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Protests: Eiffel Tower, shops, to close 

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PARIS: Paris’s Eiffel Tower will close on Saturday over fears of fresh violence during nationwide protests against President Emmanuel Macron, as police urged shops and restaurants on the Champs-Elysees to shut their doors too.
Around a dozen museums across the capital have also said they will remain closed on Saturday after vandalism and clashes between protesters and police last week rocked France.
The announcements came as around 200 high schools across the country remained blocked or disrupted by students protesting a raft of education overhauls, on a fourth day of action called to coincide with the anti-government demonstrations.
An interior ministry official told AFP earlier that authorities were bracing for “significant violence” on Saturday, based on indications that protesters on both the far right and far left are planning to converge on the capital.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told senators Thursday that “exceptional measures” would be taken to avoid the daylong street battles seen last weekend, with 65,000 police deployed across the country.
Shops along the Champs-Elysees as well as popular shopping streets near the iconic avenue were told to keep their doors closed, protect exposed windows and remove any outdoor furniture including tables and chairs, according to the police notices seen by AFP.
The move is likely to cost businesses thousands of euros in lost revenue as tourists and locals alike stay clear during a second holiday weekend in a row.
The Eiffel Tower said it would stay shut Saturday, and both the Garnier and Bastille opera houses have cancelled performances scheduled for Saturday.
Shops are also expected to close in other cities, with officials in Bordeaux, southwest France, already warning that museums, libraries and theatres will remain shut.
A Paris Saint-Germain football game against Montpellier scheduled for Saturday has also been postponed after a request by Paris police, and some schools near the Champs-Elysees have called off Saturday classes.
Two of Paris’s main attractions, the Louvre and Orsay museums, are still weighing whether or not to close.
The “yellow vest” protests began on November 17 in opposition to rising fuel taxes, but they have since ballooned into a broad challenge to Macron’s pro-business agenda and style of governing.
The government announced Wednesday it would cancel planned increases in fuel tax due to take effect in January in a bid to appease the mostly low-income protesters from small-town and rural France.
But the concession failed to quell the anger behind a movement which has retained broad public support, with an opinion poll this week showing 72 percent backed the protests despite last weekend’s violence.
The “yellow vests” have also spurred other protests, in particular students demanding an end to testing overhauls and stricter university entrance requirements.
Dozens of people wearing face masks threw Molotov cocktails, torched rubbish bins and clashed with police outside schools in several cities Thursday ahead of a call for nationwide demonstrations on Friday.
“We’re the ones who are going to eventually have to pay higher fuel prices,” said Ines, one of around 150 high school students demonstrating in the southern Paris suburb of Cachan.
Farmers have also called for demonstrations every day next week, while two truck driver unions plan an indefinite sympathy strike from Sunday night.
Meanwhile yellow-vest blockades at fuel depots have caused shortages in Brittany, Normandy, and southeast regions of France.
Political leaders from across the spectrum have appealed for calm, after four people died in accidents during protests and hundreds have been injured.
On Thursday a yellow-vest representative, Benjamin Cauchy, called on Macron to meet a delegation of protesters Friday to help defuse a situation that he said had brought the country “to the brink of insurrection and civil war.”
“We’re asking him to meet us to negotiate on spending power, which is what underpins all this anger,” Cauchy told the Media. 
Macron, whose approval ratings are down to just 23 percent, has not commented publicly since Saturday on the deepest crisis of his presidency so far.
But members of his government have signalled they are ready to make further concessions to avoid new violence after the U-turn on fuel tax increases.
But Macron’s office said he told ministers he would stick to his decision to cut a “fortune tax” on high-earners, which the former investment banker abolished last year.
Restoring the wealth tax has become one of the core demands of the “yellow vests,” alongside the fuel tax rollback and an increase in the minimum wage.

 

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Saudi Crown Prince arrives on historic visit to the region! (TEXT AND VIDEO)

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RAWALPINDI:  The 33-year-old Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who has arrived here at  PAF Base Nur Khan Chaklala, was warmly welcomed by Prime Minister Imran Khan. 

