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iStock(BIARRITZ, France) -- After tangling with world leaders all week and setting off chaos in the global markets with trade disputes, President Trump shared a rosy outlook for the annual G-7 summit.

“So far so good," Trump said over lunch with the President of France Emmanuel Macron. "The weather is perfect. Everybody's getting along. I think we'll accomplish a lot this weekend. And I look forward to it."

On Saturday afternoon, the president touched down in the ritzy resort town of Biarritz for three days of meetings and meals at the G-7 with world leaders from the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and leaders from other invited countries.

The annual gathering is often likened to a dysfunctional family reunion, but with serious discussions on pressing issues sandwiched in between photos and dinners.

Over the course of the three-day summit, Trump will attend meetings on foreign security, the global economy – a session added at the last minute by the United States, African economies, gender equality, and the climate.

Climate change talks come as the Amazon rain forest is burning; security discussions come as North Korea continues to launch missiles and Iran continues to make threats; and the economy remains at the forefront as the world faces a potential recession set off, in part, by Trump tweets.

Over lunch on a breezy terrace at the Hotel du Palais, the palatial, five-star spot on the Basque coast where Trump and Macron are staying, Macron, the host of the summit, outlined his agenda and high hopes for the weekend. But he acknowledged some of the ways the United States has chosen to split from the rest of the group.

“We know the divergences we have on climate," Macron said. "But our cooperation will be to reduce carbon emissions."

Last year in Canada, the president defied the G-7 by taking off without signing the official communique, an agreement reached at the end of each summit.

Trump's behavior at that summit prompted some to call the G-7 the “G-6 1” or the “G-7-1.”

This year, in recognition of just how all over the map the G-7 countries are on different issues, Macron said there won’t even be a communique.

He called it “pointless.”

Still, at lunch, the two leaders smiled and praised their working relationship even after Trump threatened tariffs on French wine in retaliation for taxes France has proposed on big tech companies -- many of them based in the United States.

Every once in a while, we go at it just a little bit -- not very much. But we get along very well. We have a very good relationship,” Trump said. “Sort of, I think I can say, a special relationship.”

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- After nearly nine months in a notorious Moscow prison, the detention of U.S. citizen Paul Whelan was extended again on Friday by a Russian court despite concerns about his health and continued questions about the charges against him.

Whelan, 49, is a former Marine arrested while on vacation in Russia and charged with being a spy -- something he and his family deny and the State Department has cast doubt on.

In court Friday, Whelan said he had been dragged by prison guards, exacerbating a hernia in his groin. His lawyer Vladimir Zherebenkov said prison doctors examined Whelan and agreed he will need to be operated on after it was recently aggravated.

An injury to his left shoulder has also been "deteriorating, not improving, and could lead to emergency surgery," his family said last week.

On Saturday, Andrea Kalan, a spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in Moscow, tweeted that Whelan's "health is at risk."

"And yet Lefortovo prison officials refuse to provide medical records or an independent medical examination," the tweet read, referring to the Moscow prison where Whelan is being held. "It’s time to put an end to this and allow Paul to go home to get proper medical treatment."

During the hearing Friday, Whelan read a statement to the press as court officials tried to shout him down and remove the press from the room: "I'm innocent of any charges, all of this is political kidnapping. No crime ever occurred. There is no evidence of a crime. This is a set-up. Isolation continues in order to force a false confession. Medical care for injuries inflicted by the FSB in prison has been refused. My human rights complaints have been resulting in retaliation ... Full consular access is being denied. As a political prisoner, I'm asking the government to --"

Journalists and cameras were removed from the room before he could finish.

The judge ruled Friday to prolong his detention for at least two more months until October 29. Whelan accused her and the prosecutor of being biased and working with authorities from the FSB, Russia's domestic security agency, to keep him in detention.

Whelan's lawyer Zherebenkov said he had not been able to visit Whelan for more than a month. Despite Whelan's statement that "full" consular access was being denied, Zherebenkov also said a Canadian official visited him Thursday, and a U.S. official would next week.

In addition to being a U.S. citizen, Whelan has Canadian, British, and Irish passports. U.S. embassy officials were in the courtroom Friday for his hearing.

A State Department spokesperson later told ABC News they were "aware" of the judge's decision and "continue to urge the Russian government to guarantee a fair and transparent judicial process without undue delay."

"We take allegations of mistreatment seriously and are deeply concerned with Mr. Whelan's allegation of continuing mistreatment at his most recent hearing," the spokesperson added, adding they have previously protested to the Foreign Ministry and asked them to investigate and ensure Whelan's safety.

There was no comment on Whelan's accusations of a "set-up" by the court and prosecutor, although the spokesperson noted "our concerns regarding the lack of evidence that has been presented."

The judge denied Whelan's motion to disqualify the prosecutor, calling it "unwarranted," and requested an ambulance to evaluate his medical condition.

An ambulance arrived at the court, but paramedics said Whelan did not require hospitalization, and returned him to Lefortovo.

Some critics say the Trump administration has done little to pressure Moscow to present evidence against Whelan or release him.

