Fire in nightclub in Avignon - Nine people have been injured and 700 people were evacuated from a nightclub in Avignon after a fire broke out in the early hours of this morning. 80 firefighters were at the scene shortly after 2am. The building was completely destroyed in the blaze which is believed to have been caused by a discarded cigarette end.
Catamaran catches fire in the Var - Meanwhile two people have been rescued from a burning boat off Ramatuelle in the Var. The catamaran caught fire on Thursday afternoon. Nobody was injured in the incident and enquiries are currently underway to establish the cause.
Demonstrations - Railroad workers, lawyers, health workers and students have demonstrated in Nice against government reforms. The protest saw more than a thousand people gather at Place Garibaldi on Thursday morning. Between 120,000 and 300,000 people demonstrated across France calling for an end to the reforms planned by Edouard Philippe’s government with police launching a major operation at 5am this morning to lift a blockade by students at the University of Tolbiac in Paris.
3 year old escape from school in Nice - A mother has lodged a complaint against a school in Nice after her 3 year old child managed to escape. The incident happened on Tuesday afternoon when the child managed to escape from teachers supervising a group of schoolchildren being escorted to the daycare facilities shortly after 4.30pm. The child went on a 45 minute bus trip to the other side of town before being spotted by a motorist at a bus stop.
March in support of migrants - Several associations including the “Migrants' Hostel” and “Roya Citizen” have announced plans for a two-month walk in support of migrants. The march will leave Ventimiglia on April 30th passing through Nice, Cannes, Antibes Marseille and Avignon and ending in Calais. Organisers say the march aims to favour the reception of migrants in the hope of protecting refugees and asylum seekers in France as well as raising funds along the way.
Asylum applications - Meanwhile the National Assembly in France gave the green light on Thursday for the number of days to file an asylum application to be reduced from 120 to 90 days. The much contested measure is part of reforms to the immigration bill.
Film Festival – A film by former Monty Python member Terry Gilliam is to receive its world premier at the Cannes Film Festival. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote stars Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce and will be released in France on the day it’s shown in Cannes.
Syria - Syria has returned to France the prestigious Legion d'honneur presented to President Bashar al-Assad, saying he would not wear the award of a country that was a "slave" to America. The move comes days after France said a "disciplinary procedure" for withdrawing the award was under way. France recently joined the US and Britain in bombing Syrian targets over an alleged chemical weapons attack.
Vegetarian meat - French MPs have voted to ban producers of vegetarian meat substitutes from using words such as steak, bacon or sausage to describe their products if they are not partly or wholly composed of meat. The measure, approved on Thursday, was proposed by MP Jean-Baptiste Moreau, who argued that products such as soya steaks and other vegetarian alternatives were “misleading” for consumers.
Asian markets have slipped this morning following a warning on smartphone demand from the world’s largest contract chipmaker while rising oil prices are increasing concerns about inflation and are undermining sovereign bonds.
Apple has led declines after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing cut its revenue target to the low end of forecasts and blamed softer demand for smartphones.
Analysts say that the downbeat forecast appears to be largely due to Apple iPhones and may weigh on the Apple supply chain.
Oil prices have also been creeping up again this morning on reductions in global supply as Saudi Arabia seeks to boost prices.
Brent Crude Futures were trading up 6 cents a little earlier at 73 dollars 83 cents with US Crude Futures up 7 cents at 68 dollars 36.
The Governor of the Bank of England has said that an interest rate hike this year is likely but that any increases will be gradual.
Speaking on Thursday,Mark Carney said that major decisions had to be taken on Brexit including on the detail of the implementation period and the shape of the final deal.
The pound fell by nearly a cent against the US dollar following Mr Carney’s comments as markets reacted to the idea that an interest rate hike may not be as near as previously predicted.
Mr Carney said that the biggest set of economic decisions over the course of the next few years will be taken in the Brexit negotiations and whatever deal is eventually decided.