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was presented a guard of honor by a smartly turned-out contingent drawn from three services of Pakistan’s armed forces at an official welcome ceremony held here at the Prime Minister House on Sunday evening. The Saudi Crown Prince, who arrived here on a two-day visit, was driven by Prime Minister Imran Khan from the Nur Khan Airbase to the PM House, where he reviewed the guard of honor. The national anthems of the two countries were also played. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Prime Minister Imran Khan introduced their respective delegations to each other. The Crown Prince also planted a sapling at the lawns of the PM House. Earlier the Crown Prince was accorded a rousing red-carpet welcome as he arrived on a two-day visit to Pakistan at the invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Led by Imran Khan, the federal cabinet warmly received the Saudi Crown Prince upon arrival at the Nur Khan Airbase. The three services chiefs and senior Pakistani and Saudi officials were also present. The Crown Prince, accompanied by a high-powered delegation including members of the Saudi Royal Family, key ministers, and leading businessmen, was given a 21-gun salute as he alighted from his airplane at the airbase. A formation of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) F-16 and JF-17 Thunder aircraft escorted the airplane of Saudi Crown Prince as it entered the Pakistani airspace. Prime Minister Imran Khan later drove the Saudi Crown Prince to the PM House, where an official welcome ceremony was awaiting the Royal dignitary. During his two-day stay, Prince Mohammed bin Salman will call on President Dr. Arif Alvi and also meet the Prime Minister and the Chief of Army Staff.  The Saudi Crown Prince, who also holds portfolios of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, would have discussions with the leadership of Pakistan to further cement the brotherly ties between the two countries, besides deliberating upon a wide range of issues of mutual interest.

Royal aircraft carrying the Crown Prince was escorted by formations of PAF’s  JF-17 and F-16s as soon it entered the Pak airspace.

RAWALPINDI: Children in traditional dress snapped presenting bouquets to the guest. 

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Imran Khan’s Cabinet Members and COAS were present at the airport to receive the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. The PM drove the guest to the PM house where guard of honor awaited the Crown Prince.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had a one-to-one meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman here at the Prime Minister House on Sunday. The meeting was followed by the inaugural session of Supreme Coordination Council, co-chaired by the Prime Minister and the Crown Prince, a Foreign Office statement said. The high-powered Supreme Coordination Council was proposed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Saudi Arabia in October last year. The objective to put in place a high-level institutional mechanism was to fast track decisions in key areas of bilateral cooperation and for close monitoring of their implementation. The Coordination Council includes respective ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense, Defense Production, Finance, Energy, Petroleum, Water Resources, Information, Culture, Interior, Commerce, Trade and Investment and Human Resources of both countries. The Council would cover areas under three pillars: political and security, economic, and social and culture. Under the Supreme Coordination Council, a steering committee and joint working groups have been set up at ministerial and senior officials’ levels, to develop frameworks of cooperation in specific projects and submit recommendations to the respective ministers. The functioning of the Supreme Council would be coordinated by the ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two countries. It would meet annually in Riyadh and Islamabad alternately.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have signed several agreements and Memorandums of Understanding in different sectors. The signing ceremony was held Prime Minister House in Islamabad tonight. The sectors include cooperation in the production of electricity, the establishment of refinery petrochemical plant, promotion of sports and technical assistance in the standardization sector. Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Muhammad Bin Salman, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, ministers of both countries and delegations also attended the ceremony.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and PM Imran Khan seen witnessing the signing of MoUs.

Portraits of the Saudi King, visiting Crown Prince, PM & President of Pakistan. 

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Earlier, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir arrived here who was received by his counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Conspicious among othree there were Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki and Pakistan’s Ambassador in Saudi Arabia Raja Ali Ejaz. 

