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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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PM congratulates Nepali national cricket team

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KATHMANDU— Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has congratulated Nepali national cricket team for being able to clinch the International T20 series.

PM Oli in a tweet extended best wishes and congratulations saying he was very happy to know Nepal’s win over the UAE by 14 runs in the third match of the series.

Winning T20 series is another landmark success for Nepali cricket, he said, adding, “It is big achievement for Nepal’s cricket. I would like to heartily congratulate entire members of Nepali cricket squad”.

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