President Trump himself repeatedly tweeted about rapper A$AP Rocky's case after he was arrested in Sweden, even calling the Swedish Prime Minister and sending Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs Robert O'Brien to attend his trial. Earlier this month, Rocky was found guilty of assault during a Stockholm fight and given a two-year suspended sentence.

The families of other American citizens detained abroad, including the wife of Xiyue Wang, a Princeton PhD student held by Iran, have urged Trump to intervene as strongly in their cases.

The Trump administration has secured the release of several high-profile American cases, including Pastor Andrew Brunson from Turkey, aid worker Aya Hijazi from Egypt, and three U.S. citizens held by North Korea, Tony Kim, Kim Dong Chul, and Kim Hak Song.

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iStock/Thinkstock(BIARRITZ, France) -- President Donald Trump spoke to counterpart Jair Bolsonaro on the phone Friday, the same day the Brazilian president authorized his country's army to assist in fighting massive wildfires currently consuming parts of the Amazon rainforest.

Trump says he spoke with Bolsonaro and offered U.S. assistance in fighting the Amazon fires. Scientists say the number of fires are up 84% in 2019 versus a year ago.

"Just spoke with President @JairBolsonaro of Brazil," Trump tweeted. "Our future Trade prospects are very exciting and our relationship is strong, perhaps stronger than ever before. I told him if the United States can help with the Amazon Rainforest fires, we stand ready to assist!"

A U.S. official said there has been no formal request from Bolsonaro's government, but there have been conversations between them and the U.S. about assistance fighting the fires.

A State Department spokesperson said Brazil "has not yet requested assistance. ... We stand ready to consider any such request."

"We share the Brazilian government's concerns about the Amazon forest fires and their impact on the region's communities and natural resources," the spokesperson added.

While Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, threatened Thursday to withhold foreign assistance to Brazil over Bolsonaro's handling of the fires, the spokesperson said the State Department "continues to work with Brazil on increasing investment in healthy forests, creating incentives to protect these critical natural resources."

Bolsanaro, an outspoken conservative who has been likened to Trump, confirmed Friday evening he had a conversation with the U.S. president.

"I had an excellent conversation today with the President @realDonaldTrump. Relations between Brazil and the U.S. are better than ever," he tweeted in Portuguese. "We have a mutual desire to launch a major trade negotiation soon to promote the prosperity of our peoples.

"President Trump has also been available to assist us in protecting the Amazon and fighting fires if we wish, as well as working together for an environmental policy that respects the sovereignty of countries."

Bolsanaro's government has come under criticism for its role in the exploding rate of wildfires in the critical natural environment. There have been over 9,500 fires just since last Thursday, NatGeo explorer and conservationist Andres Ruzo told ABC News this week.

While it's unclear if the fires were natural or deliberately set, Bolsonaro's government has called for a double-digit increase in deforestation, according to The Associated Press. He went on the offensive and blamed nongovernmental organizations for intentionally setting the fires to make him look bad -- a claim for which he offered no evidence.

National and international critics have blasted Bolsonaro for increasing logging and mining activities in the jungles. Brazil's beef industry, the largest in the world, has also contributed to deforestation.

"The Amazon is literally on fire," Schatz said in a statement Thursday. "And instead of confronting this crisis, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has pointed the finger at nongovernmental organizations charged with protecting the rain forest and called his own government’s reports on deforestation fake. The United States cannot treat this as business as usual."

The Amazonian rainforests are critical not just to South America, but to all of Earth as the producer of 20% of the oxygen for the entire world.

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Igor Ilnitckii/iStock(BEIJING) -- Just as President Donald Trump was preparing to meet world leaders to discuss the global economy and his trade wars, China on Friday announced it would impose tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. imports in retaliation for duty hikes the United States pledged to slap on Chinese imports starting next month.

The announcement also came just before the chairman of the Federal Reserve was set to give a speech investors and analysts planned to scrutinize for signs of how the central bank would address worries of a slowing economy -- and as President Trump sent mixed messages on tax cuts.

China said that it would impose its new penalties on two batches of goods, on Sep. 1 and Dec. 15, according to official Chinese news agency Xinhua. It said 5,078 American products would see duty hikes of 5 or 10 percent, and that on Dec. 15, it would hit "American-made vehicles and auto parts" with tariffs of 5 or 25 percent, according to Xinhua.

 Those dates match with 10 percent tariff the Trump administration said would go into effect on $300 billion worth of imports from China.

Trump planned to depart for France later Friday to attend a meeting of the Group of Seven, or G7, major industrialized nations, where the state of the world's economy will take center stage.

Those nations' leaders are scheduled to attend a meeting on the global economy on Sunday morning -- a session added at the last minute at the United States' request, according to a senior U.S. administration official.

This week, as the economy flashed warning signs of a possible downturn, the president suggested a variety of remedies -- even as he argued they were unnecessary.

He and his senior advisers have tried to stave off consumer concerns about a possible recession -- arguing the economy is strong, even as they discuss potential fiscal boosts.

After Trump first said earlier this week he was considering a payroll tax cut, he reversed himself and nixed that idea the next day. He has also floated indexing and a capital gains tax cut.

