Evening Update Friday 27 September

A national day of mourning in honour of former French president Jacques Chirac has been decreed for Monday. A service will be held at Saint-Sulpice church in Paris, in the presence of President Emmanuel Macron and many foreign dignitaries. A book of condolences has been opened at the Elysee and at French embassies overseas. Locally, the municipal council of Nice is set to vote on a proposal to name a street or other open space in memory of the former French President. The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, announced the proposal as part of a tribute he paid to the former president at the municipal council meeting this morning.

It’s been announced that the families of the victims of the Ajaccio to Nice Caravel plane crash will be received at the Elysée in Paris on October 11. The crash happened 51 years ago and the families have been campaigning for many years to establish the circumstances of the incident. At the time, the official explanation was that it was the result of an accident but campaigners believe the plane may have been hit by a missile launched as part of military exercises. Campaigners are hoping that newly released evidence may be presented at the meeting.

A 24 year old motorcyclist has been airlifted to hospital after a crash between his motorbike and a school bus. The accident happened on the RD13 at Cotignac in the Var. He was taken to hospital in Marseille in a critical condition by the Dragon 131 helicopter. The school bus wasn’t carrying any passengers at the time of the accident.

Four cases of dengue have been reported in Vallauris in the Alpes Maritimes. The news comes following a first case which was reported in the area on the 18th September following which the area was treated with an anti-mosquito control. Regional health authorities say it is a "localised outbreak of the virus," The disease is not transmitted directly from person to person but through a tiger mosquito bite.

The major fire at a factory in Rouen in northern France has now been extinguished. The Prefect of Normandy said that at one point the plume of smoke from the fire had measured 22km long. There were no casualties reported but concerns remain about the possible health and environmental consequences of the fire. Nearby schools remain closed until Monday morning and frail people have been recommended to stay indoors until tonight. However, the Prefect said that there was “no acute toxicity" as a result of the blaze.

Reports say that about 363,000 UK state pensioners living in Europe will receive letters from next week confirming that their state pension will rise each year for at least the next three years. Ex-pats have expressed concern about the future of so-called uprating of their state pension in the light of a possible no-deal Brexit. The UK government has said the rises will be guaranteed for three years, for pension recipients living in EEA countries and Switzerland.

 

BUSINESS

A British-flagged oil tanker is leaving Iran, after being held for more than two months. The Stena Impero's Swedish owner, Stena Bulk, said it was on the move from the Bandar Abbas port, where it has been anchored since July. The vessel was seized by Iranian troops in the Strait of Hormuz after they accused it of breaking maritime rules.

A member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee has said that the Bank may need to cut interest rates should Brexit uncertainty persist. Michael Saunders was speaking to local businesses in Barnsley. He also said that if the UK avoids a no-deal Brexit, monetary policy “could go either way”.

Supermarket chain Carrefour has sold 80 per cent of its Chinese business to local company Suning. Suning said in a statement posted on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange that it paid 4.8bn yuan (that’s about $670m) for the stake.

The Civil Aviation Authority in the UK said earlier today that it had flown a total of 61,000 Thomas Cook customers back to the UK, taking the total to 40% of all repatriated passengers.  72 flights were due to operate today to return 16,000 people. The CAA says the operation will continue until 6 October with more than 1,000 flights planned in total.

 

SPORT

Formula 1… Max Verstappen was fastest in second practice for the Russian Grand Prix this afternoon, with Charles Leclerc in second and Valtteri Bottas in third place. Lewis Hamilton was fourth. Charles Leclerc was fastest in first practice this morning.

Cycling… Chris Froome is set to return to cycling four months after suffering serious injuries in a crash. Froome will take part in Japan's end-of-season Saitama Criterium on 27 October alongside team-mate and Tour de France champion Egan Bernal.

Cricket… Afghanistan have appointed former South Africa all-rounder Lance Klusener as the team's new head coach. He’s previously been a batting coach for South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Football…In the English Premier League this weekend. On Saturday Sheffield United host Liverpool. Aston Villa play Burnley. Bournemouth play West Ham. Chelsea host Brighton. Crystal Palace play Norwich. Spurs face Southampton. Wolves play Watford and Everton host Manchester City. On Sunday Leicester play Newcastle and Manchester United play Arsenal on Monday.

Athletics…The World Athletics Championships start in Doha this evening with the best athletes in the world gathering. Conditions are hot and humid in the city and the big event tonight is the women’s marathon. There are also heats in the men’s 100 meters, women’s 800 meters, women’s pole vault qualification and women’s high jump.

 

MA NOLAN’S RUGBY WORLD CUP REPORT

United States player John Quill has been banned for three weeks for a high tackle on England's Owen Farrell during their Rugby World Cup match. He was sent off following a shoulder charge to Farrell's head. Meanwhile, England player Piers Francis has been cited for foul play for a tackle that left United States full-back Will Hooley with concussion. Francis will appear before a disciplinary panel in Tokyo. Australia's Reece Hodge and Rey Lee-Lo of Samoa have both received three-match bans after being cited for high tackles. High tackles are under heavy scrutiny at the World Cup, after World Rugby introduced new guidance to reduce head injuries.

There are no games today but tomorrow the hosts Japan play Ireland in Pool A. South Africa meet African neighbours Namibia in Pool B and Argentina play Tonga in Pool C. On Sunday Georgia play Uruguay in Pool D and it’s the match of the weekend with Australia playing Wales. The winner of that one will almost certainly finish top of the Pool.

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