do all kinds of interesting and amazing things, scientifically and so on.’

The reporter also claimed that Pivar apparently referred to Virginia Roberts Giuffre, now 33, as a ‘trollop.’

Giuffre accused the pair of keeping her as a ‘sex slave’ in the early 2000s when she was underage, after meeting Maxwell in Mar-a-Lago where she had a summer job.

She alleged in a May 3, 2016 deposition that she was trafficked by the pair to have sex with and provide erotic massages for politicians and affluent businessmen. 

He claimed: ‘That trollop, who, for months, or whatever the hell she did. What the hell was she doing all this time? And she has made an industry for herself out of inventing calumnies against all of these respectable people.’


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NASA astronaut accused of accessing wife’s bank account from space

NASA investigates the first allegation of criminal activity in SPACE: Astronaut is accused of accessing her wife’s bank account from the International Space Station during their messy divorce

  • Astronaut Anne McClain was accused of accessing her estranged wife Summer Worden’s bank account while she was in space 
  • Worden filed an identity theft complaint with the FTC against McClain
  • Her parents also filed a complaint with NASA’s Inspector General
  • McClain said that she was just checking up on Worden’s finances
  • Worden’s parents claim that McClain’s actions were part of a custody battle over her son, who she gave birth to a year before the couple were married

NASA is looking into claims that an astronaut accessed her estranged wife’s bank account from space during a six-month stint on the International Space Station. 

Decorated astronaut and  US Army lieutenant colonel Anne McClain has been accused of improperly gaining access to Summer Worden’s online bank account using NASA computers, the New York Times reported. 

McClain allegedly accessed the bank account as part of a ‘highly calculated and manipulated campaign’ to obtain custody of Worden’s son, who she had given birth to about a year before the couple got married.  

Worden, a former Air Force intelligence officer, brought a complaint against McClain with the Federal Trade Commission, claiming that McClain had committed identity theft, even though none of Worden’s funds had been tampered with. 

Astronaut Anne McClain has been accused of improperly accessing her estrange spouse’s financial information while on the International Space Station earlier this year

She told the Times that she discovered McClain’s actions after becoming curious about how McClain knew details about the way she’d been spending her money, even though they were separated and McClain was orbiting the earth.  

Worden’s parents went a step further, filing a complaint against McClain with NASA’s Office of Inspector General, alleging identity theft and improper access to Worden’s private financial records. 

Last week, McClain, who is back on terra firma, sat down for an under-oath interview with the inspector general, during which she was said to have admitted that she did access Worden’s banking information. 

However, McClain apparently claimed that she was just doing something she had always done while she and Worden were still a couple – checking in on Worden’s finances to make sure that there was enough money to support Worden’s child, who they had been raising together. 

McClain’s (left) estranged spouse, Summer Worden (right), filed an identity theft complaint with the FTC over the incident, while Worden’s parents lobbed a complaint to NASA’s Inspector General, claiming it’s part of McClain’s efforts to gain custody of Worden’s child (center) 

McClain claimed that claimed that she checked on Worden’s bank account to make sure there were enough funds for the care of Worden’s son, who they raised together while married

Worden’s parents said that McClain’s actions were part of her efforts to gain custody of Worden’s son (pictured with McClain), who she had a year prior to the couple’s marriage 

McClain was on the International Space Station when Worden discovered that McClain had been accessing her accounts (file) 

McClain claimed that she was using the same password that she had always used during their relationship and that she had not been told to stop accessing Worden’s bank account. 

McClain and Worden married in 2014, with Worden filing for divorce in 2018 after McClain accused her of assault, a claim which Worden denies and said was part of McClain’s efforts at gaining custody of her son. The assault case was eventually dismissed. 

Worden had previously denied McClain’s attempts to adopt the boy even after they’d gotten married. 

In Worden’s parents’ complaint, they said that McClain’s actions were part of a ‘highly calculated and manipulative campaign’ to obtain custody of Worden’s son, who she had given birth to about a year before the couple got married.  

