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The text will later be debated in the Senate where Macron's Centre party is outnumbered by right-wing Republicans.

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French rural workers are also angry over the potential hit to their livelihoods from a provisional trade deal struck by the EU and Mercosur.

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During his career, Chirac had flirted with Communism and ultra-nationalism before settling on mainstream right-of-center politics, earning him the nickname "Chameleon Bonaparte."

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Workers reject the creation of a single pension system which would deteriorate their future living conditions.

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The "Christ Mocked" painting by early Renaissance artist Cimabue was valued at around US$6.6 million and will be sold in an auction next month in Paris. 

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According to the still-state-controlled utility, about 23,700 workers in France had joined the industrial action by Thursday evening in one of the biggest strike turnouts at the company in eight years.

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The collection includes sculptures, masks and religious artefacts from before 1000 B.C. up to the 18th century A.D.

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Snowden has been living in Russia since 2013 after he revealed details of secret surveillance programs by U.S. intelligence agencies.

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