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Evening Update 21 Sept

Strike - Today’s national strike by the CGT union has been a muted affair compared to last weeks national stoppage. So far, there’s been no effect on bus services across the region, but some trams in Nice were painted with pro-strike graffiti. SNCF report that the majority of rail services are running as normal today.

This afternoon, about 500 people gathered on Place Garibaldi in Nice, to demonstrate against the new labour laws, being pushed through by President Macron. A defiant Macron has insisted his government will not compromise on the reforms, which make it easier for companies to hire and fire, and were worked out after three months of negotiations with unions. He said the country faces an unemployment rate of 10%, of which a huge proportion are under 25 years old. He added he believed in democracy, but it does not happen in the street, and that he does not care about being popular.

Attack - Sandra Bertin, the Nice police officer accused of defaming the Minister of the Interior, by claiming she was pressured into making a false report, on the events of July 14th, has been acquitted by the Paris Court. The court allowed her to go, saying the immense pressure on the night most likely led to her claims which they believed were said in good faith.

Roads - Users of the A8 motorway are warned of a change in the traffic flow around the payage at Nice St Isidore and the Canta tunnel. Starting on Monday, roadworks will necessitate the closing of that stretch of motorway from 8pm each evening. Diversions will be in place.

BUSINESS

Google has struck a one billion dollar deal with Taiwan's HTC to expand its smartphone business. Google won’t take a stake in the firm, but will acquire a team of HTC people to develop Googles own  Pixel smartphones. Google expects the deal to close by early 2018 provided it gets the all clear from regulators.

Losses have risen sharply at food delivery firm, Deliveroo, the company that connects thousands of bike couriers to customers wanting food, from restaurants that do not have their own delivery team. Latest accounts at Deliveroo show a worldwide loss of €146m in 2016, up from just €34m the previous year. The company made sales of 128m, up from 18, but the cost of getting the goods to customers was 127m, leaving it a wafer-thin profit margin. On top of that the company has been funding an international expansion plan, and is now available in 12 countries.

Chinese search engine giant Baidu is to spend €1.25bn on new driverless car projects over the next three years, in an attempt to catch up with US rivals. They aim to have cars ready for Chinese roads by 2020.

SPORT

Football - Chelsea have finally agreed terms with Atletico Madrid for the transfer of striker Diego Costa back to the Spanish club. Atletico said the 28-year-old, who left them to join Chelsea in 2014, would have a medical in the next few days, with the actual transfer happening in January. Costa has not played for the Blues this season, and spent much of August in his native Brazil.

Manchester United has reported record revenues of £581m for the 2017 financial year, as TV cash poured in. In a year when it won the Europa League and EFL Cup, the club also signed 12 sponsorship deals, and saw commercial and matchday revenues increase.

Rugby
Irish flanker, Sean O’Brien, has hit out Warren Gatland saying that the British & Irish Lions could have whitewashed world champions New Zealand 3-0 had they been better coached. He said poor coaching prevented the Lions from securing a historic victory.

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