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Evening Update 03 Apr

Strike - Commuters are coming to grips with first of 36 days of national train strikes. Today and tomorrow, less than one train an hour is scheduled for the main rush hours, with little or no train service during the day or evening.  For passengers on TGV or intercity services, SNCF is offering to exchange strike day tickets free of charge, including tickets that were originally non-refundable and non-exchangeable. Air France crew are also striking today, which has led to cancellations on flights between Nice and Lyon & Paris.

Death - It has been confirmed that the body of woman found on the shoreline at St Jean Cap Ferrat is that of an Italian woman who ran an accommodation business in Bordighera. It’s believed she suffered from depression and may have committed suicide. Meanwhile, the body of a 29 year-old fireman, who has been missing from Toulon since Saturday, has been discovered in woods at Cotignac at lunchtime today. Police have made no comment on the circumstances of the death.

Cars - Driving and owning a car is most expensive in the South of France. An annual survey from the Automobile Club shows the cost of owning and running a car in the PACA region, including repayments, servicing, taxes, fuel and tolls, is €6,278 a year. For the average driver doing eight or nine thousand kilometres a year, that works out at 72 cent a kilometre, or 10% more than the national average.

Passport - Britain has said it’s now extending the bidding process for making British passports, after a row blew up about a French/Dutch firm winning the contract to make them after Brexit. The extension follows a threat by a British firm, to issue a legal challenge to the preliminary decision to award the contract to Paris-based Gemalto.

Uni - The entrance to Nice University was blocked for a time this morning by protestors demonstrating against reforms to entrance requirements for students. The university re-opened around 10am.

BUSINESS

Foreign investment in France rose 16% last year as President Macron's bid to attract money from abroad gains pace. A government report said 1,298 foreign investment projects were announced last year, allowing some 33,500 jobs to be saved or created. The figures are the best in 10 years.

Spotify, the world’s largest music streaming service, made its debut on the New York Stock Market today with its reference price set at $132 a share. That puts the company value at $23.5 billion. Unusually, Spotify is not going through the normal Initial Public Offering process and issuing new shares, but instead has directly listed itself so Spotify investors can publicly trade their shares.

SPORT

Football - Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said the club are in an historic period after reporting a record £306m in revenues. The 46% increase is largely due to the new Premier League TV deal, and Spurs' participation in the Champions League.

In Greece, Olympiakos players have been fined 400,000 euros and ordered to go on holiday by the club’s president. The former Greek champions have slipped to third in the Super League, and out of the last eight games, have won just three. Their shipping magnate owner was quoted in the Greek media as saying, he has tolerated the team enough, and that very few players in the current squad will be retained.

Rugby - Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac has held informal talks with the Welsh Rugby Union about succeeding Wales coach Warren Gatland next year. Pivac, who signed a new Scarlets deal in October, is understood to be one of the front-runners to replace Gatland and said he would seriously consider the job.

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