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Massachusetts judge requires Exxon to hand over climate documents

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A Massachusetts judge has refused to excuse Exxon Mobil Corp from a request by the state’s attorney general to hand over decades worth of documents on its views on climate change, state officials said on Wednesday.

The decision by Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Heidi Brieger denying Exxon’s request for an order exempting it from handing over the documents represents a legal victory for Attorney General Maura Healey, who is investigating the world’s largest publicly traded oil company’s climate policies.

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“This order affirms our longstanding authority to investigate fraud,” Healey said on Twitter following the decision, adding that Exxon “must come clean about what it knew about climate change.”

Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers said the company was “reviewing the decision to determine next steps.”

Healey is one of two state prosecutors, the other being her counterpart in New York, investigating whether Exxon knowingly misled its shareholders and the public as to what it knew about climate change.

The investigations follow separate reports by online news publication Inside Climate News and the Los Angeles Times showing that Exxon worked to play down the risks of climate change despite its own scientists’ having raised concerns about it decades earlier.

The news came on the day former Exxon Chief Executive Rex Tillerson faced a U.S. Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination to serve as President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of state.

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Asked during the hearing if he believed human activity was contributing to climate change, Tillerson did not answer yes or no, but said, “The increase in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are having an effect. Our abilities to predict that effect are very limited.”

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Toni Reinhold and Leslie Adler)


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Alternet 2020

Pandemic modelers warn that Trump’s lies may increase the spread of COVID-19

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

Epidemiologists model how an infectious disease outbreak may spread within and between communities. The computer models are based on research into past epidemics, the virulence of a pathogen,the  severity of the illness it causes and various other factors. But these scientists assume that leaders will offer a coherent response to the crisis, and that people will modify their behavior appropriately. Trump, the conservative press and the Republican base are upending those assumptions.

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Doctors and nurses suffer near-impossible conditions in a defunded health system

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The doctor who said this continues to show up daily, caring for patients in need. Her health — and that of millions of other doctors, nurses, their families and the patients they care for — is put at risk when our leaders de-fund the health system that protects us all. She and other front line health workers, covering extra shifts and working overtime in this historic pandemic, tap into reserves of strength and resilience in hopes that the long overdue staff, equipment, space and systems arrive before the cases of COVID-19 surge out of control.

This article was originally published at Salon

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Trump’s Fox and Friends COVID-19 interview devolves into a mad rant — here are the 6 craziest moments

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President Donald Trump called into "Fox & Friends" on Monday morning to discuss his administration's work on handling the coronavirus pandemic -- but it quickly devolved into an angry rant in which he attacked his political foes.

During the lengthy hour-long interview, the president frequently drifted off topic to make outlandish statements about the media, the Democratic Party, and even the history of American foreign policy, among other topics.

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