Evening Update Wednesday 18 April

The French government announced today that the special rights of newly recruited SNCF staff will end on January 1st 2020 to coincide with the SNCF’s planned change of status into a public company.  SNCF staff, who are opposed to the changes, are once again on strike today and tomorrow. Separately, Air France industrial action has been continuing today, with the airline operating about 70 per cent of its scheduled flights but the company is warning that there may be some last minute cancellations, including the possibility of cancellations tomorrow.  And tomorrow is also a national day of industrial  action in France.  As a result, there are expected to be no trams and only a few busses operating in Nice.

A serious road accident occurred near Brignoles in the Var this morning when a driver apparently lost control of her vehicle. Two children, aged 8 months and 3 years old were injured and are reportedly in a serious condition.

About one hundred migrants were removed from a camp in Ventimiglia early this morning.  Local officials said that the migrants were moved to clean the area because of public health concerns and this was not aimed at dismantling the camp.  The operation reportedly took place peacefully and representatives from local authorities and migrant support groups were present.

An operation is underway in Nice aimed at reducing the seagull population.  Local authorities are using drones to spray gull’s eggs with a substance which sterilises the eggs. It’s the second year that this method had been used to control the gull population.  The operation will take place until the end of May.


The French government health agency has said that the winter flu epidemic is now over in all regions of metropolitan France.  Provisional figures show that 13,000 people died as a result of the flu during this winter’s flu season.  The figure is slightly less than last year, when 14,400 deaths occurred.



China has imposed a charge against US sorghum imports. Sorghum is a type of grain used to feed livestock and in the production of ethanol.  China said importers would pay a deposit of 178.6 per cent on the value of their imports from today. China said that the charges were a temporary measure, but US producers fear that similar measure could become permanent.

UK consumer price inflation has fallen to its lowest level in a year.  In March CPI inflation fell to 2.5 per cent from 2.7 per cent in February.

Printing company De La Rue has abandoned plans to appeal against the UK government’s decision to award a passport printing contract to Gamalto, a Franco-Dutch company. De La Rue currently makes British passports at its factory in Gateshead where it employs 600 people.


TENNIS..At the Monte Carlo Masters today number 11 seed Roberto Bautista Agut was victorious against fellow Spanish player Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 7-6. Meanwhile in some of the other second round matches, Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas and 13th seeded Fabio Fognini is out of the tournament after a defeat by Jan-Lennard Struff.  

CRICKET.. Reports suggest that former England batsman Ed Smith is about to be appointed as England’s new national selector. He’s expected to replace James Whittaker, who left that role in March.

FOOTBALL.. England will play matches against Switzerland and the United States later this year. England will play Switzerland on 11 September at a venue yet to be decided, and the United States on 15 November at Wembley.

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