Macron holds firm on pensions reform in face of public anger

Macron holds firm on pensions reform in face of public anger

Emmanuel Macron, France president, defended his unpopular plan to raise the retirement age on Wednesday as being key to repairing the public finances but acknowleged public anger over his government’s decision to pass the law without a parliamentary vote.

“Do you think I enjoy doing this reform? No,” said Macron in a televised interview. “But there are not a hundred ways to balance the accounts . . . this reform is not a luxury or a pleasure, it’s a necessity for the country.”

It was the first time Macron had spoken publicly since his government forced the pension bill through parliament and survived the resulting no-confidence votes.

Since then, scattered small-scale protests have erupted nightly in cities from Paris to Rennes, leading to more than 800 arrests. Labour unions have vowed to keep up the pressure with a nationwide demonstration set for Thursday.

Officials are monitoring the situation closely — 12,000 police officers will be deployed on Thursday — because they fear a return to the chaotic days of the gilets jaunes protests of 2018.

Macron said he respected the constitutional rights of citizens to demonstrate peacefully, but condemned the actions of some protesters who threatened MPs and defaced their offices. “We will not tolerate any outbursts,” he said.

He appeared to compare those protesters with those who stormed the US Capitol in 2021, saying: “When the US experienced what it went through on Capitol Hill, when Brazil experienced what it experienced, when you had the extreme violence in Germany, in the Netherlands or sometimes here, we must say: we respect, we listen . . . but we cannot accept rebels and factions.”

Strikes are continuing at rubbish collection sites and petrol refineries and on public transport services. Dock workers in Marseille blocked access to France’s biggest commercial port on Wednesday, preventing cars from entering.

In response, the government has begun requisitioning workers to clear the 10,000 tonnes of rubbish in Paris and restart petrol deliveries in the south.

Macron defended both the content of the pensions reform — which will raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 and require people to work for 43 years to receive a full pension — and the method used to enact it.

He also confirmed the changes would take effect by the end of the year, as long as the law cleared a final review by the constitutional court in the coming weeks.

Macron has long argued that the change is needed to protect the viability of France’s pension system, which relies on current workers to fund payments to retirees. He warned that, otherwise, deficits would balloon as the population aged.

“When I started working, there were 10mn retirees; today there are 17mn and by 2030 there will be 20mn,” he said. “Do you really think we can continue with the same rules?”

The president batted away a question as to whether he would reshuffle the government or name a new prime minister. He said the government led by prime minister Élisabeth Borne had his “confidence”, and that he had asked her to work on a new legislative agenda that could help increase support in parliament.

Philippe Martinez, leader of the hardline CGT labour union, criticised Macron for not listening to the anger being expressed in the streets. “The interview is bizarre . . . [and shows] contempt for the millions of people demonstrating . . . there has been no answer,” he said at a union meeting, according to Agence France-Presse.

Laurent Berger, who heads the more moderate CFDT union, warned that Macron’s stance amounted to a provocation. He called on “workers to turn out en masse” at Thursday’s protest to show their discontent.

A flash poll from Harris Interactive showed that half of respondents said Macron’s interview would add fuel to the protests, while only 9 per cent said it would calm them.

Earlier polls showed two-thirds of French people are opposed to raising the retirement age, although workers in other European countries tend to retire later and with lower pensions than those received by French retirees.

France devotes 13 per cent of its national output annually to pensions compared with an EU average of 10.3 per cent. The €330bn spent last year on retiree benefits dwarfed education spending of €54bn and the €41bn spent on defence.

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Newsmax reaches deal to return to DirecTV

Newsmax reaches deal to return to DirecTV

Newsmax returns to DirecTV Thursday.

The cable provider cut ties with the right-wing media outlet in late January after the companies failed to reach an agreement. The move angered Republican lawmakers, who echoed Newsmax’s claims the severance was politically motivated.

Some conservatives in congress threatened to use their powers to compel AT&T, which owns DirecTV, to account for its decision. But Newsmax said Wednesday a deal had been made.

“Fortunately, it’s become clear that DirecTV supports diversified perspectives, including conservative voices,” Newsmax tweeted.

Signage for Newsmax is displayed at the National Rifle Association annual meeting in Houston, Texas on May 28, 2022.

DirecTV, which immediately replaced Newsmax with another conservative outlet in January, told the Daily News in a statement its “all-too-common carriage dispute” with the feverishly pro-Trump network ended in “mutually agreeable business terms.”

Details about the companies’ agreement on carriage fees — the rate a TV provider pays individual networks — were not disclosed. DirecTV has consistently maintained the dispute was never about politics.

But returning to satellite TV isn’t the end of Newsmax’s concerns.

