Organised criminal network – Local media has reported that a highly organized criminal network used children to commit nearly 1,500 burglaries in five months throughout the south-east of France. A network of burglars has been dismantled by police in the Gard. Seven people, including the alleged leader of the gang, were jailed after two waves of arrests started near Avignon in January, then in the Paris suburbs this week. The gang of burglars is believed to have committed at least 1,500 burglaries throughout the south of France, from Perpignan to Cannes.
Suspicious Bags...The area around the railway station in Cannes was evacuated and cordoned off earlier this afternoon. Reports say that two suspicious bags were left on a bench at a bus stop. Police and bomb squad officers reportedly attended the scene.
Strike – French rail workers have agreed to launch rolling strikes starting on April 3rd against the government's plan to overhaul the state-owned operator the SNCF. The announcement comes after a national strike was announced for next Thursday 22nd March. Meanwhile, ten other unions have called for strike action, this time against Air France. The strike is reportedly planned for the Easter break at the end of the month with pilots, cabin crew and ground staff expected to take part.
Tunnel Closure - It's been announced that the Castillon Tunnel on the RD 2566a has been closed for repair works. It's not presently known when the tunnel will reopen.
Jobs - Tourism technology giant, Amadeus, have announced they are to recruit 500 workers, for their research and marketing centre at Sophia-Antipolis. Amadeus is one of the world's leading providers of technology solutions for travel and tourism, handling over one billion reservations each year.
Nice Airport – Nice International Airport remains one of the busiest airports in France according to new figures. The airport will be offering 117 destinations this summer including 10 new ones.
Measles - French Health authorities fear the risk of a measles epidemic after a dramatic increase in the number cases. The highly contagious disease last month killed a Frenchwoman who hadn't been vaccinated. The current outbreak began in the Bordeaux region last November and since then 913 cases have been registered, with more than 500 of them in the last month alone. According to doctors the problem is that many in France - potentially up to one million - did not receive the necessary second injection of the MMR vaccination (Measles Mumps and Rubella).
Glencore, the commodities and mining company, is selling about one third of its production of cobalt for the next 3 years to Chinese compnay GEM. GEM is a battery recycler and cobalt is an important part in the operation of certain types of batteries.
French cosmetics company L'Oreal has bought ModiFace, a Canadian company which provides technology enabling a customer to see in advance how they would appear when make-up products have been applied. Modiface's technology already powers the mobile apps of several leading cosmetics companies.
Porsche has announced that it's investing 6 billion euros in electric cars and infrastructure by 2022. The company has also forecast that about a quarter of it's production will be of electric cars by 2025.
CRICKET.... Mason Crane is out of England's Test squad to tour New Zealand because of a back injury. Crane apparently has a stress fracture in his lower back. His replacement has been announced as Somerset player Jack Leach. The two-Test series begins in Auckland on 22 March.
RUGBY UNION...It’s the final weekend of the 6 Nations Championship with Italy playing Scotland,Wales against France and Ireland going for the Grand Slam against England at Twickenham. England coach Eddie Jones has rung the changes for the match with George Ford dropped and Owen Farrell starting at fly-half. Danny Care,George Launchbury and Dan Cole also lose their places with Richard Wigglesworth starting at scrum-half and George Kruis and Kyle Sinckler coming into the pack. For Ireland,Iain Henderson comes back at lock in place of Devin Toner while Peter O’Mahony ,Rob Kearney and Cian Healy all shaking off injuries to retain their places in the starting line-up.
FOOTBALL..Manchester City will face Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-final with the first leg at Anfield on 4 April, with the return on 10 April. Holders Real Madrid will face Juventus. Barcelona meet Roma, while Sevilla take on Bayern Munich.
There are only 4 games in the English Premier League this weekend because of the quarter finals of the FA Cup. Bournemouth play West Brom.Huddersfield host Crystal Palace.Stoke play Everton and Liverpool play Watford. In the Cup tomorrow Swansea play Spurs and Manchester United host Brighton while on Sunday Wigan play Southampton and Leicester play Chelsea.