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Evening Update 24 Sept

Budget - The French government has announced its draft budget for 2019, which promises to restore purchasing power to households, despite cuts to public spending.

The main thrust of the budget is six billion euro in tax relief for households, a gradual end to an annual housing tax, the removal of contributions on overtime, and 20 billion euros of tax cuts for business.

However, it also includes tax increases on fuel and cigarettes, and the loss of a further 4,000 public sector jobs.

Pensions and welfare benefits will effectively be frozen, after Macron complained in June that France spends a crazy amount of money on social programmes. Those cuts will affect the lowest earners in France, where the number of people living below the poverty line is now 14%.

Death - An inquest has begun into the death of a 15-year-old French girl, severely allergic to sesame, who died during a British Airways flight from Nice to London, after eating a sandwich that failed to list sesame as an ingredient. The inquest, which is expected to last five days, is likely to examine product-labelling laws and raise questions about whether gaps in regulation need to be tightened.

Tyres - An artificial reef made of thousands of old car tyres during the eighties, is being removed from the Riviera seafloor, after it was found to spread pollution from toxic chemicals. The operation, between Cannes and Antibes, is costing over a million euros and is part-funded by the tyre manufacturer Michelin.

BUSINESS

Monaco’s Société des Bains de Mer has released its lastest results, which show a turnover of just under half a billion euro, following a €16m increase during the last year.  Losses are also down, from 33 million to 27 million, which is linked to the major rebuild of the Hotel de Paris which will fully re-open in the coming months.

Oil prices have hit a four-year high after Saudi Arabia and Russia rejected calls from Donald Trump to increase production. Yesterday, Iran’s oil minister said Mr Trump's tweet instructing OPEC to ‘get prices down’ was the biggest insult to Washington's allies in the Middle East. OPEC and other oil-producing nations including Russia, have further extended their 2016 deal, to cut production and maintain oil prices.

The euro has risen today after the European Central Bank said that underlying inflation in Europe looks set to rise. The banks president Mario Draghi told the European Parliament that underlying inflation is expected to increase, as the tightening labour market pushes up wage growth.

Versace, the Italian fashion house founded by Gianni Versace, is to be bought by Michael Kors. The US fashion group has agreed to buy the Italian firm in a deal worth about €1.7bn. Last year, Michael Kors bought Jimmy Choo, the luxury shoemaker founded in London, for almost £900m.

SPORT

Football - Hugo Llois from Nice will find out tonight if he’s won FIFA’s Goalkeeper of the Year Award. The France captain and Spurs goalkeeper, is up against goalkeepers from the Belgian and Danish national teams.

Rumours are abound today that AS Monaco are watching Crystal Palace ace Wilfried Zaha for a potential January bid, to replace Thomas Lemar who left the principality for Atletico Madrid in the summer. Monaco are suffering a slow start to the season, currently languishing 16th in Ligue 1, just one place behind OGC Nice.

Tennis - Serena Williams says she wants to move on from her controversial US Open final defeat by Naomi Osaka. Speaking about the umpire, who fined her for taking coaching; she said she did not understand how he interpreted normal movements from her coach, sitting the crowd, as secret coaching signals.

Johanna Konta's struggles continue, as the British number one lost 7-5 6-4 to Australia's Ashleigh Barty in the first round of the Wuhan Open in China. Konta has won just eight of her last 18 matches, including early exits at Wimbledon and the US Open.

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