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Meanwhile, Saudi power producing company ACWA Power has expressed its willingness to invest around 4 billion dollars in Pakistan’s renewable energy sector. The intention to this regard was expressed during a meeting between a Saudi investors’ delegation led by ACWA Power Chairman Mohammad A Abunayyan and the Pakistani side headed by Minister for Finance Asad Umar in Islamabad. Speaking on the occasion, Mohammad A Abunayyan said the ACWA Power is a developer, investor, and co-owner of a portfolio of power generation and desalinated water production plants in countries in the Middle East, North Africa, Southern Africa, and South East Asian region. He said his company is keen to invest in Pakistan’s energy sector, particularly in renewable energy as there is a huge investment opportunity for production of cheap energy to fulfill the growing local demand. Welcoming the Saudi delegation, Finance Minister Asad Umar lauded the beginning of renewed relationships between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Later, talking to media persons, the Finance Minister said the visit of Saudi Crown Prince would help open new avenues of bilateral trade and investment. He said the existing bilateral economic relations do not reflect the true potential. However, after the visit, a huge investment was expected from Saudi Arabia which would help further strengthen the trade ties between the two countries.

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Pakistan’s highest civil award, the Nishan-e-Pakistan, will be conferred on the Crown Prince in an investiture ceremony at the presidency tomorrow (Monday). From Pakistan, the Crown Prince will go to India, China, Indonesia and Malaysia.

 

 

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US millennials a popular target for brands

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NEW YORK: American millennials – the generation of people aged 17-35 – are a popular target for advertisers and brands, but companies risk missing out by approaching them as one homogenous population.

From Gillette razors to McDonald’s and American Express, every major American company is touting its efforts to attract these young people, considered the workforce of tomorrow and the new generation of consumers. ExxonMobil and Chevron no longer hesitate to highlight their late and forced conversion to the fight against climate change, a subject important to millennials, who will suffer its most serious consequences.

“I think it’s a good idea to focus on millennials in the sense that it’s a huge market,” said Ajay Kohli, a professor at Georgia Tech University. “But I don’t think it makes sense to play millennials as a homogenous group of people who want the same products or same services, or believe in the same values, or are equally price sensitive or equally responsive to give a message,” Kohli said.

It is an opinion shared by Kelly O’Keefe, a marketing professor at the University of Virginia, who notes that there is significant diversity in the 75 million millennials who reside in the United States.”Some voted for Trump. Some for Clinton. Some drink craft beer. Some Pabst. Some only buy organic foods, but Millennials are also among the largest consumers of processed foods,” O’Keefe said.

“Many companies make the mistake of treating Millennials like they share a single personality and a common set of values. They don’t!” Faced with public mistrust of banks after the financial crisis, Capital One is seeking to become the bank of choice for millennials by transforming branches into cafes where you can have a cappuccino while negotiating a loan.

“People who actually go to bank branches, we call them ‘wanters’ and ‘needers.’ You found millennials among ‘wanters’ and you also found millennials among ‘needers,'” said David Allison, an expert in consumer habits whose firm has conducted thousands of surveys to form a database in the United States, Canada, and China.

“‘Wanters’ are looking for a personal relationship with the banks; ‘needers’ are looking for a social status, for them a bank is a serious place, they will be looking after my money and that’s going to make me feel like I’m a serious person who has money,” Allison said, adding that what matters is what services to offer the two categories. He urges companies to eliminate demography in their marketing approach because it often leads to stereotypes.

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Economy

PAD to distribute 100k seed packets

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RAWALPINDI: The Punjab Agriculture Department (PAD) will supply over 100,000 seed packets of vegetables to people on subsidized rates under the Kitchen Gardening Program during the spring season.

According to a PAD spokesman, the department has set up 325 sale points in 36 districts of the province to supply seed packets to the citizens at a concessional rate of Rs 50 each packet. He said seeds of the vegetables which could be grown in spring season would be supplied to the people to encourage the kitchen gardening.

The step has been taken to promote “kitchen gardening culture” and create awareness about the importance and utility of homegrown fresh vegetables across the Province. The Vegetable Research Institute had prepared seed kits of the vegetables for the sale to the growers, he added.

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