Evening Update Thursday 15 September 2022

About a thousand flights are expected to be cancelled tomorrow because of industrial action by French air traffic controllers. The General Directorate of Civil Aviation has asked airlines to reduce their flight schedules by 50%. It said that air traffic across France is expected to be severely disrupted from 6am on Friday 16 September to 6am on Saturday the 17th. It suggests postponing your trip if you are able and to get in touch with your airline to check the status of your reservation. The National Union of Air Traffic Controllers is seeking an increase in staffing levels and pay increases to counter the rising cost of living. It's also planning another strike, from 28 to 30 September.

An inquiry has been opened after a dozen migrants escaped from a detention centre in Metz in the Grand Est region. Reports in French media quote the local prefect as saying that the detainees took advantage of a problem with the security gates and steps are being taken to try to locate them.

Snow ploughs were deployed after a violent hailstorm hit Gap in the Hautes-Alpes last night. Firefighters answered numerous calls from local residents as hail accumulated up to a depth of 10 to 15 centimetres in places.

 

BUSINESS

 

Retailer the John Lewis Partnership has reported a first half loss of £99m, largely due to the combination of cost inflation not fully passed on to customers, the impact of the cost of living crisis, unwinding of Covid shopping patterns and investments to support employees, customers and suppliers. The employee owned partnership announced a one-off cost of living support payment of £500 for full-time employees as well as increasing the lowest rates of pay, free food at work over the winter and the doubling of its financial assistance fund to help with bills. In a letter to employees, it said that it saw more customers year-on-year but they are spending less.

Fashion retailer H&M has said that net sales increased by 3 percent in the period 1 June to 31 August, compared with the corresponding period last year. However, in local currencies, net sales decreased by 4 percent. It said that the third quarter got off to a weak start, but sales improved during the quarter, with a better start for the autumn collections than last year.

Energy company Shell has appointed a new CEO. Current CEO Ben van Beurden will step down at the end of 2022 and be replaced by Wael Sawan who is currently the company's head of gas and renewables and previously led its oil and gas production business.

 

SPORT

Tennis... Roger Federer has announced his retirement. He's won 20 Grand Slam singles championships in his 24 year career. The 41 year old will retire from top-level tennis after the Laver Cup in London later this month.

Football... Brentford forward Ivan Toney has been called up for England's Nations League games with Italy and Germany this month. Dean Henderson, Eric Dier and Ben Chilwell are all recalled for the games. Midfielder Jordan Henderson and keeper Jordan Pickford are not included because of injury. Defender Ben White and midfielder Conor Gallagher are also not included.

Crystal Palace defender Kofi Balmer has received his first Northern Ireland call-up for their final two Nations League matches against Kosovo and Greece. Newcastle full-back Jamal Lewis returns after injury.  

Cricket... Former international umpire Asad Rauf has died aged 66 after a cardiac arrest in Pakistan. He officiated at 64 Test matches as well as 139 ODIs and 28 Twenty20 internationals.

 

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