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Explainer: ‘Yellow vest’ crisis exposes limits of French welfare…

PARIS ( ) – France’s “yellow vest” protests have exposed a deep-rooted belief that society is not working for large swathes of the French population, especially outside major cities.

Driving the unrest is anger about rising living costs – particularly among low-paid workers – and a perception that President Emmanuel Macron is deaf to their needs as he presses on with reforms seen as favoring the wealthy.

The following graphics look at underlying economic and social indicators in France to try to explain why so many people believe,上海高端夜生活在那里Mabel, the system is working against them.


Without welfare transfers, poverty and inequality in France would be among the highest in developed countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development www.oecd.org (OECD), the Paris-based group estimates.

While many prot,上海夜网推油Eason,esters rail against what they see as a gulf between them and the upper echelons of French society, OECD data suggests that the wealth divide is not as bad as in many other rich countries.

France’s extensive welfare system keeps the poverty rate at 14.3 percent tmsnrt.rs/2AGoAPs, below the 18 percent OECD average and on a par with Scandinavian countries known for their egalitarianism.

Without tax and welfare payouts, nearly 42 percent of the population would be living in poverty, the highest rate among OECD countries for which recent data is available.

Likewise, France’s Gini coefficient, a gauge of income inequality, is slightly below the OECD average whereas without welfare transfers it would be among the highest, just behind Italy, Portugal and Greece, according to OECD data.

While a progressive tax system and generous welfare help narrow the wealth gap, it comes at a price as French taxpayers also bear the highest tax burden in the world here

Tax cuts on wealth and financial assets early on in Macron’s five-year term have added to middle-class taxpayers’ frustration and he has been criticized as being a president of the rich.


Unlike Scandinavian countries, France’s poor have little hope of improving their lot in life despite the billions of euros the government spends on them, according to OECD data.

The OECD estimates tmsnrt.rs/2Ruv0ef it would take six generations for a person from a low-income family in France to reach an average income compared with only two generations in Denmark and an OECD average of 4.5.

“There are no rungs anymore on France’s social ladder,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, a conservative, said on Monday.

While six generations is on a par with its neighbor Germany, the French have a deep attachment to the idea that state institutions, from schools to courts to government, are supposed to offer the same chance of success to all.

But despite income support for those on low incomes, they have little chance of doing better than their parents, according to a study last year by France Strategie www.strategie.gouv.fr think-tank, which is linked to the prime minister’s office.

The study found that a person whose father was a senior white-collar worker was 4.5 times more likely to belong to the wealthiest fifth of the population than someone whose father was a manual ,上海夜生活群Hadleigh,worker – largely because social origin correlates closely with one’s level of education.

While France is close to the average in international education comparisons, it has a bigger gulf between the scores of the lowest and highest performing upper school students, the OECD’s director of social affairs Stefano Scarpetta said.


The protests originally erupted in November o上海夜网ver higher fuel taxes, that have since been scrapped, and general frustration about the high cost of living, sparking the worst street violence Paris has seen in decades.

With people on low incomes surviving on welfare handouts and the lower middle class squeezed by the tax burden, the French are highly sensitive to pressure on their daily budgets.

That helps explain a national obsession with purchasing power and French politicians are frequently judged on whether people are getting more spare cash.

While protesters largely ignored new tax breaks to boost purchasing power, official data lends credence to their claims that budgets are getting squeezed.

The pressure is increasingly coming from housing costs, which now absorb 23 percent of their budgets tmsnrt.rs/2RuHxhX compared with 10 percent a generation ago, according to the official French statistics agency INSEE.

Meanwhile, a lack of jobs, deindustrialization and dwindling public services mean that discontent is highest in smaller towns cut off from the economic opportunities of bigger cities.

In towns of 5,000-10,000 people, 21 percent report below average life satisfaction compared to 14 percent in the capital Paris, INSEE said in a study this week.

Luxembourg’s Asselborn says only second referendum would merit…

LUXEMBOURG ( ) – Luxembourg’s veteran foreign minister Jean Asselborn on Friday said only a move toward a second referendum could win Britain a delay of the current Brexit date at the end of March.

