Arts and Culture

Ancient Australian Aboriginal sites discovered underwater

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Archaeologists have for the first time found Aboriginal artefacts on the seabed off Australia, opening a door to the discovery of ancient settlements flooded since the last ice age, they reported Thursday. Hundreds of ancient stone tools made by Australia’s Indigenous people at least 7,000 years ago were discovered two metres underwater off the remote Western Australia coast, the research published in the PLOS ONE journal said. A second site nearby […]

A vanishing way of life in Danube Delta’s natural paradise

by Mihaela RODINA / Ionut IORDACHESCU Agence France-Presse SFANTU-GHEORGHE, Romania (AFP) — As the “last rower” left in one of the villages dotting Romania’s Danube Delta, Iosif Acsente is all too aware of how the traditions and vistas of the region are slowly disappearing — an issue brought into sharper relief by the coronavirus pandemic. Acsente has been plying the Delta with his wooden boat for more than four decades now from his home village […]

Top French historian slams Macron’s statue stance as another is attacked

by Fiachra GIBBONS Agence France-Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — A top French historian slammed President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday for trying to shut down debate on the country’s colonial past as a prominent statue linked to slavery was attacked in Paris. Macron all but ignored the wave of Black Lives Matter protests in a major television address last week except to warn that France would not take down statues of controversial historical figures. “The Republic […]

Court halts Mexico’s ‘Maya Train’ over indigenous health rights

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AFP) — A Mexican court has ordered the suspension of work on the “Maya Train,” a controversial railroad through Mayan lands in the country’s southeast, after an indigenous community filed an injunction. The $6.2 billion rail link is a pet project of leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who said Wednesday that while the court challenge had “political overtones,” his government would comply with the ruling. “We will comply with the decisions […]

Russia holds grand WWII parade ahead of vote on Putin reforms

by Jonathan BROWN Agence France-Presse MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — Columns of tanks and troops will parade through Red Square on Wednesday as President Vladimir Putin oversees grand World War II commemorations to stir up patriotic fervour ahead of a vote on extending his rule. Forced to postpone the country’s traditional May 9 Victory Day celebrations by the coronavirus pandemic, Putin rescheduled the parade for just a week ahead of a July 1 public vote on […]

Amazon pledges $2 billion investment to fight climate change

by Rob Lever Agence France-Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Amazon on Tuesday pledged to invest $2 billion in projects aimed at combatting climate change, stepping up efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of the tech giant and others. The Climate Pledge Fund will back efforts by startups and other firms in multiple sectors to “facilitate the transition to a zero carbon economy,” Amazon said in a statement. The initiative “will look to invest in […]

Anti-racism protests turn spotlight on icons of US history

by Cyril JULIEN Agence France-Presse WASHINGTON D.C., United States (AFP) — As the wave of anti-racism protests rocking the United States brings down monuments to figures linked to the country’s history of slavery, the spotlight is shifting to historic characters long considered untouchable. Although protesters initially focused on removing statues of Confederate generals, the movement has begun to turn its focus to icons of US history, including the nation’s founders Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, […]

Lenin statue unveiled in western Germany after legal battle

by Tom BARFIELD Agence France-Presse GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AFP) — A divisive new monument to Soviet leader Lenin was unveiled in Germany on Saturday, in the middle of a global row over the controversial background of historical figures immortalised as statues. More than 30 years after the post-World War II communist experiment on German soil ended, the tiny Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany (MLPD) installed Lenin’s likeness in the western city of Gelsenkirchen. A few hundred gathered […]

Machu Picchu July reopening ruled out over fears of virus spread

LIMA, Peru (AFP) — The ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, a jewel of Peruvian tourism, will not reopen in July as originally scheduled due to concerns over the coronavirus, local media reported Sunday. The Machu Picchu management group, UGM, made the decision based on reports from authorities in the Cusco region, where the citadel is located. “It has been decided that it will not be opened on July 1,” Machu Picchu district mayor Darwin […]

London Churchill statue to be uncovered before Macron visit

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — The London statue of British wartime leader Winston Churchill that was controversially boxed up after anti-racism protests will be uncovered for a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron, the mayor’s office said Wednesday. “The covering around the Winston Churchill statue will be removed for the visit of President Macron to London,” said a spokesman for mayor Sadiq Khan. Other monuments to Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, and the Cenotaph war […]

In DR Congo, King Leopold’s statue stoic as protests rage elsewhere

by Samir TOUNSI Agence France-Presse KINSHASA, DR Congo (AFP) — Overlooking Kinshasa from the seclusion of a presidential garden, the statue of Belgian King Leopold II stares over the Congo River far from the protests and rage targetting colonial figures elsewhere. The monument to the Belgian monarch, who made the Congo his personal fiefdom, stands next to his successor, Albert I, and a statue of British explorer Henry Stanley who founded the city that would become […]

Over 100 arrested after violent disorder at far-right linked UK protest

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Police in London said they arrested more than 100 people on Saturday after far-right protesters holding a counter-demonstration against anti-racism activists clashed with officers. Thousands of people defied the coronavirus restrictions to assemble in and around Parliament Square, in the centre of the capital. That required “major” policing operation the Metropolitan Police Service said, adding that they had encountered “pockets of violence directed towards our officers”. Television footage showed some […]