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France's Constitutional Council  Approves New Jobs Law


France's Constitutional Council has approved the validity of the country's new jobs law, a bill that has sparked widespread protests among students and trade unionists.

The action leaves it up to President Jacques Chirac to either sign the law or send it back to lawmakers for modifications. Officials at the president's office say he will go on national television Friday to announce his decision.

Protesting students Thursday blocked major traffic routes and rail lines in Marseilles and Rennes and held a protest in the Gare de Lyon, a major Paris train station. More than one million people marched through French cities on Tuesday to protest the bill.

The bill makes it easier for employers to fire young workers during their first two years in a job. Critics say it gives bosses a source of cheap laborers who could be fired anytime for no reason.

French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, who pushed the legislation through parliament, insists it is needed to help deal with youth unemployment rates as high as 50 percent in some places.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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