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Copenhagen agreement called ‘meaningless’ and ‘shameful’

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President Obama announced on Friday that negotiations among the the world’s nations had resulted in a “meaningful and unprecedented breakthrough” on climate change.

One administration official, however, acknowledged in remarks to the Associated Press that it was only a first step and not sufficient in itself to head off global warming. Going by other reactions to the deal, that would appear to be an understatement.

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The Guardian obtained a leaked draft of the agreement and reported that “it says countries ‘ought’ to limit global warming to 2C, but does not bind them to do so.”

The Toronto Star explains, “It is not binding and it does not set new greenhouse-gas reduction targets. Instead, countries are to set their own emission reduction commitments, which would not be legally binding. Those commitments will be the subject of further negotiation, with the aim of a final deal at next year’s summit in Mexico.”

A Greenpeace representative told The Guardian, “This latest draft is so weak as to be meaningless. It’s more like a G8 communique than the legally binding agreement we need. It doesn’t even include a timeline to give it legal standing or an explicit temperature target. It’s hard to imagine our leaders will try to present this document to the world and keep a straight face.”

A representative of World Development Movement used even stronger language, saying, “This summit has been in complete disarray from start to finish, and now appears to be culminating in a shameful and monumental failure that will condemn millions of people around the world to untold suffering. The leaders of rich countries have refused to lead and instead sought to bribe and bully developing nations to sign up to the equivalent of a death warrant.”

A spokesperson for Friends of the Earth condemned “this toothless declaration, being spun by the US as an historic success,” and a representative of the Sierra Club explicitly blamed “obstructionism in the United States Senate.” Even official representatives at the summit described the deal as “far below our expectations,” “very disappointing,” and “far short of the mark.”

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‘The president isn’t above the law’: Supreme Court expected to rule on two key Trump cases on Thursday

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Can Donald Trump refuse to hand over his financial records to Congress and New York prosecutors simply because he is president of the United States? The Supreme Court will rule Thursday on two related cases to answer this, with potentially widespread political implications.

The decision by the nine justices could lift the veil on Trump's finances ahead of the November 3 election.

Unlike all of his predecessors since Richard Nixon in the 1970s, New York real estate mogul Trump refused to release his tax returns, despite promising to do so during his 2016 White House campaign.

Trump made his fortune a key component of that campaign, and his lack of transparency raises questions about his true worth and possible conflicts of interest.

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Australia offers safe haven to Hong Kongers, sparking China fury

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Australia offered pathways to permanent residency for thousands of people from Hong Kong on Thursday in response to China's crackdown on dissent, drawing a furious reply from Beijing.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government was suspending its extradition agreement with the city and, in addition to extending the visas of 10,000 Hong Kongers already in the country, threw open the door to thousands more wanting to start a new life Down Under.

Morrison said the decisions were taken in response to China's imposition last week of a tough new security law in Hong Kong, which he said "constitutes a fundamental change of circumstances" for the semi-autonomous territory.

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‘Glee’ star Naya Rivera missing, feared drowned

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"Glee" star Naya Rivera is missing and feared drowned at a California lake, local officials said, with rescuers to continue a search for her on Thursday.

The Ventura County Sheriff's office earlier tweeted it was looking for a "possible drowning victim" at the lake, and said a dive team was being deployed to the area.

Rivera, 33, is best known for her role as high school cheerleader Santana Lopez in "Glee", the TV series that she starred in for six seasons.

She rented a boat on Wednesday to take her four-year-old son onto Lake Piru, northwest of Los Angeles, local media cited the County Sheriff as saying.

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