HERE ARE THE TOP STORIES
New York’s attorney general is investigating Exxon Mobil’s history of funding climate science doubters.
The probe looks into whether the energy giant has been intentionally misleading investors with research that downplays climate change, BuzzFeed News’ Dan Vergano writes.
The investigation could cover a period of at least 10 years, “during which Exxon Mobil funded outside groups that sought to undermine climate science, even as its in-house scientists were outlining the potential consequences — and uncertainties — to company executives,” the New York Times writes.
And a little extra.
Exxon Mobil was once a leader in climate change research. But by 1990, the company had started to change its course, the Los Angeles Times writes.
“(Exxon) put its muscle behind efforts to manufacture doubt about the reality of global warming its own scientists had once confirmed … it helped to erect a vast edifice of misinformation that stands to this day,” InsideClimate News writes.
The main reason for the shift from climate research leader to public skeptic seems to have been a fear that “a growing public consensus would lead to financially burdensome policies,” the Times writes.
WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON
How an attempted assassination on a boat led to the craziest state of emergency you never heard of.
A blast struck a boat carrying Maldivian President Abdullah Yameen and his wife in September, which the Maldives labeled an “act of terror.” Immediately, Maldivian police began conducting raids throughout the country.
On Wednesday, Yameen declared a 30-day state of emergency, citing a “threat to the citizens of the country and its national security,” BuzzFeed News’ Anup Kaphle writes. Yameen’s decree suspended all basic rights and gave security forces in the Maldives sweeping powers to make arrests ahead of a planned opposition rally.
The Maldivian parliament also voted to impeach the country’s vice president, Ahmed Adeeb. The vice president has been accused of plotting to kill Yameen, The Guardian writes.
The Maldives, a nation of tiny islands in the Indian Ocean, is under international scrutiny. Both the U.S. and the U.K. have demanded the country terminate the state of emergency, The Guardian writes.
Yameen has been the country’s president since 2013. He has been criticized for “framing and imprisoning his political opponents,” but Yameen has denied such allegations, Kaphle writes.
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DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?
One last ride with the Australian Outback’s one-man police force.
“It takes a certain type of person to want to take up the role of Australia’s most isolated police officer. To want to stay here for 10 years is another matter entirely,” Andrew McMillen writes for BuzzFeed.
Meet Neale McShane, the longest-serving officer at Australia’s most remote police outpost. He’s the only officer in crime-free Birdsville, and he chooses not to carry a gun. Locals say the population there is 80 people. Every September, however, that number temporarily swells up to roughly 7,000 people for the annual Birdsville Races.
Later this month, on his 60th birthday, McShane will retire.
A controversial drug unit in Mississippi is under review by local officials.
A BuzzFeed News investigation published this year showed that the Lafayette County Metro Narcotics unit “targets college-aged locals for low-level drug charges and coerces them into working as confidential informants by exaggerating the legal consequences they may face,” BuzzFeed News’ Albert Samaha writes.
As a result, local officials are now reviewing the drug unit and have changed its policies, the University of Mississippi’s police chief told a local newspaper.
Quick things to know:
White House officials acknowledged there is no possibility of negotiating a two state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before President Barack Obama leaves office. (BuzzFeed News)
More than 12 people are feared dead after a dam holding back water from an iron ore mine burst in Brazil. (BBC News)
Myanmar is headed to the polls Sunday in a general election. (BBC News)
Berlin is planning to evacuate refugees housed in hostels and hotels, according to an official from the State Office for Health and Social Affairs. (BuzzFeed News)
Obama says there’s “a possibility” that a bomb downed a Russian plane that crashed in Egypt and killed all 224 people on board. (New York Times)
Chicago police say a 9-year-old boy who was shot dead earlier in the week was targeted and lured to an alleyway as part of ongoing gang-related violence. (BuzzFeed News)
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is finally public. Here’s what you need to know. (Vox)
Yale College students challenged their dean over incidents of alleged institutional racism. (BuzzFeed News)
People completely lost their minds over the H&M X Balmain launch. (BuzzFeed News)
Do you know what happened in the news this week? Take the BuzzFeed News quiz!
Our special guest this week is BuzzFeed News reporter Ema O’Connor, talking about some of her favorite pieces she read recently:
Matt Sedensky and Nomaan Merchant of the Associated Press spent a year buried deep in dismissal records and local news stories. They found about 1,000 cases of officers losing licenses over sexual misconduct, including sexually abusing people in the communities they are supposed to protect. It’s important to be reminded that women are also victims of abuse by law enforcement, often in ways that are much less visible.
Rebecca Solnit, whose writing helped coin the term “mansplain,” has a way of jumping into a conversation that has been going on for ages and saying everything in a way that seems brand new. In this Harper’s piece, which all of the coolest women I know told me I had to read, she tackles the age-old “marriage question.” Not so much “can she have it all,” but more of a “what is ‘all’ anyway?” Every sentence had me copy and pasting it to quote in this blurb until I finally gave up and just decided to say READ IT.
I know you might be wondering, “Ema, you've recommended an article on several important ‘women’s issues,’ but not abortion. What's going on?” First of all, fictional human, they're “people issues.” Second of all, here you go! This is a short but poignant personal essay from BuzzFeed’s Kaye Toal about being the human shield between women going to Planned Parenthood and the angry, anti-abortion protesters outside. It's a side of the abortion debate that's been too little discussed, and Kaye paints it in a very personal, affecting light. Also the illustrations are bomb.
On Thursday, a goat took a train ride into Toronto. Yes, you read that right. Turbo, a 5-year-old Nigerian dwarf goat, was in the Canadian city for the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, BuzzFeed’s Ishmael N. Daro writes. Fellow travelers couldn’t take their eyes off him and took their fair share of goat-selfies. Turbo basically took Toronto by storm.
This letter was edited and brought to you by Claire Moses and Aaron Edwards. You can always reach us here.