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Evening Update 04 Apr

Trains - Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has said the government will not back down on its planned rail reforms, which are designed to bring France in line with the rest of Europe. SNCF workers are protesting the reforms which will bring to an end generous conditions including automatic pay rises, 28 days holidays and retirement at 55.  The strike is being seen as a test of President Macrons resolve, and the declining strength of unions, with rail travellers stuck in the middle. Day 2 of the strike officially finishes at seven this evening, with the next set of stoppages set for next Sunday and Monday.

Prison - The self-proclaimed brains behind the massive 1976 Nice bank robbery, Jaques Cassandri, has been sentenced to 30 months in prison by the Criminal Court in Marseille. Although the statute of limitations has passed and Cassandri could not be convicted of the robbery, he was sentenced today for related crimes including the misuse of corporate assets and corrupt real estate projects in Corsica.

Shooting - The daughter, of the 70 year old woman who was found shot in front of her home in Toulon, is being questioned by police. The elderly victim was found on Monday morning and immediately taken to hospital where her condition is now said to be stable.

TV - The ‘box set’ has officially arrived, as the red carpet is rolled out in Cannes today for the first ever Festival dedicated to television series called CanneSeries. The festival, running from today through to next Wednesday, has attracted huge names in the TV series box set field, including HBO and Netflix, looking for some South of France glamour to launch their latest offerings.

BUSINESS

China has announced new tariffs, on over a hundred  American products, including major US exports like soybeans, cars and whiskey. It’s the latest move in a rapidly intensifying trade war, sparked by President Trumps tariffs on steel and aluminium imports last month. China’s Vice Finance Minister said China may not want a trade war but it will hit back if provoked. The Dow Jones Index fell 2% on opening today, while shares in Boeing tumbled 6%, as investors digest the impact of new Chinese tariffs. In Europe, Airbus is also lower but is managing to outperform the wider French index.

Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg is to face questions from the US House Commerce Committee next Wednesday, April 11th, regarding Facebook’s use and protection of its users data.

SPORT

Football - Both Rennes and Monaco have plenty to play for, in terms of league position, when they meet tonight. Rennes have been in excellent form of late and sit sixth in the league, just behind Montpellier and ahead of Nice. Despite disappointment in the Champions League, Monaco have come back strong since January and are looking to cement second place, and a place in next years Champions League with a win tonight. Kick-off in Rennes is at 6.45.

Former England and Chelsea midfielder Ray Wilkins has died in hospital at the age of 61. Wilkins, who also played for Manchester United, AC Milan, Rangers and QPR, was being treated in London following cardiac arrest.

Rugby - Edinburgh flanker Hamish Watson has been ruled out for the rest of the season, and Scotland's summer tour of the Americas, with a shoulder injury. The problem has dogged the player for some weeks and now decided on surgery.

Commonwealth Games are officially under way after a spectacular opening ceremony on Australia’s Gold Coast. More than 4,500 athletes, from 71 nations and territories, will be competing for 275 gold medals over the next 11 days of competition.

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