Evening Update Wednesday 3 April

Six people have been arrested after authorities in Marseille dismantled a large drugs network. The network was based in the 15th arrondissement and, according to sources quoted by local media, involved turnover of tens of thousands of euros per day. 34 kg of cannabis and 1 kg of cocaine were seized in the operation, which involved three months of work by anti-narcotics personnel.

One person has been treated for smoke inhalation after a fire in the basement of a building in Cagnes-sur-Mer this morning. About thirty firefighters were involved in extinguishing the fire on avenue Maurice Donat.

The French Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner is visiting Avignon today to meet elected officials. Avignon saw clashes with police at the weekend following yellow vest protests with several arrests being made. He met with the police and the gendarmerie of Gap in the Hautes Alpes yesterday. He praised the collaboration between the services which resulted in the arrest of nine drug traffickers. During his visit police quickly removed about thirty yellow vests and extreme left activists who were demonstrating. 

The island of Porquerolles in the Var has announced that efforts to remove pollution which hit the island’s coastline last October have been completed. Last year a large part of the island’s coast was affected following the collision between two ships off the coast of Corsica.

A social media campaign from the Fren ch governmentto encourage voter registration has been blocked by Twitter - because of the government's own anti fake news law. Since December, France requires online political campaigns to declare who paid for them, and how much was spent. Interior Minister Christophe Castanter took to Twitter to express frustration with the decision. He said that "Twitter's priority should be to fight content that glorifies terrorism. Not campaigns to register on the electoral lists of a democratic republic."


BUSINESS

An influential survey has pointed to a decline in the UK service sector. The sector accounts for 80% of the UK economy. It shrank for the first time in almost three years last month, according to the purchasing managers' index from IHS Markit/CIPS.  The index fell to 48.9 in March from 51.3 in February, a figure below 50 indicates contraction. PMI data for France has also been released saying that the services measure fell in March to 49.1 from 50.2 in February

High-level US/Chinese talks are underway again today in Washington in a bid to resolve the trade war between the two countries. The Financial Times has cited sources saying that officials have resolved most of the issues standing in the way of a deal but are still negotiating how to implement and enforce the agreement.

Iconic British retailer Fortnum & Mason is to open a new site in Hong Kong’s Victoria Dockside redevelopment. The Fortnum’s shop and restaurant will open in September.

US private payrolls company ADP has published data suggesting 129,000 jobs were added in the US by private employers in March, which is less than economists expected and the lowest since September 2017. Official government data will be released on Friday.

 

SPORT

Cricket… New Zealand have become the first country to name their squad for this summer's World Cup in England and Wales. Kane Williamson will captain the squad. Wicketkeeper Tom Blundell is a surprise selection, having made only two Test and three Twenty20 appearances. The World Cup starts with England facing South Africa on 30 May.

Rugby Union.. Ulster centre Darren Cave has announced that he’s retiring at the end of the season. Cave has made 225 appearances since joining Ulster 13 seasons ago.

Football…. Fulham caretaker manager Scott Parker has said he was "devastated for the club and the fans" after their relegation from the Premier League was confirmed by a 4-1 loss at Watford. Fulham needed to avoid defeat to keep their hopes of survival alive but it’s now impossible for them to keep their place in the Premier League despite having five league games yet to play this season.

There are three Premiership games tonight. Chelsea play Brighton. Manchester City play Cardiff and Spurs play their first game at their new stadium when they face Crystal Palace.

Footballing legend Pele has been admitted to hospital in Paris with what’s described as a “strong fever”.  Reports say that his condition is not life threatening and he was hospitalised as a precautionary measure.

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