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U.N. climate chief quits, deepening sense of disarray

UNITED NATIONS — The sense of disarray in the global effort to address climate change deepened Thursday with the resignation of Yvo de Boer, the stolid Dutch bureaucrat who led the international climate change negotiations over four tumultuous years.

His departure, which takes effect on July 1, comes after a largely unsuccessful meeting in Copenhagen in December that was supposed to produce a binding international treaty but instead generated mostly acrimony and a series of unenforceable pledges by nations to reduce their global warming emissions.

De Boer did not directly link his decision to step down to the chaos at Copenhagen. But he was known to be frustrated and exhausted by the meeting’s failures. His resignation was seen by some as a further sign that the U.N. framework, which for almost two decades has been viewed as the best approach to tackling global warming, may have outlived its usefulness. And it raised questions about whether any significant progress toward a global treaty would be made by December, when the next U.N. climate talks are to be held in Cancun, Mexico.

Ex-head of New York police sentenced to 4 years in prison

WHITE PLAINS, NEW YORK — Bernard B. Kerik, a former New York police commissioner who rose to national prominence, was sentenced to four years in prison on Thursday after pleading guilty to eight felony charges, including tax fraud and lying to White House officials.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, the prosecution and the defense recommended that U.S. District Judge Stephen C. Robinson sentence Kerik to 27 to 33 months in prison. But the judge departed from the sentencing recommendations, giving Kerik a longer sentence because he said he had betrayed the public’s trust.

Kerik will begin serving his sentence on May 17.

Kerik later served as police commissioner, and his performance after the 9/11 attacks turned him into a national figure, earning him the respect of President George W. Bush, who nominated him to lead the Department of Homeland Security. That bid quickly collapsed in scandal, marking the beginning of the end of Kerik’s career.

The case against Kerik centered on charges that a New Jersey construction company, the Interstate Industrial Corp., which was suspected of ties to organized crime, had paid for renovations at his home in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.

Inspectors say Iran worked on warhead

WASHINGTON — The United Nations’ nuclear inspectors declared for the first time on Thursday that they had extensive evidence of “past or current undisclosed activities” by Iran’s military to develop a nuclear warhead, an unusually strongly worded conclusion that seems certain to accelerate Iran’s confrontation with the United States and other Western countries.

The report, the first under the new director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, also concluded that Iran’s weapons-related activity apparently continued “beyond 2004,” contradicting an American intelligence assessment published a little over two years ago that concluded work on a bomb was suspended at the end of 2003.

The report confirms that Iran has enriched small quantities of uranium to 20 percent, but makes no assessment of how close it might be to producing a nuclear weapon, which Tehran denies it is seeking to do.

At a briefing at the White House shortly after the agency’s report was released, senior administration officials said they saw continuing evidence that Iran has to struggle just to keep its uranium-enrichment equipment running.

—David E. Sanger and William J. Broad, The New York Times