A dedicated European Union federalist known for speaking his mind, Asselborn made his comments while outlining with Prime Minister Xavier Bettel their country’s preparations for the most damaging no-deal Brexit scenario.

Since British lawmakers struck down Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce deal negotiated with the EU, expectations have grown that Britain would have to seek a delay to the original Brexit date to prepare for the new reality.

March 29 is the automatic deadl,上海夜生活桑拿会所Tamara,ine for Britain to exit the EU after a two year notice period under Article 50 of the EU treaty. Extending it would require unanimity among the other 27 EU member countries.

While many EU officials have suggested any such approval would c,上海夜生活Caitlin,ome only with strings attached, Asselborn was very specific about what it would take:

“Only the initiative to hold a second referendum could be an indication to extend Article 50. Maybe it is a bit daring to say so. But it seems obvious that something strong needs to be behind the idea to tinker with Article 50.”

Prime Minister Theresa May is staunchly opposed to holding a second referendum on Brexit. Main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has said the option is on the table but has not backed it. But with no consensus in parliament on how to leave the EU, three of Britain’s four living former prime ministers say a new public vote would be the only way out of the crisis.

Bettel highlighted the problem of how any Brexit delay would impact European Parliament elections due in May.

“The ball i,上海仙霞路夜生活Rae,s in London. They have to tell us what they want. We are currently in a situation where 上海夜网we still don’t know which direction things are moving in, if there will be an agreement or not. The responsibility is in London,” Bettel said.

In case Britain crashes out of the EU without pre-negotiated agreements on what is next, Luxembourg would give some 6,000 Britons living on its soil a year to obtain residence permits and let British citizens working in Luxembourg’s schools and public sector keep their jobs, they said.

Asselborn added the government would look next week at draft laws covering Luxembourg’s financial sector in a no-deal Brexit contingency.

Labor powerhouse AFL-CIO backs Clinton, vows ‘targeted campaign’

( ) – The largest labor federation in the United States, the AFL-CIO, endorsed Hillary Clinton for president on Thursday, vowing to throw the full weight of more than 50 unions representing 12.5 million members behind the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

“Hillary Clinton is a proven leader who shares our values,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement. “We will run a sophisticated, targeted ground campaign. And with the dire consequences Donald Trump pos,上海夜网推油Caitlin,es for America’s working families, it has to be.”

While the federation generally does not endorse a上海夜生活论坛 Democratic candidate until there is an official nominee, Trumka has warned for months that he believes Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump would be disastrous for working people if elected.

After the endorsement, Clinton pledged to spend more on public infrastructure and to fight to improve schools. She vowed to increase the federal minimum wage, offer paid family leave and ensure that women receive equal pay.

“As president, I will stand proudly with the AFL-CIO and fight to protect,上海夜生活乌托邦Faith, the rights and values that helped build the mighty American middle class. Workers will always have a seat at the table and a champion in the White House,” Clinton said in a statement.

The AFL-C,上海夜生活网419Tamara,IO has already run digital ads criticizing Trump’s candidacy and will now work to boost Clinton’s campaign on the ground. Working America, one AFL-CIO affiliate that deals with nonunion workers, already has teams in crucial so-called battleground states.

In response to the federation’s endorsement of Clinton, Trump’s campaign said the AFL-CIO no longer represents the interests of American workers. “I will fight harder for American workers than anyone ever has,” Trump said in a statement.

Trump attacked Clinton for supporting free trade agreements and said he would win a majority of votes from U.S. union families.

Clinton considering Warren, not Sanders, for running mate: WSJ

WASHINGTON ( ) – Hillary Clinton is considering U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren for her running mate for the Democratic presidential ticket, the Wall Street Journal reported,上海夜网邀请码Kaia, on Thursday, citing several people familiar with the process.

Warren, a leading progressive voice among Democrats, is among those Democratic presidential candidate Clinton is vetting for the vice presidential position, the newspaper reported. Clinton’s rival Bernie Sanders is not, it added.

Sources told earlier this month that Warren, who represents Massachusetts, is considering the potential role.

Representatives for Clinton, Sanders and Warren did not immediately reply to requests for comment on the report.

Clinton is the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee for the Nov. 8 presidential election, having won the last primary contest this week in the District of Columbia.

