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26 Nov

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

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Irish Examiner>>

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Cold showers and bloody protests – Sunday’s best photos

Paris begins clean-up of damage at cost of up to £1.3m as 200 extra workers drafted in

Cleaning crews clear the debris and barricades on the Champs-Élysées after the protests.

Cleaning crews clear the debris and barricades on the Champs-Élysées after the protests. Photograph: Tristan Reynaud/Sipa/Rex/Shutterstock

Emmanuel Macron has said the “battle scenes” in central Paris between police and protesters over the weekend risked unnerving foreigners.

The French president told ministers at a cabinet meeting on Monday that the government must respond after images were relayed around the world of police firing teargas and water cannon at protesters who set up barricades, lit fires and smashed restaurants and shopfronts on the Champs-Élysées.

France was still clearing up on Monday after the clashes, which were sparked by anger over fuel tax rises. The clean-up operation continued along what France calls the “most beautiful avenue in the world”, as city authorities mobilised 200 extra workers to repair the damage to streets and buildings.

Shopkeepers whose windows were smashed and tagged with graffiti during what was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration by the gilets jaunes (yellow vests), had been hoping for a busy weekend after the Champs-Élysées’s celebrated Christmas lights were turned on last week.

Instead, they were forced to shut their shops as the street turned into a battlefield when a small number of protesters built barricades between themselves and the police and set fire to them.

“We shouldn’t underestimate the impact of these images of the Champs-Élysées […] with battle scenes that were broadcast by the media in France and abroad,” government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux told a news briefing, recounting Macron’s words. “Behind this anger there is obviously something deeper and which we must answer, because this anger, these anxieties have existed for a long time,” Griveaux said.

BFM TV reported that France’s intelligence services had identified 80 to 120 extreme-right sympathisers at the heart of the violence, while other media claimed tags and logos at the scene suggested extreme leftwing and anarchist organisations were involved.

Officials said it was too early to establish the cost of the damage, but one estimated it could be up to €1.5m (£1.3m).

A protester wearing the gilet jaune stands on a traffic light on the Champs-Elysee in Paris. Photograph: Benoît Tessier/Reuters

Sparked by fuel price rises, the gilets jaunes movement has embraced wider dissatisfaction with Macron and his centrist government, who are seen as out of touch with ordinary people. Ministers have said there will be no U-turn on fuel tax increases, which are part of environmental measures. Macron is expected to respond to the protests in a speech on Tuesday.

The Paris police chief, Michel Delpuech, said forces had used 5,000 teargas canisters, “more than one a minute, which has never been seen before”, while fire services put out about 100 fires. Police arrested 103 people, including a handful of minors; 45 have been charged and are due to appear before a judge.

Thirty-one people were injured in the clashes, 24 protesters and seven police officers. One protester was accused of throwing metal nuts at police, leaving one officer at risk of losing an eye, and was due in court on Monday along with a prison guard reportedly carrying a hammer when he was arrested at the protests.

The interior minister, Christophe Castaner, blamed “seditious” and “ultra-right” hooligans for hijacking the gilets jaunes protest and sparking violence, but police said those arrested were mostly young men with no criminal record, many of them from outside Paris.

“We are well aware that it’s a very small minority who for several years have attached themselves to protests each time in order to smash everything up,” said Emmanuel Grégoire, Paris deputy mayor.

Officials said more than 106,000 gilets jaunes protested across France on Saturday, about half the number in demonstrations the previous week, in which two people died. Reports that further protests are planned in Paris on 1 December have been denied by unofficial representatives of the gilets jaunes, who have no official leaders or organisation.

In Italy, a protest group inspired by the gilets jaunes and unveiled on Facebook on Saturday has garnered thousands of supporters online. Alberto Nardozzi, who runs market stalls in Turin and started the Italian protest group, said Brussels was the focus of his ire.

“We are inspired by the French gilet jaunes,” he said. “But we are motivated by other issues. We, unlike the French, support our government. What we protest against is Europe. We want Europe to no longer interfere with Italian politics.”

Nardozzi said his group, which was planning a major rally in January, opposed the so-called Bolkestein directive, which liberalises cross-border services in the EU’s internal market, as well as taxes on business and motorway tolls.

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World Politics

Great Britain

Brexit 11 December named as date for MPs’ vote on May’s deal

Commons will vote after five-day debate when PM will hope to win over Tory backbenchers

Theresa May gives a statement to the Commons

Theresa May gives a statement on Monday to the Commons on the Brexit deal. Photograph: Jessica Taylor/AFP/Getty Images

Theresa May will stage the make-or-break vote on her final Brexit deal on Tuesday 11 December after a marathon Commons debate in which the prime minister hopes to turn around the 89 Tory MPs who say they cannot support it.

The crucial vote will come at the end of a five-day debate, according to a letter sent out by Julian Smith, the chief whip, to Conservative MPs that was leaked on Monday afternoon.

Dozens of Conservative backbenchers have publicly declared they were unable to support May’s deal, voicing complaints about the customs backstop that would tie the UK to some EU rules if a long-term free trade deal could not be signed.

No 10 said it was well aware of the scale of the opposition. “The number of MPs that there are is well understood,” a Downing Street spokesman said, while insisting May was confident of winning the vote.

Confirmation of the timetable came as the prime minister discussed with her cabinet at a one-hour political session how she was going to sell her Brexit deal to MPs and the country at large.

The spokesman added: “Cabinet talked about the strategy we are going to deploy to win the meaningful vote.”

However, it is now thought unlikely that May will challenge Jeremy Corbyn to a television debate on the Brexit deal. The idea is one of a number of ideas that had been considered by No 10 but insiders said: “There are a number of ideas that haven’t got off the ground.”

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Politics live – May makes statement to Commons>>

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