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CRIME

French waiter stabbed after asking customer to wear a mask

Police in northern France said on Wednesday they had arrested a man suspected of having stabbed a waiter at a beachfront bar after he asked him to wear a mask.

French waiter stabbed after asking customer to wear a mask
Illustration photo: AFP

“A 29-year-old man, of Afghan nationality, entered a restaurant on the beach of Le Havre in the late afternoon,” a police source told AFP.

“He was drunk and was not wearing a mask. A waiter asked him to put one on.

“He went outside, before returning and stabbing the waiter in the chest with a knife.”

The waiter, aged 30, was seriously wounded but his life was not in danger, the source added.

An off-duty police officer who intervened was slightly hurt. Police officers arrested the man as he left the bar and he is now in custody.

France, which is battling a resurgence of the coronavirus, has made wearing masks compulsory inside cafes, restaurants and most other indoor public spaces, as well as some outdoors.

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FRENCH POLITICS

French minister investigated after rape allegations

A junior minister in President Emmanuel Macron's government is under investigation after two allegations of rape were brought against her, French prosecutors have said.

French minister investigated after rape allegations

The allegations go back to when Chrysoula Zacharopoulou – who is now state secretary for development, Francophonie and international partnerships – worked as a gynaecologist, according to French magazine Marianne.

One complaint was lodged on May 25th and the investigation opened two days later, the prosecutors said. The second complaint was filed on June 16th.

Greece-born Zacharopoulou, 46, joined the government of Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne in May, having been a member of the European Parliament for the previous three years. She reports to Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna.

She gained prominence in 2015 by campaigning for greater public awareness of endometriosis together with actress Julie Gayet, who this year married former French president Francois Hollande.

Zacharopoulou was strongly involved in the UN’s COVAX coronavirus vaccine rollout effort, and has spoken out in favour of women’s reproductive rights.

These are not the first rape allegations to overshadow Macron’s government and come at a time of political difficulty for the president after he failed to retain a majority in parliamentary elections.

Prosecutors investigated Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin over an allegation for rape filed in 2017. He denied any wrongdoing and prosecutors in
January asked for the case to be dropped.

Rape allegations were also made against Solidarities minister Damien Abad last month but French prosecutors have said they were not currently opening an investigation.

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