'French Spider-Man' scales Total tower in support of pension strikes
By Dominique Vidalon and Manuel Ausloos PARIS (Reuters) - Alain Robert, the free climber dubbed the 'French Spider-Man', on Monday scaled the Tour Total, a 48-storey skyscraper in Paris, to demonstrate support for workers striking against President Emmanuel Macron's pension reform plans. Robert, 57, stood with both arms aloft after reaching the summit of the 187-metre (613-foot) high tower, which stands in the French capital's business district, La Defense. 'I am trying to use my fame for something I find meaningful,' Robert told Reuters, adding that he was himself 'deeply concerned' by the pension reform plans
By Dominique Vidalon and Manuel Ausloos
PARIS (Reuters) - Alain Robert, the free climber dubbed the "French Spider-Man", on Monday scaled the Tour Total, a 48-storey skyscraper in Paris, to demonstrate support for workers striking against President Emmanuel Macron's pension reform plans.
Robert, 57, stood with both arms aloft after reaching the summit of the 187-metre (613-foot) high tower, which stands in the French capital's business district, La Defense.
"I am trying to use my fame for something I find meaningful," Robert told Reuters, adding that he was himself "deeply concerned" by the pension reform plans.
"Sponsors only give me money if I climb," he said.
France has been dogged by strikes and street protests for more than a month as unions push back against Macron's drive to streamline the pension system and avert a looming 17 billion euro pension deficit.
Macron's government said on Saturday it was willing to withdraw a proposal to raise the retirement age to break the deadlock with unions.
Robert has climbed more than 100 structures, including the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the world's tallest building, the Burj al Khalifa in Dubai.
Monday's ascent was the ninth time that Robert had climbed the Total
Robert often climbs without permission and has been arrested on numerous occasions. He climbs without a harness, using only his bare hands, a pair of climbing shoes, and a bag of powdered chalk to wipe off the sweat.
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon and Manuel Ausloos; editing by Richard Lough and Gareth Jones)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.