A Chinese government-linked hacking campaign revealed by Microsoft this week has ramped up rapidly. At least four other distinct hacking groups are now attacking critical flaws in Microsoft’s email software in a cyber campaign the US government describes as “widespread domestic and international exploitation” with the potential to impact hundreds of thousands of victims worldwide.
Beginning in January 2021, Chinese hackers known as Hafnium began exploiting vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange servers. But since the company publicly revealed the campaign on Tuesday, four more groups have joined in and the original Chinese hackers have dropped the pretense of stealth and increased the number of attacks they’re carrying out. The growing list of victims includes tens of thousands of US businesses and government offices targeted by the new groups.
“There are at least five different clusters of activity that appear to be exploiting the vulnerabilities,” says Katie Nickels, who leads an intelligence team at the cybersecurity firm Red Canary that is investigating the hacks. When tracking cyberthreats, intelligence analysts group clusters of hacking activity by the specific techniques, tactics, procedures, machines, people, and other characteristics they observe. It’s a way to track the hacking threats they face.
Hafnium is a sophisticated Chinese hacking group that has long run cyberespionage campaigns against the United States, according to Microsoft. They are an apex predator—exactly the sort that is always followed closely by opportunistic and smart scavengers.
Activity quickly kicked into higher gear once Microsoft made their announcement on Tuesday. But exactly who these hacking groups are, what they want, and how they’re accessing these servers remain unclear. It’s possible that the original Hafnium group sold or shared their exploit code or that other hackers reverse engineered the exploits based on the fixes that Microsoft released, Nickels explains.
“The challenge is that this is all so murky and there is so much overlap,” Nickels explains. “What we’ve seen is that from when Microsoft published about Hafnium, it’s expanded beyond just Hafnium. We’ve seen activity that looks different from tactics, techniques, and procedures from what they reported on.”
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Collingwood’s iconic former cheer squad leader Joffa Corfe has doubled down after the club condemned his offensive tweet and urged him to apologise.
On Tuesday night, Corfe wrote “Get rid off all Indian workers in aged care might be a start”, seemingly in response to the findings of a royal commission into aged care in Australia.
Plenty of social media users were outraged by the tweet, calling on the famous Collingwood figure to delete his post.
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However, Corfe didn’t heed the advice, instead posting on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon to defend his actions and declare “I won’t be silenced”.
“To the losers out there in Twitter world feel free to copy and paste anything i say everywhere and anywhere,” he tweeted. “I don’t care I won’t be silenced by the bulls**t minority pretending to be the do gooders I’ll have the b***s to say and tweet whatever I want, Thank you.”
Corfe doubled down on Thursday, boasting about life on the Gold Coast and refusing to say sorry.
“Another day at surfers sun swim and surf with lunch and dinner with friends on Cavill Avenue, life couldn’t be better,” he tweeted.
“And an apology will not be forthcoming have a wonderful day everyone. Off to surfers to live the life.”
Corfe has been vocal in his support of former club president Eddie McGuire and hit back at the idea of systematic racism at the club.
It comes after McGuire stood down in the aftermath of the “Do Better” report, which concluded the club was guilty of fostering “systemic racism” that “has resulted in profound and enduring harm to First Nations and African players”.
The club and its players were quick to apologise after the report was released and rather than let Corfe’s posts disappear into the ether, Collingwood stepped in to condemn his comments.
“Joffa Corfe is not a member of the Collingwood Football Club but has had a long association with our organisation,” Collingwood tweeted from its official account.
“As such we cannot stand by his comments of last night. We condemn them and ask him to consider the hurt he has caused and an appropriate apology.”
Corfe paid no attention to that request.
Last month, when the racism scandal was developing, Corfe issued several posts in defence of Collingwood.
“To the people who are ripping Eddie McGuire to shreds are they any better than racism itself,” he wrote.
Corfe also called Heritier Lumumba a “massive flog” after the former Collingwood star went public with allegations of a culture of racism at the Pies.
“The slur that everyone associated with Collingwood is racist or guilty of racism will be with us for a long time it is heartbreaking to say the least,” Corfe tweeted in February.
