Macron's leadership at risk amid tensions over pension plan:
A protester holds a placard with the face of Macron reading 'They have to come for me' during a protest in Paris, Saturday, March 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)
French President Macron unilaterally pushed to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. Macron repeatedly said he was convinced the French retirement system needed modifying to keep it financed. He says other proposed options, like increasing the already heavy tax burden, would push investors away, and that decreasing the pensions of current retirees was not a realistic alternative. Macron has attempted to accomplish this by forcing a pension reform bill through without a vote. This has only infuriated the political opposition, led to mass protests, and could hamper his government's ability to pass legislation for the remaining four years of his term.
Israeli Opposition Accepts Herzog’s Judicial Plan:
Israel's opposition leaders during their press conference Thursday night.Credit: David Bachar
On Wednesday, President Isaac Herzog presented his much-awaited judicial reform framework after weeks of consultations with academics and politicians. On Thursday, protests continued to rip across Israel, in the tenth week of demonstrations against the coalition’s plan. Opposition chiefs rallied Thursday behind Herzog’s proposed framework for judicial reform, calling the proposal workable but not ideal, amid the coalition’s blanket rejection of the framework. Five of the opposition’s six party leaders jointly backed the proposal as a basis for compromise, with several expressing concern that failure to curb the coalition’s march towards weakening the judiciary would leave civil rights and minorities unprotected.
Russia’s Putin makes surprise trip to occupied Mariupol:
Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the occupied port city of Mariupol, his first trip to Ukrainian territory that Moscow illegally annexed in September and a show of defiance after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest on war crimes charges. Putin arrived in Mariupol late Saturday after visiting Crimea, southwest of Mariupol, to mark the ninth anniversary of the Black Sea peninsula’s annexation from Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Sunday. He was shown chatting with Mariupol residents and visiting an art school and a children’s center in Sevastopol, Crimea. The surprise trip also came ahead of a planned visit to Moscow by Chinese President Xi Jinping this week, expected to provide a major diplomatic boost to Putin in his confrontation with the West.