Evening Update Friday 20 April

Nine people have been injured and 700 people were evacuated from a nightclub in Avignon after a fire broke out in the early hours of this morning. 80 firefighters were at the scene shortly after 2am. The building was completely destroyed in the blaze which is believed to have been caused by a discarded cigarette end.

President of the National front Marine Le Pen will be in Cannes on the 1st of May as part of the party’s annual tradition of paying tribute to Joan of Arc. A ceremony will be held at 11am in the square General Leclerc.  She will also be in Nice on the same day for a meeting of right wing European political leaders.

Two people have been sentenced to prison by the Tribunal in Grasse for acts of aggression against the police.  The two had broken the windows of a police station in Mouans-Sartoux by throwing stones.  Two other persons, accused of subjecting officers to threats and insults, were put under judicial control by the court and are required to wear electronic tags.

Several associations including the “Migrants' Hostel” and “Roya Citizen” have announced plans for a two-month walk in support of migrants. The march will leave Ventimiglia on April 30th passing through Nice, Cannes, Antibes Marseille and Avignon and ending in Calais. Organisers say the march aims to favour the reception of migrants in the hope of protecting refugees and asylum seekers in France as well as raising funds along the way. Meanwhile the National Assembly in France gave the green light on Thursday for the number of days to file an asylum application to be reduced from 120 to 90 days. The much contested measure is part of reforms to the immigration bill.

The blue skies and sunshine today have provided a perfect backdrop to the first flights in the Red Bull Air race.  Planes have been taking to the skies above the bay of Cannes for the Free Trial practice sessions which enable the pilots to get used to the course for this weekend’s races. Qualifying day is tomorrow and the finals on Sunday.

As part of the growing emergence of e-sport, The French Football Federation (FFF) has switched to the virtual world by launching its national e-football team today. For the first time four players will wear the blue-white-red tunic to represent France in international football tournaments online. The 16 preselected players will meet for the first time today at the Clairefontaine  national football center. The qualification tournament is to follow on Saturday on the FFF website.

Despite strike action from the SNCF on Thursday an elderly couple from the North of France were still able to make the journey by train to the South to celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary after they wrote to the SNCF. To mark 60 years of marriage, Jacques and Marie-Lucie had booked to take children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, a total of forty people to the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence by TGV. The family were delighted when a deputy general manager of the SNCF, Mathias Vicherat said “that he was very touched by the letter and happy to confirm that he had made all the necessary arrangements for the trip to go ahead”.



Premier League clubs have reported revenues of £4.5bn in the 2016-17 season, Clubs reported £500m in pre-tax profit, according to a survey by Deloitte. The three-year TV deal which came into effect in 2016-17 was the main factor in revenue growth.

In the United States, Wells Fargo bank has been fined one billion dollars by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. Regulators said that Wells Fargo had forced customers to buy insurance they didn’t need and also unfairly charged certain fees to mortgage holders.

It’s reported that Nissan plans to cut hundreds of jobs at its Sunderland plant because of falling demand for diesel cars. Nissan builds its Qashqai and Juke models in Sunderland.  The company said that the job reductions were not related to Brexit




FOOTBALL.. Arsene Wenger is leaving Arsenal. Wegner, who is 68, will leave at the end of the season, 12 months before his latest contract was due to expire. He’s spent almost 22 years at the club. Arsenal are sixth in the league and set to miss out on a top-four spot for the second straight season, with their hopes of reaching the Champions League resting on winning the Europa League. Wenger had been under increasing pressure to step down from some fans having failed to win the league for 14 years.

TENNIS…Its Quarter Finals day at the Monte Carlo Masters and Rafael Nadal is through to the Semis with a resounding defeat of Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem 6-0, 6-2 in just 67 minutes. Nadal will play Bulgarian fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov in the last four after Dimitrov beat David Goffin 6-4 7-6.  Kei Nishikori is through to the Semis, emerging victorious against number 2 seed Marin Cilic 6-4,6-7, 6-3.

RUGBY UNION… Brad Shields could be joining England after handing in a formal request to the New Zealand Rugby Union. Shields was born in New Zealand but qualifies for England through his parents. The New Zealand Rugby Union  says it will make the final decision on Shields' availability. He’s set to join Wasps later this year.

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