It’s been a brutal pre-season for the Magpies with McGuire reportedly going radio silent after being left “crushed” at his tumultuous demise as president of Collingwood after the release of the report.
Coach Nathan Buckley has also revealed he would be prepared to stand aside at the end of the year if poor results dictated the club was better off going in a new direction.
Buckley also expressed his regret in how he responded to allegations of racism, while Collingwood has begun instituting some of the recommendations from the Do Better report, including establishing an anti-racism expert group.
But former players have come out in force to denounce the club in recent months, led by Lumumba, who has been the most outspoken critic.
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When a 55-year-old man was found guilty of having sex with and assaulting his 14-year-old “promised bride” in the mid-2000s, the Northern Territory Supreme Court handed him a two-year sentence, suspended after just one month.
Federal legislation prevents NT courts from considering local Aboriginal laws in sentencing and bail decisions
The NT government asked the Law Reform Committee to assess the impact of the legislation
The committee found the Commonwealth legislation to be ineffective, disproportionate and discriminatory
The short jail term — which was based on the court’s finding that the man believed his actions were permitted under traditional law — was later increased to a minimum of 18 months after the original sentence was deemed “manifestly inadequate” on appeal.
The case was one of several that sparked a national debate about whether customary Aboriginal laws were being used to mitigate serious crimes and reduce prison terms for offenders.
The spotlight on the NT’s legal system intensified in 2006 when Alice Springs Crown Prosecutor, Nanette Rogers, outlined harrowing details of abuses committed against Aboriginal women and children in an interview on the ABC’s national current affairs program, Lateline.
The response from the federal government was the introduction of Commonwealth legislation designed to prevent “customary law and cultural practice” being used to excuse, justify, or lessen the seriousness of violence or sexual abuse.
The Commonwealth legislation, which prohibited courts from having regard to local Aboriginal laws when considering bail and sentencing for federal offences, was extended to all NT offences as part of the federal intervention in 2007.
But a new report by the NT Law Reform Committee — which was commissioned by the NT government and quietly published on the Department of Attorney-General and Justice website last month — has urged an overhaul of the “deeply offensive, disrespectful and discriminatory” legislation.
It said the Commonwealth legislation had been implemented on false pretences, noting that in the 12 years to 2006, just 13 out of 1,798 offenders in the NT Supreme Court submitted that their moral culpability was mitigated by local Aboriginal law.
Two of the cases involved victims who were “promised brides”.
The committee — which consulted with or received submissions from 18 organisations and individuals as part of its research — said it found a strong consensus “that under-age sex is not excusable or justifiable by reference to local Aboriginal law”.
It said there was also a similar consensus that it would be improper to use such laws to justify or excuse domestic violence.
Additionally, it said there was widespread acceptance that substantial corporal punishment — such as “payback” — was no longer effective or appropriate, although it noted that some people continue to express support for it.
The Law Reform Committee stated that the Commonwealth legislation was “a disproportionate and ineffective response to the problems of child sexual offending in the NT”.
Among its recommendations, the committee called on the NT government to petition the Commonwealth to repeal the relevant sections of the Crimes Act that it said were adversely affecting the NT justice system
It also recommended the NT government:
Amend the NT Sentencing Act so that courts can take into account “unique systemic and background factors affecting Aboriginal peoples”
Resume the operation of community courts, which are run in consultation with Indigenous elders
Introduce a Canadian-based scheme where “Indigenous Experience Reports” are created for Aboriginal offenders being sentenced in court
During consultations prior to the release of the report, Dagoman-Wardaman elder May Rosas from Katherine told the committee there would be significant benefits if there was greater incorporation of local Aboriginal laws in the mainstream justice system.
Her view was echoed by Arnhem Land MLA Yingiya Guyula, who pushed for the NT government to launch a review of the Commonwealth legislation in late 2018.
“When our laws sit side by side, we will see a reduction in incarceration and reoffending rates, and stronger and healthier communities,” Mr Guyula told Parliament at the time.
