“The ‘yellow vest’ protests have been “a catastrophe” for the French economy, the finance minister says,” BBC News reports. “France has seen four consecutive weekends of demonstrations against fuel tax rises, high living costs and other issues.”

“President Emmanuel Macron is expected to announce anti-crisis measures in an address to the nation on Monday,” The Beeb reports. “Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called the situation “a crisis” for both society and democracy. ‘It’s a catastrophe for business, it’s a catastrophe for our economy,’ he said during a visit to shops in Paris that had been damaged during the protests.”

“The capital was particularly badly hit, with windows smashed, cars burned, and shops looted, as 10,000 people took part in demonstrations,” The Beeb reports. “Le Parisien newspaper reported that in the capital about 50 vehicles had been burnt and dozens of businesses vandalised, with some of them looted. The authorities in the city say that riots have caused millions of pounds of damage.”

“The movement began as a protest against a rise in duties on diesel, which is widely used by French motorists and has long been less heavily taxed than other types of fuel. Diesel prices have risen by about 23% over the past 12 months – and Mr Macron’s decision to impose a tax increase of 6.5 cents on diesel and 2.9 cents on petrol from 1 January enraged protesters,” The Beeb reports. “The rallies became known as the ‘yellow vest’ or ‘gilets jaunes’ movement because protesters took to the streets wearing the high-visibility yellow jackets that are required to be carried in every vehicle by French law. The government has since agreed to scrap the fuel tax increase and has frozen electricity and gas prices for 2019.”

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“Videos shared on Twitter and YouTube over the weekend show looters gaining access to the Apple Sainte-Catherine store in Bordeaux, dressed in hoodies and other concealing clothing,” Malcolm Owen reports for AppleInsider. “The thieves grabbed iPhones, iPads, and other goods kept on the display tables before leaving the store and joining the rest of the crowd outside.”

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“The cause of their ire is a scheduled 25 cents-per-gallon increase in gas taxes, and about 10 cents on diesel, to fight climate change,” Chuck DeVore writes for Forbes. “French President Macron, deeply unpopular, just reversed course on the new green tax—Parisians are already paying about $7.06 per gallon for gasoline, almost half of that in taxes.”

“If Paris streets burned over a proposed 25 cents per gallon climate change tax, imagine the global conflagration over a $49 per gallon tax,” DeVore writes. “That’s what a United Nations special climate report calls for in 12 years, with a carbon tax of $5,500 per ton—equal to $49 per gallon of gasoline or diesel. That’s about 100 times today’s average state and federal motor fuels tax.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully, calmer heads will soon prevail.