Evening Update Friday 18 November 2022

A soldier has died in the Var after being hit by a train. He was in a group of soldiers who had been ordered to cross the track near Puget-sur-Argens during a training exercise last night. The Marseille prosecutor's office said that the soldier had stumbled whilst trying to get to safety from the passing train. Two other soldiers suffered slight injuries and a third suffered from shock. The train driver initiated an emergency braking procedure but there were no reports of injuries amongst passengers on the train.

The French Interior Ministry has said that over half of the migrants on board the rescue ship Ocean Viking have been refused entry into France. A total of 234 people were on board the ship when it docked in Toulon after being refused permission to enter Italian ports. The ministry said that 189 adults had been placed in a waiting area, of which 123 "unfavourable opinions" were issued after interviews had been conducted. 26 of the 44 minors who were on board have already run away from the hotel accomodation in which they had been placed.

A bus driver has received a prison sentence following a crash in which several children lost their lives. The bus being driven by 53 year old Nadine Oliveira was in collision with a TER train at a crossing in the Pyrenees-Orientales departement in December 2017. Six children were killed in the accident. The defendant was sentenced to five years in prison, four of which were suspended, by the court in Marseille.

The French electricity grid operator has said that there is a high risk of stress to the electricity network in January. In its monthly outlook published today RTE said that the risk of local power cuts being imposed via the "Ecowatt" system will depend on temperature levels.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi has officially inaugurated improvements on the rue de la Liberté. The mayor said that "green spaces are gradually transforming the heart of the city into a garden city". The pedestrian zone will also soon experience a revival. At the start of 2023, local residents and shopkeepers will be asked to decide on the future of the project, work on which will begin once the passage between avenue de Suede and rue Masséna is reopened.



Retail sales in the UK rose 0.6% in October, according to the latest figures, but this followed a drop in sales the previous month when shops closed for the Queen's funeral. Despite October's rebound, the Office for National Statistics said sales remain below pre-pandemic levels. Analysts have said that UK retailers could face a tough Christmas this year as the soaring cost of living hits household spending.

Twitter has apparently told employees that the company's office buildings will be temporarily closed, with immediate effect. In a message seen by the BBC, workers were told that the offices would reopen on Monday. The announcement comes amid reports that large numbers of staff were quitting after new owner Elon Musk called on them to sign up for "long hours at high intensity" or leave.

The UK has entered a "new era" of higher taxes, according to think tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies. It said that middle earners would be "set for a shock" as taxes go up and prices soar. UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt defended the freezing of tax thresholds, meaning that millions of people will pay more tax. But the IFS warned that the move to put up taxes as prices are rising at their fastest rate in 41 years would result in the "biggest fall in living standards in living memory".



Football... Alcohol will not be sold at World Cup stadiums in Qatar after Fifa changed its policy. Alcohol was set to be served "in select areas within stadiums". Those in corporate areas of stadiums at the tournament will still be able to purchase alcohol. The World Cup gets underway on Sunday.

Motorsports... Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were fastest in first practice at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix today. Ferrari's Charles Leclerc was third fastest, followed by Red Bull's Sergio Perez. This afternoon Max Verstappen was fastest in second practice, with George Russell in second place.



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