Then, on Thursday, his top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, told reporters that the White House was not considering any short term actions to jolt the economy but is developing a long-term "tax cuts 2.0 plan," possibly to be unveiled during the 2020 campaign.

Trump on Friday morning argued in a tweet that the economy was "strong and good, whereas the rest of the world is not doing so well."

He has made the economy a central message of his campaign, and he accused the news media and Democrats of wanting a recession in order to tank his reelection chances.

The Economy is strong and good, whereas the rest of the world is not doing so well. Despite this the Fake News Media, together with their Partner, the Democrat Party, are working overtime to convince people that we are in, or will soon be going into, a Recession. They are.....

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2019

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DanHenson1/iStock(MOSCOW) -- After nearly nine months in a notorious Moscow prison, the detention of U.S. citizen Paul Whelan was extended again on Friday by a Russian court despite concerns about his health and continued questions about the charges against him.

Whelan, 49,, is a former Marine arrested while on vacation in Russia and charged with being a spy -- something he and his family deny and the State Department has cast doubt on.

In court Friday, Whelan said he had been dragged by prison guards, exacerbating a medical condition. An injury to his left shoulder has been "deteriorating, not improving, and could lead to emergency surgery," his family said last week.

During the hearing, Whelan read a statement to the press as court officials tried to shout him down and remove the press from the room: "I'm innocent of any charges, all of this is political kidnapping. No crime ever occurred. There is no evidence of a crime. This is a set-up. Isolation continues in order to force a false confession. Medical care for injuries inflicted by the FSB in prison has been refused. My human rights complaints have been resulting in retaliation .... Full consular access is being denied. As a political prisoner, I'm asking the government to --."

Journalists and cameras were removed from the room before he could finish.

The judge ruled Friday to prolong his detention for at least two more months until October 29. Whelan accused her and the prosecutor of being biased and working with authorities from the FSB, Russia's domestic security agency, to keep him in detention.

Whelan's lawyer said he had not been able to visit Whelan for more than a month. It's unclear when his last consular visit was from embassy officials from the U.S., or Canada, the United Kingdom, or Ireland, where Whelan also holds citizenship.

The State Department had not yet responded to requests for comment Friday.

The judge denied Whelan's motion to disqualify the prosecutor, calling it "unwarranted," and requested an ambulance to evaluate his medical condition.

An ambulance arrived at the court, but parademics said Whelan does not require hospitalization. He will be returned to the notorious Lefortovo prison in Moscow.

In June, the U.S. embassy in Moscow protested to the Russian Foreign Ministry about Whelan's "mistreatment" and asked for an investigation, according to spokesperson Andrea Kalan.

It's unclear if anyone from the embassy was in the court Friday.

But some critics say the Trump administration has done little to pressure Moscow to present evidence against Whelan or release him.

President Trump himself repeatedly tweeted about rapper A$AP Rocky's case after he was arrested in Sweden, even calling the Swedish Prime Minister and sending Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs Robert O'Brien to attend his trial. Earlier this month, Rocky was found guilty of assault during a Stockholm fight and given a two-year suspended sentence.

The families of other American citizens detained abroad, including the wife of Xiyue Wang, a Princeton PhD student held by Iran, have urged Trump to intervene as strongly in their cases.

The Trump administration has secured the release of several high-profile American cases, including Pastor Andrew Brunson from Turkey, aid worker Aya Hijazi from Egypt, and three U.S. citizens held by North Korea, Tony Kim, Kim Dong Chul, and Kim Hak Song.

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Naeblys/iStock(PARIS) -- The captain of a ship that saved migrants in the Mediterranean Sea has refused to accept Paris' highest honor, instead accusing the city's mayor of hypocrisy.

In July, Pia Klemp of Germany was awarded the Médaille de la Ville de Paris Grand Vermeil, but she wrote in a Facebook post on Aug. 20 that she would not accept it.

She wrote that Mayor Anna Hidalgo and the city of Paris "want to award me a medal for my solidarian [sic] action in the Mediterranean Sea, because our crews 'work to rescue migrants from difficult conditions on a daily basis'.

"At the same time your police is stealing blankets from people that you force to live on the streets, while you raid protests and criminalize people that are standing up for rights of migrants and asylum seekers," she continued. "I am sure you won't be surprised that I decline the medaille Grand Vermeil."

The Paris City Council's press office told ABC News, "This is a misunderstanding." The Paris City Council said that it welcomes migrants "in the most humane conditions that are possible for us to offer."

The council added, "Council member Dominique Versini, who is in charge of the solidarity department and the fight against exclusion, is trying to contact Pia Klemp very quickly to propose to meet her and discuss the action of the City on the reception of migrants."

Klemp's post included an image of a 2017 article from French newspaper L'Obs with the headline, "After barriers, the Paris city council installs anti-migrant rocks." In February 2017, L'Obs reported that the city had placed dozens of large rocks on the ground under a bridge where hundreds of people slept while waiting to be seen by a nearby humanitarian center.

At the time, the Paris City Council justified the rocks by citing imminent construction work on those sites, but migrant aid associations alleged it was harassment.