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The network faces multi-billion dollar lawsuits from election technology companies Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic in connection with the network’s dubious reporting on the 2020 election. Those companies are also suing OAN, which was dropped by DirecTV in April, as well as Fox News, where pre-trial information appears to indicate the outlet’s hosts and executives knew inflammatory information the station was reporting was false.

Following Wednesday’s news, conservative viewers flocked to Twitter asking what Newsmax’s return to DirecTV means for OAN. A DirectTV spokesman said the company “moved on” from OAN and has no plans to bring back that station.

A San Diego judge ruled against OAN in January, after the network accused DirecTV of breach of contract when it decided not to renew their arrangement.

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Hightower retires after winning 3 titles with Pats

Hightower retires after winning 3 titles with Pats

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Longtime New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who won three Super Bowl championships over his nine-year career, officially announced his retirement Tuesday.

“I can’t think of a better story than the one I wrote in New England,” Hightower said in an essay posted on The Players’ Tribune website. “So this is a happy day for me … Today, I’m totally at peace knowing that I gave this franchise every ounce of sweat I had left.”

The 33-year-old, nicknamed “Mr. February” by coach Bill Belichick because of his knack for making clutch plays in Super Bowls, didn’t play in 2020 as a COVID-19 opt-out, and he also sat out the 2022 season.

Hightower played in 117 regular-season games (114 starts) and totaled 569 tackles and 27 sacks. He appeared in 17 playoff games, starting all of them, amassing 81 tackles and three sacks.

He was one of the hardest-hitting linebackers in the NFL during his career, all spent in New England, and his versatility to play both off the line of scrimmage and then on the line as a pass-rusher made him a valuable chess piece in Belichick’s always-morphing schemes.

Among his most clutch plays were a strip sack of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan in Super Bowl LI to help spark the Patriots’ comeback from a 28-3 second-half deficit, and a bruising tackle of Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch near the goal line on the play that preceded Malcolm Butler‘s game-saving interception in Super Bowl XLIX.

A native of Lewisburg, Tennessee, who played at the University of Alabama and won two national championships with the Crimson Tide, Hightower joined the Patriots as a first-round draft pick in 2012.

“I appreciate everyone who helped me make this dream come true,” Hightower said. “But I especially want to thank my mom [L’Tanya]. None of this happens without her.”

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Killshot DFS VIP MMA Breakdown Podcast – UFC San Antonio Vera vs Sandhagen for DraftKings

Killshot DFS VIP MMA Breakdown Podcast – UFC San Antonio Vera vs Sandhagen for DraftKings

Welcome to the DFS Army’s Killshot DFS MMA – Top Plays Podcast! On today’s episode, DFS Army’s Kyle Marley, Kevin “Geek” Alan, and MMA Monk take a look at the top plays for UFC San Antonio Vera vs Sandhagen for DraftKings.

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Russia barred from all hockey worlds in 2023-24

Russia barred from all hockey worlds in 2023-24

ZURICH — Russia and Belarus teams were excluded by the International Ice Hockey Federation on Wednesday from all its world championships next season, including the women’s event in the United States.

The IIHF cited security concerns for players, competition staff and fans — because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — to extend the exclusion that will stretch beyond two years when the 2023-24 season is over.

“It is too soon,” IIHF president Luc Tardif said about letting Russia return. “Too many risks.”

The women’s worlds are set to be played in the United States in March or April next year, and the men’s event in the Czech Republic is scheduled for May 2023.

Ice hockey is a favorite sport played by both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

The IIHF has followed guidance given by the International Olympic Committee within days of Russia starting the war in February 2022 to remove Russian teams from international competitions and to find new hosts for events the country was to stage.

However, the IOC is now pushing Olympic sports’ governing bodies to find ways to include Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutrals in qualifying events for the 2024 Paris Games.

The IOC executive board is due to discuss the Russian issue at a meeting Tuesday in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Tardif, speaking after a decision by the ruling council he chairs, said the IIHF must decide in the next year if Russia and Belarus can take part in the 2026 Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo Winter Games.

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Federal Reserve Hikes Rate by 25bps to Keep Inflation at Bay, Aims for 2% Inflation Rate by 2025

Federal Reserve Hikes Rate by 25bps to Keep Inflation at Bay, Aims for 2% Inflation Rate by 2025

Following the fallout over the past two weeks in the U.S. banking industry, the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate by 25 basis points (bps) on Wednesday, citing the need for the inflation rate to return to 2% over the long run.

Fed Raises Rate Despite Calamity in the U.S. Banking Sector

It’s been a rough two weeks for the U.S. economy after the fall of Silvergate Bank, Silicon Valley Bank, and Signature Bank. After these bank failures took place, the Federal Reserve announced the creation of the Bank Term Funding Program (BTFP) and announced that uninsured depositors of Signature Bank and Silicon Valley would be made whole. After the turmoil in the banking industry, some experts suspected the Fed would not raise the benchmark rate this month.

