Need to know: the top national and international stories of June 10, 2021.
1. Man Who Slapped French President Gets 4 Months in Prison
On Tuesday, a 28-year-old man named Damien Tarel was captured on video slapping French president Emmanuel Macron in the face. The French President had left his hotel room to be met with people waiting outside the gate and decided to greet them. As he was talking to the people, a man went up and slapped him across the face. While doing so, he shouted, “Montjoie and Saint-Denis! Down with Macronism”, citing an old medieval battlecry. On Thursday, a trial was held to determine the punishment of Tarel. He described himself as a right-wing “patriot” who thinks “that Emmanuel Macron represents the decline of our country.” After the slap, he told reporters, “It was an impulsive reaction…I was surprised by the violence.”
The punishments for his actions varied by group. Prosecutors called for an 18-month prison sentence; the three judges decided to give him 18 months for the assault of a public official; 14 months are suspended, however. Tarel will serve four months now, and if he commits another act of violence, he is subject to complete his 18-month sentence.
President Macron had little to say, except, “Nothing justifies violence in a democratic society, never.” In an interview, later on, he said, “It’s not such a big deal to get a slap when you go toward a crowd to say hello to some people who were waiting for a long time,” but “we must not make it banal, because anyone with public authority is entitled to respect.”
2. US Planning to Bomb Afghanistan After Withdrawing Troops
One of President Biden’s campaign promises was to remove all US troops from Afghanistan this year, and he followed through with this and declared all troops would be withdrawn by September 11th. However, the involvement of the US in Afghanistan will not come to a halt. Recent officials have stated that defense chiefs are drawing up plans to bomb Taliban targets if the militant group threatens to seize Kabul after US troops withdraw from Afghanistan. This option is still being reviewed and waiting for confirmation, but measures will be taken to protect the Afghan government and people following the removal of troops. The US is planning on targeting and bombing the Taliban if the city of Kabul is attacked in the near future.
After some of the troops began to exit Afghanistan, the Taliban once again gained momentum and started attacking the Afghan people. They are using the removal of troops to their advantage and encircling the government headquarters with barricades and weapons to get ready for attack.
The Pentagon is still assessing possible solutions and tactics to stop the violence of the Taliban, and bombing them might be something they will carry out in the near future. So far, the Taliban have been attacking the government regularly and have vowed to “continue our war” until Afghanistan has an Islamic government.
3. Biden Will Donate 500 Million Vaccines to Poorer Countries
After his meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, President Biden announced he would be buying 500 million Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines and donating them globally to about 100 low- and middle-income countries within the following year. This is the largest donation of vaccines made by any country as of now. This act is an effort to reaffirm the international leadership of the US and strengthen our alliances with other countries. While talking about the United States during his announcement, Biden said, “We know the tragedy. We also know the path to recovery.” Almost 63% of the US population is vaccinated with at least one dose. Although many experts believe that we will not reach Biden’s goal of 70% of adults in the US vaccinated by July 4th, there is no doubt that the US has improved greatly in the face of the pandemic.
To highlight the efforts Americans are contributing to ending the global pandemic, Biden said, “American workers will now produce vaccines that save lives of people in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean — people they will never meet and have never met. Places they’ve never visited and probably won’t have an opportunity to. But lives saved, all the same, thanks to American leadership, American workers, hard work, and values.” After it was revealed that Latin American countries primarily buy their vaccines from Russian or Chinese companies, POTUS stepped in to gain control on the geopolitical scale.