Thursday morning news: August 15, 2019

First lawsuit filed against Epstein’s estate » One of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers filed a civil suit on Wednesday against his estate and several of his former associates. Jennifer Araoz sued Epstein’s former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, and three unnamed members of his staff.

In a conference call with reporters, attorney Kim Lerner said Epstein’s death left a lot of unanswered questions.

LERNER: Why was he taken off of suicide watch? Who signed off on it? There had to be a doctor who signed off on it. There had to be a warden that signed off on it. There are a lot of questions. And frankly, they let Jennifer and the other victims down.

Epstein committed suicide last weekend while jailed at the Metropolitan Correctional Institution in New York. He was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Jail guards were supposed to check on inmates every 30 minutes. And logs maintained by the guards show they were making those checks. But surveillance video footage reportedly shows no one looked in on Epstein for hours before his death. 

The jail’s warden and two guards assigned to Epstein have been placed on leave, while the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general investigate. 

Meanwhile, federal prosecutors in New York are investigating evidence against Epstein’s associates. Several of his accusers claim Maxwell ran the trafficking ring that recruited the girls. She has denied those accusations.

Hong Kong protesters apologize for airport disruption » Leaders of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement apologized Wednesday for disrupting travel at the city’s airport. They handed out flyers to travelers and posted statements online.

They seek “understanding and forgiveness,” one flyer read, “as young people in Hong Kong continue to fight for freedom and democracy.”

Assistant police Commissioner Mak Chin-ho said officers arrested five protesters for illegal assembly. Two of them face charges of assaulting a police officer and possessing weapons.

MAK: The extremely radical and violent acts have certainly crossed the line and are to be most severely condemned. The police pledged to all citizens in Hong Kong that we will take steps to bring all culprits to justice.

On Wednesday night, officers in riot gear fired tear gas at protesters gathered outside a police station in a blue collar neighborhood.

Protest organizers say they have other rallies scheduled, but it’s not clear whether they will proceed.

Opera star Placido Domingo faces harassment accusations » European opera houses are so far standing by famed tenor Placido Domingo amid sexual harassment allegations. None of the venues have cancelled the 19 performances he has scheduled through the end of next year.

But two U.S. opera houses immediately halted upcoming shows after the Associated Press published accusations against him this week. Several women say the Spanish singer pressured them into contact or relationships they didn’t want.

Retired opera singer Patricia Wulf is one of them.

WULF: You feel anger. You feel fear. And then you think, I just said no to the head of this industry. What’s going to happen to my career?

Domingo called the allegations, quote—“deeply troubling and, as presented, inaccurate.” He said he believed all of his interactions and relationships were welcomed and consensual.

Stocks fall amid recession fears » AUDIO: [Sound of closing bell New York Stock Exchange]

Saved by the bell. Traders on Wall Street cheered the sound of the closing bell yesterday, after the Dow Jones Industrial Average took its biggest tumble of the year.

One reason was concern about global growth, but another about possible recession in this country. What triggered that concern was a signal from the market for government bonds: yields on 10-year Treasury notes fell below the level for nearer-term two-year notes. That has predicted recessions in the past.

So on the day, the market losses were substantial: The Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq all lost about 3 percent of their value.

(AP Photo/Vincent Yu) Police in riot gear march on a street as they confront protesters in Hong Kong on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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