On Wednesday at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) revealed that it would raise the rate by 25bps. “The committee seeks to achieve maximum employment and inflation at the rate of 2 percent over the longer run,” the FOMC said. “In support of these goals, the committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 4-3/4 to 5 percent. The committee will closely monitor incoming information and assess the implications for monetary policy.”

In addition, the Fed published the central bank’s “Summary of Economic Projections,” which suggests the inflation rate can reach 2.1% by 2025 and 2% over the longer run. By 2025, the FOMC projections see the federal funds rate reduced down to 3.1%. Following the FOMC’s statement and projections report, equity markets jumped higher on the news, with three out of four of the U.S. benchmark indices in the green.

Federal Reserve Hikes Rate by 25bps to Keep Inflation at Bay, Aims for 2% Inflation Rate by 2025
Fed’s “Summary of Economic Projections.”

Crypto assets dropped after the small increase from the Fed, with bitcoin (BTC) nearing the $29K range at $28,700 at 2:15 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday. But by 2:45 p.m., BTC had quickly dropped down to the $27,876 per unit range. At present, BTC’s USD value is hovering just above the $28K zone.

While cryptos had a mixed reaction to the Fed news, precious metals held strong. Both gold and silver jumped on the Fed hike, rising 1.6% to 2.5% higher against the greenback. Overall, the FOMC statement noted that recent indicators have shown “modest growth in spending and production.”

Further, the Fed says that while “job gains have picked up in recent months and are running at a robust pace, [and] the unemployment rate has remained low, inflation remains elevated.”

After the FOMC press statement, Fed chair Jerome Powell insisted the U.S. banking system “is sound and resilient with strong capital and liquidity.” Powell added, “we think our monetary policy tool works, and we think … our rate hikes were well telegraphed to the markets, and many banks have managed to handle them.”

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What do you think the Fed’s decision to raise interest rates means for the U.S. economy? Share your thoughts about this subject in the comments section below.

Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is the News Lead at News and a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open-source code, and decentralized applications. Since September 2015, Redman has written more than 6,000 articles for News about the disruptive protocols emerging today.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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Muscle car mainstay Chevy Camaro is going out of production but the company promises 'this is not the end' of its story

Muscle car mainstay Chevy Camaro is going out of production but the company promises 'this is not the end' of its story

The Chevrolet Camaro, for decades the dream car of many teenage American males, is going out of production.

General Motors, which sells the brawny muscle car, said Wednesday it will stop making the current generation early next year.

The future of the car, which is raced on NASCAR and other circuits, is a bit murky. GM says another generation may be in the works.

“While we are not announcing an immediate successor today, rest assured, this is not the end of Camaro’s story,” Scott Bell, vice president of Chevrolet, said in a statement.

The current sixth-generation Camaro, introduced in 2016, has done well on the racetrack, but sales have been tailing off in recent years. When the current generation Camaro came out in 2016, Chevrolet sold 72,705 of them. But by the end of 2021 that number fell almost 70% to 21,893. It rebounded a bit last year to 24,652.

GM said last of the 2024 model year of the cars will come off the assembly line in Lansing, Michigan, in January.

Spokesman Trevor Thompkins said he can’t say anything more about a future Camaro. “We’re not saying anything specific right now,” he said.

The company, he said, has an understanding with auto-racing sanctioning bodies that the sixth-generation car can continue racing. GM will have parts available and the Camaro body will stay on the race track, he said.

NASCAR said that because the Generation 6 Camaro was in production when GM originally got permission to race, it remains qualified to race in NASCAR Cup and NASCAR Xfinity Series races.

GM will offer a collector’s edition package of the 2024 Camaro RS and SS in North America, and a limited number of high-performance ZL-1 Camaros. The collector’s edition cars will have ties to the first-generation Camaro from the 1960s and its GM code name “Panther,” the company said without giving specifics.

GM’s move comes as traditional gas-powered muscle cars are starting to be phased out due to strict government fuel economy regulations, concerns about climate change and an accelerating shift toward electric vehicles.

Stellantis, will stop making gas versions of the Dodge Challenger and Charger and the Chrylser 300 big sedan by the end of this year. But the company has plans to roll out a battery-powered Charger performance car sometime in 2024.

Electric cars, with instant torque and a low center of gravity, often are faster and handle better than internal combustion vehicles.

Stellantis, formed in 2021 by combining Fiat Chrysler and France’s PSA Peugeot, earlier this week announced the last of its special edition muscle cars, the 1,025 horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170. The company says the car can go from zero to 60 mph (97 kilometers per hour) in 1.66 seconds, making it the fastest production car on the market.

