Evening Update Thursday 6 April 2023

A day of demonstrations and industrial action has taken place today in protest at the French government's pension reforms. Marches took place across our region including in Nice and Marseille. As usual on days of protest, estimates of the numbers taking part varied enormously between unions and the authorities. In Nice authorities estimated 2,300 people marched today, but unions put the number at 20,000. In Marseille police said that 10,000 protestors were on the streets, but unions put the number at 170,000. The French government said that about 8 per cent of teachers were taking part in industrial action today, which again is less than union estimates. Many train and bus services are disrupted today and no trams are running in Nice.

President Macron has met Chinese leader Xi Jinping during his state visit to China. According to diplomatic sources cited by French media, President Macron urged the Chinese leader not to deliver anything to Moscow which would be used in its war against Ukraine. President Macron attended a military parade in Beijing, before entering closed-door talks with Xi Jinping, which Chinese and French officials described as being "frank" and "friendly". A state dinner is being held this evening.

A new chemical analysis of drinking water has suggested that over a third of drinking water in France may be contaminated with a degrading pesticide. The analysis by the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety showed that a quality threshold was exceeded by contaminants in over one in three samples. The analysis campaign collected more than 136,000 results. Raw and treated water samples were taken throughout France, including overseas territories. The objective was to analyse water collection points representing approximately 20% of the water distributed. The organization said that no health effect of the degrading pesticide has been proven at these exposure doses, but "the data are very incomplete".

The number of electric bikes sold in France continues to increase. New figures show that there was a 12% increase in the number of electric bikes sold, bringing the total to just over 738,000, which is 28% of the bicycle market in France.



Travel company Tui has said that it is seeing strong demand for various destinations over the Easter holidays which it says is "a healthy signal" for the summer. It said that based on trends to date, it anticipates capacity to be "close to pre-pandemic levels".

A UK trade body has said that new plans for post-Brexit border checks on goods coming into the UK will deter many EU suppliers and push up food prices. The UK government says its proposals will prevent delays by reducing the need for physical checks for many goods. But the Cold Chain Federation, which represents chilled food traders said it was "deeply concerned" by the complex forms and costs involved to exporters.



Football... Frank Lampard has been appointed Chelsea manager until the end of the season, just over two years after he was sacked by the club. He was previously manager from July 2019 until January 2021 and was at Everton until leaving the club in January. He replaces Graham Potter who was dismissed on Sunday. Chelsea are 11th in the Premier League at the moment.

Golf... An arbitration body has ruled that LIV Golf rebels committed "serious breaches" by leaving the DP World Tour to play in the Saudi Arabia-funded events. The 12 players have now been told to pay fines originally imposed. Sporting Resolutions said DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley "acted entirely reasonably in refusing releases". Pelley said he welcomed the decision by the independent three-person panel.


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