Occupy movement plans 'general strike'
NEW YORK, May 1 (UPI) -- Occupy movement marches, strikes and other acts of civil disobedience would "disrupt the status quo" of about 135 U.S. cities Tuesday, movement organizers said.
"We call upon people to refrain from shopping, walk out of class, take the day off of work and other creative forms of resistance disrupting the status quo," organizers said in an e-mail Thursday.
Key cities targeted for the "general strike," or "a day without the 99 percent" -- which protest organizers said would be "the first truly nationwide general strike in U.S. history" -- were New York, California's San Francisco-Oakland area and Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle, the Occupy Wall Street Web site said.
Marches were also planned for college towns such as Amherst, Mass., and Ann Arbor, Mich., the Web site said.
Occupy-related groups called for strikes and demonstrations in more than 80 countries, in cities including Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, London, Melbourne, Rome, Seoul and Toronto, the Web site said.
May 1 is already a date with strong historical significance in many countries, where it is a national holiday known as International Workers' Day, celebrated by working people and labor unions.
In the United States, May 1 is recognized as Law Day, to reflect on the role of law in the nation's foundation and to recognize its importance for society.
Gingrich set to end presidential bid
WASHINGTON, May 1 (UPI) -- Newt Gingrich's expected end of his U.S. Republican presidential bid this week would leave presumptive nominee Mitt Romney and contender Ron Paul in the race.
Gingrich, a former U.S. House speaker, was expected to announce in Washington he was withdrawing from the race and throwing his support to Romney. The two spoke by phone last week, a Gingrich spokesman said.
Gingrich offered his services in any way the Romney campaign would like to use him, spokesman R.C. Hammond said.
There had been reports Gingrich would announce Tuesday he would end his campaign but CNN, citing a source close to the 69-year-old politician, reported Gingrich would end his bid Wednesday.
Gingrich faced increasing pressure to step aside in recent months as he and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania split the conservative vote. Calls from the Republican establishment appealed to Gingrich to drop out and make the campaign a two-man race between Santorum and Romney, a former Massachusetts governor.
Santorum dropped out of the race April 10.
Gingrich would end his presidential run with millions in campaign debt and what many political observers say is a bruised reputation.
But "I'm not going to worry about Newt Gingrich," Fred Barnes, conservative commentator and executive editor of The Weekly Standard magazine, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He's going to find his way. He always has."
Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University, part of the University System of Georgia, told the newspaper Gingrich "could fade as a figure unless he's able to maintain his presence in the campaign, either on CNN or Romney campaign appearances."
Barak pessimistic of nuke talks outcome
JERUSALEM, May 1 (UPI) -- Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he was pessimistic that world powers will succeed in halting Iran's nuclear program in the next round of talks.
Speaking at the Foreign Press Association in Jerusalem Monday, Barak said while the international sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic have been effective they have failed to halt its race to achieve nuclear power, The Jerusalem Post said.
The defense minister said he was not filled "with confidence. I may sound pessimistic but the state of Israel cannot afford to be duped."
Iran is scheduled to conduct a second round of talks with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany (known as the P5+1) countries on May 23 in Baghdad.
Yaacov Amidror, Israel's National Security Adviser meanwhile is currently visiting Europe where he is expected to hold sensitive talks with European officials ahead of the next session of talks with Iran, Haaretz said Tuesday.
A senior Israeli official said Amidror's meetings are "extremely sensitive" indicating that he hopes to find out as much as possible about the first round of talks and will seek to learn of the negotiating team's strategy for the next round, the paper said.
Last month Amidror traveled to Moscow and met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who stressed his country opposes any unilateral military action by Israel in Iran, saying such a move would have destructive consequences throughout the Middle East, the paper said.
May Day fetes turn into campaign rallies
PARIS, May 1 (UPI) -- Trade unions competed with political candidates in Paris and elsewhere in France to celebrate May Day with the election looming less than a week away.
With Sunday's final presidential vote looming, the national labor movement holiday transformed into campaign events for President Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist Party challenger Francois Hollande, France 24 reported.
Socialist leaders said they hoped the May Day march would build on the momentum Hollande's campaign has gathered to propel the party back into power after a 15-year absence.
The Sarkozy camp, trailing in the polls, said it hoped to outshine his opponents by gathering voters in a historic counter-celebration of what he calls "real work." His supporters were to rally near the Eiffel Tower in a separate event from the traditional labor fest.
National Front presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, knocked out in the April 22 first round after scoring nearly a record 18 percent of votes, scheduled her own rally in Paris in memory of far-right icon Joan of Arc.
"May 1 is about history, May 1 is about a desire for social change, May 1 is about international solidarity," said Danielle Tartakowsky, a contemporary history professor at Paris University VIII, said during a France 3 television interview Monday.
Hollande said he would be in Nevers to honor Pierre Beregovoy, the Socialist prime minister who committed suicide May 1, 1993. He said he wouldn't be in Paris because May Day belonged "to workers and unions."
Campaigning ends Friday and the lone televised debate between Sarkozy and Hollande Wednesday has been billed as the incumbent's last chance to sway voters from Hollande, Radio France Internationale reported.
The latest polling indicated Hollande held a 53 percent to 47 percent advantage over Sarkozy.
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