And-A bidding war is threatening to break out for the drug maker Shire after the maker of Botox Allergan said that it was considering a takeover offer.
Shares in Shire jumped by 9 percent on the news after news of Allergan’s interest was reported by Reuters.
Earlier on Thursday,Japan’s Takeda said that it was in talks with Shire after making a 43 billion pound bid.
Shire has rejected a previous offer made in April but both sides say that talks are ongoing.
DOTTA IMMOBILIER MONTE CARLO ROLEX MASTERS REPORT.
It’s men’s quarter finals day at the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters with play starting on the court Rainier III at 11am.
First up is the number 4 seed Grigor Dimitrov against the 6th seed David Goffin and that’s followed by the eagerly awaited encounter between defending champion and 10 time Monte Carlo winner Rafael Nadal and the 5th seed Dominic Thiem who beat Novak Djokovic in the third round.
The third quarter final features Kei Nishikori who’ll be making his first ever appearance in the last 8 at Monte Carlo.He plays the second seed Marin Cilic and the action concludes with the last Frenchman in the tournament Richard Gasquet who’s up against the 3rd seed Alexander Zverev of Germany.
SMET MONTE CARLO ROLEX MASTERS TRAVEL REPORT.
If you’re driving in for the tennis then use one of the numerous car parks on the Port area at La Condamine,La Digue or Parking des Pecheurs and then take the free bus service from the Port to the Monte Carlo Country Club.Many car parks are offering a 5 euro flat fee for the day on presentation of your tennis ticket.
The most convenient way in though is by train, with the SNCF operating special services throughout the tournament to the Monte Carlo Country club and calling at all major stations along the line to and from Nice and Cannes.Train services should be back to normal today and over the weekend following a two day strike by rail employees.
For more information on the tennis go to www.montecarlotennismasters.com
Football-Chelsea have kept their slim hopes of making next season’s Champions League alive thanks to a 2-1 win at Burnley last night while Southampton’s chances of surviving the drop took another hit as they were held to a 0-0 draw at Leicester.
There’s a reduced programme in the English Premier League this weekend because of the FA CUP semi finals.
Tomorrow West Brom host Liverpool and Watford play Crystal Palace.
On Sunday Arsenal play West Ham.Stoke play Burnley and Manchester City play Swansea.Everton play Newcastle on Monday night.
In the FA Cup semi finals at Wembley Manchester United play Spurs while Chelsea play Southampton on Sunday.
Cycling-Lance Armstrong has agreed to pay 5 million dollars to the US government to settle a long-running lawsuit that could have cost him 100 million dollars in damages.
Armstrong was accused of fraud by cheating while riding for the publicly funded US Postal Service team.
He was stripped of his 7 Tour de France titles and banned for life in 2012 before admitting to using performance enhancing drugs.
Speaking following the agreement,Armstrong said that he was glad to have resolved the case so that he could move on with his life.
Rugby Union-Jonathan Joseph looks set to miss England’s tour of South Africa with a foot injury.
Joseph needs surgery after picking up the injury during Bath’s defeat at Saracens last weekend.He’s expected to be out for several weeks.
It’s semi finals weekend in the European Champions Cup.Leinster play Scarlets tomorrow and Racing 92 play Munster on Sunday.
Clear skies with light variable or easterly winds.
Top temperature 24 degrees Celsius.
Overnight lows of 16 degrees on the coast and 12 degrees inland with clear skies.
The weekend-Clear skies with highs of 22-26 degrees.
People with a strong handshake are better at problem-solving, memory tests and reasoning, study shows
There is some truth in the saying ‘healthy body, healthy mind’, researchers have found.
How physically strong someone is in middle-age can predict how healthy their brains are. People with a stronger hand grip are better at problem-solving, memory tests and reasoning, and have faster reaction times, a study found.
A database of more than 475,000 people showed those with more muscle strength in their hands appeared to have better brains.
The research, led by the University of Manchester, suggests exercise could be a good way to boost brainpower.