But some of the people the committee consulted expressed concern about the potential repeal of the Commonwealth legislation.
Victims of Crime NT was concerned that customary law considerations in sentencing could lead to greater leniency for offenders, at the expense of victims.
Warlpiri-Celtic woman Jacinta Price, an Alice Springs councillor, told the committee she was “against the idea of two different laws for Australian citizens” and that payback was a “denial of human rights, but also against Australian law”.
However, Law Reform Committee deputy president, Russel Goldflam, said the committee was only calling for changes that were consistent with the mainstream legal system.
“We agree with [Ms Price] that there should be one legal system that applies to everybody … and there would be if the recommendations that we’ve made were implemented,” Mr Goldflam told the ABC.
Mr Goldflam also disputed concerns about lenient sentences.
Attorney-General Selena Uibo told the ABC she wrote to her federal counterpart, Christian Porter, last month to request a review of the relevant provisions in the Crimes Act in light of the Law Reform Committee’s report.
Ms Uibo said she was still considering the other recommendations.
It comes as the NT government continues to develop a landmark Aboriginal Justice Agreement.
The agreement, which is still in a draft form and includes 23 “solution-based strategies”, is designed to improve justice outcomes and reduce high incarceration rates for Indigenous Territorians, who make up more than 80 per cent of adult prisoners in the NT.
The Law Reform Committee noted that the stated aims of the draft agreement were in direct conflict with current legislation and that changes were long overdue.
“A formidable array of law reform bodies, royal commissions, boards of inquiry and other experts have exhaustively investigated the issues at the heart of this inquiry and come, time and time again, to the same general conclusions: local Aboriginal law runs, and it should be seen to run, alongside, but subject to statute law and common law,” it said.
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Senator Jacqui Lambie has told a court two of her former staff members were trying to “belittle” and “shame” her when they sent a letter to then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, detailing their list of grievances with her.
Ms Lambie told the court Rob and Fern Messenger had been able to track her through her phone
She dismissed claims office staff were “on eggshells” around her, saying it was Mr Messenger they feared
Upon learning of the letter to Malcolm Turnbull, Ms Lambie said she was “quite upset … I was quite angry”
The senator’s former chief of staff and office manager, Rob and Fern Messenger, have taken her to the Federal Court, alleging they were unfairly dismissed in May 2017 after raising workplace health and safety issues.
The pair worked for Senator Lambie for about three years, covering her time as a Palmer United Party senator and eventual transition to independence.
Giving evidence on Monday, Senator Lambie told the court it was not until her second term in Federal Parliament that she began to suspect there was “something going on in the office”.
She said the catalyst was a conversation with the Messengers who told her “staff were walking around on eggshells” and had “made complaints about [her] mood swings”.
She said it was “really upsetting” to find out her staff felt that way and had not talked to her about it.
“I wasn’t crying profusely, but there were certainly tears coming down my cheeks,” she said.
“I had a lump in my throat. It was just awful. Something awful to sit through.”
But she said she later began to suspect she was not the problem.
‘They might as well have been microchipping me’
It was a few months later, during a road trip, that Senator Lambie said two of her staff members found the “courage” to tell her they were having issues with Mr and Ms Messenger.
“They felt like they were being bullied,” she told the court. “If you upset them [Mr and Ms Messenger] then they didn’t speak to you for weeks on end.
“[The staff] were terribly concerned about their jobs and they’d wanted to speak to me for some time.”
Staff had earlier told the court the Messengers had asked them to report Senator Lambie’s movements, including who she met with, back to them.
Senator Lambie repeated this and claimed in court the duo had been able to track her through her phone and shared diary.
“They might as well [have been] microchipping me,” she told the court. “If there were phone calls coming through, they knew.
“They knew exactly where I was at any time. They were gathering a lot of information from my own phone.”
In the weeks that followed, Ms Lambie described her relationship with Mr Messenger as “coming unstuck” and “at breaking point”.
She also repeatedly said “there was no trust left” between her and the Messengers towards the end of their employment.
