Evening Update Friday 19 January 2024

Three schools in Marseille were evacuated this morning after bomb threats were sent to the head teacher of each school by e-mail. The National Police said that the premises were evacuated as a precaution. Checks were carried out and the all clear was given. Inquiries are continuing.

A man is in custody after breaking into the gendarmerie barracks in Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer in the Var. Local reports say that he attacked a gendarme in family accommodation whilst shouting "God is good" in Arabic. He was overpowered and is in hospital undergoing psychiatric assessment.

A 39 year old woman has received a prison sentence for leaving her child alone in an apartment for two years. Her son was left to live alone in the apartment in the Charente department between 2020 and 2022 when he was between 9 and 11 years old. The woman, who lived in another apartment several kilometres away, would occasionally visit her son and bring him food. The situation was eventually reported to police by neighbours. The child is now with a foster family.

The head of the SNCF has said that it does not intend to increase TGV prices by more than inflation. Christophe Fanichet hailed a record year for the company. He said that the number of passengers who travelled by TGV last year was up by 4% to 122 million passengers. The number of passengers on local TER trains rose by 8%.

A Cannes landmark collapsed to the ground last night. The cross at Croix-des-Gardes was toppled by high winds. Cannes town hall said that the 12 metre high structure would be reinstalled by the summer.

A committee looking at the possibility of the creation of a regional natural park in the Maures-Estérel-Tanneron area held a meeting today at the Var prefecture. Elected officials from the territories concerned were present as well as state services. The Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region currently has nine regional natural parks.

 

BUSINESS

Train drivers at UK train operator LNER are to strike for five additional days. Strikes on LNER, which operates on the East Coast Mainline, will begin on 5 February and last for five consecutive days. It will follow on from industrial action at many UK rail operators at various times between 30 January and 5 February. It's the latest action in a long-running dispute over pay and conditions.

India's Tata Steel confirmed today that it is cutting 2,800 jobs across the UK, including 2,500 at its Port Talbot site in Wales. The company is closing its blast furnaces at Port Talbot and replacing them with equipment which produces less CO2 and requires fewer workers. The UK government will contribute £500m towards the £1.25bn cost of the electric arc furnace. Unions have described the plans as "unacceptable" and that they will be "devastating" for the town.

Retail sales volumes in the UK are estimated to have fallen by 3.2% in December. The Office for National Statistics said that December's decrease was the largest monthly fall since January 2021, when coronavirus restrictions affected sales. It said that non-food store sales volumes fell by 3.9% in December, following a 2.7% increase in November when earlier Black Friday sales, and wider discounting, increased sales. Food store sales volumes also fell, by 3.1% in December from an increase of 1.1% in November.

 

SPORT

Tennis... Novak Djokovic is through to the fourth round of the Australian Open after defeating Tomas Martin Etcheverry. He'll play French player Adrian Manna-rino, who beat Ben Shelton. Teenager Mirra Andreeva beat France's Diane Parry 1-6  6-1  7-6 despite at one point being 5-1 down in the deciding set.

Rugby Union...Former Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has been appointed as Australia head coach. He replaces Eddie Jones who resigned last October. He's signed a two year contract which starts in March and runs until the end of the next British and Irish Lions tour in 2025.

Football...In the Premier league on Saturday Arsenal are at home to Crystal Palace and Brentford play Nottingham Forest. On Sunday Sheffield United play West Ham and Bournemouth are at home to Liverpool.

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