France's new strategy for autism, which the government has said aims to give autistic children and adults a life "as normal as possible", is set to be officially unveiled by French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Friday. It is hoped that this new plan will make up for the outdated treatment of children and adults with autism in France that has been denounced by the United Nations as a “widespread violation” of citizens’ rights. During his election campaign Macron said that he wanted everyone “to be included in school and everyday life”. Autism is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior and affects "about 1 percent of the population", which translates to about 700,000 people in France, including 600,000 adults, according to the French authorities. The budget for the autism plan, which is the country's fourth, is €344 million which will be spent over five years, from 2018 to … [Read more...] about How France plans to overhaul its much-criticized approach to autism
These were the first talks between the French rail workers unions and the government since the beginning of three-months of rolling strikes on Monday evening that are fast becoming the greatest challenge to President Emmanuel Macron since his election last May. The strikes are set to resume on Sunday for another two days of industrial action and will continue until June (see calendar below) unless a compromise can be reached. But following the six-hour meeting unions were furious. The CGT's Laurent Brun said the talks were "painful and useless". "It was a real masquerade,” said Brun. “The government doesn’t have anything to offer and is not solving any problems.” The unions deplore what they see as the government’s hardening stance and have threatened to up the ante and intensify the strikes. “The government is storming on ahead to try and asphyxiate us. We are in a situation where the strikes may intensify,” said Roger Dillenseger … [Read more...] about French rail unions threaten to up strike stakes after ‘useless’ talks
Main info on Wednesday Passengers advised not to go to stations if train is cancelled TGV high speed services hit. Only 1 in 7 operating TER regional trains running at 20 percent of normal service Only 1 in 8 Intercité trains running Only around a quarter of trains running in Paris region All RER services disrupted to varying extents International trains including Eurostar also impacted to lesser degree Paris Metro service running as normal Only one in seven high-speed TGV trains and one in five regional trains were expected to be running, state rail operator SNCF warned, after similar stoppages on the first day of the walkout that French media dubbed "Black Tuesday". The strike is being led by SNCF staff but workers at Air France as well as garbage collectors and some energy workers also staged separate walkouts in a growing atmosphere of social strife 11 months after 40-year-old Macron came to power. Macron's government says the … [Read more...] about France faces second day of transport chaos as rail workers continue strike
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced the government's plans to cut the number of lawmakers, including MPs and Senators by one third by 2019. It means the number of MPs in the French National Assembly will drop from 577 to 404 and the number of Senators will also drop from 348 to 244. The number of deputies and senators will be reduced by 30 percent "under conditions that guarantee the representation of all departments and territories," said Philippe. However not everybody is for the change, with some MPs warning of the risk of the electorate becoming disconnected with parliament. "There must be between 20 and 25 percent [fewer parliamentarians] but 30 percent is not possible" because it "would sacrifice the most fragile territories," senator for right-wing party Les Republicains, Bruno Retailleau told the French press. Philippe also announced on Wednesday that in the legislative elections in 2022, 15 … [Read more...] about French parliament to shrink as government set to slash third of MPs and senators
"May 68. They are commemorating, we are starting again", reads a slogan recently tagged onto the statue at the iconic Place de la République square in central Paris, which is so often the hub where protesters and strikers gather. The graffiti is not just wanton vandalism and could be a word of warning to the French government. Nearly 50 years ago in May 1968, student protests over the education system flared up into nationwide confrontation and turned into one of the greatest upheaval in modern day France. This week, student demonstrations over new tighter university admissions rules appeared to be headed in the same direction, as several hundred students in the universities of Lyon, Lille, Strasbourg and Bordeaux joined ranks with France's railworkers as they staged a second day of strikes. This move came as ten out France's 73 universities including Montpellier, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes, Rouen, Lille, Strasbourg, Nancy, Nice and several Paris universities were closed or … [Read more...] about As strikes and student protests mount, is France heading for a rerun of May 68?