“I was finding my feet in Parliament and didn’t need to rely on Mr Messenger. He was struggling with that because he was losing control,” she said.
Complaint to Turnbull ‘absolutely disgusting’
Ms Lambie told the court she feared staff would leave and she “couldn’t see a way [to] possibly resolve this”.
“This office had become dysfunctional and it was starting to hurt other employees,” she said.
In March 2017, the Messengers sent then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull a letter detailing some of their issues with the senator.
They claimed she swore excessively, regularly discussed her sex life in the office and minimised “a terror attack” on her office.
“I was quite upset. I was quite angry,” Ms Lambie said.
“I thought: ‘Why would you send it to a prime minister?’ That’s absolutely disgusting! What was he hoping to get out of it?
“It was a letter to get out there and air how he felt about me, and that’s it.”
The Messengers claim it was because of this letter and their decision to copy Mr Turnbull into further correspondence that they were dismissed.
But Ms Lambie has denied this.
The hearing is scheduled to finish on February 17.
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Once The Chasers step into that studio they become different people.
Britain’s brightest brains transform into their characters when they take on the terrified contestants on The Chase – with each having a brilliant nickname.
Most of the names were given to The Chasers by hilarious host Bradley Walsh, who is clearly very gifted in that department.
He even came up with an alternative for one Chaser was not happy with there nickname.
One of the names has a very clever meaning, another was made more ‘kinky’, while a different one was at the centre of a scandal and changed for different international versions of the show.
Here is how The Chasers all got their nicknames.
Jenny Ryan – The Vixen
Boffin Jenny Ryan wasn’t actually supposed to be called The Vixen.
Jenny was originally going to be called the much more raunchy The Cougar, but told show bosses that it felt a bit much.
“When I first started I had a test run, a bit of a screen test in the studio with Brad hosting,” she told Lorraine Kelly earlier this month.
“Just as a chemistry kind of test really. And I had my hair in this big ponytail.
“The producers had been trying to work out what my nickname should be, and they wanted something animal-y because I like a lot of animal print.
“And they suggested ‘The Cougar’, and I said, ‘no, because I’m too young to be a cougar’.”
It was Bradley that came to Jenny’s rescue and came up with a much-improved alternative.
She continued: “Brad came up with ‘The Vixen’, because of the red hair, it looks like a fox’s brush.
“And foxes are really intelligent animals and really cunning, and could be quite fast.”
Also known as ‘The Bolton Braniac’, Jenny helped Leeds University make it to the semi-finals on University Challenge in 2003.
Shaun Wallace – The Dark Destroyer
Once again it was Bradley Walsh who came up with the nickname for his good pal Shaun Wallace.
Shaun is known as The Dark Destroyer on The Chase, which he explained is because he destroys people with his intelligence.
However, the name has been shortened to just ‘The Destroyer’ when he appears in the Australian and New Zealand version of the show.
Shaun defended his nickname after it came under fire and insisted there was no malice or offense behind it.
The barrister doesn’t want the name to be changed by ITV as he is proud to be called The Dark Destroyer.
“It was actually Bradley who started to call me the Dark Destroyer, and there was absolutely no side or sinister reason behind it,” he told The Sun on Sunday in July last year.
“So no, Britain may be less PC, but guess what? I am proud to be black.
“If ITV were to ask me, or consider changing it, then I would tell them this, ‘I am proud to be black, I am proud to be dark. I want the name to stay as it is’.
“And because of my intellect — and I destroy people because of my intellect — then so be it. That’s the way I use the term the Dark Destroyer, and I am not offended. And I hope other people aren’t offended either.”
Due to his successful career in the courtroom, Shaun is also known as The Barrister and The Legal Eagle.
In 2004 he won Mastermind with the chosen specialist subject of FA Cup Finals, so he has also ben called The Mastermind Champ.
Mark Labbett – The Beast
Everyone assumed Mark Labbett was called The Beast because of his towering 6ft 7in height and imposing stance.
While co-star Paul Sinha explained that his nickname was down to how he interacts with hopefuls on the show.
“He scares the bejesus out of the contestants so we call him The Beast,” he said on This Morning.
