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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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Bir Hospital to get new surgery building

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KATHMANDU— The oldest hospital of the country, Bir Hospital, is in the process of getting a separate well-equipped building for surgery within the next two years.

The proposed nine-storey building will have 15 operation theaters.
The new building will have a post-operative ward; a 40-bed surgical ward; an Intensive Care Union (ICU); and a library as well. The new infrastructure will also have the facilities friendly to the senior citizens, disabled and the visitors, the National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS) says.

It is estimated to cost Rs 3.85 billion to complete the construction in two years. It is being constructed in an area of the old building of the NAMS nursing college which collapsed in the 2015 April earthquake. The building construction was inaugurated by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on March 9.

The hospital that had started its services in 1947 BS with 15 beds has now 450 beds. The NAMS operates Nursing, MBBS, MD classes and training as well.

The post of NAMS Chancellor has been lying vacant since the past five months. As shared by an employee, the delay in appointing the chancellor has caused inconveniences to the operation of hospital regular activities.

Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Population, Dr Sushilnath Pyakurel, said the recommendations have been already made before the minister to make appointments in the posts lying vacant in various health academies.

Similarly, infrastructures are being developed to upgrade the hospital by adding extra services including a helipad service for the first time from the government level.

The hospital has started its service from its branch at Duwakot of Bhaktapur from October 10 as part of its service expansion in line with the policy of the Ministry of Health.

The Duwakot branch provides OPD and surgery at present. OPD service starts from 9 am to 5 pm. The NAMS has permitted the construction of well equipped physical infrastructure for the hospital branch to provide international standard service, said the Hospital’s Director Prof Dr Bhupendra Basnet.

The Ministry of Health has allocated Rs 300 million as per the master plan of the NAMS and provided approximately 570 ropanis of land for the construction of physical infrastructures for the hospital branch.

“Necessary human resources including a medical officer, nurses and assistant health workers have been managed for the hospital branch. Medical equipment and other workforce that includes specialist doctors will also be managed as per need,” said Basnet.

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