France

Paid paternity leave is doubled

Paid paternity leave in France will be doubled from 14 to 28 days starting next summer, and fathers will be required to take at least a week off work after their babies are born, President Emmanuel Macron announced this week, offering one of the more generous plans in Europe. When the extension — which also applies to same-sex couples — comes into effect next July, France will join Lithuania and Spain in offering fathers four weeks of paid leave, according to the data provided by the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm. It will also bring France closer in line with a directive passed last year by the European Commission requiring E.U. member states to extend their parental leave to four months, two of which cannot be transferred from one parent to another. Countries have until 2022 to adopt the directive as law.

Australia

Rescue underway for 20 whales

Authorities have rescued 88 pilot whales and are attempting to free 20 others that survived Australia’s worst mass stranding, as crews prepare to remove 380 carcasses from the shallows off Tasmania state, officials said. Crews found the 20 whales that are still alive on the fourth day of the rescue operation. Almost 500 whales were discovered Monday and Wednesday beached on the shore and sandbars.

Russia

Opposition leader’s assets frozen

Russian authorities froze the assets of Alexei Navalny in August, while the opposition leader was still in a medically induced coma in a hospital in Berlin after being poisoned. A court barred Navalny from selling or mortgaging his apartment in southeastern Moscow, and his bank accounts have been frozen, Navalny’s spokeswoman said. The order was dated Aug. 27, a week after Navalny was poisoned with the military-grade nerve agent Novichok. But his lawyers learned of the court’s decision only recently. The legal maneuver was brought on by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the catering magnate who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and is known as “Putin’s chef.” In August, Prigozhin moved to collect damages that Navalny owed in a libel lawsuit from 2019 — and coyly pledged to pursue the debt as long as Navalny survived the poisoning.

North Korea

Defector from South is killed

A South Korean official trying to defect to North Korea was killed by troops in the North who set his body on fire for fear he might be carrying the coronavirus, South Korean officials said. North Korea has yet to comment on the shooting. If confirmed, it would be the first time North Korea has killed a South Korean citizen in its territory since 2008.

News services