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Gunmen target Ukraine president aide in ‘assassination attempt’

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Gunmen target Ukraine president aide in ‘assassination attempt’

Source: France 24

Gunmen opened fire with automatic weapons on a car carrying a senior aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday, in what officials said was an attempted assassination in response to his crackdown on oligarchs.

Sergiy Shefir, a 57-year-old former scriptwriter and longtime associate of comedian-turned-politician Zelensky, was reported to have escaped without serious injury.

An adviser to the interior minister, Anton Herashchenko, said on Facebook that the attack took place around 10 am (0700 GMT) on Wednesday near the village of Lisnyky south of the capital Kiev.

He said Shefir’s driver was “seriously injured” and that police had launched a special operation in the area.

“Unidentified individuals fired about 10 shots from a 7.62 calibre automatic weapon,” Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said on Facebook.

She said the authorities had opened an attempted murder investigation.

Photos published by officials showed a black Audi with bullet holes along its bonnet and on the driver-side door.

Official reports did not say whether Shefir was injured, but a lawmaker representing Zelensky’s “Servant of the People” party said he was fine.

“I briefly spoke to him, everything is fine, he is alive and well,” Davyd Arakhamia was quoted by Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency as saying.

He said police had taken Shefir to a “safe” location.

– ‘Shadowy oligarchs’ –

Another aide in Zelensky’s office said the attack was an attempt to “demonstrably kill a key member of the team”.

Mykhailo Podolyak told the Interfax-Ukraine news agency the attack was in response to “politics directed at limiting the traditional influence of shadowy oligarchs”.

Zelensky’s spokesman said on Facebook that the president, who was on a working visit to the United States, would soon make a public statement.

Sergiy Nykyforov said no “insidious actions” would affect the president’s plans to “de-shadow and de-oligarch” Ukraine.

Shefir was born in the industrial central city of Kryvyi Rig and studied to be a metallurgist, but as a student began doing comedy for the popular KVN show with his brother, Boris.

In 2003 he co-founded a production company called “Kvartal 95” with Boris and Zelensky, who was elected president in 2019.

Shefir produced and wrote the “Servant of the People”, a show in which Zelensky portrayed a schoolteacher who becomes president and which eventually launched his political career.

Source: France 24

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Health

French President Emmanuel Macron Says Someone Who Refuses COVID Vaccine Is ‘Not a Citizen’

French president Macron’s desire to ‘piss off’ unvaccinated individuals triggers outrage

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French President Emmanuel Macron Says Someone Who Refuses COVID Vaccine Is ‘Not a Citizen’

French President Emmanuel Macron faced significant criticism for his comments claiming that he would like to “piss off” unvaccinated individuals. 

Macron spoke candidly during an interview with French newspaper Le Parisien, during which he said that he wanted to make life difficult for individuals who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine. The French “sanitary pass” has prompted a number of protests and stiff opposition while the country nears 75% full vaccination. 

“I really want to piss them off, and we’ll carry on doing this – to the end,” Macron said three months ahead of a presidential election. “I won’t send [unvaccinated people] to prison, so we need to tell them, from 15 January, you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant. You will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theatre. You will no longer be able to go to the cinema.”

The French Parliament heard Macron’s comments during a debate over his proposed bill to tighten restrictions for unvaccinated individuals, leading to a swift and strong uproar in response. 

His opponents have labeled the comments “unworthy” of a president. 

“Even if one doesn’t share their choice, they have broken none of our country’s laws,” Marine Le Pen, Macron’s chief opponent in the upcoming election, told reporters late Tuesday. “He is continuing his policy of division, of pitting the French against one another.”

She later tweeted “A president shouldn’t say that…Emmanuel Macron is unworthy of his office.” 

Leftist politician Jean-Luc Melanchon described the remarks as an “astonishing confession,” according to the BBC

But Macron’s allies have defended the comments, with Stéphane Séjourné, a member of the European Parliament, arguing on Twitter that unvaccinated individuals have “bothered” the French by “forcing the rest of the population to endure restrictions.” 

Debate over Macron’s bill continue into Wednesday as opponents still seek to delay its passage. Some of his supporters claimed to have received death threats because they are backing the legislation, The New York Times reported. 

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Assange ‘suffers stroke in jail’ after court rules he can be extradited to America

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Assange ‘suffers stroke in jail’ after court rules he can be extradited to America

WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange has reportedly suffered a stroke in jail.

The 50-year-old is being held at the high security Belmarsh Prison as he battles to avoid being extradited to America following a court ruling.

Assange has reportedly been left with a drooping right eyelid, memory problems and signs of neurological damage following a mini-stroke.

It’s reported the stroke happened at the time of a High Court appearance via video link in October.

His fiancee Stella Moris said he is “struggling” with the stress of fighting extradition to a US prison.

Since the mini-stroke, Assange reportedly has had an MRI scan and is taking anti-stroke medication.

Ms Moris told the Mail: “Julian is struggling and I fear this mini-stroke could be the precursor to a more major attack. It compounds our fears about his ability to survive the longer this long legal battle goes on. 

“It urgently needs to be resolved. Look at animals trapped in cages in a zoo. It cuts their life short. That’s what’s happening to Julian. The never-ending court cases are extremely stressful mentally.”

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Luxemburg: People break down barriers of Covid pass checkpoint at Christmas Market

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Luxemburg: People break down barriers of Covid pass checkpoint at Christmas Market

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