1. FRENCH POLICE AND PROTESTERS CLASH IN PARIS STRIKE
Police in Paris clashed with protesters as demonstrators took to the streets as part of nationwide strikes over the French government’s plans to overhaul the retirement system.
An estimated 65,000 protesters marched in the capital yesterday in demonstrations aimed at forcing President Emmanuel Macron to ditch a planned reform of pensions.
In the capital, police fired tear gas at demonstrators who responded by hurling objects at officers, damaging shops and setting fires.
The country’s unions instigated the open-ended, nationwide walkout over Macron’s centerpiece reform in the biggest challenge to the centrist since the yellow vest movement against economic inequality erupted a year ago.
2. IRAN GAS EXPLOSION KILLS AT LEAST 11 PEOPLE, INJURES DOZENS
At least 11 people were killed and dozens were injured in a gas explosion in Iran’s western Kurdistan province yesterday.
Provincial emergency officials said five children were among the victims when the gas explosion occurred at a wedding hall at night at Saqqez city, with dozens injured while attempting escape.
Mehr said rescue teams and ambulances had been dispatched to the scene.
3. MEASLES KILLS 140,000, WHO OUTRAGED
Measles infected nearly 10 million people in 2018 and killed 140,000, mostly children, as devastating outbreaks of the viral disease hit every region of the world.
The World Health Organisation said most of last year’s measles deaths were in children under five years old who had not been vaccinated.
It added the picture for 2019 is even worse, with provisional data up to November showing a three-fold increase compared with the same period in 2018.
According to the WHO, global measles vaccination rates have stagnated for almost a decade.
In some wealthier nations, vaccination rates have been hit by some parents shunning them for what they say are religious or philosophical reasons. Mistrust of authority and debunked myths about links to autism also weaken vaccine confidence and lead some parents to delay protecting their children.