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Jane Goodall urges US Senate to halt push to drill in Arctic refuge

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British primatologist Jane Goodall sent a letter to every U.S. senator on Tuesday urging them to oppose a push in the U.S. Congress to allow oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a region environmentalists say is one of the world’s last paradises.

The Republican-led Senate is trying to open up the 1002 region on the coastal plain of the ANWR, a region inhabited by Gwich’in natives, caribou herds, polar bears and millions of birds that migrate to six of the world’s seven continents.

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“If we violate the Arctic Refuge by extracting the oil beneath the land, this will have devastating impact for the Gwich’in people for they depend on the caribou herds to sustain their traditional way of life,” Goodall said in the letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.

The ANWR’s “very wildness speaks to our deeply rooted spiritual connection to nature, a necessary element of human psyche,” wrote Goodall, best known for her study of chimpanzees in Tanzania.

Last week, a group of 37 U.S.-based scientists whose research focuses on Arctic wildlife asked senators to not open the ANWR, saying that drilling would be “incompatible with the purposes for which the refuge was established.”

The Senate energy committee on Wednesday will consider a bill spurred by Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska and the head of the panel, to hold at least two lease sales in the ANWR over the next 10 years.

The administration of President Donald Trump is pursuing a policy to make the country “energy dominant” to maximize oil, gas and coal production. Republicans say the 1002 portion of the ANWR is a “non wilderness area” because the government put it aside decades ago for drilling.

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Republicans have attached the ANWR measure to budget legislation, which needs only 50 votes to pass the Senate, but faces hurdles with many provisions being added to it.

Democrats are fighting the ANWR bill saying that Republicans are trying to sneak it through the budget process, and that it would not survive as stand-alone legislation that would need 60 votes to pass.

Senator Maria Cantwell, the top Democrat on the energy committee, told Reuters she was urging her fellow lawmakers to listen to scientists.

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“Does it take the voice of Jane Goodall to beg Senators to stop hurting indigenous people and animals?” asked Cantwell.” “She’s calling on them to set a conservation example instead of creating the next tragedy.”

(Reporting by Timothy GardnerEditing by Sandra Maler)

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GOP lawmaker mocked after whining Adam Schiff wouldn’t let her break impeachment hearing rules

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During the public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump this Friday, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) attempted to direct a line of questions to former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, but was interrupted by Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who informed Devin Nunes (R-CA) that "under the house resolute 660, you are not allowed to yield time except to minority counsel."

As Stefanik continued to try to speak, Schiff repeatedly cut her off. "The gentlewoman will suspend," Schiff said as he swung the gavel. "You're not recognized."

"This is the fifth time you've interrupted members of Congress -- duly elected members of Congress," Stefanik protested.

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France to host Putin, Zelensky in bid to end Ukraine conflict

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Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet his Ukranian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Paris on December 9 for their first face-to-face encounter, seeking to end the half-decade conflict in Ukraine, the French presidency said Friday.

The leaders will join French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the four-way summit aimed at resolving the conflict in the east of Ukraine, where pro-Moscow separatists have declared breakaway regions, the Elysee Palace said.

Macron, who has been spearheading a drive for peace in Ukraine, had hoped to host the summit in September but it was held up by numerous obstacles that highlighted the difficulty of resolving the conflict.

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Feds now probing Giuliani’s links to Ukrainian natural gas projects – and if he profited from them

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Federal investigators are now probing the ties of the President's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, into Ukrainian energy projects, and if he stood to gain financially in a business venture headed by his two "henchmen" who are now in jail.

The two associates infamously aided Giuliani's efforts in Ukraine to launch investigations into Joe Biden and Hunter Biden in an attempt to assist President Donald Trump's re-election efforts, The Wall Street Journal reports.

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