Europe

Strikes coordinated by French unions brought significant disruption to the country on Thursday as they protest against government plans to revamp the pension system and test president Emmanuel Macron’s ability to resist street pressure, Bloomberg News reported. Workers in sectors including railways, schools and energy are taking part in the 24-hour strike against Macron’s plan to raise France’s minimum retirement age to 64 from 62. Unions are leading marches across France’s largest cities with the backing of left-wing political parties.
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The writing was on the wall when Britain finalized its break from the European Union: The UK sorely lacked the battery manufacturing capability that would be absolutely critical to the auto industry’s future, leaving the country’s already declining car sector in a make-or-break bind, Bloomberg News reported. The failure of Britishvolt Ltd. to get past the stage of developing prototypes for an industry still vital to the UK’s economy casts further doubt on its prospects in the global race by nations to become self-sufficient in greener technology.
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The rate of inflation in Britain slowed for a consecutive second month in December, but was still running in the double digits, maintaining a tight squeeze on household finances, the New York Times reported. Consumer prices rose 10.5 percent in December from a year earlier, down from 10.7 percent the previous month, with rising food prices and prices at hotels and restaurants offsetting lower gasoline and clothing prices, the Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday.
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Deutsche Lufthansa AG said it aims to buy a minority stake in ITA Airways, seeking to advance an industry consolidation that would give the German airline a stronger foothold in a major European aviation market, Bloomberg News. reported. The German carrier didn’t disclose financial details, or lay out the size of the stake it wishes to buy in the successor of Alitalia SpA. Lufthansa wants to buy as much as 40% of ITA in an initial step and subject to negotiations.
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Germany is set to dodge a widely expected recession this year, a source told Reuters on Wednesday, adding to a chorus of voices predicting a brighter outlook for Europe's biggest economy as energy prices fall. Facing soaring gas prices due to the war in Ukraine and supply bottlenecks, consumer prices exploded last year, and the government and economists saw no way around recession. However, a 200-billion-euro relief package to shield consumers from surging energy prices, a mild winter and a readiness to save energy have changed the picture.
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Romanian aluminium car parts manufacturer Altur Slatina said that its board decided to waive insolvency proceedings initiated earlier this month, SeeNews.com reported. The company submitted the waiver to an Olt County court, which acknowledged the filing on Thursday, Altur said in a statement filed with the Bucharest Stock Exchange on Friday. On January 4, Altur announced its submission of the application for the launch of insolvency proceedings with the same court.
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Britain's lenders are tightening eligibility criteria amid rising interest rates and a cost of living crisis, but demand for borrowing remains elevated, credit data firm Experian said on Tuesday, Reuters reported. Experian's key customers include banks, non-traditional lenders and insurance providers, which use its credit reports and scores to analyse and make decisions around credit risk, fraud prevention and lending terms.
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The owner of Byron Burger has said it will shut nine restaurants after falling into administration, YahooFinance.com reported. Famously Proper, which owns Byron and fried chicken brand Mother Clucker, said it will cut 218 jobs as a result of the closures. The company was set up after private equity firm Calveton rescued Byron from a previous administration in 2020 following the impact of the pandemic. The company was set up after private equity firm Calveton rescued Byron from a previous administration in 2020 following the impact of the pandemic.
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Struggling to remain financially viable, Eat Local Grey Bruce has asked Grey County council to provide $25,000 in direct funding to help the group continue to operate, YahooFinance.com reported. The local non-profit food cooperative that promotes healthy eating and locally grown and produced food recently announced that it is insolvent and may have to file for bankruptcy. In an effort to continue operating, the organization has launched a crowdfunding campaign, is trying to reorganize the business into a more sustainable model and is seeking new volunteers to revitalize the group.
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Poland's Rafako said on Thursday that it was planning to file for bankruptcy, a day after Tauron demanded 1.3 billion zloty ($298 million) from a Rafako consortium that built a power plant the state-controlled utility says is faulty, Reuters reported. Rafako, which makes a wide range of boilers, disputes Tauron's claims for damages and fees, but is concerned they could impact its ability to conduct business operations and find an investor it is seeking, the company said in a statement.
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