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Jeffery Epstein commits ‘apparent suicide’

The millionaire reportedly hung himself.

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New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services / Handout / Reuters

Accused sex trafficker and multimillionaire Jeffery Epstein carried out an “apparent suicide” overnight, according to officials on Saturday morning, following his failed attempt to kill himself in July.

His death was discovered at 7:30 a.m. but the exact circumstances are unclear at this point. However, several news outlets reported that it was a suicide by hanging.

Last month, the financier was found half-conscious in his prison cell with injuries to his neck and was treated at a nearby hospital, reports say, before returning to his cell at New York State’s Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Epstein, 66, had previously pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and conspiracy charges and was being held without bail.

Accused of paying girls under the age of 18 to perform sexual acts at his Manhattan and Florida residences between 2002 and 2005, he was arrested on July 6 after landing in New Jersey on his private jet.

Lisa Bloom, a lawyer representing several of Epstein’s accusers, said in response to the death that “we would have preferred he lived to face justice”.

She added that civil cases will proceed against the financier’s estate, adding that “we’re just getting started.”

Epstein’s death comes less than 24 hours after the court unsealed a large pile of documents that laid out the disturbing details about what the accused did to underage girls and those that may have been bystanders.


Conspiracy?

Conspiracies and rumours are awash on social media and across the news sphere as details are revealed. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the death, according to a statement from the prison.

A unverified and anonymous source told NBC News that Jeffery Epstein was not on a constant suicide watch. He was housed in his own cell and was alone, according to the reporting.

Epstein had connections with the rich and powerful across the United States, including current President Donald Trump, who has denied knowing about the sex trafficking, and former President Bill Clinton, among others.

Trump and Epstein are connected in a lawsuit that was put forward by Katie Johnson accusing the president of raping her when she was 13 years old, a move that was met with skepticism on the part of journalists.

The woman withdrew the lawsuit shortly before the election in 2016, and there has been no further legal accusations of Trump wrongdoing connected to Epstein.

Trump in recent years, as Epstein has gotten into trouble, has tried through his lawyers to downplay the connections between himself and the financier. ■

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4 dead, 6 injured in Fresno

At least nine were shot.

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Photo via Marie Edinger on Twitter.

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Four men have dead and six others are injured after gunmen snuck into a backyard gathering of friends and family on Sunday night in Fresno, a city in central California, and opened fire.

About 35 people were at the home, and many were watching a football game when one or more people snuck in and opened fire, said Police Deputy Chief Michael Reid, local reports said.

Reid added that “no kids were hurt”. The victims were described by police as “Asian males between the ages of 25 and 35 years old. Three were dead at the scene and another died at in hospital.

Authorities have yet to release further details about the incident and so it is unknown at the time what weapon was used. Police were going door-to-door in search of surveillance video, reported the Fresno Bee.

Police Lt. Bill Dooley told NBC affiliate KSEE that no arrests had been made in the aftermath of the shooting. ■

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ISIS leader believed killed in raid, say reports

Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi reportedly dead.

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File photo of the ISIS leader via social media.

The leader of so-called Islamic State Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was killed in a military operation carried out by the United States, several international and U.S.-based news organizations reported early on Sunday.

LIVE: Trump expected to confirm al-Baghdadi’s death

Reuters reported that a raid had occurred targeting the reclusive figure, who has rarely been caught on camera. Newsweek cited sources saying he was killed. The U.S. military is working to confirm the death with DNA tests.

An announcement from U.S. President Donald Trump related to foreign policy is expected to come at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning. He tweeted earlier that “something very big has just happened”.

The operation took place in northwest Syria, CNN reported, citing dual sources, adding that he reportedly triggered a so-called “suicide vest” and killed himself.

Al-Baghdadi declared an Islamic caliphate in 2014 as Islamic State militants took large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria.

It comes as the Trump administration conducts a significant withdraw from Syria, a move that preceded a Turkish military operation into the northeast, a region dominated by Kurdish political and military control.

Kurdish forces were instrumental to a U.S.-backed international effort to drive the so-called Islamic State caliphate out of area. Some 10,000 Kurdish fighters were killed during a three year offensive.

Current maps of Syria show only slivers of ISIS territory remaining, but up to 18,000 fighters have remained persistent in Syria and Iraq while the group grows in other areas of the world.


