It’s been another day of industrial action across France today in protest at the government’s proposed pension reforms. A demonstration was held in Nice this morning. As is usually the case, there was a large discrepancy in estimates of the number of protestors. Unions put the number at 10,000 but the police said that 2,900 took part. Nevertheless, the police figure is about twice the force’s estimate of the number of people on the previous march last week. A demonstration was also held in Draguignan. Public transport is being seriously affected today because of strike action. In Nice there are no trams. Buses are also being affected in Nice and other towns across the region including Antibes and in Hyeres where employees blockaded the local bus depot. The SNCF is running about two out of three local TER trains across the region. Delays have been experienced at Nice Cote d’Azur airport, but there have been few cancellations so far today. Many schools are closed today or offering only a skeleton service and no canteen meals for children. Some hospital staff are also joining the strike along with firefighters and refuse workers. In Toulon, about eighty lawyers staged a sit-in and sang the Marseillaise at the courthouse.
A homeless man has died on a major street in Nice this afternoon. Pompiers arrived on boulevard Gambetta just after 2.00 pm to find the man in a serious condition. It’s initially thought that he may have died from a heart condition.
An 84 year old man has crashed his vehicle after suffering a suspected heart attack in Le Cannet. The man ,who was driving an English registered right hand drive car crashed into a motorway support pillar on the chemin de Carimai above the A8 yesterday afternoon. He was taken to hospital suffering from head injuries.
Anti-narcotics forces in Marseille have carried out several major raids in the past few days. The operations were against drugs outlets in northern areas of the city.
Ségolène Royal has been removed from her position as French government ambassador for the north and south poles. She had held the post, which was created to monitor such issues as the effect of global warming on the poles, since 2017.
UK private sector firms have seen activity recover this month, according to a closely-watched survey. The PMI survey for January hit a 16-month-high of 52.4, up from December's figure of 49.3. A figure above 50 indicates expansion. Meanwhile, the latest PMI surveys for the Eurozone show that manufacturing and services output growth remained stable at 50.9.
The UK's competition regulator has said that it's launching an investigation into the proposed merger between food delivery businesses Just Eat and Takeaway.com. Takeaway.com won a battle for Just Eat with a £5.9bn all-share offer.
Rolls-Royce says that it plans to build and install "mini" nuclear reactors in the UK by the end of the decade. The company is leading a consortium to build the small power stations which will be located on brownfield sites that are home to old or decommissioned power stations.
Cricket… Rain delayed the start of day one of the Fourth Test in Johannesburg this morning. Play got underway at twenty past twelve our time. England won the toss and decided to bat.
Tennis… Caroline Wozniacki has retired from professional tennis after being knocked out of the Australian Open. She had revealed her intention to retire in December. Wozniacki bows out having spent 71 weeks as the world number one and won 30 WTA titles. She won the Australian Open, her only Grand Slam title, in 2018.
Roger Federer survived a scare to beat unseeded Australian John Millman 10-8 in a final-set tie-break and reach the Australian Open fourth round. American teenager Coco Gauff has beaten defending champion Naomi Osaka in straight sets to reach the fourth round.
Motorsports… Dutch motorcyclist Edwin Straver has died after a crash at the Dakar Rally. He crashed last Thursday, 124 kilometres into stage 11 and suffered a cardiac arrest before being to airlifted to hospital in Saudi Arabia.
And in Monte Carlo Rally news, reigning world champion Ott Tänak suffered a spectacular crash this morning when his car came off the road at high speed and rolled several tens of metres down an embankment. The car was badly damaged but he and his co-driver were unhurt.