Evening Update Tuesday 19 March

A large demonstration was held by unions in Nice this morning to protest at the level of pensions and wages and the lack of purchasing power.  According to police, about 1,500 demonstrators were present in front of the Thiers train station, but other estimates put the number at about 2,000 to 3,000. The protestors marched to the place Garibaldi. Demonstrators reportedly decided not to gather in front of the prison this morning but prison officers have announced their intention to join protests held by civil service unions instead. No trams are running in Nice today, and the SNCF says that only about half of the usual TER trains are operating. There’s free on street parking today in Nice because of the public transport strikes. About fifty schools are also closed today in the Alpes-Maritimes. Nationally, the French Ministry of Education announced at midday that about a quarter of primary school teachers are on strike. Demonstrations have been taking place throughout France, with the CGT union saying 50,000 people were protesting in Paris, although local media put the number at about 17,500.

Two pompiers narrowly avoided injury in Nice this morning when a car was driven directly at them.  The two firefighters had been treating a man with a stab wound on the boulevard Henri-Sappia when the car, with two or three people on board, drove in their direction.  Eric Ciotti, deputy of the Alps-Maritimes, has denounced the incident, calling it "an unbearable aggression".

A violent fire partially destroyed a block of apartments in Draguignan in the early hours of this morning.  Reports say that about 60 to 70 people were evacuated from the building on Avenue de Verdun. Despite the ferocity of the fire, only two slight injuries were reported.

A minute’s silence has been observed this morning on the campus of the university at Aix-en-Provence in memory of a student who died at the weekend.  21 year old Marie-Bélen Pisano died on Sunday night after being stabbed in Marseille, at the exit of La Timone metro station. It’s thought that the perpetrator had been attempting to steal her mobile phone.

The PACA region has released 100,000 euros to help communities affected by oil pollution after the collision of two ships on October 7th last year. Eleven coastal municipalities were affected by the pollution.

8,000 euros worth of mobile phones and accessories have been stolen from a shop in Grasse. The Smart Mobile store on avenue Mathias-Duval was broken into around midnight on Sunday night.



UBS has been fined £27.6 million by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK for failing to properly report 135.8 million transactions between November 2007 and May 2017. The regulator said UBS had failed to ensure it provided complete and accurate information for 86.7m reportable transactions. It also erroneously reported 49.1m transactions to the FCA, which were not, in fact, reportable.

In the UK, the unemployment rate has fallen to 3.9%, the lowest since the start of 1975, in the three months to January, according to the Office for National Statistics. The number of people in work rose by 222,000.

One of the world's biggest aluminium producers has switched to manual operations at its Norwegian smelting facilities following a cyber-attack. Hydro, which employs more than 35,000 people in 40 countries, says the attack began on Monday night and is ongoing. The company said that IT systems in most of its business areas are impacted.

UK stationery retailer Office Outlet - formerly known as Staples - has gone into administration. The administrator has said that he is hopeful of finding a buyer and stores will continue to trade. The US-based stationery giant Staples sold its UK shops to Hilco Capital in 2016.




Cycling.. It’s been confirmed that Team Sky will become Team Ineos to reflect their new sponsor. Sky said in December it would end its decade-long commitment at the end of 2019, during which time the team Sky have won eight Grand Tours. The new team's launch will take place at the Tour de Yorkshire on 2 May. Ineos will become the sole owners of the team from 1 May and says it "will continue to fund the current team in full, honouring all existing commitments to riders, staff and partners".

Football...FA Cup matches will be shown live on the BBC until 2025 as part of a new four-year broadcast deal with the Football Association. The new agreement, which starts at the beginning of the 2021-22 season, will see BBC Sport continue to show live fixtures, highlights and online clips. 

The FA have written to Everton and Chelsea after an object was thrown towards former Everton player Ross Barkley during the Premier League match on Sunday. The incident occurred in the seventh minute as Chelsea took a corner but the object didn’t hit anybody.

Olympics..The head of Japan's Olympic Committee is stepping down over corruption allegations relating to the awarding of the 2020 Games to Tokyo. Tsunekazu Takeda is being investigated by French prosecutors who are looking into claims a 2m Euro bribe was paid to secure Tokyo's winning bid. Takeda said he “didn’t believe he had done anything illegal”.

Cricket… Test players' shirts will feature their name and squad number for the first time in 142 years of Test cricket when England host Australia in this summer's Ashes. The ICC wants to make players more easily identifiable to encourage greater engagement in Test cricket. Names and numbers have long been used for limited over and domestic cricket.

Football… A record nine countries have told Fifa they want to host the 2023 Women's World Cup. Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa have formally declared their interest. A joint bid for the tournament could also be made by North and South Korea. Each Football Association has until 16 April to submit its registration.

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