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Emmanuel Macron. Photo: Ludovic Marin/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron and 13 other world leaders are among those on a list of suspected surveillance targets of NSO spyware, the Guardian reported Tuesday.

Catch up quick: The Pegasus Project investigation reported that Israel-based cybersecurity firm NSO Group's spyware had been planted on the phones of heads of state, journalists, activists and lawyers across the world.

  • The list of phone numbers that forms the project's key evidence doesn't prove that all phones on the list were hacked, but the organizations and newsrooms that conducted the investigation determined they were potential surveillance targets.

Driving the news: Other world leaders whose numbers appeared on the list include South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, and World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, per the Guardian.

  • The phone numbers of Macron, former French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, and 14 French ministers also appeared on the list, allegedly indicating they were selected by an NSO client, in this case an unidentified Moroccan security service, as potential targets of surveillance, French daily newspaper Le Monde reported Tuesday.
  • The Paris Prosecutor's office also announced Tuesday that it was opening an investigation into the use of the Pegasus spyware software with a list of potential charges, including "violation of privacy, illegal use of data and illegally selling spyware," notes AP.

State of play: A French government spokesperson told Le Monde that if the allegations are true they would be "very serious."

  • But NSO has countered that an appearance of a number on the list does not mean that number was selected for surveillance, and that the list of numbers has "no relevance," according to the Guardian.
  • An NSO Group spokesperson also denied that Macron and Tedros Ghebreyesus were "targets," per the Guardian.
  • In a press release Sunday, NSO Group said they "firmly deny the false allegations made in their report" and added that they were considering a defamation lawsuit.

Go deeper: Report: Spyware used to target journalists, activists and world leaders.

Go deeper

Sep 17, 2021 - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

FBI: Body identified as Gabby Petito, death ruled a homicide

A memorial dedicated to Gabby Petito near City Hall in North Port, Fla. Photo: Octavio Jones/Getty Images

A body found in Teton County, Wyoming, on Sunday was confirmed to be the remains of missing 22-year-old blogger Gabby Petito, the FBI announced Tuesday.

Driving the news: The death was ruled a homicide by the Teton County coroner's office, the FBI said. The cause of death has not been determined.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

China vows end to building coal-fired power plants abroad

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Mary Altaffer - Pool/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping told the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday that his country "will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad" and plans to boost support for clean energy in developing nations.

Why it matters: The pledge, if maintained, would mark a breakthrough in efforts to transition global power away from the most carbon-emitting fuel.