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French set to punish Hollande in mayoral runoffs PARIS: French President Francois Hollande's Socialists braced for losses in hundreds of towns and villages in mayoral elections on Sunday, with far-right National Front candidates seen winning a handful of cities for the first time since 1995. The runoff round of voting comes at the end of a week that saw French unemployment surge to a new record, making a reverse of first round losses unlikely and a cabinet reshuffle by Hollande possible as soon as Monday. Some 80 percent of the French want him to dismiss Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, according to a recent Harris Interactive poll, and ambitious and tough-talking Interior Minister Manuel Valls comes top of their favourites for the job. "I can't see how (Ayrault) could stay, unless we save about thirty towns, something nobody really believes," a Socialist Party source said. Dissatisfaction with Hollande's rule and a string of legal intrigues involving opposition conservatives are ...

'Darth Vader' runs for president of Ukraine KIEV: As Ukraine battles to stave off dark forces of its own, iconic movie villain Darth Vader announced he was running for president in a bid to restore all glory to the downtrodden nation.The Sith Lord, or at least an unnamed protester dressed up as him who has often been seen on Kiev's Independence Square during the winter protests flanked by his loyal Stormtroopers, has been chosen as the official candidate of the Ukrainian Internet ...
PM bids for new term at wheel of Hungary BUDAPEST: Prime Minister Viktor Orban demanded four more years at the steering wheel of Hungary's "fast and bold racing car" on Saturday at an election rally attended by hundreds of thousands of supporters. Orban's ruling centre-right Fidesz party is firmly on track to win the April 6 election, according to opinion polls, despite concerns among foreign investors and in the European Union about its unorthodox economic policies and some other measures. Throngs of people waved ...
Russia's Lavrov, U.S. Kerry discuss Ukraine, timing of further contact MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed Ukraine in a phone call on Saturday as well as the timing of further contact, Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.The ministry said the call was initiated by the United States and followed Russian President Vladimir Putin's call to U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday to discuss a U.S. diplomatic proposal for Ukraine. Copyright Reuters, 2014 ...
UK finance minister denies report that independent Scotland would keep pound LONDON: British Finance Minister George Osborne on Saturday denied a newspaper report that Scotland may keep the British pound even if it votes for independence later this year, an issue at the heart of the Scottish secession debate.Polls show the question of what currency an independent Scotland would use has been high in Scottish voters' minds ahead of an independence referendum on Sept. 18, with many worrying about the economic uncertainties a new currency would ...
Nurse charged over UK hospital poisoning deaths LONDON: A male nurse has been charged with the murder of three patients who were poisoned with contaminated medical products at a British hospital, police said Saturday.Eight patients died following the poisoning at Stepping Hill hospital in Stockport, near Manchester in northwest England, in June and July 2011.Victorino Chua, a 48-year-old father of two children, has been charged with murdering three of them -- Tracey Arden, 44, Arnold Lancaster, 71, and Derek Weaver, 83. He ...
Italy to cap top salaries at public companies MILAN: Italy will cap salaries at some of the country's biggest public companies, the new government of 39-year-old Matteo Renzi announced on Friday, though some major groups will be exempt.Government-controlled companies will now have top pay capped at the same level as the head of Italy's top court as part of Renzi's promise to cut back spending without further hurting the economy.Chief executives at companies, including the Motorway agency ANAS and RAI state television, will ...


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