(CNN): Gas stations across France are running out of fuel.

Workers protesting against new labor laws imposed by the French government have gone on strike at all eight of the country's oil refineries.

Three refineries have been forced to halt operations, and the government has made use of its emergency reserves of fuel for the first time in six years. One in three gas stations is short of fuel or completely dry, according to several reports in French media.

The new laws make it easier for employers to fire workers and reduce overtime pay. The government used special powers earlier this month to bypass the French parliament to pass the legislation because it feared the measures would be defeated.

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(Reuters) Citigroup (C.N) and its affiliates have agreed to pay a collective $425 million to resolve civil charges the bank attempted to manipulate several key benchmarks, including the U.S. dollar ISDAFIX, the Yen Libor and the Euroyen TIBOR, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said.

The CFTC said on Wednesday the bank was also charged with false reporting in connection with ISDAFIX benchmark rates and with false reporting of U.S. dollar Libor rates during the financial crisis to protect its reputation.

"These settlements represent a significant step for Citi in resolving its legacy benchmark rate investigations," Citi spokeswoman Danielle Romero-Apsilos said in a statement.

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(Demarara Waves) A team of International Monetary Fund (IMF) experts is expected in Guyana shortly to examine ways of reducing the 16 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) ahead of changes that might be announced in next year’s National Budget.

Finance Minister, Winston Jordan said a team from the IMF’s Barbados-based Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) would be going to Georgetown  conduct an assessment as well as the quantitative work of Guyana’s Tax Reform Committee and make recommendations for the way forward on VAT.

“They are going to send a one or two-person mission to do a complete assessment of our VAT, where it is today including options for changes into the system so it is on the cards,” he said.

Jordan virtually ruled out VAT reductions during this year because of the need for public consultations about changes to that tax structure “that could cause trouble.” “It will be extremely difficult to just bring in a VAT reduction in the middle or the half of the year when our budget anyhow is not based on that,” he added.

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(Trinidad Guardian) Oil-rich Venezuela, which is faced with a severe food crisis, will soon bring relief to its citizens by purchasing US$50 million in goods from T&T.

Confirmation came yesterday from Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s.

In addressing the media, some of whom were from Venezuela, Maduro described his meeting with Rowley and his Cabinet as fruitful and successful, promising to strengthen ties and the relationship with T&T going forward.

“We need to continue working hard in the future to further our relations in the premise of principles of respect, brotherhood and co-operation,” Maduro told a smiling Rowley.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Facebook says it is dropping its reliance on news outlets to help determine what gets posted as a "trending topic" on the giant social network, a move adopted after a backlash over a report saying it suppressed conservative views.

Facebook's General Counsel Colin Stretch outlined the change in a 12-page letter sent Monday to Republican Sen. John Thune, chairman of the commerce committee, which oversees the Internet and consumer protections.

The move comes less than a week after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with Glenn Beck and more than a dozen other conservative commentators to address concerns stemming from a report in the tech blog Gizmodo. The Gizmodo report, which relied on a single anonymous former Facebook worker with self-described conservative leanings, claimed that Facebook downplays conservative news subjects on its trending feature.

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