Evening News Update Wednesday 25 April

Unemployment has fallen in the PACA region in the first quarter of this year. The number of so-called “Category A” jobseekers – i.e. those required to search for a job and who have no activity – fell by 0.7 per cent. However, over a 12 month period unemployment in the region is slightly up, compared with a fall in unemployment nationally.

Police say that the man who carried out the stabbing of a motorist on the Promenade des Anglais on Sunday has been freed from custody. Authorities say that CCTV images of the incident show that the man who ended up in hospital in a critical condition after being stabbed, started the fight which led to the other man involved drawing a knife in self defence.Enquiries continue.

About 40 people are reported to have been evacuated from premises in Valbonne this morning after a gas leak.  The leak was at the corner of Boulevard Carnot and rue d'Opio where works are taking place and in the same area as a gas leak which occurred yesterday.

The latest rolling strike action by SNCF rail workers has come to an end with services expected to return to normal over the next few days. The next strike is planned for this weekend with services badly affected again on Saturday and Sunday and more rolling industrial action planned in May which is likely to cause inconvenience for both commuters and visitors to the Historic and Formula 1 Grand Prix races in Monaco. On Tuesday, SNCF management said that it appeared that less staff had taken part in the latest strike although unions dispute the comments.

The French Minister of Public Accounts Gérald Darmanin has given more information today about the corporate re-organisation of the SNCF planned to take place in 2020.  Monsieur Darmanin said that the state’s assumption of part of SNCF’s debt would take place without the levy of new taxes and without tax increases.  He said that reductions in public expenditure would be used instead.


Comcast has made a formal £22bn bid for Sky in a move which threatens Rupert Murdoch's attempts to take full control of the TV company. 21st Century Fox had already agreed to buy the 61% of Sky it doesn’t already own. Sky said that as a result of the higher cash offer by Comcast it was withdrawing its recommendation for the 21st Century Fox bid and was terminating a co-operation agreement entered into with the company. 

Irish headquartered pharmaceutical company Shire has received a revised £46 billion takeover offer by Takeda Pharmaceutical of Japan and will reportedly recommend the deal to its shareholders. Shire shareholders would own nearly half of the combined company and the new Takeda shares would be listed in Japan and the US. Shire said that it was setting a new deadline of 8 May for the negotiations to be concluded and said that could be extended further if needed.


FOOTBALL… There were violent scenes outside Anfield stadium last night as Liverpool defeated Roma in the Champions League semi-final.  A 53-year-old man, believed to be a Liverpool fan from Ireland, is in a critical condition after he was attacked by rival fans. Merseyside police said they had arrested two men from Rome on suspicion of attempted murder. Liverpool FC said it was "shocked and appalled" and would be offering the victim the club’s full support.

TENNIS… A long-awaited report into corruption in the sport has found a high level of match-fixing is plaguing lower-level tennis events. The Independent Review Panel says there is a "very significant" corruption problem at lower and middle levels of the sport and especially in the men's game. It found "some evidence of some issues" at higher levels, such as Grand Slams and Tour events, but it said that the evidence doesn’t reveal a "widespread problem" in elite professional tennis.
In other tennis news, Andy Murray has decided not to launch his return to tennis at the Glasgow Trophy which gets underway on Saturday. Murray is recovering from hip surgery. His next appearance is scheduled to be in the Rosmalen grass court event in Holland in May.

RUGBY UNION… Dragons have signed Wales tight-head prop Aaron Jarvis from French club Clermont Auvergne on a two-year deal. Jarvis previously played for Ospreys before joining the French side in 2016, which was the year in which he last played for Wales.

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