Thursday Briefing: Slovakia’s Leader Was Shot - The World News

Thursday Briefing: Slovakia’s Leader Was Shot

Robert Fico, Slovakia’s prime minister, was shot five times and critically wounded yesterday. Officials said the attack appeared to be an assassination attempt and was politically motivated. Police said a suspect had been detained.

The interior minister said Fico was still in surgery hours after the shooting and remained in critical condition. Here’s the latest.

Videos from the scene showed the gunman shooting Fico in Banikov Square, in the center of the town of Handlova. The attacker is seen standing with other people behind a barrier before shooting Fico at close range when he came to greet them.

Who is Robert Fico? The 59-year-old politician is serving his third term. He has aligned with the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, in opposing aid to Ukraine, and has strong ties to Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin.

China has deployed dozens of coast guard and maritime militia ships toward Scarborough Shoal, a disputed atoll in the South China Sea, to block a fleet of about 100 small Filipino fishing boats. While such confrontations have become commonplace as Beijing tries to assert control over a region far from its borders, this was an escalation.

“What we’re seeing this time, I would say, is definitely of another order,” said the director of SeaLight, a group that monitors the sea. He called China’s response a show of “overwhelming force.”

Background: The Filipino group organizing the flotilla of fishing boats said it wanted to assert the Philippines’ claims to Scarborough Shoal. The shoal, which Beijing calls Huangyan Island, has been under Chinese control since 2012. Filipino fishermen had long worked there, but since then their access has been restricted and sporadic.

The White House is watching as Russia’s new offensive picks up speed in Ukraine’s northeast. U.S. officials are privately concerned that it could change the trajectory of the war, perhaps even reversing Russia’s once-bleak prospects.

Moscow’s electronic warfare techniques — which came to the battlefield late — have taken out artillery and drones provided by the U.S. and NATO. And the delay in U.S. aid allowed Russia to gain a huge artillery advantage. Ukraine’s lack of air defense ammunition meant Russia could use its air power with more impunity.

Analysis: Some experts say that Moscow’s true goal in taking territory around Kharkiv is to force Ukraine to reinforce the city, weakening the front lines elsewhere. A thinly spread Ukrainian military could give Russia the chance for another push in June.

Kei Kobayashi was the first Japanese chef to earn three Michelin stars in Paris. Now, he has come back to Japan to try to build an empire.

Lives lived: A.T. Ariyaratne, a Sri Lankan who fought to alleviate poverty in his country, has died at 92.

  • Talk about Bumbling: The dating app Bumble apologized after an ad campaign enraged women, its target audience.

  • The Bridgerton glow-up: Characters receive makeovers as they move from the sidelines of the plot into the spotlight.

Royal portraits tend to be fairly staid, with symbols of state, of office, of pomp and lineage.

Which is why the new official portrait of King Charles III, painted by Jonathan Yeo, has created such a controversy. Some said he looked as if he were “burning in hell” or “bathing in blood.” A reference to “colonial bloodshed” rounded out the theme. Others compared it to a possessed portrait in “Ghostbusters II.”

This is not the first polarizing royal portrait. Take a spin through some other surprising or contentious paintings of royals.

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