Although Clinton and Sanders met this week, the senator from Vermont does not pl,上海新夜网龙凤Kaiden,an to end his campaign or endorse Clinton in a video speech to supporters scheduled for later on Thursday, his spokesman said.

While the search for a potential partner in the race is still in its early stages, the Journal reported several Democrats said Clinton’s campaign is looking at a number of potential candidates, including Warren.

Other prospective running mates include U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, according to the report. Senators Tim Kaine of Virginia, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Cory Booker of New Jersey as well as U.S. Representatives Xavier Becerra of California and Tim Ryan of Ohio are also under consideration, it said.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is also a potential candidate, it added.

Warren threw her support behind Clinton last week as the former secretary of state moved her sights from the nominating contest toward a Nov. 8 match-up against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Philippines holds referendum for Muslim autonomy in troubled south

MANILA ( ) – Minority Muslims in the Philippines cast votes on Monday in a long-awaited referendum on autonomy, the culmination of a peace process to end decades of separatist conflict in a region plagued by poverty, banditry and Islamist militancy.

Some 2.8 million people in Mindanao, the country’s volatile southernmost region, were asked if they backed a ,夜上海论坛Quay,plan by separatists and the government to create a self-administered area known as Bangsamoro, (nation of Moros), referring to the name Spanish colonialists gave to the area’s Muslim inhabitants.

The ballot was largely peaceful and turnout was large, according to election authorities, with a result expected within four days when a manual vote count is completed.

GRAPHIC: Philippine referendum on Muslim autonomous region IMG – tmsnrt.rs/2Hk3s7L

Overwhelmin,上海夜网千花Tallulah,g approval is expected for a plan that would grant executive, legislative and fiscal powers to a region hamstrung by decades of conflict that made it one of Asia’s poorest and most at risk of infiltration by radical groups.

The government will oversee defense, security, foreign and monetary policy, and appoint a transition authority led by the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which is expected to dominate the new setup after a 2022 election.

“It’s a historic chapter in our long, long journey towards our right to self-determination, it’s history in the making,” Mohagher Iqbal, the MILF’s top peace negotiator, told by telephone.

Nigeria’s ruling party accuses opposition of plotting pre-vote…

ABUJA ( ) – Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s government accused the main opposition party of planning violence ahead of next month’s election in a nation with a history of unrest and fraud allegations around votes.

The opposition called it a “ludicrous” pretext for repression.

The Feb. 16 vote in Africa’s top oil producer pits Buhari, a military ruler in the 1980s who was voted into office in 2015, against main opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar, a businessman and former vice president.

Reliable polls are hard to find in the nation of 190 million people, and analyst,上海夜生活Kade,s widely expect a tight race, partly because opposi,上海夜生活去哪玩Idaline,tion stronghold states have seen a bigger increase in voter registration than ones where the ruling party is popular.

“We have credible intelligence that armed bandits andBoko Haram insurgents have been mobilized to engage in massive attacks and other acts of violence in several states,” Information Minister Lai Mohammed said, pointing the finger at Abubakar’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Mohammed, who did not provide details of evidence, said the opposition wanted to create a constitutional crisis and trigger an interim government because it could not win the election.

“It is imperative to state that the PDP finds the claims of Alhaji Lai Mohammed irresponsible and ludicrous. It is just a measure for building the ground for fra上海夜生活网ming up and arrest of leading members,” said the PDP in an emailed statement.

In October, Buhari sought to reassure voters the election would be free and fair after the opposition and international observers raised concerns that a gubernatorial vote was marred by voter intimi,上海足浴夜网联系方式Lake,dation.

Security has become a campaign issue due to an uptick in attacks by Islamist insurgents in the northeast.

Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) and Boko Haram, the militant group from which it broke away in 2016, have both carried out attacks in the last few months.

The PDP in its statement also urged the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a free election.

“The entire nation is worried and the palpable fear of every Nigerian today is whether (INEC chairman) Mahmood Yakubu can conduct an election, which will indeed be free, fair, credible and transparent,” it said.

INEC spokesman Rotimi Oyekanmi declined to comment.

