French unions launch strike over pension overhaul

PARIS — French train traffic began tapering off Monday at the start of what promises to be a major strike over unpopular conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy's plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62.
The strike took effect gradually on the state-run train network starting at 8 p.m. (1800 local time). But the big disruptions were expected Tuesday, with protesters taking to the streets and the work stoppage spreading to airports and public transport.
Civil aviation authorities asked airlines to cut a quarter of their flights at Paris' airports Tuesday. Only two out of five fast trains are to run, and traffic will be slowed on Paris' subway and suburban transport lines.