Strike paralyses France as unions face off against Macron Dec 06, 2019 0 255 12345 AFPParisA nationwide strike shut down public transport, schools and other services across France on Thursday as unions kicked off an open-ended strike against President Emmanuel Macron’s plans for a “universal” pension system they say will force millions of people to work longer.Parents scrambled to organise daycare as teachers walked off the job or were unable to get to work, and many employees were working from home or forced to take the day off as trains, metros and buses were cancelled.Union leaders have vowed to keep up their protest unless Macron drops the pension overhaul, the latest move in the centrist president’s push to reform wide swathes of the French economy.“The idea of social concertation that Macron says is so important in fact doesn’t exist,” the head of the CGT union, Philippe Martinez, said on BFM television Thursday.Around 90 percent of high-speed TGV trains as well as regional lines were cancelled, and Air France has axed 30 percent of domestic flights and 15 percent of short-haul international routes.In Paris, 11 of the 16 metro lines were shut down and others had just bare-bones service during the morning rush hour, and the Eiffel Tower turned away tourists because of the strike.The strike -- which is open-ended and could last several days -- has drawn comparisons with the showdown between government and unions over pensions in Nov-Dec 1995, when the country was paralysed for around three weeks.Unions won that battle, and are banking on widespread support from both public and private-sector workers against Macron’s reform.The strikes will be a major test of whether Macron, a former investment banker who came to power on the back of a promise to transform France, has the political strength to push through one of his key campaign pledges. RELATED ARTICLES Ex-US secretary of state Kerry endorses Biden for president Dec 06, 2019 0 1674 Trump likely to face at least three articles of impeachment Dec 06, 2019 0 684 At least 58 migrants drown as boat sinks off Mauritania Dec 06, 2019 0 237 Italy’s ruling Five Star ‘steals’ voters’ data via Facebook app DPA Rome Italy’s ruling Five Star Movement (M5S) used underhand methods similar to Cambridge Analytica for the mass profiling of voters ahead of 2013 and 2014 elections, according to a media report. The data harvesting .. Wolf attacks on farm animals on the rise in Germany Berlin: Sheep are the main victims of attacks by wolves in Germany, which have shown a significant increase in recent years as numbers of the once-rare predators rise, government figures showed on Thursday. According to .. Johnson pledges tax cuts, gets election boost after four MEPs quit Brexit Party DPA London Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised British voters tax cuts on Thursday as he was boosted by the backing of four Brexit Party politicians ahead of next week’s snap election. Johnson made a series of pledges .. US indicts hackers with alleged Russian intelligence ties Washington: The US Justice Department unveiled indictments on Thursday of two Russians with ties to their country’s intelligence services, who ran a major global cybertheft operation under the name Evil Corp. An .. Trump lawyer meets Ukrainian MP Kiev: US President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer discussed “international corruption” with an MP in Kiev who had claimed to have dirt on the White House’s Democratic rivals, the Ukrainian lawmaker said on Thursday. .. Trump says ‘will win’ impeachment fight Washington: A defiant President Donald Trump predicted on Thursday he “will win,” after the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives gave the greenlight for impeachment. “The good thing is that the ..