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Rioters in Paris torched motorbikes and set barricades ablaze on the upmarket Boulevard Saint Germain on Saturday, as protests against high living costs and the perceived indifference of President Emmanuel Macron turned violent on the fringes.

The latest “yellow vest” marches began peacefully but degenerated in the afternoon as protesters threw missiles at riot police blocking bridges over the Seine.

Officers fired tear gas to prevent protesters crossing the river and reaching the National Assembly. One riverboat restaurant was set ablaze and a policeman was wounded when he was hit by a bicycle hurled from a street above the river bank.

Two months after they started blocking roads, occupying highway tollbooths and staging sometimes-violent street protests in Paris, the yellow vests wanted to inject new momentum into a movement that weakened over the holidays.

Macron’s government, shaken by the unrest, had this week hardened its stance, branding the protesters agitators seeking to overthrow the government.

Driving the unrest is anger, particularly among low-paid workers, over a squeeze on household incomes, and a belief that Macron is deaf to citizens’ needs as he enacts reforms seen as favoring the wealthy.

“They have no right to leave us in the shit like this,” said protester Francois Cordier. “We’re fed up with having to pay out the whole time, we’ve had enough of this slavery, we should be able to live on our salaries.”

Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux escaped from his office through a back door after a small number of protesters broke into the compound and smashed up vehicles.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said about 50,000 people had protested in cities nationwide, including Bordeaux, Toulouse, Rouen and Marseille.

The turnout was higher than last week but a small fraction of the numbers seen in the first weeks of the protests.

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Sterling edges up as UK opposition tries to block no-deal Brexit



The pound rose towards a three-week high on Wednesday after Britain’s main opposition party said it would try to introduce parliamentary legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

Investors are concerned the next prime minister could put Britain on course for a no-deal divorce with the European Union and send the pound plummeting.

Frontrunner Boris Johnson, a eurosceptic, has said he would be willing to take the nation out at the end of October, even if it meant leaving without a deal.

But Labour on Wednesday will debate a motion to seize parliamentary time on June 25 to give lawmakers the chance to introduce legislation preventing a no-deal Brexit.

“With the risk of a new leader with a new mandate behind a (somewhat) more unified Conservative Party, the opposition must make hay with mayhem while they can. By forcing this issue today, candidates must clarify where they stand on Brexit,” said strategist Helen Thomas, of Blonde Money.

A majority of lawmakers oppose leaving without a deal and other leadership contenders have warned parliament will block any attempt to do so.

The pound was up 0.2% at $1.2740, close to a three-week high of $1.2763 hit on Friday. It was flat against the euro at 89 pence. 

Sterling, which has been confined recently to a range of $1.26-$1.28, found some relief on Tuesday after British wages in the three months to April rose faster than expected.

Traders have largely ignored economic data releases in Britain recently, believing the Bank of England is unlikely to change interest rates until Britain decides how, when and even if it will leave the European Union. The United Kingdom is scheduled to exit the bloc on Oct. 31.

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Huawei is reportedly working on self-driving cars



People gather at a Huawei stand during CES Asia 2019.

Hector Retamal | AFP | Getty Images

Huawei is reportedly developing self-driving cars in partnership with various automakers as part of a push into artificial intelligence.

The Chinese tech giant is providing AI software to a number of notable carmakers including Volkswagen’s Audi and a joint venture between Japan’s Toyota and China’s GAC, an executive at the company told the Financial Times.

Two other Chinese firms, Beijing New Energy Automobile and Changan Automobile, are also collaborating with the company, the newspaper reported.

Dang Wenshuan, Huawei’s chief strategy architect, told the newspaper that the firm and its partners are working to build a car that can be shipped as early as 2021. He said the car would be available in Europe as well as China.

Industry standards for self-driving vehicles identify the levels of autonomy an automobile is able to reach. For Huawei’s, it would be Level 4, which is the second-highest standard in the framework.

The FT says it was shown a video of an Audi vehicle powered by Huawei’s AI tech at the firm’s headquarters in Shanghai. The vehicle contained a driver, it said, but the steering wheel and controls were untouched.

Huawei couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The company has come under intense pressure from Washington amid the U.S.-China trade war. The Trump administration recently added the company to a trade blacklist, which has led to multiple suppliers distancing themselves from the firm.

Earlier on Wednesday, the firm said it had cancelled the launch of its new Matebook laptop as a result of being barred from doing business with American suppliers.

U.S. officials are concerned the telecommunications giant’s network gear could be used to enable Chinese espionage, a claim the company denies. An executive for Huawei recently told U.K. lawmakers the company is “independent” and would never share network data with Beijing.

Read the full article here.

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Saudi airport hit by cruise missile, Yemen’s Houthis claim



Supporters of the Houthi movement shout slogans as they attend a rally to mark the 4th anniversary of the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen’s war, in Sanaa, Yemen March 26, 2019.

Khaled Abdullah | Reuters

Yemen’s rebel Houthi movement has claimed responsibility for a cruise missile strike on Saudi Arabia’s Abha Airport, the group’s Al-Masirah TV channel reported early Wednesday morning.

Saudi Arabia has not officially confirmed the attack, which comes just a day after Saudi authorities said they intercepted two drones launched by the group. Abha Airport is in southwestern Saudi Arabia, roughly 100 miles from the Yemeni border.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who are supported by Iran, have launched numerous drone and missile attacks against Saudi Arabia and claim to have carried out drone attacks against the United Arab Emirates (UAE). On May 14, the group claimed drone attacks on Saudi oil pumping stations, an act Riyadh labeled as terrorism. No one was hurt in the attack.

The Houthis have been fighting Saudi Arabia in their country since the kingdom launched an offensive against it in early 2015 in defense of Yemen’s internationally-recognized government, which the rebels had overthrown. The Houthis currently control a significant portion of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.

The more than four-year long conflict has been deemed by the UN as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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