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Toto’s ‘Africa’ to play ‘for eternity’ in Namibia desert

Written by Tara John, CNN Toto’s “Africa” has come home, so to speak, thanks to an installation by an artist who plans to play the song on loop in a Namibian desert — for eternity. German-Namibian artist Max Siedentopf has set up the sound installation, called “Toto Forever,” in an undisclosed location in the 1,200…

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Toto’s ‘Africa’ to play ‘for eternity’ in Namibia desert

Written by Tara John, CNN
Toto’s “Africa” has come home, so to speak, thanks to an installation by an artist who plans to play the song on loop in a Namibian desert — for eternity.

German-Namibian artist Max Siedentopf has
set up the sound installation, called “Toto Forever,” in an undisclosed location in the 1,200 mile-long Namib Desert.

The desert, on the west coast of Southern Africa, is around 55 million years old — making it the world’s oldest desert and the “perfect spot” for his work, Siedentopf, 27, told CNN in an email. “Hopefully the song will play just as long,” he added.

Siedentopf is using solar batteries to power the entire installation, which consists of plinths supporting six speakers attached to a single MP3 player that contains one track: Toto’s “Africa.”

A shot of the installation by Max Siedentopf. Credit: Max Siedentopf

The song has been a pop-culture phenomenon since its release in 1982, topping the US Billboard chart and selling more than 4 million copies in the US alone.

In recent years, rock band Weezer made a cover of it; a sample of the song is featured in the movie “Aquaman”; it has a dedicated
Twitter bot, which has been spitting out lyrics every couple of hours since 2016; and its melody, “I bless the rains down in Africa,” is frequently belted out by revelers at parties and weddings across the world.

“Even though ‘Africa’ by Toto was released 1982 it is still very much present in today’s pop culture and frequently used for memes and even entire Reddit pages are dedicated to the song,” Siedentopf, who is based in London, said.

“I was very intrigued by this and wanted to pay the song the ultimate homage and physically exhibit ‘Africa’ in Africa.”

The song — which was written by Toto’s late drummer, Jeff Porcaro, and keyboard player David Paich — has occasionally been
mocked for its lack of local knowledge: One of the lyrics claims “Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti,” but Africa’s highest peak can’t be seen from the Serengeti.

When asked whether his work was making fun of the tendency of non-Africans to exoticize the continent, Siedentopf said there was a lot to say about Western stereotypes, but “putting (that) aside, the installation is supposed to look more at the lighter side of things and everyone should be able to enjoy it.”
He said he won’t reveal exact the location of the work, adding that it is “like a treasure that only the most loyal of Toto fans can find.”

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Secretary of defense orders review of US airstrike that killed civilians in Syria in 2019

The review will be conducted by Gen. Michael Garrett, the commander of US Army Forces Command. Garrett will review “reports of investigation already conducted” but will also “conduct further inquiry into the facts and circumstances” related to the incident, Kirby said. Garrett has 90 days to complete the review, which will cover “civilian casualties that…

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Secretary of defense orders review of US airstrike that killed civilians in Syria in 2019

The review will be conducted by Gen. Michael Garrett, the commander of US Army Forces Command. Garrett will review “reports of investigation already conducted” but will also “conduct further inquiry into the facts and circumstances” related to the incident, Kirby said. Garrett has 90 days to complete the review, which will cover “civilian casualties that resulted from the incident, compliance with the law of war” and “whether accountability measures would be appropriate,” Kirby added. Austin ordered the review after The New York Times published an extensive investigation into the airstrike earlier this month. Shortly after the investigation published, US Central Command, the part of the US military that oversees forces in the Middle East, publicly acknowledged that civilians, including women and children, had been killed in the 2019 airstrike.The number of civilians killed is unknown but US Central Command acknowledged it was “multiple civilians.”On March 18, 2019, the US-allied Syrian Democratic Forces called for air support when they came under attack from ISIS forces, Capt. Bill Urban, spokesman for US Central Command, said in a statement. US and coalition forces surrounded the last ISIS holdout in Baghouz, Syria, but in the final days of fighting ISIS launched a counterattack, using small arms, rocket-propelled grenades and suicide bombings.The only aircraft on location capable of carrying out the strikes was an F-15, Urban said. At the same time, the only unmanned aerial vehicle overhead was capable of recording only standard-definition video. Other aircraft and UAVs capable of recording high-definition video, which would have provided a clearer picture of the battlefield, had left the area after hours of fighting.Syrian Democratic Forces fighters, the nearest US special operations forces and the UAV flying above the battlefield reported or observed no civilians in the area before the airstrike was conducted, Urban said. The F-15 then dropped three 500-pound precision-guided bombs, potentially killing dozens of people.Several hours after the strikes, the UAV operator reported possible civilians in the area when the bombs had been dropped, Urban said.The acknowledgment of the civilian casualties was the first time the Defense Department had publicly disclosed that civilians may have been killed as a result of the 2019 airstrike.The revelation comes as the Department of Defense is facing increased scrutiny over its handling of civilian casualties following a drone strike in Afghanistan in late August that killed 10 civilians, including seven children. A review of the botched strike in Kabul found that “execution errors” led to what Pentagon officials had called a “tragic mistake” and that the killings did not violate the law of war, but it left the question of accountability up to the combatant commands.CNN’s Oren Liebermann contributed to this report.