Klemp was captain of the rescue ship Iuventa, associated with Berlin-based nongovernmental organization Jugend Rettet (Youth Rescue), when the ship was seized at Lampedusa on Aug. 2, 2017, by Italian authorities.

Jugend Rettet are currently fighting a legal case to have the ship released. Klemp continued captaining rescue ships with German NGO Sea-Watch until summer 2018, when she and nine others, calling themselves the Iuventa 10, were informed by Italian authorities that they were under individual investigation for "aiding and abetting illegal immigration," a spokesperson for the Iuventa 10 told ABC News.

Between August 2016 and August 2017, the ship ran 16 rescue missions off the cost of Libya and saved at least14,000 lives, according to the Iuventa 10 website.

The 10 could face criminal prosecution in Italy depending on the results of the investigation. It is not clear yet whether the Sicilian prosecutor will choose to prosecute; the Iuventa 10 launched an appeal to drop the investigation in June, according to the spokesperson. Klemp is not a member of Jugend Rettet or of Sea Watch and her statement was made in an individual capacity.

Patrick Klugman, the mayor's deputy in in charge of international relations who made the announcement in July, proposed to show the support of the city of Paris by awarding the medal to Klemp and Carola Rackete, the captain of another rescue ship who was arrested this summer in Italy.

"We must denounce as strongly as possible the legal proceedings brought against Carola Rackete and Pia Klemp in Italy," he said when announcing the award July 12.

Fier d'avoir porté au Conseil de Paris la parole de l'exécutif pour décerner la médaille de la Ville @paris aux deux capitaines courages #PiaKlemp et Carola #Rackete poursuivies en Italie pour avoir sauver des vies humaines en Méditerranée #SeaWatch pic.twitter.com/iFeE7JnW9f

— Patrick Klugman (@PKlugman) July 12, 2019

Rackete, who is associated with another German non-profit, Sea-Watch, has not commented on whether she would accept the award. She was taken into custody by Italian authorities in June this year after her boat, Sea-Watch 3, docked in the Italian port of Lampedusa without authorization, with 40 migrants on board, according to Deutsche Welle.

Sea-Watch told ABC News the prize was awarded to Rackete personally, not to the organization. "Therefore, she will decide herself, as Pia did, if she accepts it or not," their spokesperson said.

Sea-Watch had greeted the news with enthusiasm when it was announced on July 12.

They tweeted in German, "We are delighted with the City of Paris' decision to honor our captains #CarolaRackete & #PiaKlemp with its highest award, the Grand Vermeil Medal. We hope this recognition will be reflected in French politics when #SeaWatch3 is back in action."

🏅 Wir sind erfreut über den Beschluss der Stadt #Paris unsere Captains #CarolaRackete & #PiaKlemp mit ihrer höchsten Auszeichnung, der Grand Vermeil Medaille, zu ehren.

Wir hoffen diese Anerkennung wird sich in der frz. Politik spiegeln, wenn #SeaWatch3 zurück im Einsatz ist. pic.twitter.com/rh0zqT4QbL

— Sea-Watch (@seawatchcrew) July 14, 2019

The Iuventus and Sea-Watch are just some of the non-profit rescue ships coming under pressure. Matteo Salvini, Italy's far-right interior minister, has passed harsh laws to prevent boats rescuing people in the Mediterranean from docking in Italy.

🔴 "They are petrified they will be taken back to Libya where they have been exposed to horrendous abuses and arbitrary detention. Some are survivors of shipwrecks or bombings. They all deserve safety."

Luca Pigozzi, MSF doctor on board #OceanViking#MSF #BackAtSea pic.twitter.com/OBpXd9qB1E

— MSF Sea (@MSF_Sea) August 22, 2019

The Médaille de la Ville is Paris' highest civilian honor, according to the newspaper L'Obs. It is awarded for those who have undertaken "something remarkable" that relates to the city of Paris and can be awarded in five categories. Past international awardees have included Patti Smith, Karl Lagerfeld and Rafael Nadal.

"We do not need medals," Klemp wrote on Facebook this week. "We do not need authorities deciding about who is a 'hero' and who is 'illegal'. In fact they are in no position to make this call, because we are all equal. What we need are freedom and rights. It is time we call out hypocrite honorings and fill the void with social justice."

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LewisTsePuiLung/iStock(HONG KONG) -- Protesters who've taken pro-democracy demonstrations to the streets of Hong Kong every weekend since early June are preparing for another tumultuous weekend in the city of 7.4 million people as they refuse to buckle to Beijing's demands to curb their rebellion.

Thousands of protesters are expected to take to the streets, possibly blocking major roadways, including those leading to Hong Kong International Airport.

On Thursday, thousands of high school and university students boycotted classes and joined the protest, filling a square in downtown Hong Kong and breaking into chants of "revolution of our times" and "liberate Hong Kong."

"I think it symbolizes fighting for freedom," one of the high school students, who asked not to be identified, told ABC News of what the protests meant to her.

She said she is participating in the demonstrations despite her parents discouraging her.

