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Since the 1980s, Rushdie’s writing has led to death threats from Iran, which has offered a USD 3 million reward for anyone who kills him.

Salman Rushdie: The free speech champion whose 'verses' put his life at risk

A Booker Prize that catapulted him to the pantheon of global literary stalwarts to a fatwa by Iran's Supreme Leader that forced him into hiding and years of death threats, Mumbai-born author Salman Rushdie was both idolised and demonised for a singular trait that defined his life and works -- championing free speech. His memoir is Joseph Anton, named for the pseudonym he used while in hiding.

Russia-Ukraine War: Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen.

Vladimir Putin's jibe at US on 'pre-emptive' nuclear strike: ‘We’re thinking…'

Russian president Vladimir Putin said that Moscow could include possibility of a pre-emptive strike in its military doctrine, in an apparent reference to nuclear attack while speaking with reporters in Kyrghyzstan. The Russian president said Moscow was considering whether to adopt what he called Washington's concept of a pre-emptive strike. ?First of all, the United States has the concept of a preemptive strike. Second, it is developing a disarming strike system,? Vladimir Putin said.

Covid In China: A woman wearing a face mask stands near a mural depicting a dragon in Beijing.

Beijing approves mRNA vaccines for German nationals in China

Beijing will grant German nationals living in China access to mRNA vaccines produced by the European country, according to the foreign ministry. ?China and Germany have reached agreement on providing German vaccines for German nationals in China, and relevant arrangements will be discussed and determined by the two sides through diplomatic channels,? a ministry spokeswoman, Mao Ning, said Friday at a briefing. Read more: Elton John says he will 'no longer use Twitter'.

Elton John Leaves Twitter: Elton John performs "Bennie and the Jets" as he wraps up the US leg of his tour.

Elton John says he will ‘no longer use Twitter’. Elon Musk's hopeful response

Iconic British singer-songwriter Sir Elton John, in the midst of his massive farewell tour, decided to bid farewell to Twitter, citing "misinformation" as the reason. Twitter CEO Elon Musk responded, "I love your music. Hope you come back. Is there any misinformation in particular that you're concerned about?" Twitter earlier said that it would no longer enforce a rule intended to combat misinformation regarding the Covid outbreak.

Jair Bolsonaro: Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro is seen.

Bolsonaro says Brazil's army last barrier to socialism, a jibe at president Lula

Outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro, speaking just days before electoral authorities are due to certify Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's election victory, said the armed forces are the last standing barrier to socialism in Brazil. Brazil is going through a ?crucial moment,? he said, and it's up to the people to take control of their destiny. Lula's election is expected to be certified by Brazil's electoral court on Monday, a week earlier than initially scheduled.

Brazil Economy: Finance Minister nominee Fernando Haddad.

Brazil's Lula da Silva taps ex-mayor as finance minister amid economic crisis

Brazil's president-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Friday named former Sao Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad, viewed unfavorably by many in the business community, as his finance minister. Lula da Silva, who narrowly defeated incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in October elections, unveiled ministers in the key posts of foreign affairs, justice, defense, and chief of staff. "Haddad represents the heterodox economic policy" that Lula's Workers' Party defends, said Antonio Madeira of the MCM consultancy firm.

Donald Trump: Former US President Donald Trump is seen.

Donald Trump lawyers in court for sealed hearing in Mar-a-Lago case

Lawyers for Donald Trump were in court Friday for sealed arguments as part of the ongoing investigation into the presence of classified information at the former president's Florida estate. The proceedings were taking place before U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, the chief judge of the federal court in the District of Columbia. It was not immediately clear what the outcome of the proceedings were. Lawyers for Trump declined to comment ahead of the hearing.

PETA: The animal rights group has developed a prototype replacement hat.

Animal rights group PETA is suing UK military, a request to King Charles as well

Animal rights group PETA said that it will take legal action against the UK defence ministry over its refusal to test a fake fur version of the distinctive bearskin hats worn by ceremonial guards. PETA has long campaigned to stop using the fur of Canadian Black Bears. ?We are seeking the court's intervention so that the MoD fully evaluates the report and reaches a fresh decision by fair process,? PETA's lawyer said.

