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Paige Fusco

The Graphic Truth: When do Europeans retire?

French workers will flock to the streets in droves this week to protest the Emmanuel Macron’s proposed reforms to the national pension system, which seek to raise the retirement age by two years to 64. Unions aren’t having it: They say the government needs to honor the social contract with French workers who are now being told they’ll need to work for 43 years – up from 41 – to access their full pension. The government is preparing for pandemonium. So how does France’s retirement age stack up against other European states? We take a look here.

Moroccan fans gather on the Champs Elysees in Paris to celebrate Morocco s qualification for the semifinals of the World Cup.

Benjamin Beraud / Hans Lucas via Reuters Connect

What We're Watching: Morocco plays French politics, 11th-hour EU/Hungary deal, big energy milestone

Atlas Lions vs. French far-right

When reigning champion France takes on underdog Morocco in the World Cup semifinals on Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron will be in the stands. And whatever happens on the pitch it’s almost certain to cause tremors for him at home. The “Rocky Balboa” success of Morocco’s “Atlas Lions” – the first Arab or African team ever to make it this far in a World Cup – has struck a chord with millions of first- and second-generation French citizens of Arab and African origin. The worry is that a small minority of those fans may riot in the streets after the match — regardless of whether Morocco wins or loses — as they did last weekend in Paris after first Morocco beat Portugal and then France defeated England in the quarterfinals. Popular far-righters like TV provocateur and former presidential frontrunner Éric Zemmour will surely seize on any unrest to advance their calls for tighter restrictions on immigration. And that will cause a problem for Macron himself, who’s under pressure from the French right to pass a new law targeting illegal immigrants.

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Japanese plaintiffs hold placards reading "A step towards Marriage Equality" outside the court after hearing the ruling on same-sex marriage in Tokyo.

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

What We're Watching: US-Japan send mixed LGBTQ signals, China + Russia rattle South Korea, Congress hits diversity milestone, baguettes get UNESCO nod

US & Japan make same-sex marriage waves

As the US steps forward (a bit) in protecting LGBTQ rights, Japan digs in its heels on the same issue — with a silver lining. On Tuesday night, a filibuster-proof majority of American senators passed a bill to enshrine the right to same-sex marriage in federal law. It repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which allowed US states not to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, although states will not be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Just hours later, a Tokyo court upheld Japan's ban on gay marriages by ruling against four couples who sued for discrimination. But there's a caveat: the same court admitted that the ban is a violation of human rights. What do these two developments mean on opposite sides of the world? In the US, passing the bill — which still needs a House vote, likely next week — was a rare show of bipartisanship in a culture-war issue like same-sex marriage, which many fear is the Supreme Court's next target after ending the federal right to an abortion. In Japan, the ruling might put pressure on Japanese lawmakers to finally give in and legalize same-sex marriages in the only G-7 country where it's still verboten. That would be a big shift for conservative Asia, where same-sex marriages are only legal in progressive Taiwan.

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- YouTube

Belarus foreign minister's "sudden" death drives speculation

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics.

What's really happening in Belarus?

Well, a mysterious thing happened. I mean, the foreign minister, Mr. Makei, who's been healthy and no problem whatsoever, died very, very suddenly the other day. He's been a loyal lieutenant of Lukashenko, no question about that. Also, during the sort of, the crackdown time over the last few years, but he has been under the cover, he has sort of been maneuvering. And he's been, in private conversation with me and others, very, very explicit on Moscow's imperial designs. So, there's a lot of speculation what really happened. And according to rumors, these are rumors, Mr. Lukashenko has changed all of his kitchen staff lately.

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French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman sign a joint declaration on migrants in Paris.

Thomas Samson/Pool via REUTERS

Hard Numbers: UK-France migration deal, Amazon layoffs, Gabon's carbon credit mega-sale, North Korean crypto windfall, Lake's loss

8 million: The UK will pay France 8 million pounds ($9.4 million) more per year to beef up patrols to stop migrants on small boats from crossing the English Channel to reach British shores. London and Paris have long tussled over how to combat the human-trafficking gangs that control the route, while tens of thousands of asylum-seekers wait years to get their applications processed.

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Newly elected National Rally leader Jordan Bardella with the outgoing Marine Le Pen during the party congress in Paris.

Lafargue Raphael/ABACA via Reuters Connect

Hard Numbers: French far-right handover, Big Oil makes big bucks, China vs. COVID, Peruvians want prez out

50: For the first time in 50 years, the main French far-right party will not be captained by a Le Pen. Marine Le Pen, daughter of founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, has now handed over the reins of the National Rally to Jordan Bardella, 27, in a clear play for young voters.

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Local residents at a site of a residential building damaged by a Russian missile attack in Mykolaiv, Ukraine.

Reuters

What We’re Watching: Allies talk “Marshall Plan” for Ukraine, dark clouds brew over France, Medvedev channels his inner James Bond

Ukraine latest: Is it too soon to talk reconstruction?

With Ukrainian forces continuing to push their counteroffensive, winter coming, and Russian attacks crippling the country’s energy infrastructure, it seems like a dicey time to talk about pumping close to a trillion dollars of reconstruction aid into Ukraine. But it’s never too early to plan/hope, so that’s what’s on the agenda this week at two conferences in Berlin headlined by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. They are calling for a 21st-century “Marshall Plan” for Ukraine that could last decades. But who, precisely, is willing to foot the bill for bridges, roads, and power plants that will remain indefinitely in Russian crosshairs is an open question. Meanwhile, in ominous news from Russia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday wondered aloud whether the fragile UN-backed Ukrainian grain export deal will be renewed next month, citing the Kremlin’s demand for more data on where the grain shipments have actually been going. The grain deal helped to take some of the pressure off record highs in global food prices, which are having a disproportionate impact on the world’s poor.

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Rescuers work at a residential building heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.

REUTERS

What We’re Watching: Russia’s Zaporizhzhia strikes, Washington-Caracas dealings, Canadian asylum challenge, Macron’s intimacy

Russian strike on Zaporizhzhia provokes anger and fear

Ukraine’s foreign minister said Thursday that seven Russian missiles hit residential buildings overnight, killing a still unknown number of people in Zaporizhzhia, a city located in a region annexed by Russia in recent days and the site of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. President Putin has ordered Russian troops to take control of the plant. International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Mariano Grossi was in Kyiv Thursday as part of talks on creating a zone of protection around it to avoid a catastrophe. Last week, at least 25 people were killed and many more were wounded by a missile strike on a humanitarian convoy in this same region. It’s a reminder that though Russia is losing ground at the moment in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, it can still inflict great damage, including to civilians. And it’s one more attack that raises fears for nuclear safety.

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