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Global News Blog

International news roundup – Jan. 29

(Page 2 of 2)

The private and public sectors across France united Thursday in a strike by hundreds of thousands of workers to demand greater efforts to stimulate the economy. Participants came from factories, transit systems, schools, banks, hospitals, the Paris stock exchange, and the mail service. Organizers said President Nicolas Sarkozy’s recently announced $33 billion stimulus plan is insufficient. Above, steelworkers in Marseille join the walkout.

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Pirates pulled off a new seizure of a ship in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia Thursday, reports said. A US Navy spokesman and a diplomat based in neighboring Kenya confirmed that the ship is a German tanker, the Longchamp, with 13 crewmen aboard. It is believed to be carrying liquefied petroleum gas. The hijacking is the third in the region this month, after pirates extorted an estimated $30 million from ship owners last year.

If Prime Minister Stephen Harper provides Parliament with regular status reports on the Canadian economy, the opposition Liberal Party won’t vote against his proposed $32 billion stimulus plan, it announced. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff (above, at a news briefing) said Harper is “on probation” and must give the updates by March 26, June 23, and Dec. 10. His government is projecting a deficit for the first time in 10 years, and a defeat of his budget in Parliament could have thrown power to a coalition of opposition parties led by the Liberals.

Six hostages being held by Colombia’s largest rebel movement will be freed in stages Sunday, a negotiator said. Sen. Piedad Cordoba said Red Cross workers traveling in helicopters loaned by Brazil would accept custody. The Revolutionary Armed Forces are believed to be holding at least 350 hostages, among them political figures whom they’ve tried unsuccessfully to trade for colleagues in prison.

– Compiled from the wires

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