"If it's my parents, they don't actually support me. They think I'm here to ruin everything," the student said.

Last weekend saw one of the largest protests yet as tens of thousands packed Hong Kong's Victoria Park on Sunday. Organizers of the demonstration claimed 1.7 million people participated, but police, according to Hong Kong Free Press, put the number at only 128,000.

The protests began June 9, when hundreds of thousands of mostly young people marched against a proposed extradition bill that would allow individuals to be sent from semi-autonomous Hong Kong to mainland China for trial. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has since suspended the bill, but the movement has continued and protesters' demands have expanded to include a call for universal suffrage and an independent investigation into police brutality.

The demonstrators have also asked Lam to resign and allow a democratic election to elect her successor.

Many demonstrators said they're worried that their freedoms will continue to erode as China's Communist Party-ruled central government keeps flexing its muscle in Hong Kong, the former British colony given back to China in 1997 that's become a global financial hub.

Standard Chartered and HSBC, two of the largest financial institutions in the world that have offices in Hong Kong, broke their silence about the protests on Thursday by taking out full-page ads in Hong Kong newspapers, calling for a peaceful resolution.

Under the constitutional principle of "One Country, Two Systems," China had agreed to keep its hands off the freedoms Hong Kong residents have enjoyed as a semi-autonomous territory. But protesters said the Chinese government has exercised its power to curb democracy in Hong Kong in violation of the agreement.

Clashes between protesters and police grew more intense earlier this month when demonstrators organized a city-wide strike and stormed Hong Kong International Airport, forcing flight cancellations at one of the world's busiest airport for two days.

On Aug. 13, violent clashes erupted between protesters and paramilitary police at the airport. Baton-wielding officers were caught on video using force on demonstrators to take back control of the airport.

Chinese officials alleged that protesters "have begun to show signs of terrorism," and China appeared to be weighing a crackdown on the democratic movement.

Student protesters have told ABC News they've been subject to mysterious, anonymous intimidation efforts, including fliers posted in their neighborhoods listing their home addresses and accusing them of everything from "causing chaos” to incest. They say they’ve even received messages threatening that their families will be killed.

One protester, Keith Fong, 20, described to ABC News how he was arrested and allegedly physically assaulted by police for buying laser pointers.

Another protester, Kex Leung, 22, said he believes violence in Hong Kong may be inevitable, but he hopes it doesn’t come to that.

"I am willing to give my life," Leung told ABC News last week, "but not my family's."

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iStock(MALAYSIA) -- Elephants trapped in a muddy hole were saved in Malaysia on Tuesday, and their rescue was captured on video by Malaysia’s Department of Wildlife.

Indigenous people spotted the five elephants in an abandoned illegal mining pool in Pahang’s forest reserve, which is about 125 miles east of Kuala Lumpur, and alerted local media about the situation, Malaysia’s Department of Wildlife reported.

The herd stuck closely together through the ordeal as an excavator dug a path for them to climb out, the video shows.


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Brasil2/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Professionals who have spent years working and studying in the Amazon rainforest called this year's expansive fire outbreaks "truly heart-wrenching."

Many are on edge due to the increasing scale of the forest fires, which are up 84 percent from the same time period last year, as smoke billows above 1.2 million square miles of land.

Geothermal scientist, NatGeo explorer and conservationist Andres Ruzo, who has worked in the Central Peruvian Amazon at the Boiling River for the last 10 years, detailed the current conditions.

"Fires do happen, but not on this scale and that's something that's truly heart-wrenching," Ruzo told ABC News. "You've got huge plumes of smoke, nasty deforestation because of these fires and when you're talking about an area that's truly one of the greatest celebrations of life on this planet -- that literally cleans our water, purifies our air -- we gotta get worried."

Following his return from leading a 41-person research team into the jungle, Ruzo said the Amazon could lose the size of up to "30 soccer fields every single minute of rainforest being destroyed."

Claire Bower, a journalist who lives in Rio de Janeiro, told ABC News that the smoke is a major concern and covers "what is basically half of Brazil and neighboring countries like Bolivia and Peru."

"The smoke is so bad that it even caused a daytime blackout some 1,700 miles away in Sao Paulo, which is Brazil's biggest city," she said.

Like Ruzo, she explained that wildfires are quite common this time of year during the dry season.

"What's different this time is that new government satellite data shows a massive unprecedented increase in the number of fires this year since January," Bower said. "We're talking about more than 72,000 fire outbreaks. But most shockingly, more than 9,500 fires just since last Thursday."

She added that it is still unclear if the fires were set deliberately for farming purposes or by accident.

What this means for the planet?

The Amazon is often referred to as "the lungs of the planet." It's home to 10 percent of the world's species and creates 20 percent of our oxygen.

"This is one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet," Ruzo said. "There's so many things that [we] take for granted. It could be medicines, it could be new molecules that could help improve the human condition, that are lying in waiting to be discovered in the Amazon."

Ruzo described the constantly changing ecosystem as "natural biological warfare" where plants, animals and insects try to "outdo each other to create new compounds which can greatly benefit" people.

How can you help?

Monitor what you eat and where it comes from.

