For the first time in 35 years. Turkey-Armenia crossing reopens for aid delivery

For the first time in 35 years. Turkey-Armenia crossing reopens for aid delivery A crossing between Armenia and Turkey has opened for the first time in 35 years to allow the passage of humanitarian aid after the earthquake in the region, Anadolu Agency reported Saturday, through which 5 Armenian aid trucks entered.  Turkish authorities have reopened the Ali Can border crossing with Armenia after 35 years of closure, to deliver aid to earthquake-affected areas.  Through the crossing, 5 Armenian aid trucks entered Turkish territory heading to the earthquake zones.  The Ali Can crossing witnessed a similar incident in 1988 when Turkish aid trucks crossed into Armenia, which was hit by an earthquake.  Turkey's earthquake death toll rose to 21,848 and the injured to 80,104, while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Kahramanmaraş earthquake is three times stronger and more destructive than the 1999 earthquake engraved in the country's memory.  At dawn on February 6, an earthquake struck southern Turkey and northern Syria with a magnitude of 7.7, followed by another hours later with a magnitude of 7.6 and hundreds of violent aftershocks, leaving large losses of life and property in the two countries.  On Tuesday, President Erdogan declared a state of emergency for 3 months in 10 provinces affected by the earthquake, namely Adana, Adi Yaman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaraş, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye and Şanlıurfa.    France Nationwide protests against government plans to overhaul pension system Hundreds of thousands of French people are demonstrating for the fourth day nationwide since the start of the year to pressure the government to abandon plans for pension reform that have been widely rejected by the public.  Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to rally across France on Saturday as protesters seek to keep up pressure on the government to abandon plans to raise the retirement age.  After three days of nationwide strikes since the start of the year, trade unions are hoping to repeat the mass turnout seen on January 19, when more than a million people demonstrated against raising the age of eligibility for a full government pension from 62 to 64.  Laurent Bergé, president of the French Democratic Confederation of Labour (CFDT), France's largest union, said on Friday: "I expect a lot of people. We need to be too many," he said, adding that about 250 nationwide demonstrations had been planned.  "A kind of contempt (from the government). There is no response to the (social) movement and it needs a response."  The French get the most years of retirement compared to their OECD counterparts, an advantage that opinion polls show a large majority are reluctant to give up.  President Emmanuel Macron said reform was "necessary" to ensure the continuity of the pension system.  In a joint statement, the main trade unions called on the government to withdraw the bill. It warned that it would seek to paralyze life in France from March 16 if its demands were not met.  A strike is scheduled for  February.  "If the government keeps its eyes closed, the trade union group will call for France to be shut down."  Saturday's protests will be the first to take place over the weekend without employees needing to go on strike or take time off to participate. It also comes after the first week of debate on the retirement law in Parliament.  The opposition has proposed thousands of amendments to complicate the debate and eventually force the government to pass the bill without a parliamentary vote and through a decree, a move that could ruin what remains of Macron's term.  Raising the retirement age by two years and extending the period of employee payment of contributions would generate 17.7 billion euros ($19.18 billion) in pension contributions annually, allowing the system to balance by 2027, according to Labor Department estimates.  Unions say this is done in other ways, such as taxing the super-rich or requiring well-off employers or pensioners to make larger contributions.

A crossing between Armenia and Turkey has opened for the first time in 35 years to allow the passage of humanitarian aid after the earthquake in the region, Anadolu Agency reported Saturday, through which 5 Armenian aid trucks entered.

Turkish authorities have reopened the Ali Can border crossing with Armenia after 35 years of closure, to deliver aid to earthquake-affected areas.

Through the crossing, 5 Armenian aid trucks entered Turkish territory heading to the earthquake zones.

The Ali Can crossing witnessed a similar incident in 1988 when Turkish aid trucks crossed into Armenia, which was hit by an earthquake.

Turkey's earthquake death toll rose to 21,848 and the injured to 80,104, while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Kahramanmaraş earthquake is three times stronger and more destructive than the 1999 earthquake engraved in the country's memory.

At dawn on February 6, an earthquake struck southern Turkey and northern Syria with a magnitude of 7.7, followed by another hours later with a magnitude of 7.6 and hundreds of violent aftershocks, leaving large losses of life and property in the two countries.

On Tuesday, President Erdogan declared a state of emergency for 3 months in 10 provinces affected by the earthquake, namely Adana, Adi Yaman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaraş, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye and Şanlıurfa.

France Nationwide protests against government plans to overhaul pension system

Hundreds of thousands of French people are demonstrating for the fourth day nationwide since the start of the year to pressure the government to abandon plans for pension reform that have been widely rejected by the public.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to rally across France on Saturday as protesters seek to keep up pressure on the government to abandon plans to raise the retirement age.

After three days of nationwide strikes since the start of the year, trade unions are hoping to repeat the mass turnout seen on January 19, when more than a million people demonstrated against raising the age of eligibility for a full government pension from 62 to 64.

Laurent Bergé, president of the French Democratic Confederation of Labour (CFDT), France's largest union, said on Friday: "I expect a lot of people. We need to be too many," he said, adding that about 250 nationwide demonstrations had been planned.

"A kind of contempt (from the government). There is no response to the (social) movement and it needs a response."

The French get the most years of retirement compared to their OECD counterparts, an advantage that opinion polls show a large majority are reluctant to give up.

President Emmanuel Macron said reform was "necessary" to ensure the continuity of the pension system.

In a joint statement, the main trade unions called on the government to withdraw the bill. It warned that it would seek to paralyze life in France from March 16 if its demands were not met.

A strike is scheduled for  February.

"If the government keeps its eyes closed, the trade union group will call for France to be shut down."

Saturday's protests will be the first to take place over the weekend without employees needing to go on strike or take time off to participate. It also comes after the first week of debate on the retirement law in Parliament.

The opposition has proposed thousands of amendments to complicate the debate and eventually force the government to pass the bill without a parliamentary vote and through a decree, a move that could ruin what remains of Macron's term.

Raising the retirement age by two years and extending the period of employee payment of contributions would generate 17.7 billion euros ($19.18 billion) in pension contributions annually, allowing the system to balance by 2027, according to Labor Department estimates.

Unions say this is done in other ways, such as taxing the super-rich or requiring well-off employers or pensioners to make larger contributions.
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