Evening Update Friday 13 December

France's CGT union has said that there will be no break in transport strikes over the Christmas period unless the government backs down on pension reforms. French Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe outlined the reforms this week confirming that the legal retirement age would remain at 62, but workers would be encouraged to work until 64 through a system of bonuses that would allow a balanced pension budget by 2027. The CFDT which had until now stayed out of the strikes, said a "red line" had been crossed and that it was calling on members to join mass protests on Tuesday December 17th. The industrial action will see disruption on the trains, tramline, bus network and schools in the region next Tuesday.

The French Housing Federation said today that over 42,000 claims have been received in respect of the floods that hit the Alpes-Maritimes and Var at the end of November and the beginning of December. The total cost of insured damage is provisionally estimated at 390 million euros.

A fire broke out on board a yacht in the port of Bandol this morning. Thirty pompiers fought the blaze on the 40 metre boat. No injuries were reported.

Thieves have stolen 70,000 euros worth of goods from a mobile phone shop in Cagnes-sur-Mer this morning. The store had just opened when the sole employee on the premises was confronted by two men who proceeded to ransack the shop, which had just been restocked for Christmas. Local police are investigating.

Police have shot a man dead in Paris this morning. He was apparently threatening officers with a knife in the La Defense business district. No police officers or civilians were injured in the incident.

Meteo France has placed Corsica on an orange weather alert with exceptionally strong winds forecast until 3pm tomorrow.  Gust of over 100km per hour are expected over much of the island with gusts of up to 150-170 km/h in places.

Line 2 of the tramway in Nice will be inaugurated at 9.45 tomorrow morning. The new line, which will connect the port to the airport, is eagerly awaited. Large crowds are expected to attend the event with several activities organized in and around the port. Meanwhile the new sculpture recently installed to mark the end of the works has come under fire from many locals describing it as “hideous” and “ruinning the landscape”. A petition with so far 800 signatures has been launched to have it replaced. 



Qantas has picked Airbus jets to fly its ultra long haul routes, dealing a blow to rival plane maker Boeing. The airline selected the A350-1000 for its planned non-stop Sydney to London service, which would be the world's longest commercial flight. Qantas also delayed a final decision on whether to begin those and other long haul services until March 2020.



Cricket…. Mitchell Starc took 4 for 31 to put Australia in control on the day two of the first Test against New Zealand. The hosts got to 416 all out. New Zealand were 109 for 5 after 32 overs.

In other cricket news, England Test captain Joe Root has been left out of the squad for the three T20 internationals in South Africa.

Football… Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has signed a new deal with the club that will run until 2024. Klopp signed a new six-year contract in July 2016 and that has now been extended.

Steven Gerrard has extended his contract at Rangers until 2024. The former Liverpool captain, was appointed on a four-year deal in May 2018, leaving his role as Anfield youth coach for his first managerial post.

Rugby Union.. There are two games in the European Champions Cup tonight. Harlequins play Ulster in Pool 3 and Racing 92 play Ospreys in Pool 4.



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