Evening Update Monday 17 February 2020

Investigations are continuing into the serious accident at the Capitou toll booths near Frejus at the weekend. At about 4pm on Saturday afternoon, a Renault Grand Scenic hit the concrete structure between two traffic lanes. Four of those on board died at the scene and two other passengers are in a serious condition in hospital. It’s believed that the six passengers were three retired couples from the north of France who were on holiday. The two survivors were airlifted to Sainte-Anne hospital in Toulon and the Pasteur Hospital in Nice.

Public transport across the Nice Côte d'Azur Metropolis is set to be badly disrupted because of industrial action this Thursday. Envibus has announced that there will be no buses in Sophia Antipolis. Other bus services across the region are likely to be disrupted. The tram system in Nice will once again be suspended for the day but on-street parking in Nice will be free on Thursday.

A major fire broke out at a warehouse in La Garde in the Var this morning. About 50 firefighters were involved in fighting the blaze which affected about 2,000 square metres. The fire was extinguished a few hours later with no injuries being reported.

There was serious traffic disruption because of two separate accidents during this morning’s rush hour. A truck collided with a motorcycle near the Antibes turnoff on the A8 at about 5.30am. The sixty-year-old motorcyclist was rushed to hospital in Nice while emergency services attended to the driver of the truck on site. There was also serious traffic disruption in Le Muy after three vehicles, including a heavy goods vehicle, collided on the RN7. An injured woman was airlifted to hospital.

Two people have been released by the authorities after being detained in connection with damage to the statue of Jacques Chirac in Nice. The two were detained after two people were seen climbing the statue on Saturday night but reports say that the video evidence was inconclusive. The statue of the former French president was vandalized last week, leading Nice town hall to file a complaint.

A 36 year old man is being questioned after the discovery of a woman’s body in Salon-de-Provence in the Bouches-du-Rhône yesterday. The body of the man’s mother was discovered at her house by authorities after being alerted by concerned relatives.

Protests have taken place at ski resorts across France as half-term holidays began at the weekend. Unions are protesting against unemployment system reforms, set to be implemented on April 1st, which they say will reduce benefits for seasonal workers.

A French association, "Groupe SOS", has raised 200,000 euros for its project which aims to bring back life to rural areas of France. The association will use the funds raised to set up and run local cafes. Volunteers will receive funding and training.

 

 BUSINESS

The Japanese economy shrunk at the fastest rate in five years at the end of 2019. Numbers reported by the Bank of Japan show that annualised GDP fell by a much steeper than expected 6.3% in the October to December period. During those 3 months Japanese consumer spending fell 2.9% after the country's sales tax was raised in October. In the same month a typhoon also hit large parts of the country.

Shares in Laura Ashley fell heavily earlier today after it said it was in talks with its lender about accessing sufficient funds to allow it to continue trading. The company said that trading continued to be "challenging", with sales falling by nearly 11% in the second half of 2019.

General Motors has said that it will retire the iconic Australian car brand Holden. The company said it will wind down Holden sales, design and engineering operations in Australia and New Zealand by next year. The announcement comes three years after GM ended vehicle manufacturing in Australia.

French rail and train signalling company, Alstom, has announced that it’s in talks to buy the train business of Bombardier. Alstom released a statement confirming the discussions regarding a possible acquisition of Bombardier Transportation. It said that discussions are ongoing and no final decision has been made.

 

SPORT

Cricket... Faf du Plessis has stepped down as South Africa Test and Twenty20 captain, saying it is in the teams' "best interests". He captained South Africa in 112 matches across all formats since 2012. Quinton de Kock replaced Du Plessis as one-day captain in January.

Olympics… Organisers of the Tokyo Marathon have announced it will no longer be a mass participation event due to the coronavirus outbreak. Only elite runners and wheelchair athletes will compete in the event which takes place on 1 March. About 38,000 runners had been expected to take part in the marathon.

Football… Barcelona have been granted special permission by La Liga to make an emergency signing outside of the transfer window. The decision comes after French forward Ousmane Dembele was ruled out for six months with a serious hamstring injury. La Liga rules allow clubs to apply to make new signings in certain circumstances if a player is ruled out for more than five months.

 

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