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CRIME

Hackers from Russia and China targeted France’s homeschooling platform, say investigators

Hackers operating from Russia and China targeted France's homeschooling platform which crashed at the start of a nationwide partial lockdown last week, investigators said on Monday.

Hackers from Russia and China targeted France's homeschooling platform, say investigators
Photo: Guillaume Souvnant/AFP

The cyber attacks on the “Ma classe à la maison” (My class at home) programme originated in Russia and China but it was unclear whether the perpetrators were themselves Russian and Chinese, the sources added.

The platform, which was used by more than a million pupils and teachers to continue classes after schools were shut to halt the spread of Covid-19, repeatedly crashed on April 6th.

France’s distance learning centre CNED, which runs the service, complained of “deliberate malevolent acts” taking place over several days.

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer drew widespread ridicule for suggesting that foreign hackers caused the disruptions, with many parents instead blaming a lack of preparation by the government.

But investigators confirmed that hackers had targeted the system.

President Emmanuel Macron announced one week of home schooling followed by two weeks of rescheduled Easter holidays to help tame a third wave of Covid-19 infections, after hospitals warned they were being swamped with critical cases.

READ ALSO What parents in France need to know about school closures

Easter holidays for the whole country began on Monday, April 12th, a change in date for some regions and will run for two weeks. On April 26th primary school pupils will return to school, while pupils in secondary school and high school (collège and lycée) will have one more week of remote learning before returning to the classroom.

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CRIME

Bodies of two babies found in French freezer

Two newborn babies whose corpses were found in a woman's freezer in southern France did not die of natural causes, prosecutors said on Monday.

Bodies of two babies found in French freezer

 “The two children were not stillborn,” Florence Galtier, prosecutor in the southern town of Avignon, told AFP, citing an autopsy.

Their deaths were “not natural in origin”, she added, after the discovery at the home of a 41-year-old woman arrested last Thursday in the southern village of Bedoin.

The woman was charged Friday on suspicion of murder of two minors.

It is not known if she is the mother of the victims, both girls.

The autopsy showed one of the babies had suffered a blow leaving “cranial and intracranial” bruising, believed to be the cause of death.

Galtier said it was not clear if the injuries were the result of violence or a fall, a lack of care or something else.

She added it had also not been established if the girls were twins — or even unrelated.

Police received a telephone tip off from a man whose identity and potential connection to the case are also unclear.

France has known similar cases over the years.

Last March, a woman in her 30s was placed under investigation after two frozen babies were found at her home.

In 2015, five bodies were found in a similar case which saw the mother handed an eight-year jail term.

Another case which went down in French legal annals was that of Veronique Courjault, given an eight-year sentence in 2009 for killing three of her newborn children.

The bodies of two were discovered in a freezer in the home she shared with her husband in South Korea.

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