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Violent clashes as France gripped by fresh wave of labor protests

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PARIS — Masked young people clashed with police in Paris and striking workers blockaded refineries and disrupted nuclear power stations on Thursday as an escalating wave of industrial action against labor reforms rocked France.

Seventy-seven people were arrested across France, while the Interior Ministry said more than 150,000 protested nationwide.

Police apparently fired tear gas at around 100 100 protesters in Paris who broke away from a march of around 20,000 people through the capital to smash windows of shops and parked cars, witnesses said, in the latest outburst of anger at the controversial legislation.

With just two weeks to go before France hosts the Euro 2016 football championship, union activists blocked roads and bridges, and train drivers and air traffic controllers staged walkouts.

Unions called for rolling strikes on the Paris Metro to start on the day of the opening match on June 10.

Nationwide protests Thursday saw 153,000 people take to the streets overall, officials said, though union leaders put the number at 300,000.

French authorities said 62 demonstrators were taken into custody across the country, 32 of them in the capital, while 15 security officers were injured in clashes.

One person was badly hurt in the unrest in Paris and had to be hospitalised, police said. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called for a probe into the incident that led to the man’s injuries.

Although some blockades on fuel depots and refineries in the north of the country were called off, many motorists were still stuck in long queues at petrol stations around France.

A man in his 50s had to be airlifted to hospital after he was seriously injured when a motorist rammed a roadblock outside a petrol refinery at Fos-sur-Mer on the Mediterranean coast.

At the Tricastin nuclear plant in southern France, workers set fire to piles of tyres, sending clouds of black smoke into the sky.

Unions are furious about the legislation forced through parliament by the deeply unpopular Socialist government which is aiming to reform France’s famously rigid labour laws by making it easier for companies to hire and fire workers.

AFP

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NAC aims to bring more tourists

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KATHMANDU — Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) — the national flag carrier which bought two wide-body aircrafts — is exploring new destinations in Europe, North America and South East Asia to bring in more tourists to the country.

The NAC, with the new destinations, expects to increase its business and carry 400,000 tourists on board the NAC planes to Nepal every year.

The NAC’s move is expected to serve largely for the government’s announcement to mark 2020 as Nepal Visit Year.

The NAC is also planning to procure narrow-body planes that would make regional flights while the wide-body planes would fly to the new international destinations.

For the new destinations, the NAC has appointed issue manager.

With the agreement, the NAC planes would make flights to 14 destinations in a week. If things go as planned, the NAC planes would fly to Narita and Tokyo in Japan, easing the tourists visiting Nepal from there.

After getting approval from Japan and South Korea for flights, the inclusion in the significant safety concern list by the EU to Nepal would remove automatically while the flights to South Korea shall open up the golden door for Nepal Airlines.

South Korea is regarded as the safest country in the world in terms of civil aviation. Likewise, the ICAO has already removed Nepal from its blacklist.

Furthermore, the NAC is preparing to operate flights to bring in tourists from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Similarly, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari has directed the NAC for announcing new business plans by targeting the Indian and Chinese tourists, realizing the crucial role of the national flag carrier to make the Nepal Visit Year 2020 a success.

“Top priority has been given to the NAC as it is the major basis to bring in tourists,” Minister Adhikari shared.

Likewise, Minister Adhikari shared that expansion of services and facilities of the Tribhuvan International Airport has been prioritized.

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