Evening Update Monday 04th March 2024

France is making history this afternoon by becoming the first country in the world to enshrine the right to terminate a pregnancy in the country’s constitution. A rare congress of both houses is meeting right now in Versailles for a final vote, where it’s expected to carry the motion with at least 60% in favour.  If successful, the right to IVG (Interruption Volontaire de Grossesse) as it's known in France, will be inscribed into the constitution. Abortion was first legalised in France in 1975 by the then Health Minister Simone Veil. Born in Nice, Madame Veil was a women's rights icon who was granted the rare honour of burial at the Pantheon after her death in 2018.

A young driver is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter after speeding on the A8 during yesterday’s severe weather and crashing into a road crew assisting a motorist, killing a 54-year-old officer from Cagnes-sur-Mer. Two other patrol men were seriously injured at the incident near the toll at La Turbie just outside Monaco. Vinci Autoroute workers are said to be speechless today over the death of their colleague. The front page of the companies webpage has been blacked out as a mark of respect. The driver, who has not been named, is recovering in hospital, where prosecutors are waiting on toxicology reports to establish if they were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time.

New French laws are being proposed to target "fast fashion". A new bill is considering financial penalties of up 10 euro per item by 2030, to encourage sustainable consumer behaviour and production methods. Additionally, it aims to ban advertising for low-cost, high-volume fashion brands and instigate more transparent supply chain management.

Trees blown over by yesterday’s strong winds have damaged up to 80 graves at Caucade cemetery, near Nice airport, with roots and trunks disrupting the peace of the burial site. Mayor Christian Estrosi visited the scene this morning and promised to have Nice declared ‘a state of natural disaster’ by the Ministry of the Interior.

BUSINESS NEWS

Apple is to appeal a record €1.8bn fine from the EU for preventing Spotify and others from telling users about cheaper payment options which were available outside of Apples App Store. The EU have not said what the initial fine was, but did confirm the €1.8bn was an additional lump sum, added as a deterrent to Apple, because a significant part of their behaviour was non-monetary.

Manufacturers of the classic Vespa scooters have posted falling sales and income just below forecast in it’s 2023 results. Consolidated net sales for Piaggio stood at 1.99 billion euro, down from 2.09 billion in 2022, while EBITDA amounted to 325 million.

JetBlue and Spirit Airlines have cancelled their planned merger today, weeks after losing a federal antitrust lawsuit that challenged the deal. The Justice Department alleged the acquisition would stifle competition in the airline industry in the States.

Markets

€1 will buy you;          STG £ 0.85
US $ 1.08
£1 will buy you;          EUR € 1.16

Bitcoin  has broken the € 60,000 a coin barrier this afternoon ..
Forex Gold Index is also up at $ 2,083 an ounce
Brent Crude Oil on market $ 83.83 a barrel

SPORT NEWS

Rugby: Italy flanker Jake Polledri has announced his retirement from professional rugby at the age of 28, having failed to recover from a serious injury. Born in England, the player qualified for Italy through his grandparents, making his senior debut in 2018. He represented the Azzurri 20 times.

Formula 1: The Alpine team have reorganised their design department, in the wake of a poor start to the season and the departure of their technical boss. The team qualified on the back row of the grid , at the first race of the season in Bahrain at the weekend,  and finished 17th and 18th respectively.

Horse Racing: Last year's Champion Hurdle winner Constitution Hill has been ruled out of the Cheltenham Festival. The seven-year-old had a poor workout at Kempton Park last week which led to medical checks, but results were far from satisfactory and the horse has been declared not fit to run.


Tennis: Andrey Rublev has won his appeal against losing ranking points and prize money after being disqualified from the Dubai Tennis Championships last week. The Russian was accused of unsportsmanlike conduct in his semi-final when he screamed in the face of a line judge following a disputed call in the third set. A Russian-speaking official said Rublev had sworn at the line judge in Russian. Today, the ATP appeals committee said penalties including the loss of rankings points and prize money for the entire tournament, would be disproportionate in this case. However, forfeiting the match and a fine of $36,400 for the code violation remains in place.

Rafael Nadal said one good thing about nearing the end of his career, is that he will not have to face Carlos Alcaraz again. He was speaking after the 37-year-old Spaniard lost to his compatriot in an exhibition match in Las Vegas yesterday.
 

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