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France’s ‘yellow vest’ protesters gather on decisive weekend

PARIS: Defiant "Yellow vest" demonstrators gathered on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on Saturday morning for a fifth and decisive weekend of protests despite calls by the French government to stay home. President Emmanuel Macron, facing the biggest crisis of his presidency, announced a series of concessions on Monday to defuse the explosive "yellow vest" movement which swelled up from rural and small-town France last month. He is hoping the package of tax and minimum wage measures, coupled with a terror attack on Tuesday…

Yellow vest protests plunge French business activity into contraction

PARIS: French business activity plunged unexpectedly into contraction this month, retreating at the fastest pace in over four years in the face of violent anti-government protests, a monthly survey showed on Friday. Data compiler IHS Markit said that its composite purchasing mangers index dropped to 49.3 points from 54.2 in November, sliding below the 50-point threshold between contraction and expansion for the first time since June 2016. The reading, the lowest since November 2014, also fell far short of economists’…

‘Yellow vest’ protester dies in France after being hit by truck

MARSEILLE: A "yellow vest" anti-government protester has died after being hit by a truck in southern France, a local prosecutor said Thursday. The incident happened during the night at a roundabout near a motorway exit in the city of Avignon. "The driver of the truck has been taken into custody. The victim was 23-years-old," said the deputy prosecutor for Avignon, Caroline Armand, confirming a report on French television news channel LCI. "It appears the driver is a Polish national," she added. The "yellow vest"…

Gunman kills three people in French Christmas market, flees

STRASBOURG: A gunman on a security watchlist killed three people and wounded a dozen others near the picturesque Christmas market in the historic French city of Strasbourg on Tuesday evening before fleeing. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the shooter had evaded a police dragnet and was on the run, raising concerns of a follow-up attack. “The government has raised its security threat to the highest level and is bolstering border controls,” Castaner told a late-night news conference. “We will also reinforce…

Can France’s ‘yellow vests’ become a political force?

PARIS: It began as a home-spun Facebook campaign against French fuel tax increases. But in a few weeks it has spiraled into a movement powerful enough to force Emmanuel Macron into the biggest U-turn of his presidency. Yet the “yellow-vest” movement — named for the fluorescent jackets carried by French motorists — remains an amorphous, hard-to-define group with a rapidly shifting agenda. It has no leader. It named eight spokespeople, some of whom disagreed with each other and one of whom was promptly sacked. Members…

Macron mulls state of emergency after worst unrest in decades

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron considered declaring a state of emergency as he met security chiefs on Sunday seeking a way out of nationwide protests after rioters turned central Paris into a battle zone and vandalized the Arc de Triomphe monument. Riot police on Saturday were overwhelmed as protesters ran amok in Paris’ posh neighborhoods, torching dozens of cars, looting boutiques and smashing up luxury private homes and cafes in the worst disturbances the capital has seen since 1968. The unrest poses the most…

Vote or get this: Trump appears on French election posters

STRASBOURG: US President Donald Trump has popped up in the French city of Strasbourg, on posters reminding voters of what is at stake in elections for the European Parliament next year. Trump's face, partly concealed by a star in the blue-and-yellow colours of the European Union flag, appears on hundreds of billboards urging voters to register for the May 26 vote. "This time I will register and I will vote," read the posters, put up Wednesday. The head of communications for Strasbourg, Jean-Francois Lanneluc,…

Pakistan offers France investment opportunities in diverse fields  

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning and Development Makhdum khusro Bakhtyar on Thursday invited French businessmen investment opportunities in diverse fields in the country.   Talking to French ambassador to Pakistan Marc Barety who along with Country Director of Agence Française de Développement Jacky Amprou, called on him in Islamabad, khusro Bakhtyar highlighted the investment friendly climate and policies in the country. He said Pakistan offers attractive investment incentives and France may consider exploring more…

Five things to know about Interpol

LYON, France: Interpol, the world's largest international police organisation, works with its 194 member countries to coordinate policing across the planet, including on organised crime and counter-terrorism operations. After it named South Korea's Kim Jong-yang as its new president on Wednesday, beating a Russian official whose candidacy had unnerved Western nations, here is some background on the agency. - Politically neutral - Founded in 1923, Interpol facilitates cooperation between police authorities across its…

Pakistan-France relations expanding in all sectors: envoy

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Ambassador to France Moin-ul-Haq has said that bilateral relations of Pakistan and France were improving in all sectors. While briefing a 10-member delegation of 109th National Management Course of Pakistan at the Pakistan Embassy in Paris, Moin-ul-Haq said the two countries enjoyed close and mutually beneficial relations in the fields of trade and investment, defence, education and culture. He also briefed the delegation about public diplomacy initiative of the embassy to promote soft image of…