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Son of George Soros donated $650G to Dem campaigns, groups last year, data show



The son of liberal billionaire financier George Soros donated $650,000 to Democratic campaigns and committees last year, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Alexander Soros, Soros’s son and managing partner of Soros Brothers Investments, has quietly stepped up as a major liberal donor but has remained relatively obscure due to his father garnering much of the media attention in the family.

Alex’s generous contributions spanned across a number of liberal party committees and campaigns, including two donations totaling $203,400 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) recount and building funds, while providing an additional $33,900 to the committee during the primary period.

Alex also gave large amounts to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). Like his contributions to the DCCC, Soros gave the DSCC $203,400 for its recount and headquarters account, with another $33,900 going towards the primaries.

The Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) building account additionally received six figures from Soros. Alex poured $101,700 into the DNC’s headquarters account and $33,900 was provided to the committee for the general election.

Soros also gave thousands to the campaigns of Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Bob Casey (Pa.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Jon Tester (Mont.), and Chris Murphy (Conn.), among others.

Alex has posted pictures of himself on social media day drinking with Democratic leadership, including Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), the Daily Caller reported last year.

“Always great to catch up with senator @chuckschumer who has seized the moment as the head of the #democrats in the #senate and masterfully helped preserve the assault on our nations values and #democracy! Thank you Chuck! #chuckschumer #legend #opposition  #dumptrump,”, Soros’s Instagram caption reads.

During the 2016 election cycle, Alex increased his contributions to Democrats by millions of dollars by pouring $4.5 million into liberal committees. This was a drastic shift from the 2014 election cycle, when Soros gave $88,000 to Democratic committees.

Alex did not return a request for comment on his contributions by press time.

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UAE and Bahrain sign historic diplomatic normalisation accords with Israel | World News



The foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain have signed historic diplomatic normalisation deals with Israel at a ceremony at the White House.

In an event overseen by President Donald Trump, the Emirati foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bahrain’s foreign minister Dr Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayan signed the accords with the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu.

The agreements, details of which are still being negotiated, represent the first time in a quarter of a century that any Arab country has given diplomatic recognition to the Jewish State. Jordan and Egypt signed deals with Israel in 1994 and 1979 respectively.

Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu, and Bahrain's Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. File pic

Trump announces Bahrain and Israel deal

The moves, which signal a significant shift in regional geopolitics, should see the opening of embassies in the respective countries, as well as flights, tourism and trade links.

Defence ties are also expected to be put in place quickly, with the possible sale of Israeli fighter jets to the Gulf Arab nations.

The deals strengthen the regional alliance against Iran – a common enemy for both sides.

The three leaders ahead of the signing at the White House
The three leaders ahead of the signing at the White House

The Abraham Accords, as they have been named, are framed by the Trump administration as a “pathway to peace” for the region and proof of Mr Trump’s credentials as a deal maker.

The images of the signings and the apparent shift in regional alliances they represent are sure to be used by Mr Trump and his re-election team.

There was a clear desire by the Trump administration to conduct today’s ceremony before November’s election. As a consequence, much of the details of the alliances have yet to be finalised.

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The UAE, and then Bahrain, agreed to normalise relations and recognise Israel after the Israeli prime minister pledged to suspend plans to annex parts of the Palestinian West Bank.

The move by the Gulf Arab countries breaks a key Arab convention, outlined in the Arab Peace Accord of 2002, that no Arab country would recognise Israel until it withdrew fully from the Occupied Palestinian Territories (Gaza and the West Bank) and allowed the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Trump hails deal between UAE and Israel

Israel strikes breakthrough deal with UAE

The Palestinian leadership see the deals as a betrayal.

Donald Trump’s administration and the Israelis say the accords mark a turning point and will prompt the Palestinians to accept the reality of the situation as it is now.

Khairi Hannoun being restrained by an Israeli soldier

Palestinians respond to Trump’s UAE deal

The Trump peace plan for the Israel-Palestinian conflict, unveiled in January, envisages a future Palestinian state but on less land than it currently has, which would not be contiguous, and without East Jerusalem as its capital.

In the hours before the signing ceremony, the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, told a Zoom briefing with journalists that the Palestinian issue was still a central concern.

He said that a two state solution was still the objective and that his country’s decision to normalise ties with Israel had “broken the psychological barrier”.

He suggested that Arab countries now have more leverage against the Israelis on the Palestinian issue.

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Amazon rainforest: Farmers are losing everything to deforestation fires as experts warn it is reaching tipping point | World News



The Brazilian government must send more firefighters and firefighting equipment to help try and stem enormous blazes ripping through the Amazon rainforest, say politicians in Para State.

The plea comes as leading aid agencies, including the World Wildlife Fund, issue a stark warning that the fires this year could be even worse than the 2019 outbreak.

Brazil’s National Institute for Space (INPE) registered 20,670 square kilometres of burned area in the Amazon in August alone. That is 27 square kilometres per hour.

Five men try to protect an area the size of Scotland from rampant blazes all while Brazilian government denies existence of fires.
Sky News witnessed at least 10 fires in the Sao Felix do Xingu municipality area

Sky News witnessed ten fires in just one small area of the APA Triunfo do Xingu national park.

And just five firefighters have been deployed to the municipality of Sao Felix do Xingu, which, at over 84,000 square kilometres, is larger than Scotland.

There are major concerns for the health of people living in the region because of the spread of thick smoke for miles around.

The rivers of the Amazon, the forests surrounding them and the communities living there are shrouded in smoke 24 hours a day in some parts – and have been for weeks.

The main town of Sao Felix do Xingu is enveloped in choking smoke throughout the day and night but is most noticeable in the morning light when the streets are filled with great clouds of smoke and ash.