Kanye West: Kanye West is seen.

Kanye West's honorary doctorate rescinded over anti-semitism remarks: Report

American rapper-songwriter Kanye West's honorary doctorate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has been rescinded by the institution, a report said. According to The Hollywood Reporter, SAIC officials said, "The School of the Art Institute of Chicago condemns and repudiates Kanye West's (now known as Ye) anti-Black, anti-Semitic, racist, and dangerous statements, particularly those directed at Black and Jewish communities." The honorary doctorate was awarded to the rapper in 2015.

This combination of photos provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota shows from left, former Minneapolis police Officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao.

Ex-cop who kneeled on George Floyd’s back gets 3.5-year term

The former Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on George Floyd's back while another officer kneeled on the Black man's neck was sentenced Friday to 3 1/2 years in prison. Kueng appeared at the hearing via video from a federal prison in Ohio. When given the chance to address the court, he declined. Floyd's family members had the right to make victim impact statements, but none did. Kueng kneeled on Floyd's back during the restraint.

Washington has previously condemned Iran-Russia security cooperation, but on Friday described an extensive relationship involving equipment such as helicopters and fighter jets as well as drones, with the latter items resulting in new US sanctions.

US sounds alarm over 'harmful' Iran-Russia military partnership

The United States on Friday expressed alarm over a "full-scale defense partnership" between Moscow and Tehran, describing it as "harmful" to Ukraine, Iran's neighbors and the world. Iran stands accused by Western powers of supplying drones to Russia -- which rejected the US allegations -- as Moscow batters Ukraine's energy infrastructure in search of an advantage in the bloody conflict.

US President Joe Biden.

US President Joe Biden to announce support for African Union joining G20

US President Joe Biden next week will announce U.S. support for the African Union's admission to the G20 group of the world's largest economies as a permanent member, a White House official said on Friday. White House adviser Judd Devermont said the move, first reported by the Washington Post, comes after requests from African Union Chair and Senegalese President Macky Sall and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. South Africa is the only G20 member from Africa.

People ride on a subway during evening rush hour, after the government loosened coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in Beijing, China. (REUTERS)

Worry, caution among citizens as China pivots from zero-Covid policy

Social media platforms and messaging apps on Friday were buzzing with frantic users exchanging information on the pandemic's spread in China and the requirements for positive patients as Beijing continued its dramatic turnaround from implementing the world's strictest Covid-control norms, under its 'zero-Covid' policy, to easing most rules. Media issued detailed guidelines on what families should do if a member shows symptoms of the infection.

Russia's president Vladimir Putin attends the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council meeting at the Congress Hall in Bishkek on Friday.

Vladimir Putin warns of possible production cuts over $60 oil price cap

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Russia could reduce oil production in response to a $60 price cap on its oil exports agreed by Western nations over Moscow's Ukraine offensive. "We will consider a possible reduction in production if necessary," Putin told reporters at a press conference in Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek following a regional summit, calling the price cap a "stupid decision" that is "harmful to global energy markets".

Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant generates about a third of the country's electricity. (image for representation)

Bulgaria's only nuclear power plant to shut down reactor after radioactive coolant leak

Bulgaria's only nuclear power plant will shut down one of its reactors on Saturday -- its third stoppage so far this year -- after a leak of radioactive coolant was discovered. Two previous incidents including generator malfunctions at Kozloduy's reactors, located in northwest Bulgaria on the Danube River, have triggered shutdowns in June and October. It added that there was "no change in the radiation situation in the working areas and at Kozloduy's site".

More media workers were killed covering the war in Ukraine – 12 in total -- than in any other country this year, according to the IFJ.

30% spike in number of journalists killed doing their work in 2022 over previous year

Elon Musk on 'citizen journalism' and 'oligopoly on information' in fresh tweet More media workers were killed covering the war in Ukraine – 12 in total -- than in any other country this year, according to the IFJ. Most were Ukrainian but also included those of other nationalities such as American documentary filmmaker Brent Renaud.

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