PARIS:The French defense minister says officials are still checking the authenticity of a purported tape of Osama bin Laden threatening France, but it’s possible it’s the real thing.
PARIS French unions are not giving up: Thursday saw more nationwide street protests and strike-caused travel woes even though parliament has already approved President Nicolas Sarkozy’s unpopular plan to raise the retirement age.
Protests have cost the country $280 to $560 million a day, Christine Lagarde saysCosts include fuel shortages and lost foreign investment she saysUnions have been fighting a government plan to raise the retirement age to 62The government is pushing ahead, saying it can’t afford the current pension system
The Grandpuits refinery was one of 12 where strikers had halted operations since early last week, leaving drivers short of gasoline. Refineries, fuel depots and ports have been blocked and intermittent clashes have broken out between demonstrators and the police. In Lyon, an epicenter of violent protest, riot police stood by on Friday in case of further disturbances, witnesses said.