"Beef is a big industry down there," Ruzo said, which is a large contributor to clear cutting and deforestation. Other natural resources from the Amazon include palm oil and wood.

Ruzo also suggested donating to organizations and above all else, visit.

"One of the best things we can do is actually go visit the Amazon," he said. "It's an amazing celebration of life, after you leave the jungle the rest of the world kind of seems sterile. Your tourist's dollars there show people directly -- that this place is worth protecting."

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eddyfish/iStock (FILE photo)(LONDON) — For the first time in 14 years, a manned dive has visited the RMS Titanic at the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean.

The world's most famous sunken ship rests 12,500 feet down on the icy seafloor, some 370 miles south of Newfoundland, Canada. This month, a deep-sea exploration team of experts and scientists completed five dives to the shipwreck over eight days, using a human-occupied submersible. They found the British passenger liner, the largest ship of its time, deteriorating rapidly.

The Titanic, which was 882 feet long and weighed over 53,000 tons, sunk in 1912 after slamming into an iceberg during its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City. Of the 2,224 passengers and crew estimated to be on board at the time, more than 1,500 died. The underwater wreckage was discovered 73 years later.

The last manned dive to the Titanic was in 2005, and this latest expedition was led by Victor Vescovo, an American private equity investor and retired naval officer who is the founder of exploration company Caladan Oceanic, Titanic historian Parks Stephenson, Rob McCallum, founder of specialist tour operator EYOS Expeditions, and a technical team from Triton Submarines.

They surveyed the decades-old wreckage and used special cameras to capture it on 4k footage. The rusting hulk is crumbling from salt corrosion, metal-eating bacteria and deep ocean currents.

Stephenson said the "most shocking area of deterioration" was on the starboard side of the officers' quarters, where the captain had his rooms. There, he said, the hull has begun to collapse.

"Captain's bath tub is a favorite image among the Titanic enthusiasts, and that's now gone," Stephenson said in a statement Wednesday. "That whole deck hole on that side is collapsing taking with it the staterooms, and the deterioration is going to continue advancing."

The team also performed photogrammetry passes on the Titanic's remains, which will allow them to produce photo-real 3D models of the vessel so they can assess the current condition and project its future.

"The most fascinating aspect was seeing how the Titanic is being consumed by the ocean and returning to its elemental form while providing refuge for a remarkably diverse number of animals," Patrick Lahey, president and co-founder of Triton Submarines, said in a statement Wednesday.

Lori Johnson, one of the scientists of the expedition, said the rate of deterioration will speed up as natural types of bacteria work "symbiotically" to eat away the iron and sulphur.

"The future of the wreck is going to continue to deteriorate over time," Johnson said in a statement Wednesday. "It's a natural process."

The team will release the full results from the expedition alongside a documentary being made by Atlantic Productions, a London-based company that filmed the dives.

"It was extraordinary to see it all," Vescovo said in a statement Wednesday. "The most amazing moment came when I was going along the side of the Titanic and the bright lights of the submersible reflected off a portal and came right back, it was like the ship was winking at me."

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LazingBee/iStock(WELLINGTON, New Zealand) -- The speaker of New Zealand’s parliament, Trevor Mallard, cradled and fed a bottle to a Member of Parliament's baby boy during a general debate.

Tweeting a photo of himself feeding MP Tamati Coffey's son in the speaker's seat, Mallard said: “Normally the Speaker’s chair is only used by Presiding Officers but today a VIP took the chair with me.”

He then congratulated the boy’s parents, Member of Parliament Tamati Coffey and his partner Tim Smith, "on the newest member of [their] family."

Normally the Speaker’s chair is only used by Presiding Officers but today a VIP took the chair with me. Congratulations @tamaticoffey and Tim on the newest member of your family. pic.twitter.com/47ViKHsKkA

— Trevor Mallard (@SpeakerTrevor) August 21, 2019

Mallard told ABC News that inclusivity is something that he's been focused on since becoming speaker. “When I became speaker I made it clear that I wanted the parliament to be much more family-friendly than it had been," he said. "And a big part of that was to encourage a bigger range of MPs over time to join the parliament – in particular younger women. It’s my view that parliaments are better when they’re a reflection of society. And to do that they have to be family-friendly, otherwise you exclude groups.”

Coffey announced the birth of his son, Tutanekai, in July, saying in a tweet that he and his husband were "overwhelmed at the miracle of life."

🌈👶🏻 He’s here. and he came into this world surrounded by his village. #modernfamilies 👬Mum doing awesome. Dads overwhelmed at the miracle of life.

📺 @SundayTVNZ will tell our story this Sunday night at 730pm. Give it a watch. pic.twitter.com/nRm2YNoBug

— Tāmati Coffey (@tamaticoffey) July 9, 2019

As he attended a parliamentary debate with his baby for the first time after returning from paternity leave, the new father told New Zealand media outlet Newshub, "I've felt really supported by my colleagues from across the House. Babies have a way of calming down the intense environment of Parliament and I think we need more of them around to remind us of the real reason we are all here."

