Evening Update Thursday 16 March 2023

French unions have stated that more industrial action will take place after the government triggered article 49.3 of the French constitution which allows for the adoption of legislation without a vote in the National Assembly in order to get its pension reform bill through parliament. The pension bill passed through the Senate this morning by 193 votes to 114. President Macron had earlier convened a Council of Ministers meeting as the controversial pension reform legislation neared the end of its passage through the French parliament to discuss the use of the article. Demonstrators have gathered near the National Assembly in Paris this evening to protest at the decision.

Meanwhile, industrial action has been continuing in various sectors today. Train services are disrupted and will still be disrupted throughout the day tomorrow because of industrial action by rail workers. Dockers in Marseille have blocked access to ferries to Algeria today. Reports say that five trade unionists from the energy sector were arrested in Marseille this morning. Union members carried out a "free toll" operation on the A57 motorway at a toll booth near Salon-de-Provence. Elsewhere in France, the ports of Brest and Le Harve in northern France were blocked for a time earlier today. Demonstrators protested on railway lines at Valence in the Drome department. The refuse collectors strike in Paris is continuing.

The municipality of Tourettes-sur-Loup has filed a complaint against those thought to be responsible for dumping a large number of tyres in the Gorges du Loup. Volunteers have been clearing several hundred tyres from the area which are being transported to a refuse collection centre. Environmental authorities are investigating.

A teacher has taken his own life at a school in Orange in the Vaucluse department. The body of the man in his fifties was discovered by maintenance staff on the school premises. The school has been closed today and two psychological support units have been set up for staff and students.

French authorities are warning about a recent spate of fraudulent e-mails and SMS messages which attempt to persuade recipients to divulge personal or banking information. The SMS or e-mails ask for the payment of a ticket or fine following a traffic violation. The message encourages recipients to follow a link that takes them to an official-looking site where they are asked for their personal information and credit card details.  Authorities say that if you receive such a message you are most likely facing a phishing attempt and the goal of cybercriminals is to steal your personal and banking information for fraudulent use.

 

BUSINESS

The European Central Bank has raised interest rates by 0.5%. It's benchmark rate now stands at 3%. It's the sixth rate rise in a row.

In the UK, John Lewis has axed its staff bonus and indicated that job cuts may have to be made after what it described as a "very tough year", for which it reported a £234m pre-tax loss. Company chair Dame Sharon White said its stores had attracted more customers, but they had spent less. She said the losses meant bonuses could not be made this year for only the second time since it began the scheme in 1953.

Credit Suisse has said that it will borrow up to 50bn francs from the Swiss central bank to shore up its finances. The lender said it was taking decisive action to strengthen its liquidity. The move follows a major investor, the Saudi National Bank, saying yesterday that it would not inject further funds into the Swiss lender.

 

 

SPORT

Cricket.... Rishabh Pant will be replaced by David Warner as Delhi Capitals captain for this year's Indian Premier League. Pant sustained severe injuries in a car crash on 30 December last year and is still undergoing rehab and recovery.

Football... Gianni Infantino has been re-elected as President of Fifa. He'll serve until 2027.

Eight football fans have been arrested after violence at the Eintracht Frankfurt against Napoli Champions League match in Naples last night. Police said five Napoli fans and three German fans had been held.

Rugby Union... Taulupe Faletau is set to win his 100th cap for Wales as they take on France in Paris in the Six Nations finale on Saturday. Head coach Warren Gatland has made six changes from the team that defeated Italy. There are recalls for Dan Biggar, George North, Nick Tompkins, Alun Wyn Jones as well as Louis Rees-Zammit. France are still in with a chance of retaining their Six Nations title if they can defeat Wales and Ireland lose to England.

 

 

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