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Thousands on Paris streets to denounce EU ‘austerity’ pact

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Thousands of left-wing protesters took to the streets of Paris on Sunday to denounce the European Union fiscal pact forcing governments to stick to tough deficit limits.

Chanting “Resistance!”, protesters marched through central Paris in a rally organisers said was aimed at fighting EU-imposed austerity, not at criticising the government of Socialist President Francois Hollande.

“This day is the day the French people launch a movement against the policy of austerity,” one-time presidential contender and Left Front leader Jean-Luc Melenchon said at the march.

Melenchon denied the protest was aimed at Hollande, saying: “This is a left-wing demonstration under a left-wing government.”

Organisers said 80,000 people took part in the rally. “It was very successful, beyond our expectations,” said Annick Coupe, a spokeswoman for the Solidaires union.

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Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault is to open what is expected to be a long and difficult debate on the fiscal pact in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The pact, agreed by EU leaders in March, requires its signatories to write into law a commitment to limit structural deficits to within 0.5 percent of gross domestic product under normal circumstances.

Many on the French left — including within the Socialists and their Green Party allies — have said they will vote against the measure, but with right-wing deputies backing the pact it is expected to be approved.

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Speaking to deputies from the left-wing PRG party on Sunday, Ayrault said approving the pact would be an “essential step” in resolving the debt crisis threatening the eurozone and its single currency.

“Francois Hollande and I will never take the responsibility … of making the euro disappear,” he said. “The future of the eurozone is at stake.”

Hollande’s government on Friday unveiled a 2013 budget aimed at plugging the 37-billion-euro hole in France’s public finances through tax rises and spending cuts.

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About 1,500 people also protested against austerity measures in Brussels, police said, in a demonstration called by left-wing groups and unions.

The protest was aimed at pushing for measures in Belgium and Europe “to fight against poverty and share prosperity equally,” the CSC union said.

The Paris march came the day after tens of thousands of people massed on the streets of Portugal’s and Spain’s capitals to protest austerity cuts.

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In Madrid, demonstrators faced off with riot police and denounced the conservative government’s deep budget cuts, while in Lisbon, protesters rallied against an austerity programme that is expected to get even tougher to meet pledges made to the country’s international creditors.


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Black Georgia lawmaker accuses white man of demanding she ‘go back where she came from’ in supermarket diatribe

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On Friday evening, Erica Thomas, and African-American Democratic lawmaker in the Georgia House of Representatives, was shopping at a Publix supermarket in Mableton when a white customer came up to her and shouted at her, telling her to "go back where you came from" — words echoing President Donald Trump's recent racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color.

Thomas' crime? She had too many items for the express checkout line.

Today I was verbally assaulted in the grocery store by a white man who told me I was a lazy SOB and to go back to where I came from bc I had to many items in the express lane. My husband wasn’t there to defend me because he is on Active Duty serving the country I came from USA!

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Trump offers to guarantee bail for rapper A$AP Rocky

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US President Donald Trump offered Saturday to guarantee the bail of rapper ASAP Rocky, detained in Sweden on suspicion of assault following a street brawl.

Trump tweeted that he had spoken with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who he said gave assurances that the singer would be treated fairly.

"Likewise, I assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, or an alternative," Trump wrote.

There is no system of bail in Sweden.

Trump said he and Lofven had agreed to speak again over the next 48 hours.

Fans, fellow artists and US Congress members have campaigned for the 30-year-old artist, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, to be freed since his arrest on July 3 following the fight on June 30.

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The best Civil War movie ever made finally gets its due

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On Sunday and on July 24, Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events are presenting big-screen showings in theaters nationwide of “Glory,” in honor of the 30-year anniversary of its release. The greatest movie ever made about the American Civil War, “Glory” was the first and, with the exception of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” the only film that eschewed romanticism to reveal what the war was really about.

The story is told through the eyes of one of the first regiments of African American soldiers. Almost from the time the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter, S.C., the issue of black soldiers in the Union army was hotly debated. On Jan. 1, 1863, as the country faced the third year of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, rapidly accelerating the process of putting black men into federal blue.

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