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Chile's middle class takes to streets over crushing debt

Santiago - It is not poverty that is driving Chile's middle class into the streets to join massive protests: it is debt, brought on by sky-high private health and education costs that have created an economic fragility many find unbearable.

Opposition and US voice concern over stalled Bolivia vote count

La Paz - The main opposition candidate in Bolivia's presidential election Monday blasted unexplained delays in announcing the results and accused President Evo Morales of trying to avoid a second round run-off.

Russia's Medvedev says Cuba can 'rely' on Moscow

Havana - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told Cuba on Thursday it could rely on Moscow's support as he began a two-day visit, with Havana looking to shore up aid amid severe fuel shortages it blames on US sanctions.

Tunisia sets up crisis cell for Thomas Cook fallout

Tunis - Tunisia has set up a crisis cell to deal with the fallout of British tour operator Thomas Cook's collapse on Monday, which has left around 4,500 mostly British tourists stranded in the North African country, officials said.

'Black bloc' protesters spoil Paris climate march amid violent clashes

Paris - A climate march in Paris turned violent on Saturday when anarchist "black bloc" protesters joined and provoked clashes with police, prompting the rally's organisers to call for demonstrators to leave the event.

Thousands of Paris police deployed over 'yellow vest' clash fears

Paris - More than 7,000 police officers are to be deployed for rallies in Paris on Saturday over fears that yellow vest protesters and their radical, anarchist "black blocs" could try to infiltrate a march against climate change in the French capital.

EU's Mogherini forges closer ties with Cuba amid growing US pressure

Havana - EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Monday reaffirmed the bloc's drive to deepen trade with Cuba and counter a wave of lawsuits against European firms as Washington increases pressure on the communist-run island.

Middle class feels the squeeze in debt-wracked Argentina

Buenos Aires - Facing mounting piles of credit card debt, unpaid medical bills and private school fees, Argentina's cash-strapped middle class, much like the state itself, is facing its own debt default.

Italian president sets Tuesday deadline to find new coalition

Rome - Italian President Sergio Mattarella has set a Tuesday deadline for squabbling political parties to form a workable coalition government, two days after a dysfunctional populist alliance broke up throwing the eurozone's third largest economy into politi...

New Guatemalan leader demands respect from Trump

Guatemala City - Guatemala's president-elect Alejandro Giammattei said in an interview with AFP he would not seek confrontation with President Donald Trump over Central America's migration crisis but would demand respect from his US counterpart.

African satirist Mamane plans drama school to promote 'freedom'

Niamey - On a dusty patch of land on the outskirts of the capital Niamey, Niger's most famous comedian Mamane shows off a site he says will host a drama school to promote African artists and freedom on a continent rife with corruption and strife.

French economists make case for legal marijuana

Paris - A group of French economists on Thursday recommended legalising marijuana, arguing it would add billions to state coffers, but President Emmanuel Macron's government again ruled out letting recreational users get legally high.

Sudanese in suits and ties rally against Bashir's economic blunders

Khartoum - In unprecedented scenes in Khartoum, hundreds of workers in suits and ties alongside their neatly dressed women colleagues have gone on strike to protest what they call Sudan's "total economic collapse".

Russia's increasing influence in Cuba stirs ghost of Cold War

Havana - Russia is stirring the ghosts of Cuba's Cold War past as it looks to re-establish its influence in the Communist-run island nation, although this time analysts say Moscow has no intention of bankrolling Havana.

North Korea slams 'foolish and dangerous' Pompeo

Seoul - A senior North Korean official on Tuesday accused US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of having "foolish and dangerous ideas", and warned Washington of an "unwanted outcome" if it does not adjust its stance on economic sanctions.

Unions, leftwing parties, join 'yellow vests' march

Paris - Thousands of trade unionists and left wing activists joined "yellow vest" protesters in Paris Saturday in rejecting French President Emmanuel Macron's proposed tax cuts as too little too late.

Unions, leftwing parties, join 'yellow vests' for Paris march

Paris - Thousands of trade unionists and activists from left-wing parties marched with "yellow vest" protesters through Paris Saturday to present a united front against French President Emmanuel Macron's latest reforms package.

Cuba newsprint shortage sounds alarm for economy

Havana - The newsprint shortages which forced Cuba's Communist daily to run a trimmed-down edition on Friday would pass off as a simple supply glitch in most other countries, but in Havana they carry chilling memories of the not-so-distant past.

Paris police chief sacked after Champs-Elysees rioting

Paris - The French government sacked the top police official in Paris on Monday following another weekend of rioting in the capital during "yellow vest" protests which have put President Emmanuel Macron on the defensive.

France scrambles for police response to 'yellow vest' violence

Paris - The French government's failure to keep Paris protests over the weekend from spiralling out of control has put a harsh spotlight on its law enforcement strategy, which makes avoiding injuries a priority even after hours of rampant destruction and looti...

France's 'yellow vest' protesters back on the streets, police respond with teargas

Paris - France's "yellow vest" protesters took to the streets on Saturday, for the 16th straight weekend, some clashing with police who responded with rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon.

Retailer Decathlon cancels plans to sell sport 'hijab' in France

Paris - Retailer Decathlon Tuesday cancelled plans to sell a sports version of the hijab Muslim headscarf in France, following an outcry.

Macron 'yellow vest' concessions harming state finances: auditors

Paris - The 10-billion-euro ($11.4 billion) package of measures for low earners announced by President Emmanuel Macron to try end the "yellow vest" revolt has "weakened" France's finances, state auditors warned Wednesday.

Obstacles litter privatization path in Brazil under Bolsonaro

Rio De Janeiro - An ambitious privatization plan by the incoming government of Brazil's president-elect Jair Bolsonaro faces some challenges, not least from a cadre of ex-military men in the cabinet and reticent lawmakers.

Merkel says German 'Mittelstand' mustn't fall behind in AI race

Nuremberg - Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday warned that Germany's vaunted "Mittelstand" must not fall behind in the digital era, as the economic powerhouse races to catch up to foreign rivals in new technologies like artificial intelligence.

Spanish PM promises to keep investing in Cuba on historic visit

Havana - Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez promised on Friday to continue investing in Cuba on the second day of his historic visit to the island nation, the first by a Spanish leader in 32 years.

Cuba set to debate draft constitution paving way for gay marriage

Havana - A draft new constitution for Cuba that paves the way for same-sex marriage as well as the right to private property was ready to go before lawmakers on Thursday for fine-tuning ahead of a referendum next year.

Macron shows humbler side as rural protests loom in France

Paris - President Emmanuel Macron has promised to attune himself more to grassroots France as he tries to dispel a reputation for arrogance and rekindle his flagging popularity.

Returning Cubans boost island's real estate market

Havana - In shorts and wearing shoes but no socks, Mauricio Garcia could pass for a tourist as he strolls around Old Havana.

Generals, 'Chicago boy' loom large in Brazil's next government

Rio De Janeiro - Brazil's far-right President-elect Jair Bolsonaro is likely to tap army generals and an ultra-free-market economist for key roles in his cabinet.
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