PARIS—The city of Paris has inaugurated a public garden honoring a woman who fought for the liberation of slaves on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.
Mayor Anne Hidalgo also announced plans to erect a statue to the woman, Solitude, at the site in northeastern Paris. It will be the city’s first statue honoring a Black woman.
Amid global protests against monuments to White men linked to colonialism or the slave trade, French leaders have resisted taking down statues but pushed instead to design new monuments to more diverse, lesser-known historical figures.
Solitude was born around 1772 to an African slave who was raped by a White sailor on the ship bringing her to the Antilles, according to newspaper Le Monde.
She won her freedom after the French Revolution, but then Napoleon reinstated slavery in French colonies and Solitude joined Guadeloupe’s resistance movement, according to city hall. Napoleon’s forces arrested a then-pregnant Solitude, and sentenced her to death.
She gave birth on Nov. 28, 1802, and was hanged the next day.
France abolished slavery again in 1848. Guadeloupe remains part of France, and saw protests earlier this year against racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s death in the U.S.
Mali transitional government appoints new prime minister
BAMAKO, Mali—Mali’s transitional president appointed former minister of foreign affairs Moctar Ouane as the West African nation’s prime minister days after being sworn into office.
The appointment of a civilian prime minister was a major condition imposed by the West African regional economic bloc, ECOWAS, on Mali to lift sanctions that were imposed after an Aug. 18 coup. ECOWAS had closed borders to Mali and stopped financial flows to put pressure on the junta to quickly return to a civilian government.
Former Defense Minister and retired Col. Maj. Bah N’Daw was inducted Sept. 25 as the new transitional president while Col. Assimi Goita, head of the junta that staged the coup, was installed as Mali’s new vice president. The three government heads are to lead the transitional government to an election in 18 months.
The appointment of Mr. Ouane, 64, was made by official decree Sept. 27 and signed by Mr. N’Daw. Mr. Ouane was minister of foreign affairs from 2004 to 2011 under former President Amadou Toumani Toure. He also served as Mali’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1995 to 2002 and later as a diplomatic adviser to ECOWAS.
The junta, which calls itself the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, deposed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August, detaining him, the prime minister and other government officials. Mr. Keita, who became ill, was eventually released and has gone to the United Arab Emirates for treatment.
ECOWAS became involved in negotiations that have pressed for a quick return to civilian rule.
UN officials have called for the release of 13 of the 18 detained officials still being held at the Kati military camp in the Malian capital of Bamako.
There has been widespread concern that the upheaval in Mali will set back efforts to contain the country’s growing Islamic insurgency. After a similar coup in 2012, Islamic extremists grabbed control of major towns in northern Mali.
Only a 2013 military intervention led by France pushed extremists out of those towns and the international community has spent seven years battling the militants.
SEC: Fiat Chrysler to pay $9.5M for misleading investors
DETROIT—Fiat Chrysler will pay $9.5 million to settle charges from U.S. securities regulators that it misled investors about emissions control problems.
The Securities and Exchange Commission said Sept. 28 that the Italian-American automaker made incomplete disclosures to investors about an internal audit of its vehicle emissions systems.
The agency says that in February of 2016, FCA said in a news release and in its annual report that the audit determined its vehicles complied with emissions regulations.
But the audit wasn’t a comprehensive review of the company’s compliance, the SEC said. About the same time, engineers from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board raised concerns about emissions systems in some FCA diesel engines.
The SEC said that Fiat Chrysler agreed not to violate reporting provisions of U.S. securities laws. The company did not admit to or deny the agency’s findings.
Last year Fiat Chrysler agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars, including a $300 million fine to the U.S. government, to settle allegations that it cheated on diesel emissions tests. Fiat Chrysler has maintained that it didn’t deliberately scheme to cheat and the company didn’t admit wrongdoing.
Also last year, the SEC said Fiat Chrysler would pay $40 million to settle allegations that it misled investors by overstating monthly sales numbers over a five-year period.
North Korea on virus threat: ‘Under safe and stable control’
NEW YORK—North Korea has called on the world’s governments to “display effective leadership” in the fight against Covid-19 and said its own measures against the pandemic, which it called “preemptive, timely and strong,” ensured it had the threat “under safe and stable control.”
Kim Song, the country’s UN ambassador, said a tightly administered anti-pandemic effort in his nation had been working. North Korea strictly regulates foreign visitors—even more so during the pandemic that’s killed more than one million people worldwide—and filters all information through its state propaganda apparatus, with details about its approach to the coronavirus relatively scant.
“(The) anti-epidemic situation in our country is now under safe and stable control,” the ambassador said in a rare live address at the UN General Assembly.
“A series of state measures are now being taken to block the virus inflow into the country, and all people adhere strictly to anti-epidemic regulations while maintaining the highest alert,” he said.
Further, Amb. Kim said the government “will not tolerate even a smallest bit of slackness or concession, but further strengthen the state emergency anti-epidemic measures until the danger of the pandemic inflow is completely eliminated.”
Until Sept. 29, all speeches at the UN General Assembly were virtual, delivered by world leaders in prerecorded videos from their home nations. The meeting concluded with a smattering of speeches by officials based at the United Nations—including Mr. Kim.
North Korean state media later reported the nation’s leader Kim Jong Un had presided over a Sept. 29 meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Politburo. The Korean Central News Agency said officials during the meeting warned against complacency and addressed unspecified problems in the country’s anti-virus campaign while discussing ways to maintain a “streel-strong anti-epidemic system.”
North Korea has steadfastly said there hasn’t been a single virus case on its territory, a claim widely disputed by foreign experts.
Kim Song did not mention U.S. President Donald Trump or the United States directly in his speech. But he spoke of “the maneuvers of hostile forces”—a frequent euphemism for the United States and South Korea—and condemned the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba as “economic genocide.”
Kim Jong Un, the third generation of his family to rule the nation, had not been expected to address the UN this year. Kim Song also addressed the General Assembly last year.
Mr. Trump and Kim Jong Un have met three times in high-stakes nuclear diplomacy that has largely stalled since their second meeting in February 2019, where the Americans rejected North Korea’s demands for major sanctions relief in exchange for a piecemeal deal toward partially surrendering its nuclear capabilities.
The North in recent months has stated it would never again gift Mr. Trump with high-profile meetings he could boast of as foreign policy achievements unless it gets something substantial in return. Most experts say North Korea is likely to avoid serious negotiations with the Trump administration before the November presidential election because there’s a chance U.S. leadership could change.
Amb. Kim Song also peppered his speech with familiar themes about the country being continually under nuclear threat, which it has long cited as the basis for its pursuit of its own nuclear weapons. “In the present world, where high-handedness based on strength is rampant, genuine peace can only be safeguarded when one possesses the absolute strength to prevent war itself,” the UN ambassador said.
Kim Jong Un is struggling to keep afloat an economy ravaged by chronic mismanagement, U.S.-led sanctions over his nuclear weapons program, the pandemic and devastating summer floods that will likely worsen food shortages.
In a glimpse into some of those struggles against natural calamity, Amb. Kim Song said, “Although we suffered considerable losses due to unexpected natural disasters this year, we are vigorously striving to remove the flood and typhoon damages by ourselves and stabilize the people’s life in a short period of time.”
In August, Kim Jong Un showed unusual candor by acknowledging his economic improvement plans have fallen short, as the ruling Workers’ Party scheduled a congress in January to set development goals for the next five years.
(Compiled from Associated Press reports.)