Tensions mount over French transport strike

15 December 2019; AFP: Tensions between the French government and unions opposed to pension reforms mounted Sunday as a crippling transport strike entered its 11th day.

The overhaul, unveiled this week by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, would do away with the 42 separate pension systems -- some of which offer early retirement and other benefits to public-sector employees such as train drivers, dockers and even Paris Opera employees.

France to take 400 asylum-seekers from Greece

ATHENS, Dec 13 (NNN-AGENCIES) — France will help Greece tackle an ongoing migration challenge that has put overwhelming pressure on its infrastructure by accepting 400 asylum-seekers, the French ambassador to Athens said.

“Over the coming months, France will accept 400 persons who have arrived on Greek soil,” ambassador Patrick Maisonnave told the state Athens News Agency.

“We cannot leave Greece without assistance in the midst of a humanitarian challenge,” said Maisonnave, noting that Turkey has “repeatedly threatened” to send more asylum-seekers to Europe.

French police kill man who threatened officers with knife in Paris

PARIS (Reuters) - Police officers shot dead a man who threatened them with a knife in the Paris business district of La Defense on Friday, police sources said.

A security man had alerted police to the presence of a man armed with a knife in La Defense Square.

The suspect rushed towards the three-men patrol that had gone to check the situation, wielding the knife and shouting: “I am going to kill you”, the sources said.

Seven shots were fired, with two shots hitting the man in the chest and in the thigh. The man carried no identify papers.

France, Niger propose to postpone G5 Sahel meeting to early 2020

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron and Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou agreed on Thursday to propose a postponement to early 2020 of a meeting of Sahelian country leaders due to take place in France this month, the French presidency said.

The decision to postpone the event, which was to address French military presence in the region as well as the fight against so-called jihadist organizations, follows an attack on a remote military camp in Niger.

Strikes over pension reform cripple France

PARIS, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- French transport workers walked off the job, hitting train, metro and bus services on Tuesday for the sixth consecutive day, while civil servants, teachers and students joined the strike to bend the government over its plan to reform the country's pension system.

Demonstrations were called across France during the day, the second such action in less than a week, as unions are looking to fill the streets in a show of force to push their demand to drop a planned universal pension system.

France to host international conference on Lebanon

10 Dec 2019; MEMO: The French Foreign Ministry announced on Monday that Paris will host an international conference on Lebanon on December 11th.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman, Agnes von der Muhll told reporters in a daily online briefing that the conference aims to urge Beirut to accelerate the formation of a government capable of improving the economic situation in the country.

Resolution of issue in Donbass impossible without ensuring security first — Zelensky

PARIS, December 10. /TASS/: The settlement of the conflict in Donbass is impossible without first ensuring security, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky told a press conference after the Normandy Four summit in Paris.

"The Ukrainian side insisted that the comprehensive resolution of all issues is impossible without the most important element — the situation with security," Zelensky said. "Only if security is ensured, political issues may be resolved," he added.

Putin: Georgian national killed in Berlin was one of organizers of Moscow subway blasts

PARIS, December 10. /TASS/: A Georgian national killed in Berlin was one of the organizers of terrorist attacks in the Moscow subway, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a press conference after the Normandy Four summit in Paris.

"He was one of the organizers of the attacks on the Moscow subway," Putin said.

Russia, Ukraine to revive peace process amid little progress

PARIS (AP) — The presidents of Ukraine and Russia agreed Monday to revive the peace process on the bloody separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine and exchange all their prisoners, but they failed to resolve crucial issues such as a timeline on local elections and control of the borders in the rebel-held region.

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