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Members of the G-20 meeting in a virtual summit pledged to provide aid to the people of Afghanistan in a bid to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in the war-torn country, Tolo News reported.
The summit was hosted by Italy on Tuesday. Some members of the summit cited that provision of aids didn't indicate recognition of the "Taliban" government.
Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, said that her country is not ready to recognise the "Taliban". According to her, the Taliban have not met the international measures and expectations of the world, the report said.
The US said that it would provide donation through aid organisations to the people of Afghanistan.
Addressing the summit, US President Joe Biden also expressed concerns over the presence of armed groups such as ISIS-K or so-called Daesh group in Afghanistan.
The European Union pledged to provide one million Euro in support of humanitarian donation to the country.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the international community emphasised on preservation of the human rights, particularly the rights of girls and women.
The summit was not attended by the Presidents of China and Russia.
This comes as earlier, the UN and humanitarian organisations had warned of triggering a severe humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
Keywords: Afghanistan, G-20, Taliban Government, United States, European Union.
PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday that his country will return 26 African artworks — royal thrones, ceremonial altars, revered statues — to Benin later this month, part of France's long-promised plans to give back artwork taken from Africa during the colonial era.
Discussions have been under way for years on returning the artworks from the 19th century Dahomey Kingdom. Called the "Abomey Treasures," they currently are held in the Quai Branly Museum in Paris. The museum, near the Eiffel Tower, holds thousands of works from former French colonies.
Macron said the 26 pieces will be given back at the end of October, "because to restitute these works to Africa is to give African young people access to their culture." It remains unclear when exactly they will arrive in Benin.
"We need to be honest with ourselves. There was colonial pillage, it's absolutely true," Macron told a group of African cultural figures at an Africa-France gathering in the southern city of Montpellier. He noted other works already were returned to Senegal and Benin, and the restitution of art to Ivory Coast is planned.
Cameroon-born art curator Koyo Kouoh pressed Macron for more efforts to right past wrongs.
"Our imagination was violated," she said.
"Africa has been married to France in a forced marriage for at least 500 years," Kouoh said. "The work (on mending relations) that should have been done for decades wasn't done...It's not possible that we find ourselves here in 2021.
A visitor looks at wooden statues of the 19th century Dahomey Kingdom era, at the Quai Branly museum in Paris, France, Nov. 23, 2018. France is to return later this month artworks to Benin it took during the colonial era. Image source: voa
"A sweeping 2018 report commissioned by Macron recommended that French museums give back works that were taken without consent, estimating that up to 90% of African art is located outside the continent. Some other European countries are making similar efforts.
Three years later, few artworks have been returned. To facilitate the repatriation of the Abomey Treasures, France's parliament passed a law in December 2020 allowing the state to hand the works over and giving it up to one year to do so.
The Africa-France meeting Friday was frank and occasionally heated. Macron, who is trying to craft a new French strategy for Africa. met with hundreds of African entrepreneurs, cultural leaders and young people.
Speakers from Nigeria, Chad, Guinea and beyond had a long list of demands for France: reparations for colonial crimes, withdrawal of French troops, investment that bypasses corrupt governments and a tougher stance toward African dictatorships.
Macron defended France's military presence in Mali and other countries in the Sahel region as necessary to keep terrorists at bay, and he refused to apologize for the past.
But he acknowledged that France has a "responsibility and duty" to Africa because of its role in the slave trade and other colonial-era wrongs. Noting that more than 7 million French people have a family link to Africa, Macron said France cannot build its future unless it "assumes its Africanness." (VOA/RN)
Keywords: African Art, France, Macron, Colonialism
A hilarious rhyme that children often chant cheerily while jumping around, Jack and Jill is another example of the dark history covered up in light-hearted rhyme. Instead of England though, this is a rhyme that sheds light on the history of France.
Unlike other rhymes, the rhyme is part fiction and part history, since only the first two lines can be taken as an allusion to the past.
"Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water,
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after."
King Louis XIV ruled over France in the late 18th century and was called out for treason. He had failed to uphold the economy of France. His spouse Marie Antoinette was an equally powerful influence in the monarchy but could not do anything when her husband was convicted.
King Louis XIV of France Image source: wikimedia commons
The French are famous for the guillotine, and Louis XIV was beheaded on this device. This act of executing a monarch is why the rhyme has the line "Jack fell down and broke his crown". The guillotine, at this point in history, was kept outside the city, and the journey to it was long and tedious. It was ideally located on a hill, so that the entire city of Paris could witness the execution of the accused.
Louise XIV is believed to have been dressed and taken on the long journey up to the guillotine, where his hair was cut off and he had to renounce his authority. He bid farewell to his friends and was followed up the hill by a crowd holding pikes and bayonets, to prevent his escape. He was then executed as the last monarch of France.
Death by guillotine was the most terrifying way to execute a criminal Image source: wikimedia commons
A few months later, when the hue and cry of Louis XIV's death has died down a little, but the political situation of France was no better, his wife, Marie Antoinette was also executed at the guillotine for her role in the fall of France. And this event alludes to the line, "Jill came tumbling after".
