Authorities are investigating after two motorway toll booths in our region were badly vandalised last night. According to reports, a group of about 15 to 20 people ripped out the toll barriers on the A50 at La Ciotat. Shortly afterwards, a similar number of people attacked the toll booth at La Barque near Aix-en-Provence. Toll barriers were again ripped out and several fires were started which destroyed two toll booth cabins. Vinci-Autoroutes has reportedly decided to file a complaint for "deliberate damage". There is apparently nothing at the moment to connect the incidents with the yellow vest movement. Authorities are continuing their enquiries.
Authorities have said that they have found the body of a 74 year old man who had been missing from a retirement home in Falicon. Jean-Marie Pilas had been missing since the 23rd of December. His body was discovered by a member of the public on a hiking trail not far from the retirement home. Dog teams and a helicopter with a thermal imaging camera had been used in the search over the past 10 days.
A driver is in hospital with serious injuries after an accident in Saint-Maximin this morning. According to reports, the driver was thrown from his vehicle after failing to negotiate a roundabout. He was airlifted to hospital in Toulon.
A man is recovering in hospital in Marseille after suffering serious knife injuries. The man, in his forties, was apparently stabbed during a drunken argument between two people in an apartment in the Second Arrondissement.
A 36 year old woman has died from her injuries after falling from the second floor of an apartment block in Antibes on New Year’s Eve. Police have launched an investigation to determine the exact cause of death.
In national news, eight people have been rescued by helicopter after becoming trapped for eight hours at the top a fair ride. The revellers, one as young as 13, were on the fairground attraction in the city of Rennes when the ride broke leaving firefighters on the ground unable to rescue the group trapped at the top.
Qatar Airways says it has bought a 5% stake in China Southern Airlines. The airline said the investment was part of its on-going strategy. It already owns 20% of International Airlines Group, 10% of LATAM Airlines, 49% of Air Italy and 9.99% of Cathay Pacific.
A widely watched UK business survey has posted strong numbers, but the good figures are likely to be the result of pre-Brexit stockpiling. The latest IHS Markit/CIPS Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 54.2 from 53.6 in November, the highest reading in six months. Markit said the improvement did not herald a big change in the UK economy and was largely caused by manufacturers stockpiling materials and finished goods. Meanwhile, in Germany, growth in the manufacturing sector slowed again in December. Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index for German manufacturing fell to a 33-month low of 51.5 from 51.8 in November.
Football… Chelsea have signed Borussia Dortmund forward Christian Pulisic for 64m euros but will loan him back to the German club until the end of the season. The 20-year-old has played at international level for United States and joined Dortmund as a youth player in 2015.
Locally, OGC Nice’s match against Toulouse has been postponed by one day. The prefecture of the Haute-Garonne department requested the postponement because police are mobilized on operations controlling Yellow Vest protestors. The match will now be played on Sunday instead of Saturday.
In this evening’s English Premier League matches Bournemouth face Watford, Chelsea play Southampton, Huddersfield play Burnley, West Ham play Brighton, Wolves play Crystal Palace and Newcastle face Manchester United.
Tennis… Andy Murray's latest comeback has ended after he was beaten by by Russia's Daniil Medvedev in the second round of the Brisbane International. Murray is ranked 240th in the world after playing just six tournaments in 2018.
Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the Brisbane International with a thigh strain but hopes to be fit for the Australian Open this month. Nadal missed November's ATP Finals to have ankle surgery. Japanese player Taro Daniel will replace Nadal in round two in Brisbane against Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Cricket…In Australia’s Big Bash League, Sydney Thunder have beaten Perth Scorchers by just one run in Sydney. Jos Buttler made his third half-century in four innings but England teammate Joe Root managed only five runs. The league finishes on 17 February, boot Root and Buttler will leave early to join England's tour of the West Indies, which starts on 11 January.
Motorsports… Michael Schumacher’s family say they will celebrate "his victories, his records and his jubilation" on the driver’s 50th birthday tomorrow. Schumacher sustained serious head injuries in a skiing accident in 2013 and has not been seen in public since. He’s being looked after at his home in Switzerland, but little is known about his recovery. The Official Michael Schumacher App, which will be a "virtual museum" of the driver's achievements, is being released tomorrow to coincide with his birthday.