• Strikes rock France as PM urges ‘harsh’ treatment for rioters

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    PARIS: France was disrupted by a third straight day of mass strikes and demonstrations on Thursday as the prime minister called for protesters who torched a police car to face “harsh” punishment. Dozens of flights and trains were cancelled as rail staff and air traffic controllers walked off the job in the latest mass protests against the government’s labor market reforms. Taking an increasingly hard line after two months of demonstrations, Prime Minister Manuel Valls threatened to use force to break up protests which interfered with the operation of ports, refineries and airports. But he reserved his strongest words for those who attacked a police car in Paris on Wednesday on the sidelines of a rare rally by police officers protesting against “anti-cop hatred.”

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