France was braced for mass strikes Tuesday as taxi drivers, air traffic controllers, civil servants and teachers demanded more purchasing power, job creation and an end to disruptive competition to traditional industries.
Hundreds of taxi drivers took to the streets of Paris, burning car tyres and blocking routes to the capital’s principal airports in a protest that was expected to spread chaos throughout the capital,
A protest by air traffic controllers prompted France’s Civil Aviation Authority to ask airlines to cancel 20 per cent of their flights in France. BFM TV reported that low-cost airline Easy-Jet had already cancelled at least 35 flights either arriving or taking off from France. It said that Air France had also cancelled some of its short and medium-haul flights.
Meanwhile, many of the country’s 5.6m civil servants were expected to stage dozens of strikes and demonstrations around France in protest at what they claim has been a consistent erosion of jobs and pay in recent years.
According to the CGT union, one of the country’s largest, civil servants have lost between 8 per cent and 10 per cent of their purchasing power since 2010. It also says that some 150,000 jobs have been eliminated since 2007.
“I believe 2016 will be the year that Greece will surprise the world economic community,” Alexis Tsipras declared, surprising everyone, confirming his prophecy the moment he uttered it.
Now it remains to be seen whether this was merely wishful thinking or the prime minister knows something that no one else does. For him to predict a miracle when Greece’s creditors have still not launched the first review of the current bailout, when a major foreign investment is frozen, when various social groups are uniting in protest and government MPs are saying they will not vote for social security reform, the prime minister either has a secret plan, is overconfident or is just trying to gain time by misleading the public.
Tsipras is in a difficult position and it is a good thing to hear his optimism, as in his comment to Bloomberg TV in Davos. His government is struggling to conclude a review by creditors; the ruling SYRIZA party is appointing supporters to public positions, undermining the argument that this government is different to previous ones; proposals for social security reform are provoking protests from all sides without solving the problem of an overly expensive pension system; and foreign investors are alarmed by the travails of a Canadian company which finds government obstacles to its investment despite following the rules. Furthermore, the election of Kyriakos Mitsotakis to the leadership of the center-right New Democracy party means that Tsipras has a new, dynamic rival to deal with.
The Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute for World Economy and International Relations published its annual foreign policy forecast, detailing US internal politics. And the winner is…
The report, ostensibly written to inform Russian policymakers on trends in foreign policy, features issues which are obvious to almost any informed observer looking at the United States in terms of both internal politics and foreign policy. The report was financed by British oil and gas giant BP, according to the report’s edition notice page.
“Her success at the last stage of the electoral race will in large part depend on the ability to do the impossible: to offer a golden mean, which will satisfy both of America’s [political] poles,” the report said.
According to the report, the “entire female electorate” of the Democratic Party supports Clinton, although polling from New Hampshire shows Bernie Sanders leading Clinton among women, and her downward trend among Democratic women has been known at least since September.
“It’s also a good day for the region,” he said after arriving in Austria’s capital, according to the ISNA news agency.
“Today is a good day for the people of Iran and the sanctions will be lifted today,” said Zarif.
“As diplomatic sources said the UN nuclear watchdog would likely say Iran had complied with last July’s landmark agreement with world powers on Tehran’s atomic programme.
— Harry Fear (@harryfear) January 11, 2016
On Saturday, some 1,700 people turned out for a PEGIDA rally in Cologne, where demonstrators protested Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door migrant policy in the wake of the sexual assaults that occurred on New Year’s Eve in the city center.
Ultimately, riot police were called in to disperse the crowds who held signs calling for the expulsion of “Rapefugees” and the ouster of Merkel.
Subsequently, reports indicated that gangs of “bikers, hooligans, and bouncers” used Facebook to coordinate a migrant “manhunt” that led directly to attacks on a group of Pakistanis in Cologne.
All of this points to the rapid disintegration of German society in the face of a refugee influx that numbers some 3,000 new asylum seekers per day.
On Monday, the backlash against Mid-East refugees continued as thousands gathered in Leipzig to protest for and against the city’s local PEGIDA chapter. Here’s Deutsche Welle:
LEGIDA members took to the streets on Monday to commemorate the first anniversary of the founding of their chapter, as well as to protest against the recent New Year’s Eve sexual assaults in Cologne.
“We are the people” “Resistance!” and “Deport them!” chanted the sign and flag-toting LEGIDA crowd. “Refugees not welcome!” read one sign, showing a silhouette of three men armed with knives pursuing a woman, while another declared “Islam = terror”.
In another area of the city, riots broke out when around hundreds of soccer “hooligans” started rioting in the district of Connewitz. The neighborhood is considered to be the stronghold of the leftist scene in Leipzig.
Rioters allegedly set of pyrotechnics and threw rocks at display windows.
In a tweet following the riot, police reported: “We have arrested around 250 people from the ‘right-wing clientele’ after the riots. The situation is under control.”