Evening Update Thursday 2 March 2023

The French Senate its beginning its debate on the controversial reforms to pension legislation. Government ministers are presenting the proposed measures to senators. Public Accounts Minister Gabriel Attal said that the government has "a simple objective - to build a clear compromise for the retirement of the French". He called for the debate to be "without pretence and without political posturing". The legislation has already been debated by the National Assembly, the lower house of the French Parliament. The deadline for the bill's passage through the Senate is midnight on March 12.

Meanwhile, French unions have agreed on industrial action to protest against the reforms on 7 March. The industrial action is renewable, meaning that unions do not have to give notice of further strikes.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi has held a meeting with Prime Minister Elisabeth Bourne to discuss matters relating to Nice and the Nice Cote d'Azur Metropolis, including green funds and sustainable mobility projects. The mayor also asked the prime minster to support the city on the removal of the Saint-Isadore payage which the mayor says will improve air quality.

The theme of next year's Nice Carnival has been announced. It will be "Pop Culture". Christian Estrosi made the announcement at an event this afternoon to thank all those who had been involved in this year's Carnival which ended last weekend. He said that over 200,000 people had attended, making it the largest winter event on the Cote d'Azur, producing an economic benfit of 30 million euros.

A security exercise took place this morning in the area around the oil depot at Puget-sur-Argens in the Var. The civil security exercise simulated an industrial accident at the oil depot. As part of the excercise, an alert message was sent to the smartphones of people located near the site.



Eurozone annual inflation is expected to be 8.5% in February, down from 8.6% in January according to a provisional estimate from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. The figure is higher than expected by many analysts. Food, alcohol and tobacco rose by 15.0%, energy by 13.7%, other goods by 6.8%.

High Street retailer WH Smith has said that it's been hit by a cyber-attack, with hackers accessing some employee data. However, its website, customer accounts and customer databases are not affected. The company said it had launched an investigation and had told authorities about the incident.



Rugby Union... Sarah Hunter and Marlie Packer will co-captain England as they begin the defence of their Women's Six Nations title this month. Natasha Hunt and Sarah Beckett are recalled. Nine uncapped players are also included in the 42-player squad.

Motorsports... Aston Martin have confirmed Lance Stroll will return to the Formula 1 team for the Bahrain Grand Prix after missing pre-season testing  because of an injury sustained in a cycling accident. The opening Grand Prix of the 2023 Formula 1 season gets underway in Bahrain this weekend.

Football... The funeral of French football legend Just Fontaine will take place in Toulouse on Monday, according to reports in French media. Fontaine, who passed away earlier this week at the age of 89, holds the record for the most number of goals scored in the World Cup.

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