Evening Update Monday 18 March

A general strike is planned for the whole of France tomorrow. Unions have called for strike action from both private and public sector workers. Transport and education services are expected to be particularly affected. Lines 1 and 2 of the Nice tramway will be closed for the whole day and bus services will be severely disrupted. Envibus services around Sophia Antipolis are reported to be suspended tomorrow and train services will be disrupted. 

 

Two drivers are in a critical condition after an accident in Les Arcs in the Var last night. A 21 year old woman was taken by helicopter to the Pasteur Hospital in Nice.  The other victim, a 59 year old man from Nice, was trapped in his vehicle before being cut out by firefighters and taken to the Bonnet hospital in Fréjus.

 

The prefecture of the Alpes Maritimes has announced that the Red Period regulating the use of fire in the department has been extended to the 1st of April. The regulations contain a list of prohibited activities including the prohibition of lighting fires, throwing objects which may start a fire such as cigarette ends and the burning of cut or standing plants. Meanwhile, the fire in Clans in the arriere-pays of Nice is still burning despite the best attempts of firefighters to put it out.  The fire has been burning for the past 15 days in a very inaccessible area and has so far consumed about 80 hectares of undergrowth.

 

The first two stages of next year’s Tour de France have been announced. The Tour will begin in Nice and the first stage is a 170km course, the second stage is 190km, both arriving and departing in Nice.  A large festival is planned for the start of the Tour on the 27th of June next year.  It will be the first time that the race has started in Nice since 1981.


One of the big success stories of the Riviera, the Sophia Antipolis Technology Park is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The site, dubbed the Silicon Valley of the Côte d’Azur, now boasts nearly 40,000 jobs and is constantly attracting more. With up to 60 nationalities represented in the work force company sizes are varied, from Amadeus, the world leader in travel booking, to small start-ups. The technology park currently brings in about €5.6 billion euros in annual revenue.


The Elysée has confirmed that President Macron will be meeting Chinese president Xi Jinping in Beaulieu-sur-Mer this weekend.  The two leaders are scheduled to have a private dinner at the Villa Kérylos this Sunday evening. The two leaders will meet again in Paris the following day for official meetings and a state dinner.


Eurostar is telling passengers only to travel from Paris to London today "if absolutely necessary. Long queues are being experienced, caused by industrial action by French customs officers. Reports say that only one of the usual six X-ray machines is being operated.

 

BUSINESS

 

Payment processing firm WorldPay has been sold in a deal worth $43bn. WorldPay has been bought by Florida-based Fidelity National Information Services for $35bn in cash and shares, plus WorldPay's debt. FIS sells payment services and also software for the finance industry.


A new study has estimated that the US-China trade war has had a negative effect of $7.8bn on an annual basis for the US economy. The US and China placed tariffs on billions of dollars of goods over the past year.

 

Easyjet has abandoned talks to join a consortium that would have bid for Italian carrier Alitalia. It had been considering teaming up with Italy's state-controlled railway and Delta Air Lines of the US.  In a statement EasyJet said that it remains committed to Italy, as a key market for the company, where it currently carries 18.5 million passengers every year and employs 1,400 pilots and crew, all on local contracts.

 

MySpace, one of the first online social networks, has apologised after a server migration caused a huge loss of data. A message on its website says that any photos, videos and audio files uploaded more than three years ago may no longer be available. In its prime MySpace attracted millions of users. In 2006 it was the most visited site in the US - beating even Google.

 


SPORT

 

Football… Cristiano Ronaldo has been charged with improper conduct by Uefa for a goal celebration in the Juventus match against Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League. The 34-year-old appeared to mimic Atletico boss Diego Simeone who was fined 20,000 euros for his celebration. Uefa will rule on the case on 21 March.

 

A tribute will be paid to the victims of the Christchurch shootings before England's match against the Czech Republic at Wembley on 22 March. There was also a minute's silence for the victims before the weekend's Six Nations rugby union games.

 

Cricket… Afghanistan have achieved their first Test win after a seven-wicket victory over Ireland. Captain Asghar Afghan said it was a historic day for Afghanistan, its team and its people.

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