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People demonstrating during France's general strike in Paris. Photo: Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

French unions marched through Paris on Thursday, barricading the presidential palace and forcing the closure of the Eiffel Tower as a part of a nationwide strike to protest the government’s plan to reform the country's retirement system, the AP reports.

The big picture: Organizers hoped to caution French President Emmanuel Macron against pursuing the reform, which many fear will disrupt the country's social safety nets, shrinking pensions and forcing longer work hours.

  • Workers in or around Paris region worked from home or took a day off. Around 78% of teachers in the capital went on strike.
  • The strike caused transportation woes with many of Paris' subway stations closed. France's civil aviation authority announced that 20% of flights were grounded, and 90% of the trains on its high-speed network were cancelled.

The state of play: Macron made streamlining the country's 42 retirement systems central to his 2017 presidential campaign, and an official said Macron remains "calm and determined" to enact the reform.

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Biden taps Brian Deese to lead National Economic Council

Brian Deese (L) in 2015 with special envoy for climate change Todd Stern (C) and Secretary of State John Kerry (R). Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden announced Thursday that he has selected Brian Deese, a former Obama climate aide and head of sustainable investing at BlackRock, to serve as director of the National Economic Council.

Why it matters: The influential position does not require Senate confirmation, but Deese's time working for BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager and an investor in fossil fuels, has made him a target of criticism from progressives.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
29 mins ago - Economy & Business

The places regulation does not reach

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Financial regulation is not exactly simple anywhere in the world. But one country stands out for the sheer amount of complexity and confusion in its regulatory regime — the U.S.

Why it matters: Important companies fall through the cracks, largely unregulated, while others contend with a vast array of regulatory bodies, none of which are remotely predictable.

1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Boeing gets huge 737 Max order from Ryanair, boosting hope for quick rebound

Ryanair low cost airline Boeing 737-800 aircraft as seen over the runway. Photo by Nik Oiko/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Dublin-based Ryanair said it would add 75 more planes to an existing order for Boeing's 737 Max airplanes, a giant vote of confidence as Boeing seeks to revive sales of its best-selling plane after a 20-month safety ban following two fatal crashes.

The big picture: Ryanair's big order, on the heels of breakthrough vaccine news, is also a promising sign that the devastated airline industry might recover from the global pandemic sooner than expected.

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