Evening News Update Thursday 28 February

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has raised his estimate of the economic cost of the Yellow Vest protests.  The minister now says that the protests have cost 0.2 per cent of quarterly growth, up from his previous estimate of 0.1 per cent. 

The search for missing student Julien Zeitoun has intensified this afternoon.  Police helicopters, thermal imaging cameras and sniffer dogs have been used to search Mont Faron in Toulon. The 17 year old has not been seen since leaving his high school in Toulon on Tuesday afternoon.

Violence has broken out in Vidauban in the Var following clashes on Wednesday afternoon between two gangs of Kurdish and Turkish communities. Two people suffered stab wounds and were taken to hospital. An investigation is underway to identify those involved as well as the reason for the altercation, which police believe could be related to an incident the day before in which vehicles were set alight.  

It’s been announced that some of the beaches in Cannes and Mandelieu will be closed to bathers until next Monday, the 4th of March. The prohibition on swimming includes the entire length of the Boulevard du Midi.  The closures are because of works at a local treatment plant. Notices are posted at the affected beaches. 

Two mountaineers have fallen to their deaths in the Hautes-Alpes.  The two women, who were climbing with three other people, fell about 800 metres according to a statement issued by the public prosecutor in Gap.
Enquiries are continuing in the village of Saint-Etienne-les-Orgues, just north of Manosque, after the apparently deliberate poisoning of dogs and cats in recent weeks.  About 15 dogs and 2 cats have died or a seriously ill after eating poisoned food left around the village.

More than two thousand people are set to gather in Sophia-Antipolis tomorrow to mark the 50th anniversary of the science park. The Bouillides stadium will be at the heart of the event where a human logo will be formed. A special website has been created for the 50th anniversary and has details of how you can participate tomorrow.  The address is www.sophia-antipolis.fr



Rolls-Royce has reported a pre-tax loss of £2.9bn for 2018, down from a profit of £3.89bn the previous year. The company increased the amount for fixing problems with its Trent 1000 engines and also took a charge of £186m after Airbus said it was stopping production of the A380. Rolls-Royce also withdrew a bid to supply an engine for a new Boeing plane.

Exxon Mobil has announced that it has made a natural gas discovery in offshore Cyprus. The find could represent natural gas resources of between 5 to 8 trillion cubic feet. 

Data out today points to signs of strain in China's economy. The official manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index fell to 49.2 in February, down from 49.5 in the previous month. A reading below 50 separates expansion from contraction. The result marks the third straight month of contraction.



Football… Fulham have sacked manager Claudio Ranieri after just 106 days in charge.  Fulham are 19th in the Premier League. Ranieri won only three of his 17 games as manager.  Scott Parker will fill in as caretaker.
Spain full-back Jordi Alba has committed himself to Barcelona until 2024 by signing a new contract. The 29-year-old's new deal reportedly includes a 500m euro release clause. Alba joined the Spanish champions from Valencia in 2012

An Italian football fan has been jailed for three-and-a-half years at Preston Crown Court today in connection with an assault on a 53 year old Liverpool fan last April. Simone Mastrelli pleaded guilty to attacking Sean Cox from County Meath in Ireland, who was left with severe brain injuries before Liverpool played Roma.

Formula 1…. The Ferrari of Charles Leclerc was fastest in testing in Barcelona today, followed by Alexander Albon for Torro Rosso and the McLaren of Lando Norris.  Pierre Gasly crashed his Red Bull, bringing out the red flags and Lewis Hamilton had an early spin in his Mercedes.  It’s the final day of testing tomorrow.


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