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French strikes: will pension reform undo Emmanuel Macron?

The president's attempt to raise the retirement age in France sparks a general strike. Meanwhile in China, Xi Jinping hits out at the US.

On Tuesday (7 March), hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to protest Emmanuel Macron’s attempts to raise the retirement age. Workers in a variety of sectors – including education, transport, energy and waste – downed tools on the largest day of strikes since Macron’s presidency began. 

Megan Gibson in London, Ido Vock in Berlin and Katie Stallard in Washington DC discuss Macron’s proposals and his refusal to back down, raising the prospect of an escalating struggle. Plus, what are the stakes for the country more broadly?

Next they turn to China, where the country’s leadership has gathered for its annual parliamentary session, known as the National People’s Congress. The team discuss Xi Jinping’s uncharacteristically direct attack on the US, how these statements were received in Washington, and what the parliamentary session tells us about how China sees its path ahead.

Then in You Ask Us, a listener wonders: will the toxic chemical attacks against Iranian schoolgirls quell the unrest in the country?

Read more: I’m a civil servant – here’s why I’m striking on Budget day

Read more:

Katie writes Xi Jinping lashes out at the US

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Megan asks who is poisoning school girls in Iran?

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