McClain’s lawyer told the Times that McClain ‘she strenuously denies that she did anything improper’ and cooperating with the investigation. 

Worden told the New York Times that the FTC had not yet responded to her identity theft claims, but that investigators were accessing her family’s complaint to NASA.  

NASA officials declined to comment on its Office of the Inspector General’s actions regarding the claims against McClain.

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Girl, 13, arrested after four boys stabbed at fireworks display in Bournemouth

A GIRL aged 13 has been arrested after four boys were stabbed at a fireworks display in Bournemouth.

Emergency crews were scrambled to the packed firework display at 10.25pm last night as thousands began to make their way home.

The knife frenzy on Friday night left three boys aged 17 with stab wounds and a 15-year-old lad with a cut to the head.

They were rushed to hospital but their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

Cops arrested four girls aged 13 and 15 on suspicion of conspiring to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.

A 14-year-old boy was held on suspicion of assault and is being quizzed by police.

Detective Sergeant Richard Winn, of Dorset Police, said: “There were a lot of people in the area during that time and I am appealing for witnesses and anyone with information, who has not yet spoken to police, to contact us.

“We are aware that an incident in such a public place causes concern to our residents and visitors.

“There will be enhanced patrols throughout the bank holiday weekend, which should not alarm anyone, but will hopefully serve as a reassurance.”

A Section 60 order is now in place from 6pm today until 7am tomorrow giving police greater powers to stop and search people in the area.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at, via email [email protected] or by calling 101, quoting occurrence number 55190132583.

More to follow…

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'We are hostages': Two years on, Rohingya still in Myanmar trapped by new war

YANGON (Reuters) – When Myanmar officials toured refugee camps in Bangladesh last month, inviting Rohingya Muslims who fled the country to return, they brought with them pamphlets adorned with cartoons showing hijab-wearing women passing through checkpoints and happily grasping identity cards.

They did not mention the new war being waged at home.

While the majority of Rohingya residents of northwestern Myanmar were driven out by a military campaign that began in August 2017, a scattered community of some 200,000 remained behind in Rakhine state, in villages that were spared the violence. Two years on, many of them are now trapped by a new conflict.

Since late last year, government troops have been battling the Arakan Army, an ethnic armed group that recruits from the mostly Buddhist Rakhine, who make up the majority in the region.

The worsening fighting has left Rohingya caught in the middle and facing threats from both sides, a dozen villagers told Reuters, making returns ever more unlikely.

“We are stuck in the middle of their fight,” said Tin Shwe, a villager from Buthidaung township, where clashes have been intense. “There has been no improvement of our lives over the past two years, only degradation. Only trouble.”

More than 730,000 Rohingya fled Rakhine to Bangladesh after Myanmar’s armed forces launched a crackdown following attacks on security posts on Aug. 25, 2017.

United Nations’ investigators have said the army campaign included mass killings and gang-rapes and was carried out with “genocidal intent”. The military denies almost all the allegations made by refugees during what it said was a legitimate counterterrorism operation.

On Thursday, a third attempt to begin the repatriation of 3,450 Rohingya cleared by the authorities to return to Myanmar failed when the refugees refused to go back.

Min Thein, director of Myanmar’s social welfare ministry, said security measurements were in place for returning refugees. “The Myanmar police force will guard them,” he said.

A military spokesman did not answer phone calls seeking comment.


Authorities have shut northern Rakhine off from journalists and most humanitarian agencies, and imposed an internet blackout since late June, citing the need to avert unrest.

The restrictions make information difficult to verify, but Reuters spoke to a dozen Rohingya still in central and northern Rakhine and refugees in Bangladesh with relatives who stayed behind.

Some described landmine blasts and shells falling in Muslim villages, as well as intimidation from combatants on both sides of the conflict.

Two told Reuters they would flee to Bangladesh if they could, but routes out of the country used during the previous exodus have been rendered unsafe by the violence.

More than 1,000 Rohingya have arrived in the camps in Bangladesh since January, according to the United Nations refugee agency, a figure that also includes arrivals from India, which has in recent months been cracking down on what it says are illegal Rohingya immigrants.

