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"Yellow vest" demonstrators protest along the main street in the western city of Bordeaux, France, on December 29, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Here is a brief look at Press TV newsroom's headlines from 1800 GMT, December 29, 2018 to 0800 GMT, December 30, 2018.

France protests

Demonstrators have taken to the streets in several French cities, including the capital. Police clashed with the protesters as they were calling on the president to leave the office. They are angry at Emmanuel Macron’s economic policies.

Trump blames Democrats

The US president has blamed the Democrats for the death of two immigrant children who died in custody. In a tweet, Donald Trump wrote that “any deaths of children or others at the border are strictly the fault of the Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies.” He also wrote that migrants would not be able to enter the US illegally if the country had a border wall. Trump’s comments came after the separate in-custody deaths of two Guatemalan children, aged seven and eight, who crossed the border illegally with their relatives.

China-US trade talks

The United States and China say they are making progress toward strengthening the truce in the ongoing trade war between the two countries. US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping held a telephone conversation on Saturday. Xi told trump that both Beijing and Washington need to arrive at a compromise so that the two sides AND the world can achieve a win-win result. Trump then took to his usual platform, Twitter, saying he and the Chinese president are working on a deal that would address all points of dispute. Earlier in 2018, the two countries imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on more than 300 billion dollars worth of goods. The measures have had a negative impact on stock markets.

Bangladesh vote

Bangladeshis are casting their ballots in the country’s parliamentary elections in which the incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s party is expected to win. The elections pit ruling Awami League party against opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party. More than 800 candidates are vying for 300 seats in the parliament. The polling began at 8 am local time and is slated to conclude at 4 pm. The government has set up more than 42,000 polling centers across the country. Over 104 million Bangladeshis are eligible to cast their vote. Security is tight with around 600,000 soldiers and paramilitary personnel deployed across the country. Thirteen people were killed and thousands injured in skirmishes in the run-up to the vote.

DRC election row

Two opposition candidates in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have refused to sign an agreement aimed at guaranteeing a peaceful transition. Three leading presidential candidates held talks in the capital on Saturday on the eve of the presidential election. But afterwards, opposition figures Martin Fayulu and Felix Tshisekedi said they would not endorse the peace pact. They said officials rejected changes they had suggested to the text. Among other things, both candidates wanted manual counting of ballots in the presence of observers. The election is taking place two years later than scheduled. The vote is meant to choose a successor to President Joseph Kabila, who is due to step down after 18 years in power.

Serbia protest

In Serbia, thousands have once again taken to the streets of the capital Belgrade to express their anger at what they call the anti-democratic policies of President Aleksandar Vuchich. Whistle-blowing demonstrators demanded reforms in the policies of Vuchich and his ruling Serbian Progressive party. They called on the populist president to put an end to crackdown on opponents. The rally is a continuation of similar protests that have been taking place over the past weekends following violence against an opposition politician. Vuchich claims he is able to lead Serbia into the European Union. Critics, however, say his government has promoted hate speech targeting opponents and imposed control over the media.

Italy controversial budget

The Italian parliament has approved the revised 2019 budget despite complaints from the opposition that it was dictated by the European Union. The budget’s flagship policies are a new income support scheme known as the citizens’ wage and a reduction in the retirement age. Other measures include tax cuts for the self-employed and higher taxes on banks. In October, the European Commission rejected Italy's big-spending budget, which promised a universal basic income and scrapped pension reform. But Italy, last week agreed to reduce the cost of both of its key measures. If next year's budget had not been passed before December 31, the government would have been forced to continue to function on a monthly basis using the 2018 budget.


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