Evening Update Thursday 9 January

Demonstrations have been taking place in Nice today as part of the national day of action against pension reforms. Several marches joined together at the Place Massena but the unions and the Prefecture disagreed as to the number of people present. Unions put the figure at about 20,000 while the prefect said there were only about 3,500 protestors. A few dozen protestors forced the metal curtain in front of a branch of Societe General on avenue Jean-Médecin. The protestors were removed by police a few minutes later. Other demonstrations were held around our region, including in Draguignan, where about a thousand people took to the streets. Public transport is disrupted with no trams running in Nice and bus services around the region disrupted. However, an improved train service is expected tomorrow with 65% of trains running on the Grasse - Cannes - Nice – Vintimiglia line, with 85% at peak times. Demonstrations have been held throughout France. Schools have been affected by the protests with the Ministry of Education saying that nationally there were about 16 per cent of strikers in secondary schools and about 18 per cent in primary schools, while unions said that 40% to 50% of teachers were involved in the protests as of around midday today.

After severe disruptions on public transport because of industrial action last month, the SNCF has announced that it will reimburse monthly and weekly TER pass holders for the month of December. Details of how to claim will be provided on the SNCF TER website from the 15th of January.

Police were deployed in Vence after an armed man barricaded himself in his home in the early hours of this morning. Police and emergency services were at the scene and the road was closed to motorists. The 74-year-old man finally surrendered himself at 4am this morning after negotiations with police. According to reports the man’s wife had alerted police yesterday evening describing her husband as “depressed and acting irrationally”. The man has been hospitalised in Antibes.

The 65 year old deaf and mute man who went missing from his home in Nice has been found safe and well. He was located in Briançon after appeals in local media.

Police are searching for five people in connection with a knife attack in Toulon. A 27 year old man was seriously injured after being stabbed near the Pont-du-Las market late on Tuesday night.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is to visit Nice on Monday to inaugurate the “Parc du Ray”, in the north of the city. He’ll be joined by the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi in a visit to the park followed by a visit to the “Villa Massena” in the afternoon.

 

BUSINESS

Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group has announced that he’s to step down. IAG is the parent company of British Airways and Iberea and also controls Aer Lingus and Vueling.  He is set to retire as chief executive and from the board of IAG on 30 June. Luis Gallego, the head of Iberia, will succeed Mr Walsh.

UK retail group the John Lewis Partnership has warned that its staff bonus may be in doubt. It warned that annual partnership profits were expected to be "substantially down on last year". It was also announced that managing director Paula Nickolds will be stepping down.

The pound fell against the Dollar and the Euro earlier today after comments by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney. Mr. Carney said that there could be what he called a “relatively prompt response” if it looked like weakness in the economy persists. He also said there was room to "at least double" the bank's £60bn stimulus package of August 2016.

 

SPORT

Tennis… Great Britain are out of the ATP Cup after Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury lost the decisive doubles rubber against Australia despite having four match points. A win for Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur after a match tie-break gave Australia a 2-1 win. Australia will play Spain or Belgium on Saturday in the semi-finals of the inaugural edition of the cup.

World number one Ashleigh Barty is out of the Brisbane International after losing to Jennifer Brady. Brady, who defeated Maria Sharapova in the first round in Brisbane, will go on to play fifth seed Petra Kvitova.

Cricket…. England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler has been fined 15% of his match fee by the ICC for swearing during the second Test against South Africa. Buttler was heard using an obscenity towards all-rounder Vernon Philander on the final day of the second Test. He’s also been given one demerit point.

James Anderson has been ruled out of the rest of England’s tour of South Africa with a rib injury. The veteran bowler picked up the injury on the final day of England’s second Test victory in Cape Town and scans have revealed that he’s fractured a rib. He’s expected to be out of action for 6-8 weeks.

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