However, some smart fans have worked out there is an incredibly clever meaning behind his nickname.
Viewers had their minds blown when it was revealed that “La Bête” is French for The Beast.
This nickname has spawned many others, including Beastie Boy, The Transatlantic Giant and The Bad Boy of Quizzing.
Due to Mark’s background as a Maths supply teacher, Mark has also been called The Man Mountain of Maths.
Anne Hegerty – The Governess
Anne was supposed to be called The Headmistress after being given the name by show bosses.
But she was given a slightly different name by Bradley Walsh during rehearsals which stuck.
Anne asked the producers to keep the new name because it was ‘kinkier’.
“Originally I was going to be called The Headmistress,” she said on Loose Women in 2015.
“And then during rehearsals Brad started occasionally referring to me as The Governess.
“I said to producers ‘Could I be that instead?’ and I think what I said to them was ‘it’s more kinky’.”
She added: “What I meant was that the headmistress has always got a board of governors and Ofsted and she can’t do everything she wants; a governess is a free agent.”
Anne had actually intended to make The Governess even scarier than she already is.
The writer and former journalist originally saw her character as a combination of Daphne Fowler from Eggheads, Caroline Aherne from Mrs Merton and Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter films.
Anne is also regularly called Frosty Knickers by Bradley due to her cold demeanour with contestants.
Paul Sinha – The Sinnerman
Paul, who is a fully qualified doctor, could have had a name relating to his profession.
But he is known as The Sinnerman on The Chase, which is clever play on his surname.
Paul has also been referred to as The Smiling Assassin and Sarcasm in a Suit by host Bradley Walsh on the show.
The stand-up comedian has also mercilessly poked fun at the nicknames used on The Chase while performing his routines.
During one comedy gig in London back in 2019, Paul said: “In 2011, I landed myself the dream job on the enduringly popular ITV quiz show The Chase.
“I am the t**t in the white suit. I have two nicknames, they are the Sinnerman and the Smiling Assassin.
“I don’t mind as the other Chasers are called the Vixen, the Dark Destroyer, the Governess, the Beast.”
Paul then made a brutal swipe at his fellow Chasers, referencing the fact that Mark Labbett married his own cousin Katie.
He added: “Anne Hegerty is called The Governess because she is bossy and cruel, and Mark Labbett is known as the Beast because he is f***ing his cousin. It is a distant cousin.
“Spare a thought for Shaun Wallace. He has been a barrister for 30 years and what do they call him? The Dark Destroyer?”
Darragh Ennis – The Menace
This one is quite simple to understand as it rhymes and is also a link to Beano character Dennis The Menace.
Another nickname used for the Irish quizzer is The Dublin Dynamo because of where he comes from.
Darragh only discovered what he was going to be called while waiting to go onto the show as a Chaser for the first time.
However, it wasn’t the moniker that show bosses has originally planned for the new Chaser.
The neuroscientist has worked at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth in the country of his birth and at Concordia University in Montreal.
Darragh has a very interesting job right now as he’s currently studying the brains of insects as a postdoctoral researcher at Oxford University, alongside his duties on The Chase.
Show bosses wanted to call him ‘The Professor’ due to his university background, but Darragh blocked the idea as he felt he had not earned the prestigious title.
“I work in the university here in Oxford and that’s a title [professor] that you really have to earn and I think people would be very annoyed if I started calling myself the Professor,” he said on This Morning back in November.
“So I said I didn’t want that but they didn’t tell me what my name would be until I was on set. I was on stage, waiting to go on when I first heard.”
*The Chase airs tonight on ITV at 5pm and The Chasers Road Trip later on ITV at 9pm
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday said he finds it “offensive” that the FBI is vetting National Guard members, including those from his own state, ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.
“This is the most offensive thing I’ve ever heard,” Abbott, a Republican, wrote on Twitter. “No one should ever question the loyalty or professionalism of the Texas National Guard.”
The deadly riot at the Capitol earlier this month caused officials in the city to take drastic measures to ensure the inauguration is secure.