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Sex offender arrested for child abduction in West Virginia

Sex offender arrested for child abduction in West Virginia

DUNBAR, WV (WOWK)– Two people are in custody after authorities responded to a possible child abduction in Dunbar, West Virginia on Monday.

According to West Virginia State Police, the 11-year-old female was last seen leaving a home with a male and female at approximately 11:30 p.m. on March 20. Troopers say the child and suspects were located a short time later in the area of 17th Street in Dunbar.

WVSP says the suspects, David McCallister, 20 of Charleston, and Jada McCallister, 18 of Dunbar have been charged with Conspiracy to Commit a Felony Against the State, Child Neglect with Risk of Bodily Injury, and Abducting a Child Near a School under 16 years old.

Authorities confirm that McCallister is registered as a sex offender for a previous conviction of sexual abuse of a 7-year-old. 

The victim did not sustain any injuries during this incident. This is an active and ongoing investigation. Both suspects are being held at the South Central Regional Jail with no bond.

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Southwest: San Jose / Oakland, California – Kauai, Hawaii (and vice versa) $181. Roundtrip, including all Taxes

Southwest: San Jose / Oakland, California – Kauai, Hawaii (and vice versa) $181. Roundtrip, including all Taxes

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A good sale between San Jose and Kauai.

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Sample Travel Date:

  • Sample from San Jose
  • April 18th – 25th
  • This is just ONE SAMPLE travel date, for more availability, please follow the “Fare Availability” and “How to Search for Availability” instructions below

Fare Availability:

  • Valid for travel from mid April – late  May. Availability is limited. Must purchase at least 7 days in advance of departure
  • Please note that while this fare is valid at time of posting, if this post is more than two days old, the fare is likely gone.

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  • SJC –  LIH (Kauai) – SJC


  • Miles Flown: 4,924 miles or 3.7 cents per mile

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One-of-a-kind 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL headed to auction

One-of-a-kind 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL headed to auction

Unveiled in 2021, the current-generation Mercedes-Benz SL traces its roots to a race-bred coupe that has become incredibly sought-after. The 300SL stunned the world with its gullwing doors when it landed in 1954, and a one-of-a-kind example is about to cross the auction block.

One of the highlights from Mecum’s Glendale 2023 sale is a 1955 300SL assigned chassis number 5500263. One of about 1,400 units built from 1954 to 1957, it’s reportedly the only example finished in Mittelgrün (Medium Green) with a gray leather interior. Mecum notes that this SL was originally delivered in New York. While its first few decades on the road remain a mystery, the coupe joined the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation’s collection in January 1973 and stayed there for a long time.

This one-of-a-kind SL is said to have received a complete restoration in the late 2000s. The race track’s museum handled the bulk of the work but some of the fit and finish was outsourced to California-based Mercedes-Benz specialist Scott Grundfor Company. The list of work performed includes honing the cylinders, rebuilding the fuel-injection pump, and reupholstering the interior. New window seals were installed, the bright exterior trim pieces were polished, and the suspension system was overhauled. All told, this SL looks as good as it did in 1955 (if not better). It’s not entirely original, though — the interior color was changed from gray to beige during the restoration.

One interesting point is that early SLs weren’t always valuable and sought-after. There was a period when they were simply considered cool old cars, and some ended up modified, driven into the ground, or both. This one has seemingly been spared: Mecum claims it’s still powered by the original, numbers-matching 3.0-liter straight-six that sends 225 horsepower to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission.

When the restoration work was finished, the SL returned to Indianapolis and was occasionally displayed in the track’s museum between 2015 and 2020. It’s now looking for a new home, and it’s being sold with numerous documents (including a copy of the factory build sheet), pictures taken during the restoration process, and a handful of spare parts. Adding a touch of green to your collection will require forking over a massive amount of green: Mecum expects that this 1955 300SL will sell for anywhere between $1,850,000 and $2,000,000. 

If that’s too much, or if classic Mercedes-Benz models aren’t your cup of (green) tea, the auction catalog includes something for every enthusiast. Another highlight is a 1990 Ferrari F40 with just 3,413 miles; it could sell for as much as $3.5 million. How about a 1956 Ford flatbed? It’s offered with no reserve, and you can save on shipping by putting another classic on the back before driving home. American roadsters are well represented, there’s anything from a 1953 Chevrolet Corvette (that’s the first year of production) to a 2004 Cadillac XLR, and there’s a surprising number of modern vehicles like a 2022 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Personally, I’d take the 1967 Alfa Romeo Duetto.

Mecum’s Glendale 2023 sale runs March 28 to April 1 in Glendale, Arizona.

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