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French court sentences the man who slapped Macron to 4 months in jail.

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A court ordered a man who slapped French President Emmanuel Macron across the face this week to serve four months in jail, BFM TV reported.

Damien Tarel, 28, an unemployed fan of medieval swordsmanship who said he is a right-wing sympathiser, attacked Macron when the French president was shaking hands with members of the public during a walkabout on Tuesday.

The court gave Tarel a sentence of 18 months in jail, but 14 of those months were suspended, the broadcaster reported.

Earlier, Tarel told the court in Valence in southern France, that he acted because the president stood for all that was rotten with France, the news channel said.

Tarel said that several days ahead of Macron’s visit to the Drome region of southern France, he had thought about throwing an egg or a cream tart at the president, but added the slap was not premeditated.

“I think that Macron represents very neatly the decay of our country,” he told the court, according to BFM TV. “If I had challenged Macron to a duel at sunrise, I doubt he would have responded.

Macron has described the attack as an isolated incident and said violence and hate were a threat to democracy. His office did not respond to a request for comment on Tarel’s courtroom remarks.

Tarel faced a charge of assault against a public official, an offence which carries a maximum sentence of three years in jail and a 45,000 euro fine.

Tarel struck Macron after the president came over to greet a small crowd of onlookers after visiting a vocational college during a trip to take the pulse of the country as it emerges from the pandemic and ahead of presidential elections in 2022.

Macron reached out to Tarel who was standing behind a security barrier, Tarel then shouted “Down with Macronia” (“A Bas La Macronie”) and slapped Macron on the left side of his face. 

He could also be heard shouting “Montjoie Saint Denis”, the army’s battle cry when France was still a monarchy.

“It’s a patriot’s slogan,” he was quoted as telling the court.

Tarel told police investigators that he had been close to the anti-government “yellow vest” protest movement which shook the Macron presidency, and held ultra-right wing political beliefs.

Acquaintances of Tarel described a man who loved period role-play and was not a trouble-maker read more . The prosecutor said he was not a member of any political or militant group.

Tarel was arrested along with a second man from his hometown of Saint-Vallier.

Police found weapons, a copy of Adolf Hitler’s autobiographical manifesto Mein Kampf and a red flag with golden hammer and sickle that is the symbol of the communist movement in the second man’s home, local prosecutor Alex Perrin said.

The second man will not face any charges related to the slapping but will be prosecuted for illegal possession of arms in 2022.

Source: Reuters.

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FOREIGN NEWS

178 health care workers suspended from Houston Methodist hospital system for refusing COVID-19 vaccination

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Scores of workers at a Houston hospital system have been suspended and face being fired for refusing the COVID-19 vaccination, a controversial company mandate that has drawn protests and an outcry from those facing termination.

Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom said the 178 workers represent less than 1% of almost 25,000 employees.

“We are nearly 100% compliant with our COVID-19 vaccine mandate,” Boom said in an email to staff Tuesday. “Houston Methodist is officially the first hospital system in the country to achieve this goal for the benefit of its patients.”

Boom said that 27 of the 178 suspended workers have received one dose of vaccine and that he is hopeful they will get the second dose. All are suspended for two weeks and are set to be fired if they fail to be fully vaccinated.

“I wish the number could be zero, but unfortunately, a small number of individuals have decided not to put their patients first,” Boom said.

An additional 285 employees received a medical or religious exemption, and 332 were granted deferrals for pregnancy and other reasons, Boom said.

“I feel betrayed a little bit,” Amanda Rivera told KHOU-TV as she left the building Monday. “I worked in the ER. It was crazy during the pandemic. We were short-staffed. The hospital was over capacity with patients. It was just a lot. Now for them to come and do this is like a slap in the face.”

Hospital workers across the nation risked their lives during the pandemic, and many died of the virus. Yet a recent USA TODAY survey of some of the largest hospital networks and public hospitals in the country reveal staff vaccination rates vary widely, from 51% to 91%.

Last week, Indiana University Health announced that it would require its 36,000 employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by September, calling the mandate a “safe and effective way to protect patients” and protect the community.

Protesters wave signs at Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital in Baytown, Texas, on Monday, June 7, 2021.

“Requiring vaccinations for health care employees is not new or unprecedented,” IU Health said in a statement.

Hundreds of colleges and universities are requiring vaccinations for the coming school year. Many nursing homes, hot spots early in the pandemic, also are requiring inoculation from the coronavirus.

The Houston Methodist controversy “foreshadows the coming months,” said Ogbonnaya Omenka, an associate professor and public health specialist at Butler University in Indianapolis. Mandates that may seem like the obvious choice to many people must be “implemented within a human context,” he told USA TODAY.

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