Firefighters in Sao Felix do Xingu municipality battle another wildfire in the rainforest
Just five firefighters cover an area of over 84,000 sq km – larger than Scotland.

Residents wear masks to protect themselves from the spread of COVID-19, which remains at epidemic proportions in the country, but they also wear the masks to help them breathe in the smog.

The government of President Jair Bolsonaro consistently denies that the Amazon is on fire, despite evidence from its own environmental agencies.

The mayor of Sao Felix do Xingu won’t openly criticise the powerful ranchers or the Brazilian government, but she says they need help immediately. The fires this year, she says, are unprecedented. She blames the changing climate.

Smog over the river in Sao Felix do Xingu
Residents of Sao Felix do Xingu wear masks to protect themselves from the smokey smog

“It is a very big concern,” says Minervinha Barros, “and we are going through a pandemic, which aggravates it.”

She says the city is not usually affected by this level of smoke. “It is rare, because usually in July it already rains but this year the rains are delayed.”

Para State is the most deforested part of the Amazon and is home to enormous cattle ranches and farms often accused of starting the fires to burn off crop land and to clear the rainforest to make more land.

Sao Felix do Xingu's mayor
Sao Felix do Xingu’s mayor Minervinha Barros says the municipality needs help

Sky News drove through ranches full of cattle grazing beneath rainforest covered mountains on fire, pumping enormous clouds of smoke and ash into the air.

The fires are fanned by strong winds, scorching temperatures and a drought. There has been no significant rainfall here for months.

Uncontrolled fires are wreaking havoc on small scale farmers, particularly those attempting to produce rainforest-friendly, sustainable crops like cocoa, used to make chocolate around the world.

Cristova and Suianni
Cristovao Costa and his wife Suianni survey the wreckage of their burnt out cocoa farm

Sky News joined Cristovao Costa as he surveyed the wreckage of his crop. He spent two days fighting fires engulfing his farm. The fires started in a neighbouring ranch, and he’s lost everything.

Walking through the still smouldering remains of his cocoa plantation he said he was considering giving up.

He said: “It made me so sad that I didn’t even want to continue, you know? It’s so sad to look at your things and see them in this state.”

Cristova's burned cocoa farm
It took three years of work to bring to market his first crop of cocoa beans

Three years of work to bring to market his first crop of cocoa beans disappeared in 24 hours.

Mr Costa is heartbroken and he is furious with the president and his supporters who deny the problems being faced in the Amazon basin.

He said: “He is a liar because the Amazon always burns, and it’s ending everything. This is just people talking, there is nothing to it … it is a big lie!”

A poster supporting President Bolsonaro in Sao Felix do Xingu
President Bolsonaro is seeking support in Sao Felix do Xingu

He says the international community are complicit in its destruction.

“Do not say it’s just the Brazilian people, many foreigners are involved with Brazilians, taking advantage of Brazilian lands for profit,” he said.

Mr Costa, 52, and his wife, Suianni, 36, were not on the farm when they received frantic phone calls from his neighbour calling him home.

Cristova's house
The humble home of Cristovao and Suianni survived but many of his cocoa plants did not

They say it was the worst journey of their lives.

“When he got on the boat to cross, the desperation was enormous,” Suianni says looking at her husband.

“When he looked over here and he saw the smoke, he thought the dream is over. When we arrived it already was (burnt), we were crying all the way here. I thought our little home had caught fire.”

Their humble home survived.

Raimundo Freire
Sustainable farmers like Raimundo Freire believe the land can be farmed while preserving the rainforest but only if the fires can be stopped

Sustainable farmers like Mr Costa and his neighbour, Raimundo Freire, 56, believe the land can be farmed while preserving the rainforest, but they struggle to get their voices heard in parts of the Amazon that have already been replaced by farmland and now fires.

He said: “So, many times when you think there is no fire, suddenly the fire is back. Sometimes there is a lot of dry wood that nobody sees, the embers stay there and when it gets hot it lights up again, then suddenly we have a new fire hotspot.”

The need for yet another concerted effort to save the rainforest and to change farming behaviour in the region is being led by the WWF, which is warning the forest is reaching the tipping point where it can’t be saved.

On an undamaged cocoa plantation
Scientists believe it could take less than 5% further deforestation in the Amazon before it is lost

“Deforestation also helps drive climate change, sparking wildfires, as well as those deliberately set, during the longer and hotter dry season,” Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation said.

He added that scientists believe it could take less than 5% further deforestation in the Amazon before it is lost.

The organisation’s latest Living Planet Report argues that the global food system is broken and calls for new laws to be introduced in the UK.

To stop the destruction of the environment, they say, we need to change the way we produce and consume food.

“Until there is no economic incentive for habitat destruction, it will carry on, meaning the food we eat in the UK could be leading to the Amazon burning.

“We need new laws in the UK to make importing products that cause deforestation illegal – removing that financial incentive,” Mr Barrett says.

Smog over the river
The WWF says the food we eat in the UK could be leading to the Amazon burning

The conflict between continuing deforestation and protecting the forest is at its most acute in this part of the Amazon.

The longer it goes on, it is widely acknowledged, the hotter the temperature will get.

Eventually, it is feared, it could reach a point where there is no more forest and no farms either.

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Stephen Donnelly: Ireland’s cabinet self-isolates after health minister reportedly has COVID-19 test | World News



Ireland’s entire cabinet has to self-isolate and the country’s parliament is closing for a week after the health minister felt unwell and was tested for coronavirus, it has been reported.

Stephen Donnelly began to feel unwell this afternoon and contacted his doctor for a test, according to broadcaster RTE.

The speaker of house told members earlier on Tuesday: “very serious information arriving out of events today the Cabinet must self isolate”.

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