An unexpected raid

It was United States Special Operations commandos that carried out what The New York Times reported was a “risky raid” in northwestern Syria on Saturday against what their sources described as a “senior terrorist leader”.

Another source said it was so-called Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who was believed to be the target for the mission, an operation approved by President Donald Trump, U.S. commander-in-chief.

Commandos and analysts were working to confirm the identity of the terrorist who Times sources said triggered his explosive vest, committing suicide. Al-Baghdadi has been reported killed in the past but then appeared to be alive after the claimed incidents.

Several reports said the raid took place in Syria’s northwestern Idlib Province, located many hundreds of kilometres from the north Syria-Iraq border where he was believed to be hiding out. ■

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Climate strikes with Greta Thunberg: What you need to know

The strikes taking place globally.

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File photo of Greta Thunberg.

(CUP) — Global protests for the climate crisis are taking place on Sept. 20 and 27 with organizations around the world, including Fridays For Future, a movement started by teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Youth and adults around the world will be spending the two Fridays out of school.

“What this moment can do is demonstrate that people are no longer willing to continue with business as usual,” reads the global climate strike website.

“Our house is on fire. The climate crisis is an emergency but we’re not acting like it.”

Here’s what you need to know to get informed and get involved.


The teenager who started it all

In August 2018, then-15-year-old Swedish teen Greta Thunberg began sitting outside the Swedish parliament every weekday for three weeks to protest a lack of action on the climate crisis. Thunberg’s actions went viral after she posted what she was doing on social media.

On Sept. 8, 2018, Thunberg decided to strike every Friday until Swedish policies responded to the threat of climate change with a plan to keep the global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius, in accordance with the Paris climate agreement.

Now 16, Thunberg is in New York to participate in a strike on Sept. 20 before the United Nations Climate Action Summit on Sept. 23. She spent 15-days sailing across the Atlantic to reach New York in a mode of transportation that emitted no carbon emissions. On Sept. 27, Thunberg will protest in Montreal for the global climate strike.


What are Fridays for Future?

Unlike their parents and grandparents, millennials have to think about their future while keeping in mind that they might not have a future.

FFF connects youth around the world who are striking on Fridays in solidarity with Thunberg, with the goal of influencing their own governments to take urgent action on climate change and encourage people to become more informed about the climate crisis.

The organization is driven by the strikes and efforts of youth of various ages, calling for change at the frontlines of protests. Parents, teachers, and other adults who want to support and facilitate are encouraged to join as well.

Canada became the third country and the first in the Americas to have a rally in solidarity with Thunberg on Nov. 2, 2018.

During the 2018 United Nations climate change conference in Katowice, Poland, nine Canadian cities participated in a FFF Canada strike on Dec. 7, 2018. Across, Canada, 85 strikes took place for the first global FFF strike of the year in March 2019. In May, during Canada’s official day to strike, there were 98 strikes, according to the FFF website.

In Toronto, #WeekforFuture begins on Sept. 20 with a climate strike rally and mass teach-in to empower youth on how to talk to adults about climate change, taking place at Hart House from 12 to 3 p.m.

On Friday, Sept. 27, FFF Toronto is hosting a strike at Queen’s Park, in solidarity with strikes happening all around the world, beginning at noon. “There is no more business as usual because this is a climate crisis,” reads the event Facebook page.


Youth in revolt

According to the United Nations panel on climate change science, human-induced warming already reached one degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels in 2017.

Students are striking to call on governments to keep global temperatures warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

A report from October 2018 suggests that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial levels by 2040. This could result in more disasters like food shortages, floods, fires and the rising temperature of the ocean.


How to get involved

In a movement that started with the actions of one teenager, the actions of an individual should not be underestimated. Joining a local strike on Sept. 20 or 27 can add volume to the initiative and cause the government to react.

Those who want to join in on the strikes can search the FFF map to find a strike happening near them.

With its directory, you can find events occurring past Sept. 27 to get involved in and continue to take action in response to the climate crisis.

According to 350, another organization participating in the global climate strike, 117 countries are expected to engage with over 2,500 registered strikes and events. On the global climate strike map of events, 54 are registered in Canada, scheduled to take place in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Montreal, Halifax, St. John’s, Nfld. and more.

Protesters joining the strikes are encouraged to register for their event on the FFF Canada map and use #FridaysForFuture and #ClimateStrike to find updates on each other’s events. ■

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