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Hundreds of new fires in Brazil as Amazon outrage grows

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Hundreds of new fires are raging in the Amazon rainforest in northern Brazil, official data showed Saturday, amid growing international pressure on President Jair Bolsonaro to put out the worst blazes in years.

The fires in the world’s largest rainforest have triggered a global outcry and are dominating the G7 meeting in Biarritz in southern France.

Official figures show 78,383 forest fires were recorded in Brazil so far this year, the highest number of any year since 2013, and experts say the clearing of land during the months-long dry season to make way for crops or grazing has accelerated the deforestation.

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More than half of the fires are in the Amazon, and some 1,663 new fires were ignited between Thursday and Friday, according to the National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

The new data came a day after Bolsonaro authorized the deployment of the military to fight the fires and crack down on criminal activities in the region.

The blazes have stirred outrage globally, with thousands protesting in Brazil and Europe on Friday.

Earlier this week, Bolsonaro blamed the fires on non-government organizations, suggesting they deliberately started them after their funding was cut.

The growing crisis threatens to torpedo a blockbuster trade deal between the European Union and South American countries, including Brazil, that took 20 years to negotiate.

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EU Council president Donald Tusk told reporters at the G7 on Saturday that it was hard to imagine European countries ratifying a trade pact with the Mercosur bloc as long as Brazil fails to curb the fires ravaging the Amazon, which is considered to be the “lungs of the planet” and crucial to keeping climate change in check.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who has taken the lead in piling pressure on Bolsonaro over the fires, had earlier accused the far-right leader Bolsonaro of lying to him about Brazil’s stance on climate change.

Environmental specialists say the fires have been accompanied by increasing deforestation in the Amazon region, which in July quadrupled compared to the same month in 2018, according to data from INPE.

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Bolsonaro has previously attacked the institute, describing its data as lies and instigating the sacking of its head.

On Friday, he insisted that the fires should not be used as an excuse to punish Brazil.

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“There are forest fires all over the world, and this cannot be used as a pretext for possible international sanctions,” Bolsonaro said.


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War criminal pardoned by Trump puts active-duty Navy SEALs in danger with video labeling them as ‘cowards’

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In a video posted to his Facebook and Instagram pages, convicted war criminal and retired Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher slammed his former platoon members who accused him of killing civilians, calling them "cowards."

In the video, Gallagher highlights the names, photos, duty status, and current units of his former SEAL team members -- some of whom are still on active duty, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. According to some former SEALs speaking to the Tribune, Gallagher's actions could put those he exposed in danger.

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‘Stay out of the way’: Fox News sources say Justice Roberts will let GOPers win tie votes on witnesses

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Chief Justice John Roberts is expected not to weigh in heavily during the question and answer phase of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

As the trial moves to the new phase on Wednesday, Roberts has the option of "inserting himself" into the process to rule on questions or other matters, according to Fox News correspondent Chad Pergram.

But sources told the Fox News reporter that Roberts will follow the model of former Chief Justice William Rehnquist who presided over President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial in 1999.

Under the Senate rules, measures that do not receive a majority of votes fail. So if a Senate vote of witnesses was tied 50-50, the measure would not pass. Roberts could choose to break the tie but he is not expected to do so.

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Ex-Trump chief of staff John Kelly: ‘I believe’ John Bolton and the Senate ‘should hear’ from him

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John Kelly, a former chief of staff to President Donald Trump, told a crowd in Sarasota, Florida on Tuesday that he believes former national security adviser John Bolton's claim that Trump directly linked releasing military aid to Ukraine with launching investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that Kelly told an audience at a Ringling College Library Association Town Hall lecture that Bolton is a reliable source and should be heard out if reporting about his upcoming book is accurate.

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