A third Saturday of anti-fuel-tax demonstrations, infiltrated by violent provocateurs from the hard left and the extreme right, saw windows smashed, cars ablaze and monuments defiled in Paris. In response, the French government cancelled a second planned fuel-tax rise, but protesters said this was not enough.
An hour proved to be a long time in British politics, as Theresa May’s government suffered three rapid defeats in the House of Commons over Brexit. The government was held in contempt of Parliament, a first in modern times, for not publishing the full legal advice from the attorney-general concerning the withdrawal agreement. MPs also voted to have a direct say in what comes next if the prime minister’s proposed deal is voted down on December 11th. In his advice to the prime minister, the attorney-general stated that the Northern Ireland “backstop” would “endure indefinitely” if no new arrangement was agreed.
An advocate general of the European Court of Justice advised, at the request of some Scottish MPs, that Britain could unilaterally revoke the Article 50 notification to leave the European Union. While not a final ruling by the ECJ, it could provide an avenue of escape if Mrs May’s deal fails to win over Parliament.
A small anti-immigrant party, Vox, did well in elections in Andalusia in Spain, entering the regional parliament there. It is the first time that a far-right party has taken seats in a Spanish parliament for more than 30 years.
China’s ministry of science described the creation of the world’s first gene-edited babies, a feat claimed by a Chinese scientist, He Jiankui, as “shocking” and illegal. Mr He’s whereabouts are unclear.
Gunmen in Indonesia’s Papua province killed some 30 construction workers from outside the region who were building a road. Separatist guerrillas claimed responsibility.
An Indian mining firm decided to dig up less of a big coal deposit in Australia than originally planned. Greens have campaigned against the project, calling it a spur to global warming and a threat to the Great Barrier Reef.
Authorities in Pakistan charged Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the leader of an Islamist protest movement, with sedition. Mr Rizvi had led demonstrations demanding that Asia Bibi, a Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy, be hanged anyway. His supporters also urged the army to mutiny.
The Republican legislature in Wisconsin passed a bill that would limit the powers of the new Democratic governor when he takes office in January. Scott Walker, the incumbent Republican governor, who was narrowly defeated in last month’s election, has indicated that he might sign it.
George H.W. Bush died at the age of 94. America’s 41st president received a state funeral. His long career included being shot down over the Pacific during the second world war, sitting in Congress, running the cia and serving as Ronald Reagan’s vice-president. As president, he oversaw the end of the cold war, encouraged the reunification of Germany, expelled Saddam Hussein from Kuwait and was unfailingly polite and understated. See obituary.