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Four Confederate monuments have been removed by the University of Texas overnight in the wake of violent clashes in Charlottesville earlier this month.

A statue of General Robert E. Lee was among those taken down from the Austin campus on August 21.

Monuments to Confederate figures are symbols of “modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism”, the college said.

Heather Heyer’s death at a far-right rally in Charlottesville has reignited debate over America’s racial legacy.

University of Texas at Austin President Greg Fenves said on August 20: “Last week, the horrific displays of hatred at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville shocked and saddened the nation.

“These events make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism.”

Image source Wikimedia

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As well Gen Robert E. Lee, who was military commander during the 1861-1865 American Civil War, a statue of another rebel general, Albert Sidney Johnston, and of Confederate postmaster John H. Reagan were taken down.

They were moved to a centre for American history on campus.

A statue of Texas Governor James Stephen Hogg, who served from 1891 to 1895, was also removed and will be considered for re-installation at another site.

“The University of Texas at Austin has a duty to preserve and study history,” Greg Fenves continued.

“But our duty also compels us to acknowledge that those parts of our history that run counter to the university’s core values, the values of our state and the enduring values of our nation do not belong on pedestals in the heart of the Forty Acres.”

The university removed a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from its campus in 2015 following a mass shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Greg Fenves added that he spoke with members of faculty, students and alumni following the deadly demonstrations in Virginia.

Dozens of schools and local governments have begun removing statues dedicated to the Confederacy, which was a pro-slavery rebellion against the federal government.

It follows violent clashes at a march on August 12 in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacists and neo-Nazis protested against the removal of a monument of General Lee.

Last week, four Confederate-era statues were taken down in Baltimore, Maryland, while the governors of Virginia and North Carolina have ordered the removal of similar monuments in their states.

Recent removals of Confederate statues has sparked backlash among an outspoken group of Americans who view the statues as symbols of US history and southern culture.

President Donald Trump weighed in on the debate on August 17, tweeting that controversial monuments are “beautiful”, adding that they would be “greatly missed” from US cities.


A new Ebola drug has cured monkeys infected with the virus, US researchers announced.

Experimental drug TKM-Ebola-Guinea targets the Makona strain of the virus, which caused the current deadly outbreak in West Africa.

All three monkeys receiving the treatment were healthy when the trial ended after 28 days.

Three untreated monkeys died within nine days.

However, scientists cautioned that the drug’s efficacy has not been proven in humans.

Currently there are no treatments or vaccines for Ebola that have been proven to work in humans.Ebola drug cures monkeys

Thomas Geisbert from University of Texas, who was the senior author of the study published in the journal Nature, said: “This is the first study to show post-exposure protection… against the new Makona outbreak strain of Ebola-Zaire virus.”

Results from human trials with TKM-Ebola-Guinea are expected in the second half of this year.

Thomas Geisbert said the drug, produced by Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, could be adapted to target any strain of Ebola and could be manufactured in as little as eight weeks.

TKM-Ebola-Guinea works by blocking particular genes, which stops the virus replicating.

The two-month production time compares with the several months needed to make ZMapp – another experimental drug, which cured monkeys with a different strain of Ebola than the one in the current outbreak.

Since March 2014, more than 10,602 people have been reported as having died from the disease in six countries – Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, the US and Mali.

The total number of reported Ebola cases is more than 25,556.


University of Texas in Austin has acquired the personal archive of Colombian Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, including manuscripts for 10 of his books.

Colombian Culture Minister Mariana Garces said it was a loss for Colombia, but the author’s family said the government had not approached them.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who died in April at the age of 87, was born in Colombia but did much of his writing in Mexico.

The archive spans more than 50 years and includes letters between Gabriel Garcia Marquez and writers such as Graham Greene, Gunter Grass and Carlos Fuentes.

There is also material related to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s political work and his close friendship with Fidel Castro.

Among the manuscripts is the original One Hundred Years of Solitude, perhaps Garcia Gabriel Marquez’s most famous book.

The collection will be placed in the University of Texas’s research library, the Harry Ransom Center.

University of Texas president Bill Powers said: “The University of Texas at Austin with expertise in both Latin America and the preservation and study of the writing process, is the natural home for this very important collection.”