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New French PM unveils revitalisation plans

Paris - France's new Prime Minister Jean Castex won solid parliamentary backing Wednesday as he outlined plans to revitalise the nation, vowing to make jobs his overarching priority.

Macron picks new interior minister in cabinet revamp

Paris - President Emmanuel Macron Monday replaced his embattled interior minister and shuffled other cabinet positions as he seeks a "new path" to see France through its worst economic crisis since World War II and win re-election.

Build a better, greener world economy after pandemic: Stiglitz

Paris - Business as usual is not an option once the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, according to Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz, who wants new climate-laced metrics to measure growth beyond the blunt instrument of GDP.

French churches reopen as coronavirus restrictions loosened

Paris - French churches were preparing to hold their first Sunday masses in more than two months after the government bowed to a ruling that they should be reopened -- provided proper precautions were taken.

Under the sun, and threat of virus, Italy readies its beaches

Jesolo - Beach season is around the corner and all along Italy's vast coastlines, preparations have begun to attract sun-worshippers and their wallets while safeguarding against the lingering coronavirus.Most beaches throughout the country remain off-limits.

Tests show UVC lamps could light the way in virus fight

New York - Could a new type of ultraviolet lamp be used in stations, airplanes and schools to kill dangerous viruses, becoming a gamechanger in the COVID-19 fight?

For Haitians, die of hunger today or coronavirus tomorrow?

Port-au-prince - When the novel coronavirus first appeared in Haiti authorities and humanitarian experts panicked, worried about the country's decrepit health system -- but the pandemic's economic consequences could prove yet deadlier for the nation's poor.

In virus-hit Cuba, the struggle to get food on the table

Havana - Yadira types out a message to her WhatsApp group, with the name of a Havana store where a supply of chicken has just arrived.

Cuba's private sector suffering from a lack of tourists

Havana - Havana is a ghost town. The American convertibles swooned over by tourists are back in the garage, while most restaurants and cafes are closed.

Debt moratorium 'essential' to help Africa fight coronavirus: Macron

Paris - French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday called for a moratorium on the debt of African countries as "an essential step" to help the continent get through the coronavirus crisis.

At US food banks, a cupboard increasingly bare

Washington - Volunteers are staying home and donations have dried up. The coronavirus pandemic is pressuring US food banks, just as the number of people in need increases.

Demand explodes for New York food banks

New York - New York food banks have become inundated with newcomers deprived of income since the near-total halt of business in the United States' economic capital.

'Worse than 9/11': Coronavirus threatens global airline industry

New York - Fears of massive bankruptcies and calls for emergency bailouts swept global airlines Tuesday as a top US official warned the coronavirus crisis threatens the industry even more than the September 11 attacks, which saw US airspace shut down entirely.

Cuba to reform at its own pace despite US sanctions: minister

Havana - Cuba will continue to enact economic reforms at its own pace regardless of the pressure exerted by a US embargo, Economy Minister Alejandro Gil told AFP.

France braces for holiday misery as pension strike persists

Paris - French commuters endured a ninth day of public transport strikes Friday, with little relief expected in coming days as unions vow to keep up their protest against a pension overhaul through the holidays unless the government backs down.

French govt says ready to talk as pension strike bites

Paris - French officials said Thursday that they were open to negotiating a pension overhaul that has sparked crippling transport strikes, as unions warned of walkouts through the holidays unless the government drops the plan.

Acquiring citizenship helps immigrants in Switzerland boost earnings: study

Washington - Immigrants to Switzerland who became naturalized citizens saw their earnings rise significantly compared to those who did not obtain the passport, a study showed Wednesday.Average annual earnings were 13.

Chile govt meets with unions in bid to end crisis

Santiago - Chile's government met for the first time with organized labor on Thursday, aiming to find a way out of the social unrest that has rocked the country for more than a month.

General strike as hundreds of thousands protest Colombia's government

Apo - Hundreds of thousands of Colombians took to the streets of the capital Bogota on Thursday amid a general strike to protest the policies of President Ivan Duque's right-wing government.

General strike as thousands protest Colombia's government

Apo - Tens of thousands of Colombians took to the streets of the capital Bogota on Thursday amid a general strike to protest the policies of President Ivan Duque's right-wing government.

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.
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