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New strikes, protests as France unveils retirement bill

New strikes, protests as France unveils retirement bill

World
The Eiffel Tower is closed because of a strike and unions are holding new protests against changes to France's retirement systemByThe Associated PressJanuary 24, 2020, 10:15 AM3 min readPARIS -- The Eiffel Tower shut down Friday as French unions held last-ditch strikes and protests around the country on the day the government unveils a divisive bill redesigning the national retirement system. Travelers faced renewed disruptions on regional trains and the Paris subway on the 50th straight day of record strikes, and some schools and other public services also faced walkouts. The Eiffel Tower closed exceptionally, and the Versailles chateau and Louvre Museum warned visitors of potential disruptions. The number of striking workers and halted trains dropped considerably this week after the go...
House passes bill regulating PFAS use, cleanup on military bases, in drinking water

House passes bill regulating PFAS use, cleanup on military bases, in drinking water

Business
Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A bill requiring the Pentagon to work with communities to clean up chemical contamination in drinking water passed in the House, but faces an uncertain future. The PFAS Action Act of 2019, which the House of Representatives passed on Friday, requires the reclassification of two types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, as hazardous materials. If the law is enacted, perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, and perfluoroactanesulfonic acid, or PFOS, would be reclassified as toxic substances. Contaminated areas would be classified as Superfund sites, accelerating their cleanup process. PFOA and PFOS are the key ingredients of foams used by the U.S. military for firefighting, although the Defense Department has limited their use in training, and can be found in drinking...
Flybe in talks to delay air passenger duty bill

Flybe in talks to delay air passenger duty bill

Business
Flybe is in talks with the government to defer the payment of air passenger duty amid reports the airline is attempting to secure a rescue deal.The BBC understands that delaying the tax bill is just one option that is being discussed with the regional airline.However, it is understood that the government is reluctant to go down this route.A spokesperson for Flybe said: "We don't comment on rumour or speculation.It added: "Flybe continues to focus on providing great service and connectivity for our customers, to ensure that they can continue to travel as planned." Why Flybe matters: 'Valuable connectivity' Flybe boss 'focused' on turning airline around Sky News reports that Flybe's owner, Connect Airways, has been in talks with t...
India’s Modi defends protest-hit citizenship bill

India’s Modi defends protest-hit citizenship bill

World
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has defended the government's new citizenship law, despite the major ongoing protests against it."We passed this bill to help the persecuted," he said at a rally in Delhi. "We need to respect India's MPs and its parliament".More than 20 people have died in ten days of clashes sparked by the bill, which critics see as anti-Muslim.Protesters have continued to take to the streets in spite of police bans.Several thousand people have also been detained and internet services have been suspended as the authorities battle to restore order. The bill offers amnesty to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from three neighbouring countries.Mr Modi defended the legislation at a rally in the capital at the start ...
Senate passes $738B defense bill, including Space Force

Senate passes $738B defense bill, including Space Force

Business
Dec. 17 (UPI) -- The Senate on Tuesday passed a $ 738 billion defense bill in a compromise after months of negotiations. President Donald Trump has said he would sign the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, passed by an 86-8 vote, after Senate and House Armed Services leaders took nearly three months to strike the deal. The bill authorizes Pentagon spending and lays out policy guidelines. Spending includes $ 635 billion for the base Pentagon budget, $ 23.1 billion for Energy Department nuclear weapons programs, $ 71.5 billion for war operations and $ 5.3 billion in emergency disaster recovery for military bases. The bill also approves a 3.1 percent troop pay raise, which is the largest in a decade. Defense purchases were also boosted in the bill, which authorized over $ 9 bi...