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Evening Update 08 Mar

Hospital - The Cannes Hospital Centre is to be renamed after one of the Riviera’s most influential politicians, ‘Simone Veil’. Rescued from the Nazi death camps Madame Veil, who was from Nice, was a lifelong campaigner for women’s rights, a former French Minister of Health, and the first woman to become President of the European Parliament in 1979. The decision to name the hospital in her honour was unanimous.

Strike - At Sophia-Antipolis, striking employees and burning tyres, are the scenes today outside Galderma, who are due to be closed by parent company Nestlé later this year. The 550 employees are protesting the social plan which as been proposed by Nestlé.

Phones - SFR have been named the worst mobile and internet company, for customer satisfaction, for the third year running. The annual survey by the French Association of Telecommunications Users, said 60% of complaints received by them were for SFR alone, far ahead of second placed Orange, with 13% of complaints.

Bike - Motorists are warned of significant disruption expected tomorrow afternoon, with the arrival of the Paris to Nice bike race in Vence. As well as road closures in the town itself, there will be rolling closures around Bar-sur-loup, La Colle-sur-Loup and St-Paul-de-Vence between 2 and 4.30pm. Over the weekend, the Promenade des Anglais in Nice will see traffic restrictions on Saturday and Sunday, due to the bike race and Formula 1 activity on the prom.

BUSINESS

The European Central Bank has indicated that its bond buying program could be coming to the end. They are predicting strong growth in the euro area, revising up their GDP outlook to 2.4% for this year.

French companies have been given three years to erase any gender pay gaps, with larger companies obliged to use payroll software which will monitor differences in pay.  If a company fails to erase a pay gap, detected by the software over three years, labour inspectors could impose a fine of up to one percent of the firm’s wage bill.

Economists will be closely watching the White House this evening, to see what tarrif’s President Trump will actually impose on imported steel and aluminium and how that will affect EU and US relations. Although ECB President Mario Draghi said earlier today, that the immediate spill over of the measures won't be big, there is certain worry that if you put tariffs on your allies, you have to wonder who your enemies are.

China has dominated a list of global self-made women billionaires, with the top four all coming from the Asian superpower. Zhou Qunfei, tops the list as the world's richest self-made woman, with $9.8bn. Her firm makes glass covers for laptops and smartphones by Apple and Samsung. Ms Zhou, who came from a poor rural background, also featured on the Forbes Billionaires list released earlier this week.

SPORT

Formula 1 - Sebastian Vettel surged to the fastest time of pre-season testing so far, as he became the first driver to lap in 1min 17sec, setting a new unofficial lap record around the Circuit de Catalunya. Today is the last day of testing.

Renault are to stage a spectacular car demo in Nice on Sunday, which coincides with the final stage of the Paris-Nice cycle race on the Promenade des Anglais. Four-time F1 World Champion Alain Prost will get behind the wheel of his 1983 Renault RE40 V6 turbo while Nico Hulkenberg will be on hand to drive the 2012 Renault V8 F1 car. Each driver will complete two runs during the deciding stage of the cycle race as horsepower and pedal power come together.

Rugby - Owen Farrell will captain England for the first time in Saturday's Six Nations match against France. Regular skipper Dylan Hartley has been ruled out due to injury. Jamie George replaces Hartley at hooker, while full-back Mike Brown has been dropped.

Ireland have confirmed that Tadhg Furlong and Garry Ringrose will be on their Six Nations team to face Scotland on Saturday. Fit-again Furlong returns to replace Andrew Porter, with Ringrose coming in at centre for the injured Chris Farrell.

Football - Thousands of fans and representatives of every single Italian Serie A club have gathered in Florence for the funeral of Davide Astori. The Italy international died at the age of 31 on Saturday after a sudden illness. Members of the Juventus squad, who beat Tottenham last night, were also in attendance, as well as the Italian national team captain.

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