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Macron - Attack act of 'Islamist terror', IS claim being checked

Macron - Attack act of 'Islamist terror', IS claim being checked

France's centrist president, who has been in power for almost a year, has so far avoided large strikes and trade union action, managing to easily push through an overhaul of labour laws in the autumn despite limited street marches.

Macron, a 40-year-old former investment banker, faced only minimal resistance last year to the first wave of workplace changes, which included broader rules to hire and fire employees.

France's civil aviation authority said a third of flights into and out of the main Paris airports of Charles de Gaulle, Orly and Beauvais would be cancelled Thursday because of a strike by air traffic controllers.

That has led the government, which overhauled labour laws previous year and is also crafting a series of other sensitive reforms including of unemployment insurance, to say it will stand by its plans, while keeping a close eye on protests. Protesters also want to derail Macron's plans to raise a special tax used to finance welfare which hits pensioners particularly hard, overhaul unemployment insurance and shake up the highly indebted state railway company.

Macron was reported to have told advisors in private this week that he was feeling "serene" as the day of action drew near, adding that it was "not a cause for panic", according to the investigative newspaper Le Canard Enchaine.

Merit-based pay and eliminating redundancies were also part of Macron's plan, fueling further outrage from public sector workers.

However, the union said many teachers had refrained from walking out for fear their protest would be lost in the clamour over the rail dispute, where half of local TER trains are not running.

Rail unions have called for three months of rolling strikes starting 3 April to try to force the government to back down on an overhaul that would strip new hires of lifetime job security and more generous pensions.

"This is a necessary, indispensable reform", Borne said, appearing on France's BFM TV.

The full list of overseas of foreign officials to address Congress is here.

These benefits stem from an era when the job entailed manual labour, including the shovelling of coal - a time Macron has said is long gone. Taking on its 74,000 workers will be tough for Macron.

People protest French government reforms in Paris on March 22, 2018, in Paris.

But industrial action at France's national railway is set to continue beyond this week.

In the past, governments have quickly backed down in the face of massive protests.

President Obama had invited then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to a state dinner - his first - on November 24, 2009.

There is also symbolism at work. "Or they don't listen to us and then, let me tell you that public-sector workers are very mobilised". "The government must hear the civil servants who are very anxious", he said on RTL on Thursday, adding that his concern was that the government wouldn't "listen at all".

The question is whom the French will blame when the inevitable disruptions to public life occur, Grunberg said.

Strikes are planned for the following dates.

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