French labor unions have begun a nationwide strike to protest the government's plan to make it easier for companies to fire young workers. Public transport workers were among the first to go on strike, causing delays on bus, rail and subway lines around the country. Commuter train services in the capital, Paris, were badly affected. But trains were still running on the Eurostar lines to Brussels and London. Airport authorities warned travelers of delays. No newspapers were printed today, leaving newsstands empty. Serious disruptions are also expected at schools, post offices, media companies, utilities, banks, government offices and unemployment bureaus.
Thailand: Police in Thailand are warning that protesters trying to oust Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra could paralyze Bangkok if they hold demonstrations in a popular
shopping district. Protest organizers have said they plan to hold demonstrations near Siam Square, outside the city's newest shopping mall, along streets known for congested traffic. Police officials say if the protest blocks roads for an extended period, it could cause massive disruptions throughout the city. Thailand is embroiled in a political crisis with opposition parties and street protesters demanding Prime Minister Thaksin step down.
Afghan Religion: Afghanistan's justice minister says an Afghan man who faced a possible death sentence for converting to Christianity has been freed from jail. The justice minister (Mohammed Sarwar Danish) announced today (Tuesday) that Abdur Rahman was released from custody Monday night. His whereabouts are unclear but some Afghan officials say he is still in state custody undergoing additional psychiatric tests. The deputy attorney general (Mohammad Eshaq Aloko) says questions were raised regarding Rahman's mental fitness to stand trial. He (Aloko) says Rahman may require medical treatment overseas.
Vietnam: Vietnam War veterans and rights activists are gathered in Vietnam for an international conference on victims of the defoliant Agent Orange. Participating in
today's (Tuesday's) conference are Vietnam War veterans from countries including the United States, South Korea, Australia and Vietnam -- as well as the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange. Agent Orange victims from Vietnam and elsewhere have been fighting for compensation from U.S. chemical companies that produced the defoliant.
Palestinian militants fired rockets into southern Israel today (Tuesday), killing at least two people as voting was underway in Israeli parliamentary elections that could lead to new borders with the Palestinians. Israeli medical sources say rockets fired from the Gaza Strip landed near the agricultural community of Nahal Oz near the border.
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