Traffic was severely disrupted in Nice this morning as several thousand demonstrators marched through the city centre. Members of the CGT union were joined by yellow vest protestors in the march. The prefecture of the Alpes-Maritimes said 2,000 people had been present, but the organizers put numbers at 3 to 4,000. Traffic conditions were also made difficult by an accident on the Voie Rapide after which one person was airlifted to hospital. Several hundred demonstrators also gathered in Marseille this morning demanding improvements in purchasing power and a more equal distribution of wealth. The national day of strike action today has been affecting hospitals, some educational establishments and public transport. Bus services in Nice are being badly affected and no trams are running in the city today. Meanwhile, about 20 VCT private hire vehicles have been staging an operation escargot go-slow on the Promenade des Anglais this afternoon. The cars reportedly gathered at the airport and the Parc Phoenix just after 2pm to begin driving into the city centre.
The death toll from last night’s building fire in Paris has risen to ten people. More than 30 people, including six firefighters, were injured in the fire. One person is in a serious condition. Fifty people were evacuated by ladders from the building in the 16th arrondissement.
Olive oil producers in the region have announced a disappointing year as the production season comes to an end. Heavy rainfall affected the harvest at the beginning of the season but left a more favourable climate towards the end. Rene Henry an oil producer from Vidauban in the Var noted that 10 litres of oil was produced for every 100 kilos instead of 14 the previous years.
According to a new survey published this week violence against firemen has gone up by 60%. Figures show that last year in Paris there were more than 300 assaults on firemen a rise of 60% for 2018 compared to figures published in 2017.
Budget airline Germania has filed for bankruptcy and cancelled all of its flights with immediate effect. The Berlin-based airline, which flew to destinations across Europe, Africa and the Middle East, transported more than four million passengers a year. It blamed rising fuel prices and currency fluctuations as two factors.
Canadian music store owner Sunrise Records & Entertainment has announced the acquisition of 100 HMV stores across the UK from administrators. 27 stores are also being closed as part of the deal.
BP has announced its annual results which showed annual profits of $12.7bn, more than double the previous year.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has left interest rates on hold but cut its economic growth forecasts. The central bank predicted the Australian economy would expand 3.0% in 2019, much slower than its previous forecast of 3.5%.
A new survey suggests that the UK's service sector stagnated last month, with new orders falling for the first time in two-and-a-half years. The IHS Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index showed a reading of 50.1 in January, lower than December's 51.2. Meanwhile their Eurozone Composite Final Purchasing Managers’ Index also dipped, to 51.0 from December’s 51.1
Formula 1…The Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku will continue until at least 2023 after organisers renewed their deal. The renewal is the first signed in 2019 and follows new agreements for the Belgian, Chinese, German, Japanese and Singapore races in the past two years.
Rugby Union…England forward Maro Itoje will miss the Six Nations matches against France and Wales with a knee injury. The 24-year-old Saracens lock suffered medial ligament damage during England's match against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday. He’s expected to be out for two to four weeks.
Cricket…Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed will remain captain until this summer's World Cup in England despite serving a ban for racism. He left Pakistan’s tour of South Africa early after he was suspended for four games.
Football…José Mourinho has agreed a prison term in Spain for tax fraud but will not serve the sentence. A one-year prison sentence will instead be exchanged for a fine of €182,500 which will be added to a separate fine of €2m. He was accused of owing €3.3m to Spanish tax authorities in respect of gains from image rights while he was managing Real Madrid.