INSIDER ATTACK FEARED DAYS BEFORE BIDEN’S INAUGURATION, SERVICE MEMBERS IN DC VETTED BY FBI
Approximately 25,000 National Guard troops have been sent to the capital — including about 1,000 from Texas.
“I authorized more than 1,000 to go to DC,” Abbott wrote. “I’ll never do it again if they are disrespected like this.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during a news conference where he provided an update to Texas’ response to COVID-19, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
U.S. defense officials said they were worried about an insider attack or other threat from service members involved in securing the inauguration, prompting the FBI to vet all National Guard troops coming to Washington D.C. for the event.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told the AP that officials were conscious of the potential threat, and he warned commanders to be on the lookout for any problems within their ranks as the inauguration approaches.
ACTING SECRETARY OF DEFENSE SAYS NO INTEL OF INSIDER THREAT TO INAUGURATION
“We’re continually going through the process, and taking second, third looks at every one of the individuals assigned to this operation,” McCarthy said.
He and other leaders say they haven’t seen evidence of any threats and officials noted that the vetting hadn’t flagged any issues that they were aware of.
Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, in a statement on Monday, said that the Department of Defense has also not received any intelligence indicating a potential insider threat.
Still, Miller added that the department is “leaving no stone unturned in securing the capital.”
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“This type of vetting often takes place by law enforcement for significant security events. However, in this case the scope of military participation is unique,” he said.
Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche and Lucas Manfredi and the Associated Press contributed to this report
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Henry Tate, a grocer from Liverpool, had made a fortune from refining sugar and selling it in cubes. He went on to become the founder of the Tate Modern Gallery
1872: Henry Tate, a grocer from Liverpool, had made a fortune from refining sugar and selling it in cubes.
Until then, sugar had been sold in hacked-off chunks of what was known as ‘sugar loaf’.
Henry bought up the rights to the newly invented sugar cube and in 1878 opened his Thames refinery in Silvertown, east London.
1883: Abram Lyle opened his own refinery in nearby Plaistow in 1883 and began selling Golden Syrup – made from by-products in the sugar refining process – in the famous green and gold tins in 1885 after it proved an instant success with customers.
The two sugar barons never met but became fierce rivals. There was, however, a tacit understanding that the Tate factory would never venture into the ‘Goldie’ business and that the Lyles would never do sugar cubes.
1921: But in 1921, the two firms merged to form Tate & Lyle, refining around 50 per cent of the country’s sugar between them.
1939: By 1939 the Thames Refinery was the largest cane sugar refinery in the world, producing around 14,000 tonnes a week.
By the outbreak of World War II, 2,000 people worked there but, situated in the East End, it was a natural target for the Luftwaffe.
But the owners spent a great deal of time and money on air raid preparations. As workers’ homes were bombed to smithereens, the management built reinforced dormitories. The result was nothing short of miraculous.
Throughout the war the factory operated round-the-clock shifts.
The company even installed a full-time hairdresser for light relief. At one point, the factory endured air raids for 69 consecutive days and 79 consecutive nights.
The ‘Goldie’ operation was hit by six high-explosive bombs, 61 incendiary bombs and one parachute mine. One member of staff was killed on duty (another 13 would be killed in their homes).
1944: The highest output in the history of Lyle’s Golden Syrup was in 1944, when more than 1,000 tons per week were leaving Plaistow.
The making of the Tate Modern gallery
With the help of an £80,000 donation from Tate himself, the gallery at Millbank, now known as Tate Britain, was built and opened in 1897. Tate’s original bequest of works, together with works from the National Gallery, formed the founding collection
In 1889 Henry Tate offered his collection of British nineteenth-century art to the nation and provided funding for the first Tate Gallery.
Tate was a great patron of Pre-Raphaelite artists but his bequest of 65 paintings to the National Gallery was turned down by the trustees because there was not enough space in the gallery.
A campaign was begun to create a new gallery dedicated to British art.
With the help of an £80,000 donation from Tate himself, the gallery at Millbank, now known as Tate Britain, was built and opened in 1897.
