Daily Archives: October 9, 2021


France’s Macron Vows Return of African Art, Admitting ‘Colonial Pillage’

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 …


COVID Said to Have Sparked Rise in Global Depression, Anxiety

The COVID-19 outbreak has apparently sparked a global rise in depression and anxiety. According to a study published in the medical journal The Lancet, there were millions more of such cases last year than had been projected. Women and young people were the groups most affected by pandemic-related depression and anxiety. The report also said there has been “no reduction in the global prevalence or burden … for either disorder since 1990, despite compelling evidence of interventions that reduce their impact.” “This pandemic has created an increased urgency to strengthen …


Summer Storms Were a Climate-Change Wake-Up Call for Subways

When the remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped record-breaking rain on the East Coast this month, staircases into New York City’s subway tunnels turned into waterfalls and train tracks became canals. In Philadelphia, a commuter line along the Schuylkill River was washed out for miles, and the nation’s busiest rail line, Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor running from Boston to Washington, was shut down for an entire day. Nearly a decade after Superstorm Sandy spurred billions of dollars in investment in coastal flooding protection up and down the East Coast — some of …


Hong Kong’s Boy Band Mirror Reflects Expats’ Yearning for Home

Jenny Chan strode through central London on a late summer Saturday afternoon, heading for the South Bank Lion statue opposite Big Ben. There, by the River Thames, the 57-year-old mother and her two children joined a group of fellow Hong Kong expats who had gathered to sign a banner for Anson Lo, a 26-year-old singer with Hong Kong boy band Mirror. About 200 people, most wearing clothes in Lo’s signature pink, wrote messages on the giant scroll. The banner had been hauled to the United Kingdom by Mirror fans, and its …


Russian Agency: More than 49,000 Died From COVID-19 in August

Russia’s state statistics service reported nearly 50,000 coronavirus deaths in the country in August, taking the toll since the beginning of the pandemic to over 400,000, nearly double the official government figure. Rosstat released its figures late Friday, reporting that 49,389 people died from COVID-19 in August, a figure much higher than 24,661, the government tally for the same month. Overall, Rosstat says around 418,000 people have died in Russia since the pandemic began. This nearly doubles the official total death toll of 214,000 published by the Russian coronavirus task …


Biden Signs Law Helping ‘Havana Syndrome’ Victims

President Joe Biden on Friday signed legislation that will provide financial support to U.S. government employees believed to be suffering from the so-called Havana syndrome, mysterious health incidents that have affected American intelligence officers, diplomats and other personnel around the world. “Today, I was pleased to sign the HAVANA Act into law to ensure we are doing our utmost to provide for U.S. Government personnel who have experienced anomalous health incidents,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House. The Helping American Victims Afflicted by Neurological Attacks Act, …


Chinese Cyber Operations Scoop Up Data for Political, Economic Aims 

Mustang Panda is a Chinese hacking group that is suspected of attempting to infiltrate the Indonesian government last month. The reported breach, which the Indonesians denied, fits the pattern of China’s recent cyberespionage campaigns. These attacks have been increasing over the past year, experts say, in search of social, economic and political intelligence from Asian countries and other nations across the globe. “There’s been an upswing,” said Ben Read, director of cyberespionage analysis at Mandiant, a cybersecurity firm, in an interview with VOA. Cyber operations stemming from China are “pretty …