Evening Update Thursday 11 January 2024

Two people are missing after a helicopter crashed into the sea off Mandelieu this afternoon. Reports say that the helicopter crashed about 300 meters off the coast at about 4pm. The mayor of Mandelieu-la-Napoule Sebastien Leroy said about an hour ago that emergency services were on site and were actively carrying out searches, with "numerous vehicles and helicopters on site".

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal has held meetings with unions and with associations of elected officials as well as employers' organizations today. He is also working on the composition of his new government and held a meeting with President Macron this afternoon. Details of the new government are expected to be announced later this evening.

Trains in our region are being seriously affected by industrial action once again today. Disruption is also expected tomorrow. Details on the next day's services are usually released by the SNCF at 5pm each day.
Meanwhile, Marseille Saint Charles station was briefly closed this morning after abandoned baggage was discovered. The all-clear was given and the station re-opened at about 10.30am.

The Prefect of the Var has held a meeting with the department's union and professional organizations to take stock of the economic situation and present the conditions for implementing France Travail. Since January 1, FranceTravail has replaced the Pôle Emploi with the aim of guaranteeing support and services more adapted to the needs of unemployed people and recruiting businesses.

The Monaco Tourism and Conventions Department has revealed positive results for the end-of-year holiday period. Hotels posted an average occupancy rate of 50% at Christmastime, well above the usual average for the last month of the year. The New Year period recorded 90% occupancy, exceeding all expectations. Nearly half of the customers who visited hotels or restaurants were French or Italian, surpassing the figures for 2019 and 2022. A significant increase in American attendance was also observed.

The Var Prefecture has issued a reminder about the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. It said that with the drop in temperatures, the risk increases because of the increased use of certain heating appliances. Each year, this toxic gas is responsible for around a hundred deaths in France. Invisible, odorless and non-irritating, carbon monoxide is undetectable. Suggested steps to limit the risks are available on the Prefecture's website www.var.gouv.fr


Inflation in the United States has risen. Data published this afternoon shows that consumer prices rose by 3.4% in December, up from 3.1% in November.

The UK government has announced plans to build a new large-scale nuclear plant. It said that the project would be the biggest expansion of the sector in 70 years and would reduce reliance on supplies from overseas. The government said that the new plant would quadruple energy supplies by 2050.

Tesco and Marks & Spencer have both reported higher than expected sales over the Christmas trading period. M&S saw sales rise 8.1% over the 13 weeks to 30 December but warned of an uncertain outlook for the coming year. Tesco said UK sales rose 6.8% over the six weeks to 6 January.

The number of containers shipped in the Red Sea fell by more than half in December, according to German economic research institute IfW Kiel. Shipments through the area have been disrupted by attacks from Houti rebels. It said that the volume was only around 200,000 containers per day, compared to around 500,000 containers in November. Instead of sailing through the Red Sea, the ships now sail around Africa and the Cape of Good Hope, a detour that the institute said takes 7 to 20 days. It added that the longer journey time has significantly increased freight rates, with the transport of a 40-foot standard container between China and Northern Europe currently costing over 4,000 US dollars, compared to around 1,500 US dollars in November.



Football... Former England eat Sven-Goran Eriksson has revealed that he is suffering from pancreatic cancer and in the "best case" has a year to live. The 75-year-old Swede was the first foreign coach to manage England. He led the team to the quarter-finals of the 2002 and 2006 World Cup tournaments as well as the 2004 Euros.

Rugby Union...Andy Farrell has been named as British and Irish Lions head coach for next year's tour in Australia. He's currently coaching Ireland and succeeds Warren Gatland in the role.

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