Tate’s original bequest of works, together with works from the National Gallery, formed the founding collection.
Henry Tate and slavery
The Tate Modern invited researchers at the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership at University College London ‘to share their analysis’ amid debate surrounding Henry Tate’s association with slavery.
It found that: ‘Neither Henry Tate nor Abram Lyle was born when the British slave-trade was abolished in 1807. Henry Tate was 14 years old when the Act for the abolition of slavery was passed in 1833; Abram Lyle was 12.
‘By definition, neither was a slave-owner; nor have we found any evidence of their families or partners owning enslaved people.’
But the report did find that the firms founded by the two men, which later combined as Tate & Lyle, ‘do connect to slavery in less direct but fundamental ways.’
It adds: ‘First, the sugar industry on which both the Tate and the Lyle firms (the two merged in 1921) were built in the 19th century was itself absolutely constructed on the foundation of slavery in the 17th and 18th centuries, both in supply and in demand.’
It also found that; ‘Tate’s collections include items given by or associated with individuals who were slave-owners or whose wealth came from slavery.’
These include J.M.W. Turner’s Sussex sketchbooks and two pieces by Sir Joshua Reynolds.
The government had given the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) until Wednesday (local time) to lay down their arms or face an assault on Mekelle, the regional capital of 500,000 people.
The United Nations says 200 aid workers are also in the city.
The envoys were due to meet Mr Abiy at 11am on Friday, said Redwan Hussein, spokesman of the government’s State of Emergency Task Force for the Tigray conflict.
The envoys were in Addis Ababa “with a view to helping to mediate between the parties to conflict” in Ethiopia, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also the AU chair, said earlier this week.
Mr Abiy, who won last year’s Nobel Peace Prize for ending a two-decade standoff with Eritrea, has said he will not talk with TPLF leaders until they are defeated or give up.
Thousands of people are already believed to have died amid air strikes and ground fighting since the conflict began on 4 November. The United Nations estimates 1.1 million Ethiopians will need aid as a result of the conflict.
Reuters was unable to reach the TPLF for comment on Friday morning, but two diplomats said fighting raged in several areas outside Mekelle.
With phone and internet connections shut off to the region and access to the area tightly controlled, verifying claims by all sides has been impossible.
Tigray people who fled the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, overlook Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, on 26 November, 2020.
AP via AAP
TPLF ‘digging trenches’
At time of writing, there was no indication that the Ethiopian military had entered the city of Mekelle. The TPLF has previously said it was digging trenches around the city. Reuters was unable to verify those claims.
Finance Minister Ahmed Shide said on Thursday that the government was trying to make people in the city aware of the military operation.
“We have made the people of Mekelle to be aware of the operation by deploying military helicopters and dropping pamphlets in Tigrinya and also in Amharic so that they protect themselves against this,” he told France24.
Ethiopian soldiers rest at the 5th Battalion of the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Army in Dansha, Ethiopia, on 25, November, 2020.
AFP via Getty Images
Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said such efforts were not akin to protecting civilians from harm.
“Warnings don’t absolve the Ethiopian military of the duty to protect civilians during military operations in urban areas,” Mr Roth tweeted on Thursday.
Urging the TPLF not to deploy its forces among civilian populations in the city of Mekelle, he added: “Violations by one side don’t justify violations by the other.”
Mr Abiy’s office said on Thursday that authorities were opening a humanitarian access route, but the United Nations said it had no information on the route and the region was blocked to aid groups.
Tigrayans, who make up about six per cent of Ethiopia’s 115 million-strong population, dominated the government until Mr Abiy took power two years ago.
Pledging to unite Ethiopians and introduce freedoms after years of state repression, Mr Abiy jailed senior Tigrayan officials, which the region saw as discrimination.
Mr Abiy accuses Tigrayan leaders of starting the conflict by attacking federal troops at a base in Tigray three weeks ago. The TPLF have described the attack as a pre-emptive strike.
Tigrayan forces have large stocks of military hardware and number up to 250,000 men, experts say, while the region has a history of guerrilla resistance.
