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The Great Barrier Reef should be added to a list of World Heritage Sites that are “in danger,” a United Nations panel said on Tuesday, drawing an angry response from Australia, which called the recommendation politically motivated. Australia has lobbied furiously for years to stay off the endangered list, as it could lead to the world’s biggest coral reef ecosystem losing the UN heritage status, taking some of the shine off its attraction for tourists. Making its recommendation, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) committee said action was needed to counter the effects of climate change, as the prospects of the reef retaining that cherished status had deteriorated.

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