Strike action – Strikes across France are expected to cause travel chaos today as hundreds of trains and planes are set to be cancelled, some schools will be closed with most public services affected as well. Unions are protesting against employment reforms currently proposed by the French government. Macron has pledged to cut 120,000 public jobs during his five-year term and his government has raised the prospect of voluntary redundancies, prompting fears that the quality of services will be affected. In our region the strike action for commuters will mean only one in three trains will be circulating between Marseille and Nice and an estimated 30% of flights could be cancelled.
Campaign #StopAuxDefisDangereux - Students from a high school in the Var have launched a campaign to warn other students of the danger of some games or rather challenges which have become popular amoungst high school students. #StopAuxDefisDangereux is a video clip which has been created to inform others of the dangers of challenges aimed at students and followed on social media. In France four students have been killed since the beginning of the year as a result of taking part in a “dangerous challenge”.
Roads - Traffic has been disrupted on the A51 between Aix en Provence and Marseille after two horses were spotted walking along the central reservation on Wednesday evening. It is unclear as to how the horses were able to access the road. Emergency services intervened neutralizing traffic in the area.
Nicolas Sarkozy - Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been placed under formal investigation over allegations that the late Libyan dictator helped finance his 2007 election campaign. Sarkozy arrived on Wednesday just before 8am at the bureau of officers specialising in corruption, money laundering and tax evasion in the western Paris suburb of Nanterre. He was first taken into custody on Tuesday morning, but left the police building around midnight. His lawyers did not respond to requests for comment. Under French law Sarkozy can be held for questioning for up to 48 hours, after which he can be either released, told to return for further questioning later, or brought before a judge to potentially face charges.
State visit - It was announced on Wednesday that French President Emmanuel Macron is to address a joint session of Congress during his state visit to the United States next month. Macron will make his state visit to the United States in April marking the first by a foreign leader since Donald Trump assumed the presidency last year.
Homeless in Paris - Paris City Hall has announced its latest method for helping the city's homeless population with plans to distribute one hundred "small bubbles" around the streets of the French capital which can be used for shelter at night. The City Hall has not announced when this plan will be put into action. According to recent figures, 11 people living on the Paris streets died between January 1st and February 12th in 2018.
The US Federal Reserve has raised interest rates by a quarter of one percent to a target rate of between 1.5 and 1.75 percent.
At the end of its two day policy meeting in Washington,the Fed said that it was also ready to raise rates twice more this year and increased the forecast for rate hikes in 2019.
The new chair of the Fed,Jerome Powell also issued a warning about rising trade tensions.He said that some members of the central bank’s committee were concerned about the possibility of a trade war and said it’s being seen as a risk to the outlook.
President Trump has recently announced new tariffs on steel and aluminium imports and is currently considering sanctions against China.
The founder of Facebook,Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that the social media network “made mistakes” that led to millions of users having their data exploited by the political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica.
Breaking his silence days after the scandal emerged,Mr Zuckerberg said that “a breach of trust “ had occurred.
Cambridge Analytica is accused of improperly using the data on behalf of political clients which may have influenced the outcome of the 2016 US Presidential Election as well as Britain’s referendum on leaving the European Union.
Probes on both sides of the Atlantic are now underway in an attempt to discover the full implications of alleged psychological profiling of Facebook users.
Mr Zuckeberg pledged to take action against “rogue apps” and said that he was prepared to appear before the US Congress “if it’s the right thing to do”.
And-The German conglomerate Bayer has won EU antitrust approval for its 62.5 billion dollar takeover of Monsanto in a deal that will reshape the agrochemicals industry.
The merger will create a new firm with control of more than a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticides market.
The deal was only secured after both firms agreed to substantial asset sales to boost their rivals.
Environmental and farming groups are heavily opposed to the merger and the deal still needs regulatory approval in the United States where genetically modified seeds are permitted while still being largely banned in Europe.
Cricket-England have made a disastrous start to their two match Test series against New Zealand after being bowled out for just 58 in their first innings on day 1 in Auckland.
England were dismissed in just 20.4 overs at Eden Park in their 6th lowest ever Test match score.
Trent Boult took 6 for 32 for New Zealand with Tim Southee mopping up the other 4 wickets for just 25.
In reply the home side passed the England total inside 30 overs with the tourist’s looking like the match is already done and dusted with no hope of it going to 5 days.
The third Test between South Africa and Australia starts in Cape Town this morning.The series is tied at 1-1.
Football-The British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said that President Putin will attempt to use the World Cup Finals for propaganda in the same way that Adolf Hitler turned the 1936 Berlin Olympics into a political event.
Speaking to a House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee on Wednesday,Mr Johnson said that he would be having “an urgent conversation” with Russian authorities about the safety of England football fans at the tournament.
So far 24,000 England fans have applied for tournament tickets and Mr Johnson said that their safety was “paramount”.
In reply,a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said that Boris Johnson was “poisoned with hatred”.
Formula 1-Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has said that he wants the team to provide a “statement of intent” at this weekend’s season opening Grand Prix in Melbourne.
There are hopes that there will be a three-way battle for the honours this season with both Ferrari and Red Bull reported to have closed the gap on Mercedes.
Ricciardo says that there’s a lot more confidence at Red Bull and everyone has been working hard to build a fast car.
First practice for Sunday’s race is at 2am tomorrow morning for any early birds who need their Formula 1 fix.Second practise is at the slightly more respectable time of 6am.
Rugby Union-The English RFU has said that coach Eddie Jones retains its “full support” despite the team’s abject performance in this year’s 6 Nations.
The RFU boss Steve Brown admitted that it had been a “very disappointing” campaign but said that there would be no “knee jerk” reaction.
England finished in 5th place in this year’s Championship and preparations for next year’s World Cup in Japan will need to be rethought.
Jones has a contract with the RFU until 2021 but he could leave after the World Cup if things don’t go to plan.
Golf-Rory McIlroy has lost his opening match at the World Golf Championships in Austin.
Fresh off the heels of his victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill last weekend,McIlroy went down 2&1 to Peter Uihlein.
Ian Poulter won his opening match against fellow Englishman 3&2 while defending champion Dustin Johnson 3&1 to Bernd Wiesberger.
Clear skies with light to moderate westerly winds and a high of 15 degrees Celsius.
Overnight lows of 7 degrees on the coast and 2 degrees inland with a touch of frost in places.
Friday and the start of the weekend-Clear skies with highs of 13-15 degrees.