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Spain Increases Minimum Wage By 22%

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Spain Increases Minimum Wage By 22%

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Wednesday his cabinet would approve next week a 22 percent increase in the monthly minimum wage to 1,050 euros ($1,192) in 2019.

The increase, “the biggest since 1977”, will be submitted to a cabinet meeting in Barcelona on December 21, he told parliament.

“A rich country can’t have poor workers,” said Sanchez, who is widely expected to call an early general election next year.

The measure was part of his minority Socialist government’s draft 2019 budget unveiled in October but which he is struggling to pass in parliament so it will now be approved by decree.

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The announcement comes after French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled Monday a 100-euro ($113) per month increase in the minimum wage from next year in a major concession to “yellow vest” protests which have roiled the country.

After years of austerity policies imposed to cope with the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis, governments are under increasing pressure to ease the purse strings, especially for the lower paid.

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Sanchez’s Socialists control just 84 seats in the 350-seat parliament, the smallest number for a government since the country returned to democracy following dictator Francisco Franco’s death in 1975.

He negotiated the draft 2019 budget with far-left party Podemos, which controls 67 seats, but would still need the support of Catalan separatist parties to pass the spending plan and they have steadfastly refused.

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The government estimated the minimum wage hike will cost the state 340 million euros per year.

Employers groups and the conservative opposition parties, the Popular Party (PP) and Ciudadanos, oppose the wage hike, saying it will hurt job creation.

PP leader Pablo Casado has said the 2019 budget, which also includes tax hikes, is “economically suicidal”.

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Bombers Who Carried Out Attacks In Sri Lanka Were Well Educated – Investigators

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Bombers Who Carried Out Attacks In Sri Lanka Were Well Educated - Investigators

Investigation into Sri Lanka Easter Sunday bombings that killed more than 350 persons entered a fourth day on Wednesday.

Investigators say the suicide bombers who struck churches and hotels were all well-educated, middle-class Sri Lankans.

There were nine of them, eight men and one woman — including the man described as the leader of the homegrown, militant Islamist group that was blamed for the attack.

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Indian intelligence officials revealed it was the last in a series of unheeded alerts, including an intelligence memo, written at least 10 days before the bombings, that warned of attacks on churches.

President Maithripala Sirisena has requested the resignations of defense secretary, Hemasiri Fernando, and Inspector General of Police, Pujith Jayasundara.

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Meanwhile, victims of the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka were laid to rest on Tuesday, with one funeral procession following another all day.

Giving the victims in Negombo a Christian burial essentially required a mass grave, and a whole new cemetery had to be hastily dug to bury more than a hundred bodies. The graves are simple mounds, covered in flowers.

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Family, neighbors and friends looked on, still trying to absorb the community’s staggering loss.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Condemns Trump Silence On Saudi Mass Execution

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Iranian Foreign Minister Condemns Trump Silence On Saudi Mass Execution

Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif has criticised the administration of US president Donald Trump for not condemning a mass execution of prisoners in Saudi Arabia.

On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia beheaded 37 of its citizens for what it said were “terrorism”-related crimes, publicly pinning two of the bodies to a pole as a warning to others.

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Tehran and Washington have taken in tit-for-tat measures to label each other’s military as “terrorist” recently, following Trump administration’s decision on Monday to end waivers for country’s importing oil for Iran.

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Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry said in a statement that the prisoners were found guilty of attacking security installations with explosives, killing a number of security officers, and cooperating with “enemy organizations” against the interests of the country.

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Rights groups say each year, between 2015 and 2017, Saudi Arabia executed at least a hundred fifty prisoners.

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North Korea’s Kim Arrives In Russia Ahead Of Summit With Putin

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North Korea's Kim Arrives in Russia Ahead of Summit With Putin

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has arrived in the Russian city of Vladivostok ahead of his planned summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

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Russian state television showed Kim stepping out of his green private train at a railway station in the Eastern Port City, Wednesday afternoon under a leaden sky.

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Kim and Putin are set to meet for the first time Thursday, but there is no plan to sign any agreements or make a joint statement.

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Kim’s visit to North Korea’s northern neighbor comes amid an impasse in the nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington.

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