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ONE million French protestors against President Sarkozy's proposal to raise the retirement age filled the streets of major cities. The government said that delaying retirement benefits from the present age 60 to 62 would save 70 billion euros each year.

ETA, the Basque separatist group announced that the ceasefire it had observed for several months would continue, but did not say for how long. The government said the statement was “insufficient”.

IN Germany the government announced that the life of its 17 nuclear power stations due to close by 2021 would be extended by an average of 12 years.

THE three-weeks strike by South African public service unions was “suspended” to enable the government to agree to meet the unions' demand of a 8.6 per cent increase in basic wages. Hospitals, schools and many other services have been seriously affected by the strike.

RICHARD Daley, the legendary 7-term mayor of Chicago said he would not seek another term of office. There was speculation that President Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, would bid for job.