Evening Update Thursday 4 January 2024

The National police are planning a nationwide day of industrial action next Thursday, 18 January. They are protesting at policing arrangements for the 2024 Paris Olympics this coming summer. Gerald Darmanin has called for what he referred to as an "exceptional" mobilisation of law enforcement during the games.

There's been another large rise in the number of foreign offenders deported from France. According to figures from the Interior Ministry, the number of deported rose by 30% last year compared to 2022, to 4,686 people. The number of people deported in 2022 was double that of 2021. The top areas to which deportees were sent were the Maghreb (in other words central and western north Africa), sub-Saharan Africa and Central Europe. In a post on social media today Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said that from the end of January, the new immigration law "will make it possible to further increase these expulsions considerably".

The Pas-de-Calais department in northern France is still on a top-level red alert for floods. Several other departments along the border with Belgium are on orange alerts. Government rivers monitoring service Vigicrues said that, given the state of saturation of the soil in the northern half of the country and the rainfall of recent days, many river levels have risen, causing significant flooding in several regions and exceptional flooding on the Aa river in the Pas-de-Calais. However, it added that the peak level on the Aa river was reached yesterday evening but rain forecast for today and Friday morning is expected to keep levels high and could lead to a further increase at the end of the day today.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin was in Marseille yesterday. During his visit he announced several measures to combat drugs trafficking and also inaugurated a special CRS police unit which specialises in urban violence.

The Prefect of the Var has reminded residents that regulations regarding the use of fire are still in operation in order to reduce the risk of forest fires and fires in undergrowth. The regulations are very detailed and vary according to the time of year. Information can be found on the prefecture's website www.var.gouv.fr



UK high street retailer Next has raised its profit forecast by 5% for 2024 to 960 million pounds. It has about 460 shops in the UK and Ireland. However, it warned of supply chain risks saying that difficulties with access to the Suez Canal, if they continue, "are likely to cause some delays to stock deliveries in the early part of the year". Several companies have warned of issues in receiving goods and products recently as a result of shipping being disrupted because of attacks in the Red Sea.

Sainsburys has announced a pay rise for 120,000 of its workers who are paid by the hour. Their hourly rate is being raised to 12 pounds per hour and 13.15 per hour in London. It has also increased staff discounts on its products.

The services sector in Britain grew more than previously estimated in December. A survey of purchasing managers by S&P Global showed the highest reading since June. Optimism about 2024 increased for the second month in a row. However, a similar survey of the manufacturing sector published earlier this week showed a less positive picture for that sector.



Cricket... India have beaten South Africa by seven wickets in the second Test.  It was the shortest Test to produce a winner in the history of the game, with just 642 balls being bowled. The series ends in a 1-1 draw.

Tennis.... Emma Raducanu is out of the Auckland Classic after being defeated by second seed Elina Svitolina in the second round. She was playing in only her second match since operations on her wrist and ankle. The final score was 6-7  7-6  6-1.

Rugby Union...England defence coach Kevin Sinfield is leaving the coaching team later this year, according to head coach Steve Borthwick. Felix Jones, who has joined from South Africa, has been confirmed as the new defence coach.

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