Connect with us

World News

Bargain e-scooter rides anger Paris metro workers ahead of Black Thursday strike

Issued on: 28/11/2019 – 18:52Modified: 28/11/2019 – 19:29

As public transport workers in Paris gea..

Published

on

Issued on: Modified:

As public transport workers in Paris gear up for a crippling strike on December 5, their employer – bus and metro operator RATP – has teamed up with dozens of companies to ensure increased access to ride-sharing services, as well as free-floating bicycles, e-scooters and electric mopeds to compensate for the lack of services. The move has angered unions, who say it undermines the purpose of the strike.

Advertising

Read more

For weeks, unions have warned of “Black Thursday” – the day when tens of thousands of Paris public transport workers will walk off their jobs for an indefinite period and supposedly bring traffic in the French capital to a near stand-still. This is the second such protest this year. It comes as President Emmanuel Macrons centrist government plans to introduce a “one-for-all” pension system – effectively abolishing the special retirement schemes that bus and metro workers have negotiated over the decades to make up for their low salaries and unsocial working conditions.

Today, metro drivers can, in theory, retire at 50.8 years due to the particularly unhealthy environment they are subjected to, including pollution and the lack of daylight (though studies show that their average retirement age is 55.5). Most other RATP workers can retire at 55.8 years, though administrative staff are required to work until 60.8 years. Under Macrons universal reform plan, the retirement age would be increased to 62 years for all workers, regardless of a persons job or working conditions.

Unprecedented social experiment

In a preemptive move to compensate for the “heavy traffic disruptions” expected on December 5, the RATP on Thursday announced it had partnered with 32 companies to provide locals and tourists with alternative means to get around the city, including free-floating bicycles, e-scooters, electric mopeds and cars, as well as various ride-hailing schemes. On top of providing increased access to their services, the companies will offer users steep reductions. They have agreed to foot the bill for the discounts, while in return the RATP will advertise their services on digital billboards as well as on social media and via email.

And the selected companies are rubbing their hands for what they expect to be a booming day for business.

Arthur-Louis Jacquier, general director of the e-scooter brand Lime in Paris, told French daily lExpress that “this is an unprecedented social experiment”.

“We have an action plan for December 5 during which we will maximise our fleet availability. Our teams have been mobilised and we have arranged for schedules to be changed so that our partners can pick up and charge a maximum of e-scooters overnight. Our mechanics have also been mobilised for the surplus of reparations were expecting.”

Benoît Sineau, the head of the free-floating car-rental service Ouicar, said: “The goal is that people will come back to us, including when the RATP and the [French railway operator] SNCF are no longer on strike.”

A provocation

But the unions behind the strike action are hardly overjoyed about the RATP's new partnerships.

In an interview with FRANCE 24, Frédéric Ruiz, president of the CFE-CGC union, said the move was a “provocation” that sent “a bad signal” to RATP workersRead More – Source

Continue Reading

World News

Dozens of Palestinians injured in police clashes as Jewish extremists chanting ‘Death to Arabs’ march in Jerusalem

Published

on

By

Clashes between Palestinians from east Jerusalem and Israeli police around the Damascus gate entrance to the Old City erupted in a night of unrest that earlier saw Jewish extremists marching through another city street shouting “Death to Arabs.”

The violence marks a high point so far in a new phase of complex heightened tensions in the city which began a week and half ago around the start of Ramadan, and prompted an unusual statement Friday morning from the US embassy in Jerusalem in which it called on “all responsible voices [to] promote an end to incitement.”
Hundreds of Palestinians gathered in the area around the Damascus gate Thursday evening to protest the closure of the plaza space in front of the gate, a popular place for young Palestinians to hang out, especially during Ramadan.
Glass bottles and rocks were thrown at police, who used stun grenades, rubber bullets and water cannons spraying foul-smelling ‘skunk water,’ in an effort to disperse the crowds.
At one point, a group of young men managed to break down a pole with a security camera mounted on top and set it alight, temporarily creating a barricade.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said 105 Palestinians were injured, of which 22 required treatment in hospital.
Close by, police used barricades of their own to prevent a march by hundreds of supporters of the Jewish extremist ‘Lehava’ movement from reaching the same area.
Videos on social media show hundreds of people marching down one of Jerusalem’s main thoroughfares, Jaffa Street, towards Damascus Gate chanting repeatedly “Death to Arabs.”
Israeli media reports Lehava supporters threw rocks at police, and videos on social media show police water cannon being used to disperse them.
Lehava has been emboldened by the recent election to the Israeli parliament of several extremist-racist politicians, all of whom have been openly courted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his ongoing attempts to form a new government.
Tensions have been heightened further by a number of videos posted to Tik Tok over the last couple of weeks apparently showing acts of assault, including one purporting to show a Palestinian youth slapping two religious Jews riding the city’s light rail tram service
.
The violence continued well into Friday morning with incidents reported across the city, including one captured on video apparently showing Palestinian youths repeatedly kicking a Jewish man in east Jerusalem as he lies on the ground attempting to protect his head.

Continue Reading

World News

Spain drafts new foreign policy that incorporates gender perspective

Published

on

By

The Spanish government has updated its guidelines for international relations. A draft of the 2021-2024 Foreign Action Strategy, which the Cabinet is planning to send to parliament on Tuesday, discusses the “opportunity” to improve relations with the United States now that Joe Biden is the new US president. It also emphasizes the need for “a feminist foreign policy” and “humanitarian diplomacy.”

This document will replace the previous foreign policy strategy drafted in 2015. Although it only represents the government’s opinion, other sources were consulted – including regional, provincial and local authorities, and national agencies such as the Council of State, the government’s top advisory body.