U.S. judge to mull release of Trump video testimony

SAN DIEGO ( ) – U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel said on Wednesday he would take more time to decide whether video excer,上海夜生活Balthazar,pts of Republican presidential candidate Don上海夜生活网ald Trump answering questions under oath about his Trump University seminars should b,上海夜哪里艳遇Rae,e made public.

Curiel is overseeing two class-action lawsuits in San Diego over the real estate seminar venture. A separate fraud case by New York state’s attorney general is pending.

Trump has suggested Curiel is biased against him because of his campaign rhetoric about illegal immigration. Curiel was born in Indiana but is of Mexican descent.

On Wednesday, Trump’s lawyers,上海夜生活服务Octavia, fought release of the videos, arguing that they would be exploited during the presidential campaign. “There’s all kinds of potential for mischief,” Daniel Petrocelli, a lawyer for Trump, told Curiel.

Jason Forge, a lawyer for the students who claim they were misled and defrauded by Trump University, said Petrocelli could not point to any particular harm if the videos are released since transcripts are already public.

The lawsuits accuse Trump of bilking students who paid as much as $35,000 each to learn his real estate investment strategies. The students claim they learned little. Trump has claimed a majority of students were satisfied with the seminars.

EU warns of crime risks from governments’ sales of passports, visas

BRUSSELS ( ) – T,上海足浴夜网联系方式Kade,he European Commission said on Wednesday that programs of some EU states to sell passports and visas to wealthy foreigners could help organized crime groups infiltrate the bloc and raise the risk of money laundering, corruption and tax evasion.

The warning is contained in the EU executive’s first report on the multi-billion-dollar industry of so-called “investment migration”, which allows rich individuals to buy citizenship or residence in countries that put them on sale.

Although legal, these schemes are sometimes run in opaque ways and without sufficient checks on those who acquire passports and visas, the Commission said, mostly raising concerns about the programs in Malta and Cyprus.

Brussels warned of risks for the entire EU as passports and residence permits issued by one country of the 28-nation bloc give unhindered access to most other member states.

This causes “possible security risks such as money laundering, terrorist financing, corruption and infiltration of organized crime,” the Commission said, confirming a story earlier this week.

Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria are the only EU countries which sell their citizenship, issuing “golden passports” in return for investments ranging between around 1 million and 2 million euros ($2.2 million).

Twenty EU states, including those three, sell residence permits, or “golden visas”, to foreigners willing to invest in their new host country, with a range of between nearly 15,000 euros ($17,000) in Croatia and over 5 million euros in Luxembourg and Slovakia.

Bulgaria, which is not part of the EU’s border-free Schengen area, said on Tuesday it would halt its passport-selling program.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades accused Brussels of “double standards”, saying Cyp上海夜生活论坛rus was being unfairly targeted and that it applied the “strictest criteria” for such schemes in the EU.

The Maltese government said it had already addressed many of the concerns raised by the Commission.

Henley & Partners, the firm which set up Malta’s scheme, said the Commission assessment was “fundamentally misguided” and that it ignored the economic benefits of the program.


The Commission did not provide estimates of the revenues made by EU states who run these schemes.

A report from campaign groups Global Witness and Transparency International said in October that EU states generated around 25 billion euros in foreign direct investment in a decade from selling at least 6,000 passports and nearly 100,000 residency permits.

The Commission’s report said Malta and Cyprus did not sufficiently check the origins of wealth of individuals who bought citizenship and did not allow for their easy identification.

They also circumvented EU rules that require “ef,上海夜生活Mabel,fective” residence in an EU state before granting citizenship, it said.

“There should be no weak link in the EU, where people could shop around for the most lenient scheme,” EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said.

Brussels said a group of experts would recommend by the end of 2019 a common set of security checks for passport-for-sale programs.

Jouro,上海夜网官方网站Caden,va said the EU cannot ban the schemes but can require changes. The report, which comes five years after the EU Parliament urged the Commission to act, did not recommend any legislative changes or sanctions.

“The Commission’s report tells us nothing about what member states actually need to do – they’ve sounded an alarm, and yet offered no solution,” said Naomi Hirst of Global Witness.

(This version of the story was refiled to fix typo in company name in paragraph 11)