Those from Myanmar cited violence linked to fighting between Arakan Army insurgents and the military as well as poor living conditions, spokeswoman Louise Donovan said.

Many refugees living in the crowded Bangladesh camps say they want to return home, but under specific conditions, including guarantees of citizenship and security and improvements in the lives of Rohingya still in Myanmar.

Denigrated as illegal immigrants, although many can trace their ancestry in Myanmar back centuries, the Rohingya there are mostly denied citizenship and subject to tight restrictions on movement that keep them confined to camps and villages.


The Arakan Army has been fighting for greater autonomy for Rakhine, a region that was an independent kingdom for centuries.

In its calls for an armed “revolution”, the group draws on deep-seated historical resentment felt by some Rakhines toward the ethnic Bamar majority that dominates the central government.

Rohingya still living in the area say they have been caught in the middle of the conflict.

Government troops battling the insurgents have set up camp in Muslim villages in parts of northern Rakhine, five villagers told Reuters. Soldiers ask Muslim residents to bring them food and firewood, or to show them the roads, villagers said, putting them in danger of retribution from the Arakan Army.

“If they say they will stay, we have to accept it,” said one Rohingya living in Rathedaung township, who like others asked not to be named for safety reasons.

Another in Buthidaung township said soldiers had asked him to guide troops, as he was a proficient Burmese speaker. Some of the Muslim population, particularly from poorer communities, speak only the Rohingya dialect.

Afterwards, the villager said, he got a call from an unknown number, warning that anyone who helped the military would face consequences. He said the speaker told him: “We will kill you. We will burn your village.”

Two Rohingya were shot dead in Rathedaung township’s Sin Khone Taing village in early August after escorting troops, five locals told Reuters. Officials from the village could not be reached for comment.

“We are hostages, stuck between two groups,” said one Muslim who fled the village. “We are not safe. It has been three times already that we have fled from the village since June … The government cannot control this area.”

Arakan Army spokesman Khine Thu Ka denied the organization had killed civilians, blaming Myanmar forces for the deaths.

“We don’t kill our civilians like that,” he said. “As we heard, the Burmese military took them and eliminated like them … There are too many cases like that.”


Many Rohingya in Myanmar have been reliant on international non-profit organizations for medical care and deliveries of food since a previous bout of violence in 2012 that forced many into camps.

Since the start of the Arakan Army conflict, little has been getting through.

In Rathedaung’s Sin Khone Taing village, Rohingya said they last received a delivery of food in May. “People are living off rice porridge,” said one villager.

Kyaw Win, executive director of Burma Human Rights Network, which monitors the Rohingya crisis, said it had received reports of landmines and improved explosive devices placed on the roads near the exits of Rohingya villages.

In a joint statement last week, 61 NGOs including Save the Children and Oxfam said there had been “no meaningful progress on freedom of movement or human rights” for the Rohingya still in Myanmar, while the recent “upsurge in violence has worsened the already precarious humanitarian situation in central and northern Rakhine state”.

Across the border, in the sprawling Bangladesh camps, refugees keep in touch with their relatives in Myanmar via phone, now that the internet connection has been cut. Nobody is urging them to come home.

“All of the people want to flee as there is no security,” Tin Shwe said. “The government cannot help the few Rohingya left behind. So how could anyone believe they could help hundreds of thousands?”

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Schoolboy, 15, dies of heart condition days after docs ‘sent him home with painkillers shaking with pain’ – The Sun

A TEENAGE schoolboy died of a heart condition just days after doctors “sent him home with painkillers”.

Euan Ellis, 15, was the third person in his family to die due to heart complications relating to Marfan Syndrome – a genetic disorder which affects the body's connective tissues.

Euan died suddenly at his family home in Plymouth, Devon, after suffering a heart problem in November 2017, an inquest was told.

He suffered an aortic dissection – a common but serious symptom of the hereditary disease – which proved fatal.

