Evening Update Thursday 20 February 2020

Today is another day of national industrial action against the pension reforms. Buses will be disrupted and there are no trams running in Nice. As with any strike that affects the operation of public transport, on-street parking is free in Nice today. Train services are somewhat disrupted this evening. You can check if your train is running on the website https://www.ter.sncf.com/sud-provence-alpes-cote-d-azur/horaires/recherche Unions staged a demonstration in central Nice this morning. Unions put the number of demonstrators at 5,000 but police said 900. Lawyers from the Nice bar were also demonstrating. Lawyers have been involved in an unprecedented level of industrial action against the pension reforms leading to a large backlog of cases. Senior magistrates issued a statement today calling for the crisis to be resolved as soon as possible.

A man has suffered multiple stab wounds following an argument in a bar in Carqueiranne near Hyeres in the Var last night. Emergency services took the victim to hospital where his condition is reported to be stable. Police are investigating the incident.

An elderly lady has been found dead at her home in Le Rouret. Emergency services were alerted by worried neighbours on Wednesday afternoon. Police believe the death to be accidental, an investigation has been launched.

Two police officers have been remanded in custody accused of taking money in return for cancelling a speeding ticket. The officers stopped a delivery vehicle in the Haute-Garonne on the 14th of February. The driver recorded his conversation with the officers who were subsequently taken into custody.

If you see smoke in the hills around Gourdon today, there’s probably no need to be concerned. Firefighters and national forestry officials are carrying out a “controlled burn” of undergrowth.

 

BUSINESS

Several airlines have warned of a severe financial impact as the coronavirus reduces demand for travel in Asia. Australia's Qantas said the outbreak would cost it up to 150m Australian Dollars while Air France-KLM estimated a cost of up to €200m. Air France is extending a ban on Chinese flights until at least the end of March.

Llloyds Banking Group has announced a 26% fall in pre-tax profits for 2019. The bank said that it was paying out £2.45bn to settle PPI claims for the year.

Newly released figures show that UK retail sales volumes rose by 0.9% in January. The news comes after falls in November and December.

Laura Ashley has announced the appointment of Katharine Poulter as chief executive and executive director. She is currently the company's chief operating officer. The company said she has "spearheaded a strategic review of the business". The retailer recently announced it had secured a loan to fund its day-to-day operations.

Global mining company Anglo American has announced a rise in full-year profits of 9% for 2019. Anglo American Platinum, the world biggest platinum miner has announced the appointment of Natascha Viljoen as CEO, replacing Chris Griffith whose departure was announced earlier this week.

 

SPORT

Tennis... Roger Federer has announced that he won't be playing at this year's French open after having knee surgery. Federer said that doctors were "very confident of a full recovery". He'll also miss tournaments in Dubai, Indian Wells, Bogota and Miami.

Rugby Union.... Ross Moriarty and Gareth Davies are returning to the Wales squad for the Six Nations match against France. Moriarty replaces Aaron Wainwright, while Davies comes in for Tomos Williams. Wasps player Will Rowlands is named among the replacements. Fly-half Dan Biggar and wing Josh Adams have been passed fit after suffering injuries in the match against Ireland.

Cricket... Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal has been suspended from all cricket-related activity by the Pakistan Cricket Board. The suspension was made under its anti-corruption code, pending an ongoing investigation. It means that he'll miss the Pakistan Super League Twenty20 tournament which begins in Karachi on Thursday.

Football.... Barcelona have completed the signing of Danish striker Martin Braithwaite for 18m euros. La Liga recently gave Barcelona permission to make a signing outside the transfer window after Ousmane Dembele was ruled out for six months with an injury. La Liga rules allow clubs to apply to make new signings if a player is ruled out for more than five months. Braithwaite's contract will run until the end of June 2024.

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