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Evening Update 23 Mar

Terror - A terrorist gunman has been shot dead by French police, after he killed three people, near Carcasonne in the south-west.

This morning, the man shot and injured a policeman, then took shoppers hostage at a supermarket 8km away. The historic centre of Carcassonne was evacuated, pupils were locked in schools and tourists were confined to hotels and shops.

The dead terrorist, a 25 year-old French-Moroccan known to the security services, was said to be heavily armed. He was demanding the release of one of the most important suspects in the Paris Bataclan attacks of 2015.

The policeman who was shot is in a stable condition and his life is not at risk.

France remains on high terror alert this afternoon with an increased security presence in public places.

Airport - There has been more disruption at Nice Cote d’Azur airport today as Air France pilots and crew went on strike, cancelling at least a quarter of the airlines flights from Nice and Marseilles. No other airlines are affected by the action, which follows the national day of disruption yesterday, including walkouts by rail workers and air traffic controllers.

Time - This weekend sees the arrival of spring, with clocks due to go forward one hour on Saturday night. The weekend also marks Earth Hour, where the world is encouraged to turn off lights, and unplug non-essential appliances, between 8:30 and 9:30 pm on Saturday night. In Monaco, Prince Albert has invited all Monegasques, residents, professionals and friends of the Principality, to join him, the palace, and government buildings, in switching off lights to show commitment to protecting and safeguarding the environment.

BUSINESS

Stock markets around the world saw sharp falls today as investors worry over a potential trade war between the United States and China. Domestically, President Trump has threatened to veto a $1.3 trillion package to fund the government until September, as the package does not provide enough funding for his border wall with Mexico.

Members of the UK House of Lords have called on the government to reconsider awarding a contract to print new blue UK passports to a French firm.  The burgundy passport, in use since 1988, will revert to its original blue and gold colour from October next year.

SPORT

Formula 1
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton said he enjoyed battle with Red Bull and Ferrari at practice sessions for the the season-opening Australian Grand Prix this weekend. Although Hamilton was fastest in practice today, just zero poing 2 8 3 seconds separate the top three teams. Qualifying is at 7am French time tomorrow, the race itself at 7am on Sunday, with rain forecast for Melbourne, making it just the fourth wet Australian Grand Prix in 34 years.

 

Football
Zlatan Ibrahimovic's move to LA Galaxy has been announced with a full advert in the Los Angeles Times newspaper this morning where a photo of the striker bears the caption, "Dear Los Angeles, you're welcome." Since Ibrahimovic moved from Paris St Germain to Manchester United, he has scored 29 goals in 53 games for the Old Trafford side and claimed himself the ‘God of Manchester’. When asked if Los Angeles was big enough to handle his personality, he replied: "If it's not, I'll make it bigger."

There are a stack of international friendly games tonight, as preparations for the World Cup Finals continue. France play Colombia, the Netherlands host England, Turkey play the Republic of Ireland, and Scotland face Costa Rica.

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