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French parliament adopts disputed rail reform PARIS: The French parliament has formally adopted a railway reform intended to prepare the sector for liberalisation and which triggered a 10-day strike last month. The bill was approved during an overnight session with votes from the ruling Socialists, Greens and moderate left-wing allies. The hard left and some opposition voted against. The move will bring state-owned railway company SNCF and track owner RFF into the same holding company and is to prepare the system ahead of European Union moves to introduce more competition into Europe's transport routes. Railworkers fear the reform will lead to job losses and an erosion of their current privileges. The final text includes an amendment aimed at capping the debt of the SNCF, currently at 44 billion euros ($59 billion), and calls for the negotiation of a new collective convention governing working conditions in thee sector. Copyright Reuters, 2014


Perpetrators of MH17 crash sought a divided world MELBOURNE: Former US President Bill Clinton called Wednesday for strength in responding to the downing of flight MH17, declaring that those who shot down the plane -- and provided the means to do it -- sided with a brutal vision of the world.Speaking at the world AIDS conference in Melbourne, Clinton said it "matters not" if the Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine Thursday by mistake, and the loss of 298 lives ...

Australian inflation rises 0.5pc in quarter SYDNEY: Australian inflation rose 0.5 percent in the three months to June, new figures showed Wednesday, giving the country's central bank room to keep interest rates at a record-low to support the economy.The consumer price index (CPI) had lifted 0.6 percent in the previous quarter, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said.The latest figures took the annual rate of inflation to 3.0 percent, up from 2.9 percent in the year to March. But it remained ...

Typhoon Matmo batters Taiwan, nine hurt TAIPEI: Typhoon Matmo pounded Taiwan with fierce winds and downpours Wednesday, leaving nine people injured, shuttering financial markets, and interrupting rail and air transportation.Matmo, packing gusts of up to 173 kilometres (107 miles) per hour, slammed into the east overnight, becoming the first tropical storm to make landfall on the island this year, the Central Weather Bureau said.The storm's powerful winds tore off roofs and uprooted trees, including one in Taipei that crashed into a ...

US Air Force to launch new surveillance satellites WASHINGTON: The US Air Force will launch new satellites Wednesday to track those of other countries and counter possible threats to American spacecraft, officials said.Two satellites are due to be sent into high-altitude orbits for the first time as part of a program that until a few months ago was strictly secret and classified.The satellites will be launched from Delta IV rockets from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and head to the geosynchronous ...

Malaysian foes close ranks, denounce 'cruel' MH17 attack KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's bitterly divided political forces put aside their differences on Wednesday to denounce the attack on flight MH17 as a heinous international crime and call jointly for swift justice for those responsible.Prime Minister Najib Razak led the charge, condemning the Malaysia Airlines flight's shooting down by a surface-to-air missile."Shooting down a commercial plane like MH17 is a violent and cruel crime," Najib told the session of parliament in the capital Kuala Lumpur following ...

China censors squash giant inflatable toad reports BEIJING: Chinese reports about a giant inflatable toad have been deleted from the Internet after social media users compared the puffed-up animal to a former Communist Party chief.The installation of a giant inflatable duck in Hong Kong's harbour last year sparked a national craze for oversized blow-up wildlife, with several Chinese cities launching their own imitations.The latest, a 22-metre-high (72-feet) toad, appeared in a Beijing park last weekend, but met with mockery from social media ...


 



 
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