Evening Update Thursday 18 January 2024

Over 1,700 homes in Marseille were without power last night and earlier today. Electricity company Enedis said that the outage had been caused by cold weather. The affected areas were in the 12th and 13th arrondissements. Enedis was aiming to get supplies re-established by late this afternoon.

Much of France continues to be under Meteo France warnings for snow and icy conditions today and tomorrow. Motorway operator VINCI Autoroutes said that there were difficult conditions for traffic on the A72 and the A89 motorways which have led to a prohibition on the circulation of some heavy goods vehicles between Tulle and Clermont-Ferrand and between Clermont-Ferrand and Lyon.

Unions representing police officers have called for a day of industrial action affecting their work today, which they are calling "Black Thursday". They are urging officers to perform "minimum activity", only intervening for emergencies and not "taking the initiative". Union members are saying that they don't have details on the work they will be required to perform during the Olympics in the summer. They are also calling for a bonus payment of 2,000 euros.

A reminder that you can get a test security alert on your mobile phone tomorrow morning. The test of the tsunami alert system concerns people on the coast of the nine French departments which border the Mediterranean. No action is required if you receive an alert, it's only a test.

The body of a woman which had been partially eaten by animals has been found in the hinterland of Nice. The gruesome discovery was made by firefighters in Colomars who discovered the corpse of the elderly woman in the garden of a house.

The date for the annual battle of flowers in Villefranche-sur-Mer has been announced. On February 19, starting at 11am, there will be festivities throughout the day including a carnival parade, musical entertainment and the famous naval battle of flowers itself.

 

BUSINESS

Technology company Fujitsu has ruled itself out of UK public contract bids during the ongoing Post Office inquiry. UK government Minister Alex Burghart said that the company had written to the Cabinet Office to inform it of the decision. Fujitsu developed the Horizon software used by the Post Office which was later found to be faulty.

Japan Airlines has named a new president, to take over the role from 1 April. Mitsuko Tottori joined the airline as a flight attendant in 1985. It's the first time the company has appointed a woman as the president of the company, something which is still rare in Japan. She said that she hoped her promotion would give other women the courage to pursue the next step in their careers.

 

SPORT

Tennis... Britain's Emma Raducanu is out of the Australian Open after being defeated by Chinese player Wang Yafan. British number one Katie Boulter lost to China's Zheng Qinwen. Elena Rybakina defeated Anna Blinkova in a match which included the longest tie-break in Grand Slam singles history. The final score was 6-4 4-6 7-6, with Rybakina winning the tie-break in the final set 22-20. Meanwhile, in the men's singles eighth seed Holger Rune lost to 21-year-old French wildcard Arthur Cazaux. Alexander Zverev is through to the next round after defeating Lukas Klein and Casper Ruud beating Australian Max Purcell.

Motorsports... James Allison has signed a long-term contract extension to remain as technical director at Mercedes. The 55 year old joined Mercedes in 2017.

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