Evening Update Monday 13 March 2023

Over twenty French Departments in the east of France and central parts of the south are on an Orange Meteo France alert for storms. In our region, the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes are both on yellow alerts for storms tonight from 11pm to 3am. The departments are also on a yellow alert for high winds tomorrow from midday to midnight.

Groundwater levels in France remain below normal with 80% of them "moderately low to very low", according to data released by the French Office of Geological and Mining Research. It said that the situation had deteriorated due to the absence of effective rainfall in February. The rains during the autumn were insufficient to compensate for deficits accumulated during the year 2022 and to improve the state of the groundwater in the long term. The organization said that as a result, groundwater levels remain below monthly normals. Most sectors are showing levels significantly lower than in February of last year.

Unions are preparing for another day of mobilization this Wednesday, 15 March in protest at proposed pension reforms. Wednesday is expected to be the day on which a joint committee of deputies and senators will discuss the reforms. Trains are still disrupted by industrial action today but to a lesser extent than previous days. Industrial action is also continuing at several oil refineries. Bin collectors remain on strike in the Paris region and in Le Harve as well as in Nantes.

A presentation of the final two stages of next year's Tour de France has been made at the Opera de Nice this morning. HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Tour director Christian Prudhomme and Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi were all present. Winner of the Tour de France 2022, Jonas Vingegaard, was also present. The mayor said on social media that the final two stages promise an "historic finish and an incredible weekend in prospect on the roads of Nice, Monaco and the Nice Cote d'Azur Metropolis". The two stages are on July 20 and 21, 2024.

A hiker has died after falling 40 metres from cliffs near Marseille. The man in his fifties fell whilst hiking on the Calanques massifs on Sunday morning. His body was recovered by marine firefighters. The cause of the accident isn't currently known.



Many banking stocks fell earlier today after US authorities took emergency measures over the weekend to rescue two lenders, SVB and Signature Bank. Depositors with SVB would be able to access all their cash from today, the government said.  It's the largest failure of a US bank since 2008. The moves came as the bank, a key lender to the technology sector, was scrambling to raise money to fill a loss from the sale of assets affected by higher interest rates. After a weekend of discussions involving the Bank of England and the UK government, the UK subsidiary of SVB was bought by HSBC for one pound. US regulators also closed New York-based Signature Bank. Speaking this afternoon President Biden said that Americans can have confidence that the banking system is safe. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said that he did not see "any risk of contagion" to the French banking system.

In the UK, the Office for National Statistics has announced changes to the basket of goods and services used to calculate the cost of living. Electric bikes have been put into the virtual basket and digital compact cameras taken out. Alcopops have been removed and frozen berries are included.



Cricket... Kane Williamson hit an unbeaten century to lead New Zealand to a two-wicket win over Sri Lanka off the final ball of the first Test. Williamson scored 121 not out on a rain-shortened fifth day in Christchurch.

India secured a 2-1 series win over Australia after the fourth Test petered out into a draw. Australia declared on 175-2 with a lead of 84 before the teams shook hands. India will play Australia for the Test title at The Oval on 7-11 June.



In the Six Nations Ireland will now need a home win against England next week to complete a Grand Slam after a 22-7 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday. England lost to France on Saturday 10-53. England’s Jamie George has apologised to fans. It was England's biggest home defeat of all time as France scored seven tries to end an 18-year wait for a Twickenham win. Meanwhile, Wales withstood a late Italy fightback to win 17-29. As the table stands, Ireland rank first with 19 points, France second with 15, Scotland third with 10, England fourth with 10 points, Wales fifth with 5 points and Italy sixth with 1 point. Next Saturday's final matches will see Scotland play Italy, France play Wales and Ireland play England.



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