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Pentagon to build up US bases in Guam and Australia to meet China challenge

The moves have been prompted by the Department of Defense’s global posture review, which President Joe Biden ordered Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to undertake shortly after taking office in February. Austin started the global posture review in March. The review is classified, but a senior defense official provided some details about the review’s findings.Biden…

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Pentagon to build up US bases in Guam and Australia to meet China challenge

The moves have been prompted by the Department of Defense’s global posture review, which President Joe Biden ordered Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to undertake shortly after taking office in February. Austin started the global posture review in March. The review is classified, but a senior defense official provided some details about the review’s findings.Biden “recently approved” Austin’s findings and recommendations from the global posture review, Dr. Mara Karlin, performing the duties of deputy under secretary for policy, said at a briefing on Monday.The Indo-Pacific region was a major focus, because of Secretary Austin’s emphasis on “China as the pacing challenge,” for the Department, the senior defense official said. The Biden administration has made countering China its main foreign policy priority as tensions have increased with Beijing, particularly over the issue of Taiwan and senior Pentagon officials have publicly expressed alarm about China’s efforts to upgrade and modernize its military. Last month Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said China had successfully tested a hypersonic missile in what was “very close” to a Sputnik moment.To counter China, the review directs the Department to enhance “infrastructure in Guam and Australia,” and to prioritize “military construction across the Pacific Islands,” the official said, as well as “seeking greater regional access for military partnership activities.” “In Australia, you’ll see new rotational fighter and bomber aircraft deployments, you’ll see ground forces training and increased logistics cooperation, and more broadly across the Indo-Pacific, you’ll see a range of infrastructure improvements, in Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Australia,” Karlin said during the briefing.The global posture review also directs the Department to focus more on the Indo-Pacific region by “reducing” the number of troops and equipment in other areas of the world, “to enable improved warfighting readiness and increased activities” in the Indo-Pacific, the official said.On Russia, the Department declined to provide specific information about how the global posture review is directing the US military to prepare to counter threats from Moscow. Broadly speaking, one of the goals of the review is to “re-establish readiness standards,” so that the US military is “agile and responsive to crises as they emerge,” the official said.The US military is working to “re-establish readiness” in Eastern Europe “with the goal of strengthening a combat credible deterrent vis a vis Russia and the specific requirements of that region,” the official said when pressed on the issue, but they would not go into more detail on how the US military is preparing to counter Russia. In the Middle East, the review directed the Department to “continue to support the defeat ISIS campaign,” with the current US military presence in Iraq and Syria, as well as continuing to work on building up “the capacity of partner forces,” in those countries. But overall, the review directs Austin to “conduct additional analysis on enduring posture requirements in the Middle East,” the official said. Afghanistan was not officially included in the global posture review, because there is a “separate” National Security Council-led “process” that is “reviewing the way ahead for US presence there,” the official said.Overall, the US had “something like 75 consultations,” with allies and partners when putting together the review, among them “NATO allies, Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and over a dozen partners across the Middle East and Africa,” Karlin said.The review also did not include “functional capabilities” like nuclear, space and cyber, because those are being addressed in other Department specific reviews, the official said.CNN’s Barbara Starr contributed reporting.

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Opinion: Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron are locked in a post-Brexit duel

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Opinion: Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron are locked in a post-Brexit duel

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