Even before conflict broke out, as resentment in Tigray against the federal government grew, Tigrayans adopted a slogan from the TPLF: “nobody will kneel down”.
Bakers Delight has pulled a Christmas advertisement of two young girls bound and gagged with lemon tarts after criticism it was a “porn-inspired abuse scenario”.
The advertisement was displayed at the Currambine Central Shopping Centre in Perth over the weekend and depicted two young girls in Santa hats bound with Christmas lights and emblazoned with the words “silent nights”.
Collective Shout – a group that speaks out against the sexualisation of children – condemned the campaign for “trivialising the issue of abuse and torture of children”.
“This is a misogynistic, porn-inspired abuse scenario to sell baked goods,” campaign manager Caitlin Roper told Nine.com.au.
“It’s hard to fathom how anyone at Bakers Delight thought this was acceptable, or that it could be a humorous scenario. How many people signed off on this concept?”
She said the “chilling” image presents it as a joke but “promotes the subjugation of women and girls and the idea that they should be silent”.
Bakers Delight issued an apology and had the advertisement removed following the backlash.
“Trivialising an important issue like child abuse was never our intention and we apologise to anyone we may have inadvertently upset,” the bakery chain told nine.com.au.
“Bakers Delight does not condone family or child abuse in any form and we are deeply concerned that some parts of our current marketing campaign may have caused offence.”
Ms Roper pointed out that this isn’t the first time Bakers Delight has come under fire with Collective Shout.
“We have called them out previously for sexualising and trivialising breast cancer, using the language of sexual harassment and objectifying double entendres like referring to women’s breasts as ‘fun buns’ and telling women to ‘get their buns out,'” she told nine.com.au.
It’s the backhanded compliment that must drive the Wallabies towards Bledisloe Cup redemption in Brisbane.
The annual rhetoric coming from the All Blacks camp about how much they respect their Australian counterparts when, in reality, they must be laughing behind their backs.
The charm offensive has been a constant throughout New Zealand’s 18-year domination of the Bledisloe Cup.
From Graham Henry to Steve Hansen and now Ian Foster, All Blacks coaches have mastered the art of hoodwinking the Wallabies into believing they’re world beaters rather than the trans-Tasman whipping boys they have become.
Foster was at it again on Saturday night, congratulating the “really tough” Wallabies for being such dangerous opponents.
“It means a lot to us to win that trophy and we’re incredibly proud of the group,” Foster said.
“The guys on the park, the guys off the park have been working really, really hard and you saw the feeling on the field afterwards just how much the Bledisloe means to us.
“And one of the reasons it means so much is how much respect we’ve got for this Wallabies team.
“It’s been a tough series to date.”
A tough series?
Since the 16-16 draw in Wellington, it’s been another Bledisloe bloodbath – 27-7 in Auckland, then 43-5 in Sydney – the All Blacks’ biggest win over the Wallabies in 117 years.
“For us to play that well is something we’re pretty proud of,” Foster said.
“And just to the Wallabies, I know it’s a tough result for them but I thought we saw a lot of determination and attitude out of them, particularly in that third quarter, to show there’s something building there to guarantee that the next fixtures are always going to be as tough as that one.”
As tough as that one?
“It’s a mark of respect,” Foster insisted.
“And I keep saying it, we saw in Wellington a really, really tough Wallaby team and we saw it at Eden Park too and we saw it again today.
“It probably wasn’t long enough for their liking and we were able to subdue it when we needed to.
“So the only reason you really enjoy winning trophies like this is because you’ve got a fear factor for the opposition and we legitimately have that.”
A fear factor?
How can the Wallabies believe any of this?
The All Blacks have been saying it year after year.
They may be sporting but they can’t be serious, given some of the scorelines during their record reign.
Since the 2015 World Cup final, the All Blacks have won most Tests in a landslide: 42-8, 29-9, 37-10, 54-34, 38-13, 40-12, 37-20, 36-0, 27-7, 43-5.
It’s time the Wallabies stood up at Suncorp Stadium to give the All Blacks real reason to respect them again.