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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.

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“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.

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.

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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.

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.”

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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.

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

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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.

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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‘Rather than leading — he lies’: MSNBC panel says Trump is a ‘danger to the country’ because he can’t be trusted

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MSNBC commentators, former assistant US Attorney Maya Wiley and Rick Wilson, explained that President Donald Trump's most significant barrier is making it past his own lies to save America from the coronavirus.

"There's a case tonight being tested in Walton County, Florida. The heart of Trump country," said Wilson, referring to the panhandle county east of Pensacola. "That's not going to be something you can just walk away from if it turns out to be a real case. We're seeing these things popping up all over. The safe bet was always to say, 'This could be bad. We'll do everything we can to stop it.' But he can't stop himself from self-aggrandizing and lying about things. And it's actually -- setting aside my normal criticism of Trump -- this is a danger to the country that he is not a trustworthy person for the American people. Even people who like him now he BS's them all the time. Now, if he says it's not a problem and people are being hospitalized, it is a problem."

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Trump ‘just wants this problem to go away’: President desperate to get coronavirus ‘off his plate’

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President Donald Trump is desperate for the coronavirus problem to go away, and he doesn't exactly care how it happens.

According to New York Times reporter Annie Karni, sources are telling her that the biggest concern Trump has is more about the markets than the deaths of Americans from the virus.

"First, let's establish, this is a president who tried to change science with a Sharpie when it came to hurricane path prediction," said MSNBC host Brian Williams. "That picture lasts forever."

"Even his allies on Fox and his allies outside the White House were kind of channeling to that proverbial audience of one that this was a great opportunity to look presidential and to tell the facts," said Karni. The Donald Trump we saw out there in the briefing room was very casual, kind of left the facts to the other people that accompanied him out there. But he clearly publicly and privately just wants this problem to go away. He wants to downplay it. He thinks -- he has called people who are talking about fears about it alarmist. He doesn't want to be alarmist, and he's kind of holding on to any comment that makes it sound like this will naturally be a problem that is removed from his plate. That's what we saw publicly, and that's what he's been saying privately as well."

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Seth Meyers: You know Trump isn’t the chief law enforcement officer because he couldn’t pass the physical

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"Late Night" host Seth Meyers warned that the United States is sliding into authoritarianism under President Donald Trump.

Sounding the alarm Wednesday evening, Meyers cited reports that Trump was making lists of disloyal people, purging them from their jobs, hiring unqualified cronies in top posts, and claiming he has the right to interfere in criminal cases.

While speaking to the press last week, Trump even announced that he's allowed to be involved in all criminal cases because he's the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. It's actually a title used for the attorney general.

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