The parliament speaker said his approach to lawmakers' leave requests has reinforced the push to make the workplace more family-friendly. "I have an ability to grant compassionate leave and I’ve been very liberal with leave for fathers and mothers of newborns," Mallard told ABC News.

Colleagues in parliament shared photos of the delighted dad with his newborn in the House of Representatives, before the speaker took on the role of babysitter.

"Lovely to have a baby in the House, and what a beautiful one," MP Gareth Hughes tweeted, while MP Golriz Ghahraman said, "Who needs to see this today? Every single last one of us, that’s who," alongside a crying with joy and love heart emoji.

Lovely to have a baby in the House, and what a beautiful one @tamaticoffey pic.twitter.com/EP6iP9eQES

— Gareth Hughes (@GarethMP) August 21, 2019

Who needs to see this today? Every single last one of us, that’s who. Here’s a brand new papa holding his new born in our House of Representatives right now 😭❤️ pic.twitter.com/NU00SHfKFT

— Golriz Ghahraman (@golrizghahraman) August 21, 2019

This wasn't the first time that Mallard has stepped up to the plate into a temporary childcare role, having also previously cradled a baby during a 2017 parliamentary debate on paid parental leave.

Absolutely brilliant moment in the Paid Parental Leave debate. @TrevorMallard @WillowPrime Thanks to @five15design for the screengrab. pic.twitter.com/KShInNMbk3

— Deborah Russell MP (@BeeFaerie) November 8, 2017

In September last year New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made history by becoming the first world leader at the United Nations to bring a baby into a general assembly meeting, delivering a speech to the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit in New York while her daughter, Neve, sat with her partner Clarke Gayford.

In terms of the response to his on-the-job babysitting, Mallard said matter-of-factly that there had been "no backlash, almost none. In our society it’s quite hard to argue against valuing babies."

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LewisTsePuiLung/iStock(HONG KONG) -- When Hong Kong riot police descended on a rail station where protesters were holding a sit-in on Wednesday, a small group of demonstrators unspooled a fire hose to create a watery moat in their path and shined laser beams at the officers' faces. By the time riot police entered the station, around 1,000 protesters had disappeared into train cars and escaped into the city’s back streets and alleyways, evading arrest or any confrontation.

In what has been a hallmark of the 11-week protest movement, a team of protesters stayed behind at the station, located in the city's outskirts, to mop up the water, reattach the fire hose and collect the rubber ducks that had been playfully set on the water.

As Hong Kong's anti-government movement nears its third month, protesters have explained its staying power -- and the fact that there have been relatively few clashes with police -- by invoking the slogan “Be Like Water.” The line is borrowed from kung fu master Bruce Lee, who grew up in Hong Kong and made movies there: “Be formless, shapeless, like water,” he said.

Massive protests often disperse with astonishing speed -- preventing violent confrontations -- and have been largely confined to weekends, which has minimized disruptions in this major hub for Asian business. Protesters, who wear black and cover their faces to avoid identification, regularly clean up after themselves.

The sit-in on Wednesday was held in response to a violent attack on supporters of the protest movement. The sit-in was held at a suburban train station near a village where the attackers are believed to live.

Asked about the alleged attack, police offered no immediate comment.

The approach was on view on Sunday, when around a million people rallied in the city center holding signs that read "Free Hong Kong." It was one of the largest protests to date and it unfolded with almost no reports of clashes or unrest.

The protests began June 9, when hundreds of thousands of mostly young people marched against a proposed extradition bill that would allow individuals to be sent from semi-autonomous Hong Kong to mainland China for trial. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has since suspended the bill, but the movement has continued and protesters' demands have expanded to include a call for an investigation into police brutality and universal suffrage.

As protests have taken shape in nearly every weekend in Hong Kong, which was under British control until power was transferred to China in 1997, there have been some reports of confrontations.

Last week, a sit-in at Hong Kong's busy international airport grounded hundreds of flights and led to clashes with police. At one point, some protesters were seen beating a man who was later identified as a Chinese journalist. Police have accused protesters of hurling objects and pointing laser beams at them.

Protesters argue that they have faced unreasonable force from Hong Kong police and assaults from gangs, which protesters say are aligned with China.

Earlier this month, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said through a spokesman that there was “credible evidence” of law enforcement officials using some anti-riot measures which are “prohibited by international norms and standards,” including firing tear gas canisters into crowded, enclosed areas and directly at individual protesters.

Some protesters have been seen wearing eye patches to show support for a woman whose eye was injured in an encounter with police earlier this month.

Outside the city center, the so-called "Lennon Tunnel" at the Tai Po Market train station has become a shrine to the movement's symbols and slogans.

The tunnel, which pays homage to John Lennon, is covered floor to ceiling with artwork, mosaics fashioned out of Post-it notes and flyers advertising upcoming demonstrations.

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gustavofrazao/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The Amazon rainforest in Brazil is experiencing a record amount of fires this year, according to the country's space agency.

The number of fires in the Brazilian Amazon between Jan. 1 and Aug. 20 -- more than 74,000 as of Tuesday -- has risen 84% from the same period in 2018, according to data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), which used satellites to collect its research.

