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Maine has become the first US state to pass statewide legislation to divest from fossil fuels. LD 99, “An Act To Require the State To Divest Itself of Assets Invested in the Fossil Fuel Industry,” was signed late Wednesday by Governor Janet Mills (D-ME). A divestment plan is now required by 2026.

Maine divests from fossil fuels

The new law directs the $17 billion Maine Public Employee Retirement System to divest $1.3 billion from fossil fuels within five years and directs the Treasury to do the same with other state funds. 

The bill, sponsored by Representative Margaret O’Neil (D-Saco), received support from Maine state treasurer Henry Beck, environmental groups such as Sierra Club Maine and 350 Maine, and Maine Youth for Climate Justice.

The $17.6 billion Maine Public Employee Retirement System currently has more than $1.3 billion invested in fossil fuel companies, including dozens of publicly traded companies such as ExxonMobil and Chevron. About $850 million of the investments in oil and gas companies and utilities are through private equity investment funds.

Eloise Vitelli (D) the majority leader of the Maine Senate, said in a statement to Reuters on June 9:

Fossil fuel industries are simply not as stable as they once were, so a move toward divestment makes both financial sense and supports our overall renewable energy goals.

Growing momentum

Richard Brooks, climate finance director with Stand.earth, which is coordinating the national Climate Safe Pensions Network, said:

If Maine can divest responsibly and thoughtfully, there are no more excuses for any other pension fund and legislature in the USA. It is past time for every other public pension to address the mounting climate risk in their portfolios by holding onto fossil fuel investments. These are a ticking time bomb and fiduciaries must act.

According to Maine Youth for Climate Justice, momentum to divest pension and government funds is growing, as both New York City and New York State have recently moved to divest from fossil fuels, and Minnesota dropped coal stocks last year. More than 1,300 institutions with $14 trillion in assets have also committed to some form of fossil fuel divestment.

Photo: Portland, Maine, Jeana Bala/Unsplash


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Taylor Swift’s dad accused of punching photographer in face after Sydney show

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Taylor Swift's dad accused of punching photographer in face after Sydney show

An Australian photographer claims he was punched by Taylor Swift’s dad in Sydney following the singer’s concert.

Ben McDonald said he told police the incident happened at Neutral Bay Wharf, where Swift and her dad had just come ashore from a yacht hours after the singer’s final show in the city.

While officers did not release names, police said they are investigating an alleged assault by a 71-year-old man on a 51-year-old man at 2.30am local time.

Swift’s representatives have not responded to a request for comment, but a spokesperson told Rolling Stone magazine two people were “aggressively pushing” to get to Swift.

They added that the people grabbed security and threatened a member of the singer’s staff.

Mr McDonald said media had been waiting to picture the star as she walked towards two cars.

“There were about four or five security there and at one point, one of the American security started shoving his umbrella into me and my camera and then Taylor got in her car,” he said.

“Someone else came running at me and punched me in the left side of my face.

“Initially, I thought it was an Australian security that was trying to be the hero of the moment in the front of the Americans, but as it turned out it was her father.”

Mr McDonald said he recognised Swift’s father, Scott Swift, from a picture online – adding that he doesn’t have any bruising and didn’t need any treatment.

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“In 23 years, I haven’t been assaulted and punched in the chops, particularly by the talent’s dad,” he said.

“We didn’t go rushing down the jetty. We didn’t go rushing to the back of the boat. We waited for her to come up. Kept it very civil.

“But no, they… put the umbrellas up and umbrellas over her and then shove the umbrellas into our faces and then make out that we’re the ones making contact with them.”

Swift left the country on Tuesday after more than 600,000 fans saw her Eras Tour performance across seven concerts.

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Matthew Perry’s X account ‘hacked by fraudsters’ urging donation to fake foundation

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Matthew Perry's X account 'hacked by fraudsters' urging donation to fake foundation

The X account of Matthew Perry has been targeted by hackers, according to reports.

A foundation set up in honour of the Friends star, who died last October, appeared to be the target of a link in a pinned post at the top of his profile urging people to donate.

However, the post actually linked to duplicate site.

An Instagram post from the Matthew Perry Foundation said: “We have received reports that Matthew’s official X page has been hacked and is directing users to a fraudulent site soliciting donations via cryptocurrency.

“Please do not donate to this site or share the fraudulent posts on social media.

“MatthewPerryFoundation.org is the only website associated with the Foundation, and we are only accepting donations through this site.”

A caption added: “This is the only official Matthew Perry Foundation Instagram account, and we will only ever post official Foundation communications.

More on Matthew Perry

“Please report imposter accounts, and do not submit donations through any channel other than MatthewPerryFoundation.org. #MatthewPerry.”

The post was also flagged by X’s community notes feature saying that the account had been hacked and the link was fake.

Read more:
George Clooney says Perry’s Friends role ‘didn’t bring him happiness’
Perry wanted Zac Efron to play him in biopic

Perry’s death was ruled an accident from the “acute effects of ketamine”. The actor, was found “unresponsive in the pool at his residence” on 28 October last year.

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Remembering Matthew Perry

Most famous for playing Chandler Bing in hit US sitcom, Perry was open about his battle with addiction, setting up a sober living facility for men who were also struggling.

Following his death, the foundation was created in his name to help those struggling with addiction.

Jennifer Aniston, who played Rachel Green in Friends, was among those who urged support of the foundation.

The actor was recently honoured during the in memoriam segment at the SAG Awards, after there was controversy at the BAFTAs following his omission from their remembrance roll call.

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Producer accuses Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs of forcing him to have sex with prostitutes

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Producer accuses Sean 'Diddy' Combs of forcing him to have sex with prostitutes

A music producer has accused Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs of sexually assaulting him and forcing him to have sex with prostitutes.

The suit, filed in New York, accuses the music mogul of repeated instances of unwanted groping and sexual touching.

It also says the music producer was forced to work in a bathroom while Combs showered and wandered around in the nude.

Combs’ lawyer, Shawn Holley, labelled the events described in the lawsuit “pure fiction”.

“We have overwhelming, indisputable proof that his claims are complete lies,” he said.

“We will address these outlandish allegations in court and take all appropriate action against those who make them.”

In the lawsuit, the producer claims Combs made him solicit sex workers and pressured him to sleep with them.

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It also described a time when the producer suspected he had been drugged after waking up in a bed with a pair of prostitutes.

New sexual assault claim against Gerard Depardieu

The claim is one of several sexual assault lawsuits filed against Combs in recent months, including a lawsuit from the R&B singer Cassie that was settled last year.

Another of Combs’ accusers is a woman who claims he raped her two decades ago when she was 17-years-old.

Combs has denied all the allegations.

In a statement in December, he described the claims as “sickening” and his accusers of “looking for a quick payday”.

“Let me be absolutely clear: I did not do any of the awful things being alleged. I will fight for my name, my family and for the truth,” he said.

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