His mother Belle Mufford called for improved care for people with Marfan Syndrome.

She said:"I've lost three family members to this and can't believe my son was just sent home with painkillers.

"I want to tell other people with Marfan syndrome to be persistent and make sure they exactly the help they need."

The Plymouth senior coroner Ian Arrow was told popular Euan came from school complaining of chest pains.

The pains increased over the next few days and he was taken to the A&E department at Derriford Hosptial during the early hours of November 19 because he was “shaking with pain”.

Doctors saw him but decided not to scan his heart despite being aware of the family history of Marfan syndrome.

Dr Ann Hicks, an emergency department doctor, said Euan did not have a scan because his pain had subsided and there was the potential exposure by radiation during the scan.

Instead he was sent home with painkillers and referred to his GP for a follow up appointment.

What is Marfan syndrome?

Marfan syndrome is a disorder of the body's connective tissues, a group of tissues that maintain the structure of the body and support internal organs and other tissues, according to the NHS.

Marfan syndrome is hereditary, which means it can be passed to a child from a parent who's affected.

The gene defect leads to abnormal production of a protein called fibrillin, resulting in parts of the body being able to stretch abnormally when placed under any kind of stress.

The defective fibrillin gene also causes some bones to grow longer than they should.

This means a person with Marfan syndrome may be tall because their arms and legs grow longer than normal.

Typical characteristics of Marfan syndrome include:

  • being tall
  • abnormally long and slender limbs, fingers and toes
  • heart defects
  • lens dislocation – where the lens of the eye falls into an abnormal position

He saw his GP the next day who said Euan “looked tired but did not appear to be in any discomfort” and he was to have an echocardiogram in a few weeks time.

His sudden death led to a serious incident clinical panel report.

Mr Arrow recorded a narrative verdict and said he would be writing a prevention of future deaths report to University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust highlighting the recommendations of the serious incident review.

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Brazil's Bolsonaro sends army to fight Amazon fires

As EU threatens trade retaliation, Brazilian president announces he has authorised troops to help contain raging fires.

    European leaders on Friday threatened to tear up a trade deal with South America, reflecting growing international anger at Brazil as a record number of fires in the Amazon rainforest intensified an unfolding environmental crisis.

    Amid a global chorus of concern and condemnation, Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro pledged in an address to the nation to mobilise the army to help combat the blazes, while his administration launched a diplomatic charm offensive to try to mend bridges overseas.

    Forest fires in the Brazilian Amazon, which accounts for more than half of the world’s largest rainforest, have surged in number by 83 percent this year, according to government data, destroying vast swathes of a vital bulwark against global climate change.

    French President Emmanuel Macron called for G7 leaders to discuss the environmental crisis in Brazil at a summit this weekend in the French coastal resort of Biarritz. France and Ireland threatened to oppose an EU trade deal struck in June with a regional South American bloc following Brazil’s response.

    Images of fires raging in the Amazon broadcast around the globe sparked protests outside Brazilian embassies from Mexico City and Lima to London and Paris.

    In the Cypriot capital Nicosia, a sign tied to the railings of Brazil’s diplomatic mission read: “The Amazon belongs to Earth not to the Brazilian president.” 

    Bolsonaro, who initially accused non-governmental organizations of setting the forest on fire without providing any evidence, said in a televised address he had authorised the use of troops to fight the fires and stop illegal deforestation in the Amazon.

    But the former military officer attributed the scale of the fires to dryer-than-average weather and insisted on the need for economic development of the Amazon to improve the lives of its 20 million inhabitants.

    Environmentalists have warned that his controversial plans for more agriculture and mining in the region will speed up deforestation.

    “We have to give the population the opportunity to develop and my government is working for that, with zero tolerance for crime – and that is no different for the environment,” Bolsonaro said in his televised speech.

    Polls show Brazilians overwhelmingly oppose his policy on the environment and as he spoke to the nation, residents in large cities across Brazil banged on pots and pans in a traditional Latin American form of protest.

