Air France pilots join embarrassing train garbage strikes

by Raphael Satter And Mstyslav Chernov, The Associated Press Posted Jun 11, 2016 3:55 am MDT Last Updated Jun 11, 2016 at 8:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Air France pilots join embarrassing train, garbage strikes PARIS – About a quarter of Air France pilots are striking to demand better working conditions — the latest challenge to travellers and France’s image as it hosts Europe’s biggest sporting event.Weeks of strikes and demonstrations over the country’s labour reforms and other industrial disputes have led to panic at the pumps, violent protests in the streets and, most recently, garbage rotting in the gutters. It’s a litany of headaches which some Parisians fear will scare away visitors.“I’m telling you, France has become a very ugly country,” Francoise Cuip, 60, told a reporter in Paris’ well-heeled 16th district. “It’s my country, but that’s the way it is.”French leaders had hoped to put the disruption behind them as the country turned its attention to the European Championship soccer tournament, which is expected to draw over 2 million visitors, but unions are planning to keep up the airline and trash strikes through Tuesday.Up to a fifth of flights are cancelled Saturday, Air France said, both domestic and international. Among those affected were flights carrying spectators to cities holding matches.French train drivers have also been on strike for days; France’s SNCF rail company was disrupted in the southeast, with cancellations possible. In Paris the rail link between the capital and Charles de Gaulle Airport was disrupted, with few trains running along the usually busy route.Meanwhile garbage was piling up uncollected because of a continuing strike and blockages by collectors.On the streets of the capital, there was exasperation at the drumbeat of disruption.“When it’s not the trains, when it’s not the metro, it’s the trash,” said Catherine Jacob, 48, who was walking past an overflowing garbage bin near Paris’ Trocardero. “In terms of hygiene, it’s not good for the tourists, it’s not good for the residents. Tomorrow we’ll have rats in the street.”Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Twitter that the city was “mobilizing all means, public and private” to clear the garbage.The strikes are occurring for different reasons, but the labour unrest is tapping into nationwide discontent as the government tries to change laws regulating working hours and layoffs.The influential CGT union, which is driving much of the action, may meet with the government over the weekend. read more

Youth envoy for UN Palestine refugee agency says goals can be achieved

“I want to give hope to my people. I want them to see that nothing is impossible,” said Mr. Assaf during his first press briefing in New York since being named in June the first-ever Regional Youth Ambassador for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. He won the 2013 Arab Idol singing contest earlier this year.“No matter how famous I become, I will never forget my roots; I will never forget that I belong to Gaza. This is the place that taught me that difficulties make you tough and ambitions,” he added.Mr. Assaf is at Headquarters participating in a host of events for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, observed annually on 29 November. The Day marks the date in 1947 when the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution partitioning then-mandated Palestine into two States, one Jewish and one Arab. The UN Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People kicked off the commemoration with a special meeting yesterday attended by the young envoy and Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, among other senior UN officials. At that meeting, Mr. Assaf described the challenging environment in which the children of Gaza grew up, saying they did not have real social or economic rights, including a decent standard of living, adequate housing, clean water, safety and dignity. Yet, UNRWA is there every day defending Palestinians’ right to those basic human needs, which is all the more important in light of the deteriorating circumstances. He appealed to UNRWA’s supporters to ensure that the agency, which faces a funding gap of over $30 million this year, could maintain its services. “Please support UNRWA, just as it has supported me and so many other Palestine refugees by giving us the strength to work for a better future”, he said.More than 40 per cent of the 5.3 million Palestinian refugees UNRWA aids are youths between the ages of 15 and 30, and speaking through a translator at today’s press confefrence, Mr. Assaf reiterated his plea, calling on donors to scale up support because the agency’s work is a “lifeline” for the Palestinian people. Asked about what was next for him, the 23-year-old said that while he would like to focus on his singing and “leave my mark” on the entertainment industry, he also wanted “to do something for my county and the cause of my people.” “I want them to feel that there is hope, no matter how hard their lives are and no matter how many obstacles there are. With hope, determination and creativity one can set a goal and achieve it,” he declared.Mr. Assaf said that creativity and talent exists in Palestine in abundance; but very few schools existed that could help that talent flourish. He again appealed to the international community to help support institutes that could instruct youth in music and arts. If their creativity is harnessed, Palestinian youth “can make a big difference,” he said. read more

13 of the English languages most delightful collective nouns

first_imgOF ALL THE elements of the English language, the most delightful has got to be the collective noun.When the word for a group of something is just right, it can be a real joy.Like these, for example.  How many did you know already?A cackle of hyenas Source: bduAn illusion of painters Source: photophildeAn impatience of wives Source: Keith AllisonAn ostentation of peacocks Source: Madison BerndtA rascal of boys Source: USFWS PacificA sentence of judges Source: Laura HuttonA hand of bananas Source: 24oranges.nlA superfluity of nuns Source: Christophe BeckerA wunch of bankers Source: Mary PoppinsA flourish of blossoms Source: Franck MahonA rhumba of rattlesnakes Source: Tambako the JaguarA babble of barbers Source: Mr AT( Alec Trusler LRPS)A shuffle of bureaucrats Source: Adam Jones, Ph.D. – Global Photo ArchiveTwitter was delighted at Claire Byrne’s return to Prime Time last night>Woman enlists the help of an entire town to find guy she met in bar>last_img read more