Saturday 11 July 2020
News ID: 80104
Publish Date: 30 June 2020 - 21:54
PARIS (Reuters) -- Air France aims to present a plan to trade unions to cut just over 6,500 jobs over the next two years, three sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday, as the airline grapples with the coronavirus crisis. France’s flagship airline, part of the Air France-KLM group, is cutting capacity and exiting loss-making domestic routes as the pandemic hits international travel. On top of the 6.500 staff cuts - roughly representing just under 15% of employees such as pilots, ground staff and flight attendants - an additional 1,000 layoffs would be made at Air France’s "HOP!” airline, one of the three sources said. BFM TV and Agence France Presse earlier reported 7,500 looming job losses. Air France declined to comment on its labour plans. It is expected to hold talks with unions on Friday.

CHENNAI/NEW DELHI (Reuters) -- India’s prime minister on Tuesday warned citizens against flouting rules to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, as he extended a vast social security scheme until November. Several Indian cities prepared to extend their lockdowns to combat the spread of the infection on Tuesday, with daily new cases in the country remaining close to 20,000. "Ever since (easing of restrictions) started in the country, negligence in personal and social behaviour has been increasing,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a televised address, adding citizens were ignoring guidelines on social distancing and hand washing. Under pressure for leaving the poor to fend for themselves early in a stringent lockdown that began in March, Modi also announced the extension of a scheme providing free food grains to 800 million Indians, at a cost of around $12 billion. The opposition Congress Party, led by Rahul Gandhi, said the measures were inadequate, calling for direct cash transfers to the poorest in the country.
LONDON (Reuters) -- Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday Britain could not continue to be "prisoners of this crisis” as he outlined plans to boost Britain’s economy, devastated by the coronavirus lockdown. He said while people were rightly still nervous about further outbreaks of the virus, the government had to spell out the way ahead. "We cannot continue, simply, to be prisoners of this crisis,” he said in a speech in central England. The United Kingdom’s suspected COVID-19 death toll has hit 54,852, according to a Reuters tally of official data sources that underlines the country’s status as one of the worst hit in the world.

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin and his counterpart from Belarus on Tuesday unveiled a monument honoring the fallen Red Army soldiers who fought in one of the most bloody battles of World War II. Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko traveled to the village of Khoroshevo, just outside Rzhev, about 200 kilometers (about 125 miles) northwest of Moscow for a somber ceremony that involved goose-stepping troops laying wreaths to the towering figure of a soldier. The battle of Rzhev, in which the Red Army launched a series of offensives in 1942-1943 to dislodge the Wermacht from its positions close to Moscow, involved enormous Soviet losses from persistent, poorly prepared attacks against well-fortified Nazi positions. Putin said that 1.3 million Red Army soldiers were killed, wounded in combat or went missing in action during the fighting around Rzhev that raged for more than a year. The battle, which became known as "the Rzhev meat grinder,” was largely neglected by Soviet propaganda and official historians because of the Red Army’s huge losses and its generals’ blunders.

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) -- Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan told parliament on Tuesday he had no doubt that India was behind an attack on the stock exchange building in the southern city of Karachi. Four gunmen armed with grenades attacked the Pakistan Stock Exchange on Monday, killing two guards and a policeman before security forces killed the attackers. "There is no doubt that India is behind the attack,” Khan said in his address to parliament - a charge that India had denied a day earlier. Khan offered no evidence for his allegation, but he said there had been intelligence reports warning of attacks in Pakistan and he had informed his cabinet about the threat. The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), a separatist insurgent group from the southwestern province of Balochistan, claimed responsibility for the attack in a message on Twitter.

KHARTOUM (Reuters) -- Tens of thousands demonstrated on Tuesday in Sudanese cities despite a coronavirus lockdown to demand greater civilian rule after the ouster of veteran strongman Omar al-Bashir last year. Waving Sudanese flags, protesters gathered in Khartoum and its twin cities Khartoum North and Omdurman after the government closed roads and bridges leading to the centre of the capital. Similar protests took also place in Kassala in eastern Sudan and in the restive region of Darfur. They chanted "freedom, peace and justice”, the slogan of the anti-Bashir movement. Some protesters blocked streets with burning tyres. Premier Abdalla Hamdok, a technocrat, governs the country in awkward tandem with the long dominant military that helped remove Bashir after mass protests against his 30-year autocracy. An opposition coalition agreed to joint governance with the military in a two-year transition towards free elections but key parts of the deal have not been implemented, such as appointing civilian state governors and establishing a parliament.

* Comment: