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Paris statues of Voltaire and a colonial-era general splashed with red paint

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Two Paris statues related to France’s colonial era were found covered in red paint on Monday amid global calls to take down monuments commemorating figures with links to slavery or colonialism.

One of the statues drenched in red was of Voltaire, a leading thinker and writer of the French Enlightenment but who owed part of his fortune to colonial-era trade.

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The other honours Hubert Lyautey, a general and colonial administrator who served in Morocco, Algeria, Madagascar and Indochina when they were under French control, and later was France’s minister of war during World War I.

Both statues are located near the gold-domed Invalides monument that houses Napoleon’s tomb.

The action came amid growing demands by anti-racism activists in several countries to take down monuments that honor prominent historical figures who played a role in the slave trade or colonialism in the wake of global protests sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd in the United States.

The global movement has inspired France’s biggest anti-racism protests in decades, and revived a debate about the country’s colonial legacy and its role in the slave trade.

Touching on the subject during a televised address on June 14, French President Emmanuel Macron said fighting racism should not lead to a “hateful” re-writing of history.

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“I will be very clear tonight, compatriots: The Republic won’t erase any name from its history. It will forget none of its artworks, it won’t take down statues,” he said.

“We should look at all of our history together,” including relations with Africa, with a goal of “truth” instead of “denying who we are”, Macron added.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)


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Nearly half of inmates at Arizona prison test positive for virus

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More than 500 inmates -- nearly half the population -- of a prison in the US state of Arizona have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, officials said, while at a California prison the virus death toll hit 22.

The Arizona Department of Corrections said Tuesday that 517 inmates at the ASPC-Tucson Whetstone prison "have tested positive for COVID-19."

Those inmates "are currently being housed as a cohort together in separate areas and are receiving appropriate medical care. They will not be allowed back into the general population until they have been medically cleared," its statement read.

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Pompeo urges no vote for Cuba on Human Rights Council

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has urged UN members not to support Cuba's bid to join the organization's Human Rights Council.

"It's outrageous that the Human Rights Council would offer to seat Cuba, a brutal dictatorship that traffic its own doctors under the guise of humanitarian missions," the top US diplomat said on Wednesday.

Pompeo has described Cuba's sale of medical services, Havana's main source of foreign exchange, as a form of human trafficking.

"No country should vote Cuba onto the council," he said.

Under President Donald Trump, Washington has reversed an opening with Cuba initiated by former president Barack Obama, hardening a trade embargo in effect since 1962.

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Veteran Republican operative shames the GOP — and warns they won’t get rid of Trumpism ‘for at least a generation’

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Stuart Stevens is a veteran Republican campaign operative from five presidential races. When he spoke to PBS's Judy Woodruff Wednesday, he lamented the GOP failed the moral test it was presented with Donald Trump.

"Well, I think there's been two strains in the party. Call it an Eisenhower strain going back to the '50s and a McCarthy strain," Stevens said, recalling when the GOP would talk about expanding their party and bringing in more African-American voters. "Now we don't even hear any talk anymore of a big tent. And we seem to have settled into a very comfortable white grievance identity."

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