Evening News Update Wednesday 27 February

A cyclist has died in an accident in the Var this morning.  A heavy good vehicle collided with the 53 year old woman on the road between Pourrières and Rians. Reports say that a dozen pompiers as well as local police were present at the scene but were unable to save the victim. Figures published today by the Ministry of the Interior have shown that the number of road deaths in France have risen by 3.9% in January this year. A total of 238 people died compared to 229 in January 2018, an additional 9 deaths.

Firefighters are still fighting a fire which has been burning for the past couple of days near Lantosque. A helicopter and two planes have been involved in the operation, which appears to be nearing its end.  About a dozen hectares have reportedly been consumed by the fire.

A small earthquake was registered in the sea off Marseille last night.  The earthquake was about 60km off the coast and took place at a depth of 8km according to the National Seismic Monitoring Network.  It measured 3.5 on the Richter scale.

Local authorities in La Seyne-sur-Mer have launched a poster campaign against anti-social behaviour.  The campaign aims to discourage nightime noise, drunkenness, the fowling of pavements by dogs, the dropping of cigarette ends, inconsiderate parking and many other activities. The campaign lasts until the end of April after which fines will be introduced for infractions.

An online survey is asking French people if they want to keep the seasonal time change, or if they prefer, once and for all, to adopt a fixed time. If there is a change, it won’t be implemented until 2021. France adopted the change of seasonal time in 1976. A European directive could, within two years, put an end to changes in seasonal timetables in the European Union. An online questionnaire is available on the website of the National Assembly until March 3rd at midnight.



The Dutch government has purchased a 12.68% stake in Air France-KLM. The Netherlands government said late last night that it was acting to protect what it called "Dutch interests". The Dutch reportedly aim to match the French government’s 14.3% stake in the airline. According to some reports, the government in Paris was informed of the move only an hour before a press conference on Tuesday night, and after the shares had been bought. The Dutch Finance Minister said that the reason for the share purchase was to protect Dutch economic interests and jobs - particularly regarding Amsterdam's Schiphol airport.

In the UK, Marks & Spencer and Ocado have confirmed a deal which will give M&S a home delivery service for the first time. The company will buy a 50% share of Ocado's retail business for £750m.

Norway's sovereign wealth fund suffered a loss of 485bn kroner, that’s about 50bn euros, last year. The Norwegian central bank blamed the 6.1% drop on volatile stock markets.

Rio Tinto has posted a jump in annual profits thanks to strong commodity prices, and plans to pay a special dividend. Underlying earnings rose to $8.81bn for the 12 months to the end of December, from $8.63bn a year earlier. The company said it would pay a $4bn special dividend.



Cricket…The 4th one day international between West Indies and England is being played in Grenada today. The 5 match series is tied at 1-1 after the third match in Guyana on Monday was rained off. 

Formula 1… McLaren's Carlos Sainz set the fastest testing time in Barcelona this morning. Sebastian Vettel was in second and Max Verstappen in third place. Vettel crashed into a barrier but was uninjured. In other Formula 1 news, Fernando Alonso has become an ambassador for McLaren, a role that will include him testing their Formula 1 car this year. The team said Alonso would "help advise the team's drivers and engineers and drive at selected tests” to support the development of the 2019 and 2020 cars. Meanwhile, Sergey Sirotkin has been named as Renault's third and reserve driver. The French team also announced that British Formula 2 driver Jack Aitken will be their test driver.
Winter Sports… Reports say that police have arrested seven people, including five athletes, over doping at the Nordic World Ski Championships. It was part of a coordinated action between Austrian and German police authorities. The raids centred on the resort of Seefeld, which is hosting the event.

Football… Fifa is investigating the transfer payment for Emiliano Sala after French club Nantes made a claim against Cardiff City. Cardiff were due to make the first instalment on 20th February, but they agreed with Nantes to extend the deadline by a week and were due to make the payment today. Fifa said they were looking into the matter.

There are 6 English Premiership games tonight. Arsenal play Bournemouth. Southampton play Fulham. Chelsea face Spurs. Crystal Palace play Manchester United. Liverpool host Watford and Manchester City play West Ham.

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