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Evening Update Thurs 15 June 2017

Le Pen - Marine Le Pen has lost her immunity from prosecution, in a vote by the European Parliament today. It paves the way for French prosecutors to sue her for defamation. The case is being brought by Christian Estrosi, the Mayor of Nice, after Le Pen accused him of being in league with Islamist militants.

Jet - Residents of Nice got a loud surprise this morning, when a fighter jet, flew low and fast over the city around 10.30am. The jet was travelling at over 800km per hour, at just 1,200 feet. The French Air Force say the jet was doing a practice fly-by for commemoration services to be held on July 14th.

Phones - Keeping up with family and friends, has just become a lot cheaper, with the abolition of mobile phone roaming charges across the EU today. It means you can use a phone from home, here in France, for the same price as you’d pay in your home country. However, you are urged to check the specific details with your provider, as extra costs may still apply to your plan. For example, some providers charge extra for calls from Monaco, as the principality is not a full member of the EU.

BUSINESS

UK interest rates have been kept on hold at 0.25%. It follows a 5-3 vote by the Bank of England's policymakers, the closest vote for a rate rise since 2007, and comes with inflation close to a four-year high of 2.9%, well above the Bank's target of 2%. Meanwhile, the US Federal Reserve has raised its key interest rate for the second time this year, so that it’s key rates range from 1% to 1.25%.

Willie Walsh, the chief executive of British Airways owner IAG, has told investors the IT meltdown that grounded thousands of British Airways passengers will cost the airline at least £80m. He was speaking at IAG's annual meeting where he apologised again for last month's chaos, describing it as a "dreadful experience".

SPORT

Football - The calendar for next seasons Ligue 1 in France was released today, with the first match to be held at Stade Louis II on August 5th, where AS Monaco will take on Toulouse. The first of the local derbies for Monaco, will a home game against Marseilles at the end of August and a clash with OGC Nice on September 9th. Meanwhile, Monaco’s star striker, Kylian Mbappe, claims Real Madrid have been trying to sign him since he was 14. Mbappe has become the hottest prospect in world football, after the 18 year-old scored 24 goals for Monaco last season. Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool have all been linked with a move for the player.

Rugby - In New Zealand, the British and Irish Lions face an anxious wait over the fitness of fly-half Owen Farrell after he suffered an injury in training. Farrell had been named on the bench for the match against the Maori All Blacks this weekend, but has now been replaced by Dan Biggar. The game kicks off Saturday morning at 9.45am French time.

Golf - Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from the US Open to attend his daughters graduation. He had hoped rain would delay the start of play, and allow him to be at the ceremony, then fly back to Wisconsin. However, he officially withdrew when the Open got under way in perfect conditions. Mickelson said that when he would look back on his life, his daughters graduation is a moment he would always cherish, and be glad he was present for.