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Suspect, 20, held over massive German politician data hack

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German police said Tuesday they have arrested a 20-year-old suspect in the case of private data stolen from hundreds of politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, and published online.

“The prosecutor’s office in Frankfurt, the Central Office for Fighting Internet and Computer Crime and the Federal Police Office (BKA) searched the apartment of a 20-year-old suspect on January 6 and took him into custody,” the BKA said in a statement.

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It announced a press conference at midday to give further details on the probe into the remarkable breach of cybersecurity, which has piled political pressure on the government.

The information, which comprised home addresses, mobile phone numbers, letters, invoices and copies of identity documents, was first released via Twitter in December but its spread gathered pace last week.

Among the estimated 1,000 people affected were members of the Bundestag lower house of parliament and the European Parliament as well as regional and local assemblies.

Deputies from all parties represented in the Bundestag were targeted with the exception of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), the largest opposition group in parliament.

Although the leak was sweeping, there is no evidence that sensitive information reached the public, investigators and the interior ministry have said.

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The case has nevertheless been deeply embarrassing for the political class, and increased pressure on the unpopular interior minister, Horst Seehofer.

Beyond politicians, the leak also exposed the private data of celebrities and journalists, including chats and voicemail messages from spouses and children of those targeted.

The information derived both from social media and private “cloud” data.

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The Twitter account @_0rbit published the links every day last month, along the lines of an advent calendar with each link to new information hidden behind a “door”.

The account, which calls itself G0d and has now been suspended by Twitter, was opened in mid-2017 and purportedly has more than 18,000 followers.

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It described its activities as “security researching”, “artist” and “satire and irony” and said it was based in Hamburg.


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Climate pledges ‘misleading’, Greta Thunberg tells UN meet

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Swedish activist Greta Thunberg on Wednesday accused wealthier nations of inventing ways to avoid slashing their greenhouse gas emissions, branding their climate action "misleading" at a summit in Madrid.

The UN climate forum tasked with saving the world from runaway global warming has become an "opportunity for countries to negociate loopholes and to avoid raising their ambition" to act on climate, the 16-year-old told delegates.

"Countries are finding clever ways around having to take real action."

Nations are gathered in Spain's capital to finalise the rulebook of the 2015 landmark Paris climate accord, which aims to limit global temperature rises to "well below" two degrees Celsius and to a safer cap of 1.5C if possible.

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Scientists to harness the sun to break down plastic

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Scientists said Wednesday they have come up with an environmentally-friendly method that uses artificial sunlight to transform plastic into power-generating chemicals, as countries worldwide battle to reduce waste.

Huge quantities of plastic have piled up on land and been dumped in the sea across the world, with Asian nations in particular facing criticism for failing to tackle the problem.

Researchers in Singapore say they have converted plastic into "formic acid", which can be used in power plants to generate electricity, by using a catalyst which neither damages the environment nor costs a lot of money.

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Pentagon suspends training of Saudis for security review

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The Pentagon announced Tuesday it was temporarily suspending operational training for Saudi military students in the United States following a shooting rampage last week by a Saudi air force officer.

Saudi Arabian military students in the United States will continue classroom instruction but operational training is halted pending a security review, senior Defense Department officials said.

Mohammed Alshamrani, a 21-year-old lieutenant in the Saudi Royal Air Force, opened fire in a classroom at Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida on Friday, killing three American sailors and wounding eight other people before being shot dead by police.

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