    US President Donald Trump – whose sceptical views on climate change Bolsonaro shares – called the Brazilian president to offer help, if needed, in dealing with the wildfires. 

    “I told him if the United States can help with the Amazon rainforest fires, we stand ready to assist!” Trump tweeted on Friday. 

    G7 set discuss fires

    The wildfires now look set to be discussed at the summit of G7 leaders in France this weekend, where Macron has called for leaders to sign a charter to protect biodiversity. The French leader said an “ecocide” was taking place in the Amazon that required an international response.

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that the fires were “not only heartbreaking, they are an international crisis,” while a spokeswoman said Johnson would use the summit to call for a renewed focus on protecting nature.

    France and Ireland said on Friday they would now oppose the EU-Mercosur farming deal struck in June between the European Union and the Mercosur countries of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

    The French president’s office accused Bolsonaro of lying when he downplayed concerns over climate change at the G20 summit in June.

    “There is no way that Ireland will vote for the EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement if Brazil does not honor its environmental commitments,” Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said in a statement.

    The EU-Mercosur deal took 20 years to negotiate, but will not be officially ratified for at least another two years. 

    Brazilian business leaders also warned the backlash over Brazil’s environmental record could sink its efforts to join the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a Paris-based club of 37 developed nations whose imprimatur is required by many institutional investors.

    Stung by the international outcry, Brazil distributed a 12-page circular, exclusively seen by Reuters, to foreign embassies, outlining data and statistics defending the government’s reputation on the environment.

    Having first dismissed the fires as natural, then blaming non-governmental organisations without evidence for lighting them, Bolsonaro appeared to adopt a more serious approach on Friday following the international outcry, summoning top cabinet members for an afternoon meeting to tailor a response.

    Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Dias insisted that Brazil was “taking care” of the Amazon, and that international concerns over the fires needed to cool down.

    “The news is worrying, but I think we have to lower the temperature. The Amazon is important, Brazil knows that, and Brazil is taking care of the Amazon,” she told reporters.

    Who is to blame?

    The Brazilian space agency INPE has registered 72,843 fires this year, the highest number since records began in 2013. More than 9,500 have been spotted by satellites over the past week. 

    Although fires are a regular and natural occurrence during the dry season at this time of year, environmentalists blamed the jump on farmers clearing land for pasture.

    Bolsonaro has repeatedly said he believes Brazil should open up the Amazon to business interests, allowing mining, agricultural and logging companies to exploit its natural resources.

    On Thursday, Bolsonaro admitted for the first time that farmers may be behind some of the fires but he responded angrily to what he saw as foreign interference.

    Some foreign donors – including the biggest, Norway – have slashed their funding to an Amazon Fund designed to curb deforestation in the region in protest at changes introduced by Brazil that blocked its operations.

    “These countries that send money here, they don’t send it out of charity … They send it with the aim of interfering with our sovereignty,” Bolsonaro said.

    Alexandre Antonelli, director of science at Britain’s Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, urged that import sanctions be imposed on Brazil because of the fires.

    “Immediate action is necessary to extinguish the current fires and prevent future ones,” the Brazilian scientist said.

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    Simon Cheng: British consulate worker freed by China as Hong Kong protests continue

    A British consulate employee has been released after 15 days of detention in mainland China.

    Police in Shenzhen said Simon Cheng Man-kit was released as scheduled on Saturday, having been detained for violating public security management regulations.

    The Global Times, a Communist Party-owned newspaper, said he had been detained for “soliciting prostitutes”.

    China often uses such charges against political targets.

    In a statement on Facebook, Mr Cheng’s family thanked the public for their support, adding that he and his family “wish to have some time to rest and recover and will not take any interview for the moment”.

    The 28-year-old is a trade and investment officer in the Scottish Development International government agency, inside Britain’s consulate in Hong Kong.

    He failed to return to work on 8 August after a business trip to Shenzhen, which links Hong Kong to the Chinese mainland.

    Unconfirmed reports suggested he was detained in China while returning to the territory, where there have been mass anti-government protests.

