Evening Update Wednesday 18 December

Protests have continued in our region today after yesterday’s national day of action against pension reforms. Police were deployed in Drap near Nice this morning after CGT activists blocked the bus depot. Reports say that they let five buses through every fifteen minutes for about 5 hours. Meanwhile 50 strikers have blocked the Saint-Isidore Logistics Park. There were reports of tensions between demonstrators and the police with smoke bombs being let off. Meanwhile, demonstrators have carried out a so-called “toll free” operation in Frejus this morning. Forty people opened the barriers of the Capitou paytoll distributing leaflets to truck drivers and motorists. Police intervened. Transport unions said they would maintain a 14th day of action today against the pension reforms. In the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region trains remain disrupted with 4 out of 10 local trains running and there is a restricted service on the bus network. For up to date information on the trains you can call 08 00 11 40 23 from 7am to 9pm and you can find that number in the News section of the Riviera Radio website.  After the widespread demonstrations yesterday, President Macron said earlier today that he was willing to "improve" the proposed pension reforms, particularly around the controversial issue of the retirement age.

Traffic was disrupted on the A8 in the Var after a truck carrying fruit and veg overturned near the Les Adrets junction. Part of the motorway had to be closed for several hours on the carriageway towards Nice.

A worker is in hospital after being injured on a construction site in Théoule-sur-Mer around midday today. The 38 year old was lifted from the site to a waiting ambulance using a crane at the building site.

Police in Marseille carried out a large anti-drugs operation this morning. They targeted the  Castellane area in the 15th arrondissement in the northern part of the city. Several drugs outlets were dismantled as a result of the operation which involved about 30 police officers.

A cyclist is in hospital after apparently been shot in a hunting accident. Local reports say that the 45 year old was riding his bike on a mountain trail in the Vaucleuse department when he was hit by a shot from a hunter's gun. He was taken to hospital in Avignon.

A 13 year old girl is in custody after allegedly stabbing her parents when they took away her mobile phone. The incident happened in a village in the Aveyron department. The parents are recovering in hospital and their lives are not thought to be in danger.

 

BUSINESS

Car makers Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group, owner of Peugeot and Vauxhall, have confirmed a $50bn  merger deal. The merger will create the world's fourth-largest carmaker. PSA boss Carlos Tavares will become chief executive of the new company and will also have a seat on its board.

The Office for National Statistics has said that the UK's consumer inflation rate held steady at 1.5% in November, That’s the same rate of inflation as in October.

Pearson is selling its remaining 25% stake in Penguin Random House to Bertelsmann, generating net proceeds of approximately $675m. The company also said that  John Fallon, chief executive of Pearson, is to leave the group in 2020 "once a successor has been appointed".

 

SPORT

Football… Reports say that Red Bull Salzburg winger Takumi Minamino is having a medical at Liverpool today and is set to join the Premier League leaders on 1 January. The Japan international has scored nine goals in 22 appearances for Salzburg this season.

Three English League Cup quarter finals are being played tonight with Everton against Leicester. Oxford United against Manchester City and Manchester United against Colchester United.

In the United States, Charlotte has been named as Major League Soccer's 30th franchise and will join the league in 2021. They will play their home games at Bank of America Stadium, home of NFL side Carolina Panthers.

Cricket…. England have drawn their two-day warm-up match against a Cricket South Africa Invitation XI. Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad and Jack Leach were all unavailable to bowl because of illness. England dismissed the hosts for 289 in reply to their 309-4 declared.

Ireland's Test against Sri Lanka in February has been postponed due to the lack of a broadcast partner. Sri Lanka Cricket's original broadcast agreement was concluded in 2013, at which time Ireland was a not a full member. ICC rules dictate that all international Tests must be broadcast.

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