Evening Update Friday 28 April 2023

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has called for everyone to act responsibly at the Coupe de France football final tomorrow. President Macron is attending the match between Nantes and Toulouse and disruption by protestors is expected. A group of unions from the Paris region has distributed 30,000 red cards and 10,000 whistles to supporters.

Meanwhile, Elisabeth Borne is expected to offer to meet unions shortly in an attempt to renew their dialogue. A day of protest is still planned for 1 May with train services expected to be disrupted once again. Unions have said that there will be a "historic" mobilization. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said today that about 12,000 police and gendarmes will be deployed throughout France on 1 May to keep public order.

Minister of Public Action and Accounts Gabriel Attal has said that he wants to crack down on fraud. Speaking to Franceinfo this morning he said that TVA fraud costs "around 20 billion euros per year", that "in social contributions is estimated around 8 billion", that "in social benefits is around 2.8 billion". As regards methods to be used by the government to fight against fraud he mentioned Artificial Intelligence, reinforcement of the number of agents, electronic invoicing between companies from 2024 and an increase in residence conditions for receiving allowances.

The public prosecutor has opened an investigation into the explosion in rue de Tivoli in Marseille in which eight people lost their lives. The judicial investigation is for "homicide and involuntary injuries". The prosecutor said that it had been confirmed that the explosion on April 9 was due to a gas leak. 302 people were evacuated from nearby buildings, of which 138 were allowed to return to their homes this morning.

Police have appealed for information about the whereabouts of an ogtegenarian who has gone missing. The 88 year old man, who is suffering from Alzheimers disease, was last seen at 9pm yesterday walking near the bus station in Valbonne. He is 1 metre 77 tall and was wearning dark clothing. Anyone who has seen him is asked to contact the gendarmerie in Valbonne by dialling 17.

 

BUSINESS

The Eurozone economy expanded by just 0.1% in the first quarter compared with the previous quarter, which is lower than expected by many economists. The wider EU economy expanded by 0.3%. Both areas saw growth of 1.3% compared to the same quarter the previous year. The growth comes despite no expansion in the German economy in the first quarter.

Retailer HMV is set to make a return to London's Oxford Street after a four-year absence, with a lease signed to confirm the reopening of its iconic flagship store later this year. HMV currently has 120 shops across the UK. 363 Oxford Street will feature HMV’s new logo, and be fitted out with the new ‘HMV Shop’ concept.

 

SPORT

Motorsports... Ferrari's Charles Leclerc will be on poll at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Leclerc beat Red Bull's Max Verstappen by 0.188 seconds in qualifying this afternoon. Sergio Perez was third ahead of Carlos Sainz in fourth. Lewis Hamilton took fifth ahead of Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso.

Tennis…  It’s been announced that line judges will be replaced by an electronic system on a full-time basis on the ATP Tour from 2025. The ATP said that the move will "optimise accuracy and consistency" in events. Some tournaments already use electronic calling systems including the Australian Open and US Open.

Cricket... After some spirited batting, Ireland were out for 202 in their second innings against Sri Lanka in the second test, leaving them just 10 runs short of Sri Lanka's score of 704-3 declared. It means that the hosts have completed a 2-0 series win.

 

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