Evening News Update Friday 15 February

A rally was held on the Place Garibaldi in Nice today, organised by the Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi.  He was joined by the mayors of Cuneo and Ventimiglia in a meeting which was arranged to emphasize the solidarity between France and Italy at a regional level, after the recent deterioration in relations between the two countries. A speech by M. Estrosi received a generally warm reception from the crowd but was disrupted by a small group of yellow vest protestors.

The A8 motorway has been partially closed this afternoon because of a serious accident involving a truck and a motorhome.  Traffic was taken off the motorway at Junction 36, Le Muy, in the direction of Aix-en-Provence. Reports say that the truck driver was not injured but the driver of the motorhome has suffered serious injuries.

Action by yellow vest protestors is planned for this weekend at several locations on the Riviera.  These reportedly include at the La Ruche roundabout in Cagnes-sur-Mer tomorrow.  A rally is also planned at the Place Masséna in Nice tomorrow morning and at the Thiers station tomorrow afternoon.  A march is planned around central Nice on Sunday morning, starting at the Place Garibaldi.

A survey published today has shown that two-thirds of French people believe that Emmanuel Macron is taking advantage of the national debate to campaign unduly, for the European elections. 55% of French respondents think that Emmanuel Macron "is overdoing it" and that he "is too much in the media" in the context of the national debate, even if 53% find him rather "good at it" a large majority (78%) think that the head of state "will fail to regain the confidence of the French”.

The Nice Carnival begins this weekend. The Carnival takes place on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from tomorrow until Sunday 24th February, during which changes will be made to the city’s bus and tram network. Tomorrow will see the Promenade des Anglais closed from 11.30am to midnight.  

In Paris, a homeless man has been taken to hospital in a serious condition after being attacked with a noxious substance, believed to be acid. The man was apparently involved in an argument with another homeless person at the Gare de Lyon metro station. 

 

BUSINESS

 

EDF, the French energy company, has reported 2018 sales up 6.3% to €68.98bn.

Trade talks between the US and China have broken up for the weekend without a deal, with the US warning that "very difficult issues" remain unresolved. China said negotiations would now continue in the US next week. President Xi Jinping said he hoped talks next week would "continue to work hard to promote a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement."

The European Parliament has approved a process to screen foreign direct investment into the European Union. The new regulation aims to protect critical infrastructure such as energy, transport, communications, data, space, and finance and technologies, including semiconductors, artificial intelligence, and robotics.  Several governments around the world have recently blocked telecoms companies from using Huawei, the Chinese telecoms company, in next-generation 5G mobile networks, citing security concerns.

UK retail sales for January rose by by 1% on the previous month, according to new official figures. The ONS said the amount of goods sold rose by 1%, after falling by 0.7% in December, with discounts in clothing helping to boost sales. Compared with a year ago, retail sales were 4.2% higher in January.

 

 

SPORT 


Formula 1…. Ferrari have unveiled their new car for this season. New team boss Mattia Binotto said the car was "a development of last year's, not a revolution". He said the team had tried to "raise the bar". Sebastien Vettel is joined in the team by Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc, in his second F1 season.

Tennis.. Simona Halep won five games in a row in the final set to beat Elina Svitolina in the semi-finals of the Qatar Open. The world number three won 6-3  3-6  6-4 and will face either Angelique Kerber or Elise Mertens in the final on Saturday.

Football…Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has signed a one-year contract extension. The 55-year-old Spaniard also has the option of a further year, which would see him remain in charge until the end of the 2020-21 season. Barcelona are currently top of the league on 51 points, six points clear of rivals Real Madrid.

Horse Racing… Australian trainer Ben Currie has been charged with several "serious welfare breaches" including giving electric shocks to horses. It follows fellow Australian trainer Darren Weir being banned for four years for possessing Taser-type devices, known as "jiggers".

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