Evening Update Monday 1 April

In Corsica, explosives have been found in front of the building occupied by the Public Finance department in Bastia.  It follows the discovery earlier today of explosives in front of another public finance office in northern Corsica.  Bomb disposal personnel were in attendance at both locations and there were no casualties. Reports say that the anti-terrorist section of the public prosecutor’s office in Paris is investigating the incidents, which come just three days before President Emmanuel Macron is due to visit the island.

The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, has called for increased penalties against fly tippers. He’s seeking the re-classification of the random dumping of household waste as a criminal offence so that prison terms may be introduced. Two members of parliament for the Alpes Maritimes are planning to table a bill which seeks to increase penalties.

A small fire broke out on the façade of the Metropole apartments in Monaco this lunchtime. Traffic was diverted while pompiers extinguished the fire on the balcony of an apartment where works were underway.

The SNCF has announced that work is being carried out to reinforce the walls of the Cimiez tunnel located between the stations of Nice Ville and Nice Riquier. The work will be carried out at night from today until the end of September, except at weekends and on holidays, in order to minimize the impact on train traffic. The SNCF has warned that the schedule of some trains at the beginning and end of the day may be disrupted.   

The Alpes Maritimes has extended the Red Period for the lighting and use of fires until the 15th of April.  The measures were previously due to expire today but have been extended because of the dry condition of vegetation.

A paraglider has emerged unscathed from an accident which occurred in full flight. The incident happened in Saint-Jeannet on Saturday morning. Emergency services were alerted after witnesses saw the paraglider on fire. According to reports the paraglider hit a tree before crashing to the ground.

Twenty one families in Sisteron in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence have been moved out of their homes because of the possibility of rock falls.  Authorities believe that there is the danger of a section of the rock of Baume, estimated to weigh 320 tons, falling onto the nearby dwellings.  The families were reportedly given just 18 hours notice to leave and won’t be able to return until safety works are completed in June.

An Airbus A350 aircraft landed for the first time at Nice Cote d’Azur airport yesterday.  It’s the first time the plane has landed in France outside Paris.  The flight, a Qatar Airways flight from Doha, was welcomed by a water cannon salute by fire engines on the tarmac.

Residents of Nice may have had to check their watches this morning as the cannon on the hill of the Chateau was fired at 11.00 instead of the usual 12.00.  It’s all part of the annual April Fool’s Day tradition, which sees the cannon fired one hour early on the 1st of April each year.

 

BUSINESS

UK factories stockpiled goods for Brexit at an unexpectedly high rate last month, boosting manufacturing growth to a 13-month high, according to a closely watched survey. The IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 55.1 in March, from 52.1 in February. A figure above 50 indicates expansion. The figure has remained above that benchmark for 32 months in a row.

EasyJet has warned that customer demand for tickets for the next six months is unexpectedly weak. The airline blamed uncertainty over the global economy and Brexit for the slowdown in forward bookings. EasyJet said it was therefore more cautious over its outlook for the second half of its financial year. The company said it expects to make a loss before tax of £275m in the first half of the financial year.

The BBC has signed the biggest ever deal to sell its programmes, agreeing to provide its natural history shows to a new streaming service run by the Discovery Channel. The deal, for £300m, will last ten years. The Discovery service is expected to launch by the end of 2019.

 

SPORT

Football… Queens Park Rangers have sacked manager Steve McClaren following after winning just one match in 15 Championship games. The club are 17th in the table, eight points above the relegation zone.
Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos will serve a four-game ban after getting a red card in yesterday’s match against Celtic. He’s been red-carded five times this season, with one rescinded.

Motorsports… The boss of Renault’s Formula 1 racing team has criticised what he called the "increasingly frustrating and unacceptable" engine problems that have affected the team’s start to the new season. He said that qualifying in Bahrain was massively compromised by minor electronics issues which impacted both cars. Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo retired at the same time with different issues three laps from the end of yesterday’s grand prix.

Rugby Union… Ireland forward Dan Leavy has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup with what is described as "a complex knee ligament injury". He was carried off on a stretcher in Leinster's match against Ulster in Dublin on Saturday. Leavy underwent an initial scan on Sunday but his team Leinster say the injury "needs further assessment this week".

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