Evening Update Friday 14 April 2023

The French Constitutional Council has delivered its opinion on the government's pension reform legislation. The council has largely approved the legislation, in particular it gave its approval to President Macron's highly controversial increase in the pension age from 62 to 64. Six provisions of the legislation were challenged by the Council, including the so called "senior index". In a separate decision, the council rejected opponents' bid for a referendum.

Meanwhile, industrial action has continued in some areas of France after yesterday's day of action against the government's pension reforms. Protestors blocked the port of Marseille today. Some employees at Air France in Marseille went on strike for one hour this morning while an operation escargot took place on roads around the airport. The government said that in total, across France, 380,000 people took to the streets yesterday but unions put the number at 1.5 million, figures which are lower than the past few days of protest. Reports say that President Macron is expected to make a speech on the subject of the pension reforms within the next few days.

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has confirmed that the minimum wage will rise by "a little more than 2%" on 1 May. She called on French businesses to re-negotiate salaries to help employees with purchasing power in the face of inflation. The Prime Minister was speaking during a visit to a supermarket in the Centre-Val de Loire region today. At one point she was confronted by demonstrators chanting "49.3 we don't want it", a reference to the article of the French constitution used by the government to pass its pensions legislation without a vote in the National Assembly.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi has said that the Moulins district of Nice "still suffers from incivility, violence and drug trafficking". He said he will not tolerate "a few thugs disrupting neighbourhood life where so much effort has been made" and is proposing measures to fight the problem to the Municipal Council. He said that drugs traffickers in Les Moulins are mostly foreigners in an irregular situation, 40% of whom are minors. The mayor added that a steering committee will be implemented soon which will determine the needs of citizens and work with the social actors to meet the challenges of security and well-being in the neighbourhood.



The first hands-free car self-driving system has been approved by the UK government. Drivers of certain Ford cars will legally be able to take their hands off the wheel after its BlueCruise technology was approved in the UK. The system can control steering, acceleration and braking but a camera will monitor the driver's eyes so they stay alert. The technology will be available initially only for 2023 models of Ford's electric Mustang Mach-E SUV.

Japanese officials have approved plans to build the country's first gambling resort. The complex, which will also include a hotel, a conference centre and shopping mall, is scheduled to open in Osaka in 2029.



Tennis... Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the Barcelona Open, saying he is "still not ready" to return to the men's ATP tour. He's been struggling with an ongoing hip injury and last played in the Australian Open in January.

Rugby Union... Organizers of the Rugby World Cup have defended an "uneven" pool draw. The top five sides in the world all find themselves on one side of the draw, with the 6th to 10th-ranked teams on the other. Organisers said that there is never a perfect time to draw the pools and it is "a consequence of rugby being so tight in terms of rankings and the levels of the various teams."



It's quarter finals day in the Monte-Carlo Masters today and defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas is out of the tournament after being defeated by American Taylor Fritz 6-2  6-4. Fritz will face Andrey Rublev in the semi-finals on Saturday. Rublev defeated Jan-Lennard Struff 6-1  7-6 today. World number five Daniil Medvedev is out of the tournament after losing to world number nine Holger Rune. Italian Jannik Sinner has defeated compatriot Lorenzo Musetti 6-2  6-2 in the final match of the day.

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