    Those protests are set to continue this weekend, with demonstrators reportedly planning to “stress test” transport links to the airport early on Saturday.

    Hong Kong’s authorities have taken out a court order to prevent protests at the airport, which had to close last week due to demonstrations, grounding about 1,000 flights.

    People entering the airport are being asked to show boarding passes and passports, witnesses said, but train and road links are mainly clear for now.

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    Protests are also planned on Saturday in other districts including Kwun Tong on the Kowloon peninsula.

    The city’s train operator, the MTR Corporation, warned train services could be stopped immediately if “fights, vandalism or other acts of violence occur”.

    Hong Kong has been gripped by the protests for several weeks, initially over plans for a law that would allow people from the territory to be extradited to mainland China.

    But broader concerns about claims of police brutality and the erosion of freedoms under the “one country, two systems” formula – enacted after Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997 – have now come to the fore.

    The protesters want democratic reforms and the city’s Beijing-backed leader, Carrie Lam, to resign.

    Officials have so far refused to meet any of the protesters’ key demands.

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    Bolsonaro, under EU trade threat, sends army to fight huge fires in the Amazon

    Port Velho: Under international pressure to contain fires sweeping parts of Brazil's Amazon, President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday authorised use of the military to battle the huge blazes while thousands took to the streets to protest his environmental policies.

    The move followed a threat by the EU to tear-up a trade deal with Brazil over Bolsonaro's handling of the fires.

    Brazils President Jair Bolsonaro, left, talks with Army Commander General Edson Leal Pujol, during a military ceremony.Credit:AP

    Brazilian forces will deploy starting Saturday to border areas, indigenous territories and other affected regions in the Amazon to assist in putting out fires for a month, according to a presidential decree authorising use of the army.

    The military will "act strongly" to control the wildfires, Bolsonaro promised as he signed the decree.

    The armed forces will collaborate with public security and environmental protection agencies, the decree says.

    "The protection of the forest is our duty," the president said. "We are aware of that and will act to combat deforestation and criminal activities that put people at risk in the Amazon. We are a government of zero tolerance for crime, and in the environmental field it will not be different."

    A man wearing a mask President Donald Trump, front left, is joined by other ‘world leaders’ during a protest ahead of the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France.Credit:AP

    Earlier, France accused Bolsonaro of having lied to French leader Emmanuel Macron and threatened to block a European Union trade deal with South American states including Brazil.

    Ireland joined in the threat of possible economic repercussions for Brazil and its South American neighbours, starkly illustrating how the Amazon is becoming a battleground between Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and increasingly critical governments alarmed that vast swathes of the rainforest are going up in smoke.

    Having won support from other governments, but infuriated Bolsonaro, by putting the Amazon wildfires on the radar of world leaders gathering for a Group of Seven summit in France, Macron then further upped the stakes and the pressure with a bluntly-worded statement from his office on Friday that took direct aim at Bolsonaro's trustworthiness.

    French President Emmanuel Macron.Credit:Bloomberg

    "In light of Brazil's attitude these recent weeks," the statement said, Macron "can only conclude that President Bolsonaro lied to him during the Osaka Summit" in June where governments agreed on the "urgent need" to tackle climate change, pollution and environmental destruction.

    "The decisions and statements from Brazil these recent weeks show clearly that President Bolsonaro has decided to not respect his commitments on the climate, nor to involve himself on the issue of biodiversity."

    As a consequence, France now opposes an EU trade deal "in its current state" with the Mercosur bloc of South American nations that includes Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

    Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar also said "there is no way that Ireland will vote" for the deal "if Brazil does not honour its environmental commitments."

    Cattle grazes next to a lone standing tree in a deforested plot near Porto Velho, Brazil.Credit:AP

    Bolsonaro has previously described rainforest protections as an obstacle to Brazil's economic development, sparring with critics who note that the Amazon produces vast amounts of oxygen and is considered crucial for efforts to contain climate change.

