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France: Strikes, protests, fuel blockades over labor reform

With union activists disrupting fuel supplies, trains and nuclear plants, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls opened the door Thursday to possible changes in a labor bill that has sparked intensifying strikes and protests — but insisted the government will not abandon it.

Drivers endured long waits to reach gas pumps, railing at the strikes, the government and the overall funk in France after a decade of nearly 10 percent unemployment and slow but corrosive economic decline.

The draft labor law, aimed at boosting hiring by loosening protections for French workers, has escalated into the toughest challenge yet to President Francois Hollande and his Socialist...

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