The wildfires are so intense that smoke loomed over the city of Sao Paolo, more than a thousand miles away, according to Greenpeace.

The severity of the fires has prompted the state of Amazonas to declare a state of emergency. The hashtags #PrayforAmazonas and #AmazonRainforest were trending on Twitter on Wednesday.

Wildfires are common during Brazil's dry season but are also deliberately started for the illegal deforestation of land for cattle ranching, the BBC reported.

Scientists warn that if the Amazon fires reach a "point of no return," the forests could be replaced by fire-prone brush and savanna, causing the death of millions of species, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

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Naeblys/iStock FILE(NEW YORK) -- Dozens of people were allowed to disembark a rescue ship on the Italian island of Lampedusa, ending a 19-day standoff between the Spain-based rescue organization and the Italian government.

The Open Arms ship, managed by an NGO of the same name, had been waiting in the central Mediterranean with nearly 100 migrants, largely from Africa, to be allowed port on Lampedusa.

However, the Italian government, under Interior Minister Matteo Salvini -- the leader of the country's anti-immigrant party -- has not allowed private migrant rescue ships to dock in Italian ports. And the Open Arms refused to move elsewhere.

Minors and those needing medical treatment were eventually taken to the shore, but nearly 100 people remained on board. After more than two weeks on the ship, some migrants chose to jump overboard this week, attempting to swim to shore.

They were rescued by Italian coastguard operations.

"And finally, after 19 captive days on the deck of a ship, all of the people on board will walk on hard land," Open Arms tweeted in Spanish, along with a video of people apparently on the ship hugging and celebrating.

Y por fin, después de 19 días cautivos en la cubierta de un barco, todas las personas a bordo pisarán tierra firme.
¡¡Boza!! pic.twitter.com/W2CCYtKIIA

— Open Arms (@openarms_fund) August 20, 2019

The NGO added in another tweet that there were 83 people aboard and that they would be receiving immediate assistance on Lampedusa.

🔴🔴#ULTIMAHORA 🔴🔴
La fiscalía de Agrigento dictamina desembarco inmediato de todas las personas a bordo #OpenArms en el puerto de #Lampedusa y la incautación provisional del barco.
Por fin,se acaba la pesadilla y las 83 personas a bordo recibirán asistencia inmediata en tierra pic.twitter.com/z4rYtTmtP0

— Open Arms (@openarms_fund) August 20, 2019

Salvini, who took office last summer, did not appear cowed. He livestreamed a video of himself on Facebook discussing the Open Arms ship, with a caption referencing past investigations of his migrant policies.

"I am not afraid," he said in part in Italian, "[but] proud to defend the borders and security of my country."

The arrivals came as tensions between Salvini and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte reached a head, fueled in part by the Open Arms crisis. Among other disagreements, Conte had urged Salvini to "urgently adopt the necessary measures to ensure assistance and protection for minors present in the boat," according to CNN.

After an apparent power play by Salvini calling for a non-confidence vote in Conte and for new elections, Conte resigned Tuesday, criticizing Salvini along the way.

In the meantime, people are still attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called on Italy to change its policies and allow rescue ships to dock.

At least 576 people have died so far this year trying to cross the sea on the Central Mediterranean route to Italy, according to the International Organization for Migration's latest report through Aug. 4. Last year, the UNHCR found that while fewer people are attempting to make the crossing, it had become deadlier.

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republica/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Just days before heading to the G-7 Summit in France, President Donald Trump on Tuesday doubled down on his support for allowing Russia to rejoin the group of the world's advanced economies.

Trump has repeatedly called for closer ties with Moscow and it's a move he backed last year. But Western democracies have said no, citing Russian aggression in Europe and in particular Ukraine.

"I think it's much more appropriate to have Russia in," Trump said Tuesday at the White House. "A lot of the things we talk about have to do with Russia, I could certainly see it being the G-8 again, if someone would make that motion, I would be disposed to think about it favorably."

In 2014, President Barack Obama and other the member nations booted Russia out of what was then the G-8 as a rebuke to Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea and its support for Russian-led separatists in eastern Ukraine.

But Trump suggested Tuesday that Obama wanted Putin out because he had been "outsmarted" by Putin.

"I guess President Obama because Putin outsmarted him. President Obama thought it wasn't a good thing to have Russia in, so he wanted Russia out," he said.

A diplomatic source briefed on the G-7 preparations said there was no interest in inviting Russia back to the group because there had been no progress in Ukraine. Instead, finding ways to support the country's new president in the face of ongoing Russian interference will be a priority for the meeting, the source said.

Despite that opposition, Trump suggested there would be support "if someone would make that motion."

The G-7 members are the U.S., France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada and the United Kingdom. France is hosting the annual summit of the group's heads of state this weekend in the resort city of Biarritz.

In June 2018, Trump also suggested that Russia should attend last year's G-7 hosted by Canada. A spokesperson for the Kremlin turned down the offer, saying the country was not interested at the time.

Trump has repeatedly called for closer ties with Moscow, even as his administration has increased sanctions on its defense and intelligence sectors and expelled dozens of Russian diplomats.

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