Evening Update Thursday 21 March

The French Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire has given details of the cost of the yellow vest protests so far, up to and including Act 18. The government has calaculated the damage at 200 million euros.  He said that the direct and short-term impact on French economic growth could be up to 0.2 percentage points of GDP for 2018 and 2019, amounting to more than 4.5 billion euros. He also said that what he called partial unemployment due to the movement has affected 73,500 people working in 5,100 companies.

Police are investigating after a molotov cocktail was thrown against the door of an apartment in the Liserons area in the east of Nice last night. The swift intervention of firefighters stopped the blaze from spreading.  It’s thought that the attack may have been in revenge for a previous incident.

A man has appeared in court in Uxbridge near London charged with the murder of a 34 year old woman from Aix-en-Provence.  Laureline Garcia-Bertaux had been working in the UK and her body was discovered buried in the garden of her house in Richmond, Surrey.

Industrial action by refuse collectors is continuing to affect several communities on the Riviera. The strike began on Tuesday and has affected collections in Antibes, Valbonne, Biot, and Vallauris. A minimum collection service is in place for educational and healthcare facilities.

An estimated 11,000 households were without power in Marseilles this morning.  The power cut, affecting parts of the 6th, 7th and 8th arrondissements, was caused by a transformer breakdown in the early hours.  Power was restored to most households, but a few premises were still been affected mid-morning.

Monaco is preparing for the historic visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday and several security measures have been announced. As well as several road closures residents are requested not to use their balconies and terraces between 11.30am and 1pm and between 2.30pm and 4pm. Any residents wishing to circulate in the Principality are also requested to be carrying ID at all times. Meanwhile, in Nice, the Promenade des Anglais will be closed because of the President’s visit from 8am on Sunday to 7pm on Monday.

Nice Cote d’Azur airport has once again been listed as offering one of the world’s best views on the approach to landing.  It took the number 3 spot on the poll by a private jet website and the number one in France. The airport was beaten in the worldwide rankings though by Barra in Scotland and Donegal in Ireland.



The Bank of England has kept interest rates on hold amid continued uncertainty over Brexit. All nine members of the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee voted to keep rates at 0.75%.  The’ve been at that level since August last year.  

UK Government borrowing was £0.2bn in the month of February 2019, £1bn less than the same month a year ago, according to new ONS numbers. Borrowing in the current financial year-to-date was £23bn which is the lowest for 17 years.

The TUC's general secretary Frances O’Grady and the CBI's director general Carolyn Fairbairn have written a joint letter to Theresa May urging her to change her approach on Brexit. In the letter they say that the country is facing a national emergency, that the decisions of recent days have caused the risk of no-deal to soar and that firms and communities across the UK are not ready for that outcome. Meanwhile, the UK government's petition website crashed this morning because of too many people repeatedly trying to sign a petition demanding that the government revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU. The petition has amassed about one million signatures since Wednesday evening.



Rugby Union… Harlequins have agreed a deal to sign Worcester Warriors tighthead prop Simon Kerrod at the end of the season. The 26-year-old joined the Warriors at the start of the 2017-18 season from Jersey Reds.

Football…Euro 2020 qualifying gets underway tonight with 10 different games in various groups. Scotland visit Kazakhstan-that’s an earlier kick off – it got underway at 4pm French time this afternoon. Scotland were defeated 3-0.

Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been fined 20,000 euros by Uefa for a goal celebration in the win over Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League. Ronaldo made a gesture when completing his hat-trick in the return leg as Juventus won 3-0.

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