The rest of the rhyme is a fictional account of a moralistic idea for children, as a way to tell them to be careful of where they engage in play. Since a large part of the rhyme seems like a story of two children who have had an accident in play, that is how the rhyme has survived and the history behind it, has been forgotten.
Keywords: Marie Antoinette, Louise XIV, Guillotine, France, Nursery Rhymes, Monarchy
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - Apple released a critical software patch to fix a security vulnerability that researchers said could allow hackers to directly infect iPhones and other Apple devices without any user action.
Researchers at the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab said the security issue was exploited to plant spyware on a Saudi activist's iPhone. They said they had high confidence that the world's most infamous hacker-for-hire firm, Israel's NSO Group, was behind that attack.
The previously unknown vulnerability affected all major Apple devices — iPhones, Macs and Apple Watches — the researchers said. NSO Group responded with a one-sentence statement saying it will continue providing tools for fighting "terror and crime."
It was the first time a so-called "zero-click" exploit — one that doesn't require users to click on suspect links or open infected files — has been caught and analyzed, the researchers said. They found the malicious code on September 7 and immediately alerted Apple. The targeted activist asked to remain anonymous, they said.
"We're not necessarily attributing this attack to the Saudi government," said researcher Bill Marczak.
Citizen Lab previously found evidence of zero-click exploits being used to hack into the phones of Al-Jazeera journalists and other targets but hasn't previously seen the malicious code itself.
Although security experts say that average iPhone, iPad and Mac user generally need not worry — such attacks tend to be limited to specific targets — the discovery still alarmed security professionals.
Malicious image files were transmitted to the activist's phone via the iMessage instant-messaging app before it was hacked with NSO's Pegasus spyware, which opens a phone to eavesdropping and remote data theft, Marczak said. It was discovered during a second examination of the phone, which forensics showed had been infected in March. He said the malicious file causes devices to crash.
Citizen Lab says the case reveals, once again, that NSO Group is allowing its spyware to be used against ordinary civilians.
In a blog post, Apple said it was issuing a security update for iPhones and iPads because a "maliciously crafted" PDF file could lead to them being hacked. It said it was aware that the issue may have been exploited and cited Citizen Lab.
In a subsequent statement, Apple security chief Ivan Krstić commended Citizen Lab and said such exploits "are not a threat to the overwhelming majority of our users." He noted, as he has in the past, that such exploits typically cost millions of dollars to develop and often have a short shelf life.
In a blog post, Apple said it was issuing a security update for iPhones and iPads because a "maliciously crafted" PDF file could lead to them being hacked. Image source: wikimedia commons
Apple didn't respond to questions regarding whether this was the first time it had patched a zero-click vulnerability.
Users should get alerts on their iPhones prompting them to update the phone's iOS software. Those who want to jump the gun can go into the phone settings, click "General" then "Software Update," and trigger the patch update directly.
Citizen Lab called the iMessage exploit FORCEDENTRY and said it was effective against Apple iOS, MacOS and WatchOS devices. It urged people to immediately install security updates.
Researcher John Scott-Railton said the news highlights the importance of securing popular messaging apps against such attacks.
"Chat apps are increasingly becoming a major way that nation-states and mercenary hackers are gaining access to phones," he said. "And, it's why it's so important that companies focus on making sure that they are as locked down as possible."
The researchers said it also undermines NSO Group's claims that it only sells its spyware to law enforcement officials for use against criminals and terrorists and audits its customers to ensure it's not abused.
"If Pegasus was only being used against criminals and terrorists, we never would have found this stuff," said Marczak.
Facebook's WhatsApp also was allegedly targeted by an NSO zero-click exploit. In October 2019, Facebook sued NSO in U.S. federal court for allegedly targeting some 1,400 users of the encrypted messaging service with spyware.
In July, a global media consortium published a damning report on how clients of NSO Group have been spying for years on journalists, human rights activists, political dissidents, and people close to them, with the hacker-for-hire group directly involved in the targeting.
Amnesty International said it confirmed 37 successful Pegasus infections based on a leaked targeting list whose origin was not disclosed.
Apple didn't respond to questions regarding whether this was the first time it had patched a zero-click vulnerability. Image source: wikimedia commons
One case involved the fiancee of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi just four days after he was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in 2018. The CIA attributed the murder to the Saudi government.
The recent revelations also prompted calls for an investigation into whether Hungary's right-wing government used Pegasus to secretly monitor critical journalists, lawyers and business figures. India's parliament also erupted in protests as opposition lawmakers accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government of using NSO Groups' product to spy on political opponents and others.
France also is trying to get to the bottom of allegations that President Emmanuel Macron and members of his government may have been targeted in 2019 by an unidentified Moroccan security service using Pegasus.
Morocco, a key French ally, denied those reports and is taking legal action to counter allegations implicating the North African kingdom in the spyware scandal. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Apple, Pegasus, Spyware, Saudi governement, Morocco, France, Hacks