Eiffel Tower closed as France braces for major strikes

UNTV News   •   January 9, 2020   •   171

Paris – The Eiffel Tower will remain closed Thursday as France braces for a fourth consecutive day of major cross-sector strikes against pension reforms.

Teachers, health workers, lawyers and railway personnel are participating in a strike called by unions to demand the total withdrawal of a pensions reform bill which was announced in December.

Transport will continue to be affected by strike action with both the national railway network (SNCF) and the transport in the Paris region offering reduced services.

This will be the 36th day of strike action affecting the transport sector, the longest in history.

The SNCF expects traffic to be very disrupted with more than half of train services cut, as well as the Paris subway.

The French Civil Aviation Authority also warned of disruptions and delays and urged companies to cancel a third of their flights to or from Toulouse (southern France).

In Paris, the Eiffel Tower will be closed on Thursday, according to the company that manages the monument, as some of its workers have joined the strike.

From the first day of action on 5 December, when between 800,000 people (according to the Ministry of Interior) and 1.8 million workers (according to the unions) flooded the streets of France to demand the government to reverse a pension reform bill.

According to a survey published on Sunday by Le Journal du Dimanche, more than half of the population (55%) want the government to withdraw the reform.

However, rejection of the strikes has also grown, the effects of which can be seen in the rail and metropolitan transport sector of Paris.

Thursday’s industrial action is the first mobilization of the year and will serve as a test to verify the support behind the protests after strikes on 10 and 17 December failed to raise the same level of support as the first one.

Trade unions have called for “the withdrawal of the reform project and the opening of constructive negotiations to improve the current regime”.

But the clash over pension reforms has seen one of President Emmanuel Macron’s key policies to transform the labour market come under fire.

Macron has led on several labour reforms in an attempt to create a more flexible market reminiscent of Nordic models, but his move to streamline the complex pensions system under one points-based model has triggered the largest unrest of his presidency.

The largest union in the country, the reformist French Democratic Confederation of Labor (CFDT), has opposed setting the retirement age of 64 but has backed the move to create a universal system to replace the current one which has 42 different pension plans in place.

The Government is still negotiating with unions until the reform goes to the Council of Ministers on 24 January.

So far, some concessions have been made such as an earlier retirement for professions deemed dangerous, a revaluation of teachers’ salaries, a delay in the implementation of the plan in the railway sector and for the dancers of the Paris Opera, which since 5 December has been forced to cancel more than 60 representations. EFE-EPA

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Embassy cautions Filipinos in Paris against massive strikes, street crimes

Marje Pelayo   •   January 7, 2020

The Philippine Embassy in Paris has issued an advisory to warn Filipinos visiting and living in France particularly in the capital city.

Tensions continue as angry transport workers launch massive protests against the government crippling major transportation across Paris.

Announcements of massive strikes on January 9 and 10 have reached the Embassy thus it advised the Filipino community there to be aware of the situation and prepare for alternative means to go to work as travel disruptions are again expected.

If possible, avoid the areas where the rallies are being held, according to the Embassy.

Also, Filipinos are urged to monitor updates on the transport strikes through the Embassy’s official Facebook page (#PhinFrance).

Meanwhile, Embassy officials also expressed concern over the growing number of Filipinos being victimized by burglars and thieves particularly tourists.

Paris ranked 14th among the countries in the world with moderate to high index of crimes in the past three years, according to the 2019 Crime Rate Index published by research website Numbeo.com.

This has prompted the Embassy to remind Filipinos travelling and living particularly in the capital city to be extra vigilant and alert at all times.

The Philippine Embassy in Paris can be reached through its 24/7 hotline numbers +33620592515 or through its official social media accounts #PHinFrance.

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Filipinos warned of rampant pickpocketing when in France

Marje Pelayo   •   October 29, 2019

PARIS, France – The Philippine Embassy in Paris on Monday (October 28) issued safety guidelines for Filipinos traveling in France as incidents of petty street crimes occur throughout major cities in the country.

“Filipinos traveling to Paris are advised to be extra vigilant and to be alert to avoid being victims of break-ins, robberies, snatching, and pickpocketing,” the Embassy said in an issued advisory.

The Embassy advised Filipino travelers to secure personal belongings even when walking or riding public transportations even those in hotels and apartments as thieves just roam around spying for a possible victim.   

Specifically, the Embassy advised Filipinos to keep their passports and other valuables safe and be wary of people using diverse methods to divert your attention to catch you off guard.

Also, Filipino travelers are reminded not to bring bulk of cash and make sure to hide your bags when inside vehicles as robberies happen even in broad daylight during traffic jams.

“Make sure to follow the instructions of police and military personnel in case of any incident,” the Embassy reminded.

For assistance, Filipino tourists may visit or reach the Embassy through its 24/7 hotline at +33 6 20 59 25 15 or send a message through its e-mail paris.pe@dfa.gov.ph.

Travel Advisory https://parispe.dfa.gov.ph/images/Travel_Advisory-as_of_28_October_2019.pdf

Posted by Philippine Embassy in France on Monday, 28 October 2019

According to the world’s largest database of user-contributed data about cities and countries worldwide, www.numbeo.com, Paris’ crime index rate is at 51.58 as compared to its safety index which is only at 48.42 as of midyear of 2019.

This brings Paris at 105th place among 352 cities in terms of crime rate index in the world.

Caracas in Venezuela tops the list with 84.76 crime rate index while Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates is considered the safest with only 11.10 crime rate index.

The Philippines is at the 40th spot with a 64.46 crime rate index and only a 35.54 safety index, according to the database.

Remains of Pinay killed in France returns home

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 7, 2019

The remains of Janice Cabardo Badr had returned home.

Janice’s remains arrived on Sunday afternoon (October 6) in Panabo City, Davao, a few weeks after she was killed by her husband, Christophe Badr in Maisons-Lafitte in France on September 20.

READ: Kin of Pinay killed in France calls for justice

A funeral service is being held for her at Sta. Teresita Funeral Homes in Panobo City.

According to Janice’s father, Losito Cabardo, the hearing for the custody of their 18-month-old granddaughter who is still in France is scheduled on Monday (October 7).

He is also asking for assistance so they can take their granddaughter home.

Baka patayin na naman niya ang anak niya pagkatapos ng ginawa niya sa asawa niya kaya ang gusto namin mangyari dito ang apo ko sa amin (He [Badr] might kill his daughter too like what he did to his wife. We want our granddaughter to come home with us),” he said.—AAC (with reports from Janice Ingente)

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