The 100-page text draws a somber picture of a fractured global scenario where the concept of multilateralism is in crisis. “We live in an increasingly volatile and fragmented world that tends to generate two opposing trends: an outward force of disunity marked by the rise of populisms and exclusionary nationalisms, and an inward force with inclusive answers to global challenges,” reads the document.

In this context, Spain hopes to gain added relevance in the international arena with a policy based on “reformed and reinforced multilateralism.” The strategy, drafted in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, holds that the health crisis has accelerated processes that were already underway, but that it is still too soon to know whether we are immersed in “an era of change or in a change of era.”

The following are some of the main points:

United States. The Biden administration “opens up a more optimistic scenario” and “an opportunity that has to be taken.” Spain wants “a broader agenda for bilateral relations in the economic and trade spheres,” and will seek to get “unfair unilateral trade measures lifted,” alluding to tariffs on olive oil and wine. The existing cooperation on defense issues should be maintained, and the Cervantes Institute will open a new branch in Los Angeles, adding to the ones in New York, Chicago and New Mexico.

Europe. Spain will encourage “a more federal European Union” with greater strategic autonomy, competence over more policy areas, and more matters that may be approved through qualified majorities rather than unanimous votes. Spain will play an active role in the Conference on the Future of Europe, which will address necessary reforms for the EU, and encourage the integration process when it holds the six-month rotating EU presidency in the second half of 2023. The document calls for the consolidation of permanent tools of joint debt issue and for Europe to create its own resources, as well as for a harmonized tax system that ends competition within the EU. The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU is described as “a great opportunity for Spain to take on greater leadership towards a more global Europe.”

Feminism. Spain will approve a Feminist Foreign Policy Strategy to incorporate gender issues “in all areas of foreign action” and it will “lead by example” by encouraging a greater presence of women in Spain’s external activities. Women currently represent 28% of diplomats and 20% of mission heads. Spain will also lead initiatives to promote diversity, “particularly LGTBI rights and the rights of all communities that are underprivileged or discriminated against.”

Latin America. Spain will encourage relations between the EU and Latin America and support the completion of an agreement with the Mercosur trade bloc. The king and queen will visit Chile to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the first documented circumnavigation of the globe. Several Central American countries, as well as Peru and Mexico, are also celebrating the bicentennial of their independence. The latter country is also observing the controversial 500th anniversary of Hernán Cortés’ conquest, and Spain will work towards “a constructive dialogue about the celebration of historical milestones.” In Venezuela, “the priority will be restoring the democratic framework and providing support for overcoming the political and humanitarian crisis.” As for Cuba, the country is “updating its political and economic model” and Spain must stimulate this process “through critical yet constructive support.”

Immigration. Spain supports a European System of Immigration and Asylum guided by the principles of solidarity and equally shared responsibility. It wants to see “integral management of borders,” a zero-tolerance policy against smuggling rings, and the creation of “safe, regular and orderly migration channels.”

Health. Spain will support the European Commission’s efforts to create the foundations for “a European health union,” as well as the reform and reinforcement of multilateral global institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO).

United Nations. Spain will apply to sit on the UN Human Rights Council for the 2025-2027 period. The technological platform for the UN system in Quart de Poblet (Valencia) will be consolidated and expanded.

China. Spain will seek “more balanced relations” with China, especially on economic issues, avoiding “dynamics of confrontation.” It will encourage a strategic relationship through the EU, without ignoring “clear elements of rivalry in terms of values and interests” especially on human rights issues and unfair competition.

Development aid. The document maintains a commitment to earmark 0.5% of Spain’s gross domestic product (GDP) to development aid. A new law on international cooperation for sustainable development will be passed, and the Spanish International Cooperation Agency will undergo reform.

Climate. Spain wants to lead agreements on climate change with a “climate diplomacy.” It will encourage an international coalition on green hydrogen (hydrogen production from water) and will commit to the protection of biodiversity.

Western Sahara. Spain’s priority with regard to its former colony is to “contribute to the UN’s efforts to reach a political solution to the conflicts in the region in accordance with international parameters.”

Gibraltar. Gibraltar is only mentioned in reference to the recent agreement of December 31 laying out the groundwork to incorporate the British Overseas Territory into the Schengen space. Spain will “encourage the negotiation process for an agreement between the EU and the UK with regard to Gibraltar.”

 

Read from source: https://english.elpais.com/politics/2021-01-26/spain-drafts-new-foreign-policy-that-incorporates-gender-perspective.html

Continue Reading

World News

Ukraine nursing home fire: Four arrested after Kharkiv blaze leaves 15 dead

Published

on

By

Ukrainian authorities have arrested four people in connection with a deadly fire at a retirement home in Kharkiv.

15 people were killed after a blaze ripped through the nursing home on Thursday afternoon in the eastern Ukrainian city, according to emergency services.

Nine others were rescued, five of whom have been taken to hospital for treatment.

Pictures from the scene showed blackened rooms and barred windows on the upper floor of the two-storey building, which had been converted into a home for the elderly. 50 firefighters attended the incident to extinguish the flames.

In a statement on Facebook, the country’s attorney general, Iryna Venediktova, said four people have been arrested.

The suspects include those who owned and rented the building, as well as the manager of the retirement home. Authorities say they are investigating if the fire was started by arson or the short circuit of an electrical appliance.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the centre in Kharkiv and has announced a national day of mourning for Saturday.

In an earlier tweet, the President called on local authorities to do “everything possible” to help victims and relatives who had lost loved ones.

 

Read from source: https://www.euronews.com/2021/01/21/ukraine-nursing-home-fire-15-dead-and-five-hospitalised-after-blaze-in-kharkiv

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 , madridjournals.com