    As the president spoke, thousands of Brazilians demonstrated in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and the capital of Brasilia demanding the government announce concrete actions to curb the fires. People also banged pots from their homes, a traditional mode of protest in South America.

    An Associated Press journalist who travelled to the Amazon region Friday saw many already deforested areas that had been burned.

    Charred trees and fallen branches were seen around Porto Velho, the capital of Rondonia state, which borders Bolivia. In some instances, the burned fields were adjacent to intact livestock ranches and other farms, suggesting the fires had been managed as part of a land-clearing policy.

    Close to 20 per cent of the Amazon has already been deforested, said Thomas Lovejoy, a George Mason University environmental scientist.

    "I worry that the current deforestation will push past the tipping point leading to massive loss of forest and biodiversity," Lovejoy wrote in an email to The Associated Press. He said Brazil is "turning its back" on past environmental achievements, including the 1992 Earth Summit, and has proposed infrastructure projects that will accelerate the challenge of climate change.

    "Fires are directly burning into the Amazon rainforest and that releases the carbon stored in those trees," said Doug Morton, a NASA scientist.

    "The carbon then enters the atmosphere as carbon dioxide or methane, where it contributes to the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change, bringing us a warmer and a drier planet."

    Morton said there is now "an uptick in the pressure against the remaining Amazon forest, to expand agriculture production in areas that are the leading edge in the deforestation frontier."


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    Man crawls in cow manure to try to avoid arrest: Prince Edward County OPP

    A Prince Edward County man crawled through cow manure to avoid arrest after a motor vehicle collision early Friday, police say.

    OPP say around 1 a.m., officers responded to a report of a vehicle in the ditch at the intersection of Bond Road and Maypul Layn Road in South Marysburgh Ward. Another report stated a man went to a nearby residence asking for assistance but was now hiding in bushes.

    The OPP deployed its emergency response team and canine unit to search for the suspect. It’s alleged he fled further into the bush and through a cow pasture.

    Police received a third call about a suspicious person on the front porch of a County Road 13 address. The description of the man matched the suspect, police say.

    He was eventually located and arrested. OPP say the man either rolled or crawled into cow manure while trying to evade police.

    Jonathan William Wilcox, 23, of Prince Edward County, was charged with the following:

    • operation of a motor vehicle while prohibited
    • driving while under suspension
    • driving a motor vehicle without a valid permit
    • failure to stop after an accident
    • failure to remain at the scene of an accident
    • failure to report an accident
    • failure or refusal to comply with a demand.

    He was released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court in Picton on Sept, 11. His vehicle was impounded for 45 days.

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    Calif. Mom Allegedly Kills 2 Daughters – Ages 14 and 4 Months — Before Dad Finds Her Unresponsive

    A California woman has been arrested for allegedly killing her two daughters — aged four months and 14 years old — at their home.

    Linda Nguyen, 47, is being treated at a local hospital and will be booked at West Valley Detention Center on two counts of murder when she is medically cleared, according to the Ontario Police Department.

    Police said Nguyen is the lone suspect in the deaths of the infant and her teenage sister.

    “She willingly provided a statement that confirmed she acted alone in the deaths of her two children,” Ontario Police Department Sgt. Bill Russell told ABC News.

    It is unclear how the two girls died but police said the girls had noticeable injuries.

    “We do know that there was a struggle at the scene, which may have played a factor in the deaths,” Russell said, according to KTLA. “There were visible injuries on the children.”

    The motive behind the deaths is unknown.

    Police said Nguyen had been struggling with depression.

    Ontario police officers were called to Nguyen’s home on Tuesday in the 500 block of East Tam o’Shanter Street in Ontario around 4 p.m. after the children’s father found Nguyen unresponsive and his two daughters dead in the family’s garage.

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    Officers attempted to revive the two girls but were unsuccessful.

    Nguyen was transported to a local hospital for treatment of an apparent suicide attempt. At the time, police said Nguyen was unable to provide a statement about what happened.

    At the scene, police allegedly found two suicide notes by Nguyen outlining her plan to kill her children before taking her own life, ABC reports.

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