Evening Update Thursday 23 January 2020

As the region prepares for another national day of industrial action tomorrow, protesting lawyers this morning blocked the entrance to the Prefecture in Nice and then blocked an access ramp to the motorway. The lawyers from the Nice and Grasse bars arrived at the prefecture at about 7am and by 8.30 about 50 protestors were present, according to a union representative. Later this morning, the demonstrators went on to block the access ramp to the A8 motorway near Cadam for about half an hour. The lawyers are protesting at proposed pension reforms. The national day of industrial action tomorrow is expected to mainly affect transport in our region with no trams running in Nice, and a disrupted bus service.

A 19 year old student has died after a skiing accident at the weekend. The girl, who was a chemistry student in Nice, reportedly collided with a tree on a blue piste in the Lombard sector at Isola2000. She was airlifted to the Pasteur 2 hospital in Nice after the accident on Sunday but died from her injuries earlier this week.

A seventy-nine year old woman has died after a burglary in Grimaud in the Var. Police say that no violence was used by the intruders who broke into her villa but she later died of a suspected heart attack.

RTE, the company which manages the French electricity transmission network, has filed a complaint after a fire on an electricity pylon at Fos-sur-Mer in the Bouche du Rhone. The pylon carries high-voltage transmission lines. Pompier attended the incident at 11pm last night. The complaint alleges that the fire was caused by a malicious act. No injuries were reported and investigations to establish the cause are continuing.

Refuse collectors in Nice are being hailed as heroes after they spotted a fire in an apartment and evacuated the building before the arrival of pompiers. The collectors were picking up rubbish on rue de Russie near Notre Dame Cathedral in Nice early in the morning when they spotted the blaze in a nearby building.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and the minister for the armies visited the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle this morning. The ship, which is based in Toulon, left port two days ago and is at sea, en-route to an assignment in the eastern Mediterranean. The Prime Minister observed the taking off and landing of fighter jets before addressing the ships crew, which numbers some two thousand people.

 

BUSINESS

Southwest Airlines has reported a 21% drop in fourth quarter profits due to mounting costs relating to the grounding of Boeing 737 Max jets. Southwest is the largest operator of 737 Max planes in the world. The company said its pre-tax profits fell from $654m to $514m for the four months ending 31 December 2019, compared to the same period in the previous year.

Online fashion retailer Asos has reported a 20% increase in its total retail sales for the four months to the end of December. Sales in the UK were up 18% on the previous year. It put its performance down to a "record Black Friday and strong customer engagement".

Volkswagen has been fined 196.5 million Canadian Dollars for violating environmental standards in Canada. It's the latest fine for the car maker in the long-running emissions scandal which has so far cost the company more than €30bn in fines, penalties and buyback costs.

UK supermarket chain Morrison's is set to create several thousand new jobs, according to reports in the UK retail trade press.  A net total of 4,000 new jobs are being created with some managerial posts being eliminated and more staff being employed on the shop floors.

 

SPORT

Rugby Union... Scotland's Six Nations hopes have suffered a setback after it emerged that fly-half Finn Russell could miss the campaign. Russell won’t play in Scotland's Six Nations opener against Ireland after what’s being called "a breach of team protocol", according to Scottish Rugby. Reports say that Russell left the team's training camp in Edinburgh of his own accord. It remains unclear whether he will play at all in the campaign.

Tennis... Nick Kyrgios has reached the Australian Open third round by beating French player Gilles Simon 6-2  6-4  4-6  7-5. Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev are also all through to the third round. However, local French player Alizé Cornet was knocked out of the tournament in the second round.

 

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