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Evening Update 25 Jan

Drugs - Fines on people caught smoking pot, are to be slashed, in what the Justice Minister described as a move to lessen the work load on police and the justice system. Cannabis use is on the rise in France, with around 700,000 people using the drug every day. The fines of up to €200 are for a first offence, with repeat offenders facing further action, meaning there will be no decriminalisation of the drug.

Prison - A man protesting against danger to guards at the prison in Grasse, by chaining himself to the railings, has been released and ordered home. It’s the latest event in a national protest, where prison officers are refusing to work, following a number of recent attacks on guards by inmates. They say the jobs low pay is no compensation for them risking their lives.

Adoptions - The number of babies being adopted from abroad has fallen below the number of adoptions within France for the first time in years. Last year 685 babies were adopted from countries such as Vietnam, Columbia, and Haiti, compared to 792 babies adopted in France itself.

Nuts - A 70% discount on Nutella at Intermarché supermarkets today, has led to physical altercations in some areas. In scenes reminiscent of Black Friday in the US, videos posted on social media, show customers jostling and battling each other to get their hands on enough pots of the chocolate spread. As popular as Nutella is here, France is not quite top consumer, with than honour falling to the Germans.

BUSINESS

The man known as the French ‘Steve Jobs’, telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel has credited President Macron for completely changing France's image to a pro-startup, pro-entrepreneur image abroad, that France never really had before. He was speaking to the international press at the launch of the world's biggest incubator, which is nourishing 1,000 startups in Paris.

Revenues in the casino business along the French Riviera continue to drop, down 30% on ten years ago. During 2016/2017, the top performing casinos, based on gross gaming revenue which is bets less winnings, were; Casino Ruhl in Nice on 31.4 million, Casino Croisette in Cannes on 27.7 and Casino d’Antibes on 18.9 million.

Sky television plans to make all its channels and content available online, giving customers the option of doing away with a satellite dish. Italy will be its first market to get all Sky channels online, followed by Austria, with the UK expected to follow later this or next year.

SPORT

Tennis - The UK’s Kyle Edmund’s astonishing run at the Australian Open was brought to a halt in the semi-finals this morning as he was beaten by Marin Cilic 6-2 7-6 6-2. However, his ascendancy into the semi-finals will dramatically increase Edmunds world ranking from 49 to 25. Cilic will find out who he is to face in the final, after Roger Federer takes on Hyeon Chung in the other mens semi-final tomorrow.

Football - Manchester City are hopeful of completing a €65m deal for French defender Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao. City boss Pep Guardiola has said he is willing to meet Laporte’s release clause, and that the deal for the French centre-back should be concluded before the transfer window closes on Wednesday.

Winter Olympics - Five Azurian’s have been announced as part of the French national team going to South Korea. They’ll be taking part in the Alpine skiing and snowboard cross events. Meanwhile in Monaco, Prince Albert has introduced four Monegasque athletes who will also be competing. The four are Alexandra Coletti and Olivier Jenot in Alpine skiing, and Rudy Rinaldi and Boris Vain in Bobsleigh. The Winter Games start in South Korea, in two weeks time.

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