Evening Update Tuesday 30 April

Pompiers have been gathering in central Nice today in support of three colleagues who are appearing at the Criminal Court.  The three are charged with offences in connection with a demonstration by firefighters in February 2016. About 600 firefighters were demonstrating on the day in question, the demonstration leading to the closure of the A8 motorway between Nice and Saint-Laurent-du-Var where they had set fire to tyres on the road.

It’s been announced that the traditional May 1st demonstrations organised by the unions will take place on Wednesday from 10:30am in Nice. Demonstrators will gather at Nice’s main train station and march to Place Garibaldi. The yellow vest movement has announced that they will gather in the Liberation district at 10am joining the union’s procession at 10.30. Three other rallies have been organized in the Alpes Maritimes in Grasse, Cannes and Antibes.

The new prefect of the Alpes Maritimes, Bernard Gonzalez, will officially take up his new role on the 13th of May. He replaces Georges-François Leclerc.

Police in the Var are asking for the public’s help in connection with the search for a missing person. Sébastien Caldéro, who is 35 years old, was last seen at Pourrières on Saturday afternoon.  He is 1.86 metres tall, of slim build and with short, black hair.  He is believed to be driving a black Peugeot 307 SW, registration number EE-818-JK.  Anybody with information is asked to contact the police in Brignoles.

A Formula 1 roadshow will be held in Nice tomorrow on the 1st of May as part of the build-up to the French Grand Prix at le Castellet which is being held on the 23rd of June. The Promenade will be closed throughout the day with diversions put in place.  Meanwhile here in Monaco, final preparations are being made for the ePrix which is being held on the 11th of May and the Monaco Grand Prix which is being held over the weekend of the 25th and 26th of May.

The French government has opened a suicide prevention unit for police officers after a sharp rise in the number taking their own lives since the start of this year. The move comes as prosecutors are investigating chants by some "yellow vest" anti-government protesters in recent weeks urging the police to "commit suicide," which have prompted widespread public outrage.

 

BUSINESS

Seasonally adjusted unemployment in the Eurozone was 7.7% in March 2019, down from 7.8% in February 2019 and from 8.5% in March 2018, according to the EU statistics agency Eurostat. The unemployment rate in the EU as a whole dropped to 6.4% in March, down from 6.5% in February. That's the lowest level in 19 years.

Meanwhile, the French economy grew by 0.3% in the first quarter of the year. It means the eurozone's second largest economy has now grown at the same pace for three quarters in a row. Consumer spending rose by 0.4% in the quarter, marking a recovery from the previous quarter when spending was hit by the yellow vest protests.

One of Europe’s largest banks, Santander, has reported a fall in first-quarter profit. Net profit fell 10% from a year earlier. Profits at Santander's UK arm fell by 35% after the business was hit by competition in the mortgage market and by the cost of closing branches.

The supermarket group Auchan France has announced the sale of 21 sites.  The sites, which are a mixture of supermarkets, hypermarkets and warehouses, amongst other properties, are being sold as part of the company’s plans to reduce its losses.

 

SPORT

Motorsports…. Formula 1 has agreed a deal to stage the Italian Grand Prix at Monza until at least 2024. An F1 statement said it had reached an "agreement in principle for a new five-year deal" and it hoped to reach an agreement "as soon as possible". Race organisers the Italian Automobile Club said it had agreed the "economic aspects of the contract".

Rugby Union…Uncapped Cardiff Blues prop Rhys Carre has been named in the extended Wales squad who will prepare for the World Cup later this year in Japan. The 21 year old is joining Saracens from Blues at the end of this season.

Tennis… The All England Club has announced that total prize money for this year’s Wimbledon tournament will increase by 11.8% to a total of 38 million pounds. This year's Wimbledon runs from 1 to 14 July.

Football… The first European Champions League semi-final between Spurs and Ajax is being played tonight. Kick off is at 9pm French time. The second semi-final is between Barcelona and Liverpool tomorrow night. There’s one game in the English Championship tonight. Bristol City need a draw or a win at Millwall to keep their playoff hopes alive.

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