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Christmas mayhem feared as French transport strike continues [ARTICLE]

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Train traffic was severely disrupted with only one out four high speed long-distance trains and three of 10 regional trains running across the country.

But Paris and its environs remained the worst hit. Nine metro lines in the capital remained closed and there were skeletal transport services between the city and its suburbs.

Only 60 percent of the city’s bus services were running.

Strikers have warned of similar disruptions on Sunday and Monday.

On Saturday, the managing director of the national rail operator SNCF Rachel Picard, told Le Parisien daily that “half of the passengers” would have trains to visit family for Christmas” but did not elaborate.

Unions are hoping for a repeat of 1995, when they forced a rightwing government to back down on pension reform after three weeks of metro and rail strikes just before Christmas.

The prospect of a protracted standoff has businesses fearing big losses during the crucial year-end festivities, and travellers worried that their holiday plans will fall through.

On Friday, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe asked SNCF chief Jean-Pierre Farandou to draw up a list of exactly which trains would be running during the festive season.

“If the government wants the conflict to end before the holidays, they have all of next week to take the wise decision and scrap the point-based pension plan,” Laurent Blum, the general secretary of the hard-line CGT-Cheminots, the main SNCF union, told AFP.

Historic reform’

The reform would do away with 42 separate regimes, some of which offer early retirement and other benefits to public sector workers such as train drivers, dockers and even Paris Opera employees.

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The strike organisers have announced a massive protest for Tuesday when tens of thousands are expected to take to the streets again.

Meanwhile teachers, who have been mobilised since the start of the protest, on Friday gained guarantees from the government of salary reviews which would cost the state 10 billion euros. The details were not revealed.

Policemen meanwhile ended their protest on Friday after managing to get assurances that their early retirement scheme would be maintained, owing to the “dangerous” nature of their job.

Both Paris operas, the Garnier and the Bastille, cancelled Friday performances, and more through the weekend.

President Emmanuel Macron’s government insists the changes will make for a fairer system and help erase pension system deficits forecast to reach as much as 17 billion euros ($19 billion) by 2025.

The average French person retires at just over 60, years earlier than most in Europe or other rich OECD countries.

Prime Minister Philippe has held talks with union leaders and more negotiations are scheduled over the coming week.

Philippe on Friday struck a combative note, saying he “has absolutely no fear of implementing this reform”.

Macron, who has maintained a studied silence since the protests began, told reporters in Brussels on Friday that it was a “historic reform”, while expressing solidarity with those affected by the fallout.

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“No one ever cared for me like Corazon Kwamboka did,” Frankie Just Gym It confesses (Video)

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Frankie Just Gym It and Corazon Kwamboka is a merger none of us saw coming but one that was actually grounded on true love and genuine care for each other.

This the gym instructor revealed on his recent vlog admitting that Corazon was a blessing who came just when his life got dark and forced him into depression.

Answering to a Q&A session with fans, Frankie confessed that he has never been any happier in life than he has with Corazon by his side.

I am the happiest I have ever been in a very, very long time. People don´t actually know where Corazon has taken me from. She took me from a very, very, very dark time in my life, when I would experience panic attacks in the middle of the night thinking that this pain was never going away.

Lovers, Frankie Just Gym It and Corazon Kwamboka

Unfortunately, when he needed people the most, to genuinely care for him, no one did until he met Corazon and found solace in her heart.

I did not see this coming at all. At that time, there was no one who was caring about what was happening to me. No one! Until I met her [Corazon] and she took care of me all the way through.

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In Corazon, he felt alive, he felt cared for, genuinely loved and for that, he forever holds the socialite dear to his heart.

And she dragged me out of this place of depression and she literally pulled me out of it. This is just the truth.


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