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‘Climategate’ shakes trust in scientists: Saudi Arabia

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Was Russian secret service behind leak of climate-change emails?

COPENHAGEN — Saudia Arabia told global warming talks on Monday that trust in climate science had been “shaken” by leaked emails among experts and called for an international probe.

“The level of trust is definitely shaken, especially now that we are about to conclude an agreement that … is going to mean sacrifices for our economies,” said Mohammed al-Sabban, the kingdom’s top climate negotiator, told delegates at the opening of December 7-18 UN talks.

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Al-Sabban called for an “independent” international investigation, but said that the UN climate science body was unqualified to carry it out.

“The IPCC, which is the authority accused, is not going to be able to conduct the investigation,” he said, referring to the Nobel-winning UN Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC).

The Saudi negotiator rejected IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri’s defense of the integrity of the panel’s findings — delivered earlier in the plenary session — as “general statements.”

“In light of recent information… the scientific scandal has assumed huge proportion,” al-Sabban said.

“We think it is definitely going to affect the nature of what can be trusted in the negotiations.”

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Saudi Arabia is oil cartel OPEC’s leading producer and exporter.

Meanwhile, a UK report asks “Was Russian secret service behind leak of climate-change emails?”

Shaun Walker reports for The Independent:

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The computer hack, said a senior member of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, was not an amateur job, but a highly sophisticated, politically motivated operation. And others went further. The guiding hand behind the leaks, the allegation went, was that of the Russian secret services.

The leaked emails, which claimed to provide evidence that the unit’s head, Professor Phil Jones, colluded with colleagues to manipulate data and hide “unhelpful” research from critics of climate change science, were originally posted on a server in the Siberian city of Tomsk, at a firm called Tomcity, an internet security business.

The FSB security services, descendants of the KGB, are believed to invest significant resources in hackers, and the Tomsk office has a record of issuing statements congratulating local students on hacks aimed at anti-Russian voices, deeming them “an expression of their position as citizens, and one worthy of respect”. The Kremlin has also been accused of running co-ordinated cyber attacks against websites in neighbouring countries such as Estonia, with which the Kremlin has frosty relations, although the allegations were never proved.

“It’s very common for hackers in Russia to be paid for their services,” Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, the vice chairman of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, said in Copenhagen at the weekend. “It’s a carefully made selection of emails and documents that’s not random. This is 13 years of data, and it’s not a job of amateurs.”

More at The Independent including potential motives for the hacking.

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The head of the UN’s Nobel-winning panel of climate scientists on Monday attacked the so-called Climategate affair as a suspected bid to undermine the credibility of his organisation.

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) used the opening ceremonies of the UN climate talks in Copenhagen to lash those who had hacked into emails among top scientists in Britain assessing global warming.

“Given the wide-ranging nature of change that is likely to be taken in hand, some naturally find it inconvenient to accept its inevitability,” said Pachauri.

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“The recent incident of stealing the emails of scientists at the University of East Anglia shows that some would go to the extent of carrying out illegal acts, perhaps in an attempt to discredit the IPCC.”

Pachauri proudly defended the IPCC’s reputation as an arena for weighing scientific evidence fairly, neutrally and objectively, and said: “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.”

(includes Raw Story reporting)

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‘Rudy has got to be looking at handcuffs’: Ex-prosecutor says Giuliani will have a tough time in prison

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Another Donald Trump attorney is looking at serving prison time, a former federal prosecutor predicted on MSNBC on Friday.

MSNBC "Meet the Press Daily" host Chuck Todd asked former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner if prosecutors would be tougher on Giuliania because he had once been a prosecutor himself.

"It’s tough to figure out, first of all, how Rudy is going to play it because based on what we’ve seen and particularly if [Lev] Parnas flips, Rudy has got to be looking at handcuffs sometime soon," Kirschner replied.

"And Chuck, what does he do? As a former U.S. Attorney, does he want to run the risk of ending up in the bureau of prisons where he will not find a lot of friends in the inmate population," he explained.

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Key moments from Day Two of Trump impeachment hearing

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Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine, delivered more than five hours of dramatic testimony on Friday before the congressional committee holding impeachment hearings into President Donald Trump.

Here are key moments from the second day of public hearings in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives:

- Trump tweet -

One hour after Yovanovitch began testifying before a live television audience of millions of Americans, Trump fired off a bombshell tweet attacking the career diplomat, a 33-year veteran of the State Department.

"Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad," the president tweeted. "She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him.

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Britain’s Prince Andrew denies meeting sex accuser

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Britain's Prince Andrew has said he does not remember meeting Virginia Roberts, one of disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein's alleged victims, who says she was forced to have sex with the royal.

But Andrew admits in an interview with the BBC due to be broadcast on Saturday that his decision to remain friends with Epstein after he was convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor in 2008 was a serious error of judgement.

"I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever," Andrew told BBC interviewer Emily Maitlis, according to extracts from "Prince Andrew and the Epstein Scandal" released ahead of the program's broadcast.

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