Evening Update Tuesday 17 September

The French Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner, has announced the creation of a new anti-drugs agency. Ofast will be operational from the 1st of January and replaces the existing government agency which tackles drugs crime. Monsieur Castanet announced the new agency, along with many other measures aimed at combatting drug crime, at a press conference in Marseille today.

The Prefect of the Var has urged motorists in the region to drive safely. The request comes following the death of 5 people - 3 motorists, 1 motorcyclist and 1 pedestrian - in just 3 days in the region.  Since the beginning of the year, 56 people have lost their lives on the roads in the Var of which 30 were car accidents, 16 involved motorcyclist, 4 cyclists and 6 pedestrians.

A 73-year-old hiker has died in the Mercantour National Park. A Dragon 06 helicopter was used to reach the man near the village of Rimplas but he could not be resuscitated.

A group of students from Audiberti high school in Antibes are to be presented with an award in Paris in December.  The eleven students were involved in saving the life of one of their teachers who suffered a cardiac arrest. They will receive the First National Award of Citizenship.  It’s only the second time the award has been given to residents of the Alpes Maritimes.

Bomb disposal experts were called to a suspicious item on a walking path near Le Plan-de-la-Tour in the Var this afternoon. A hiker had seen the object, which resembled an explosive shell, at the side of the footpath. Photographs were sent to the bomb disposal squad who decided the object could be dangerous and diverted from another job to attend the scene. Once there, their investigations revealed that the suspect device was, in fact, a chisel head buried in the ground and the area was re-opened to the public.

La Plage des Ondes in Cap d’Antibes has been closed to swimmers due to pollution. Tests were carried out leading to the closure of the beach which is expected to remain closed until tomorrow.

The trial has begun in London of a man accused of the murder of a woman from Aix-en-Provence. Kirill Belorusov, a 32 year old Estonian, is accused of the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Laureline Garcia-Bertaux in Richmond, Surrey. He denies the charges. The victim was a graduate of the Central St Martins School of Art and Design in London and was originally from Aix-en-Provence.

The French electricity network needs investment of 33 billion euros over the next 15 years, according to a new projection by the manager of France’s high voltage network. The money is needed for renovation of the existing network, the implementation of digital technologies and renewable energy sources, and the creation of inerconnections with other countries.

A 37 year old cancer survivor has become the first person to swim the English Channel four times in a row non-stop. Sarah Thomas, who is from Colorado, started the swim in the early hours of Sunday and finished after more than 54 hours. The route was due to be about 80 miles but because of strong tides it ended up being about 130 miles. She celebrated entering the record books and making dry land, with champagne and chocolates.



An EU court is hearing appeals against a decision to order Ireland to recover €13bn of unpaid taxes from Apple. In 2016, the European Commission found that Apple benefited from illegal state aid as a result of two Irish tax rulings which it said artificially reduced the company’s taxes for over two decades, giving it an advantage over other companies in Ireland.  Both the Republic of Ireland and Apple are appealing against the ruling.

Office space company WeWork has decided to delay its initial public offering. It had been expected to begin a roadshow to market the IPO to investors as soon as today and to list its shares next week. However, the company now says it aims to complete the IPO by the end of this year.

Shares in Sirius Minerals have fallen heavily today after it cancelled plans to raise $500m through a bond sale.  The company is planning to open a large potash mine in North Yorkshire. It blamed global market conditions, the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the political environment in the United Kingdom. Management said that it will now conduct a comprehensive strategic review over the next six months.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has said she did not agree with Moody's move to downgrade Hong Kong's ratings outlook .The credit ratings agency yesterday changed its outlook on Hong Kong's rating to negative from stable but maintained its current rating. According to reports, Ms Lam said the downgrade was "disappointing".

President Donald Trump has said his administration has reached an initial trade agreement regarding tariff barriers with Japan. He said he intends to enter into the agreement in the "coming weeks,"



Football…Paris St-Germain forward Neymar's three-game European ban for insulting match officials has been cut down to two matches by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He was charged by Uefa after PSG's match against Manchester United on 6 March when he called the award of a penalty “a disgrace”. He will miss the games against Real Madrid and Galatasaray but can return to face Club Bruges on 22 October.

Cycling…. Tour de France winner Egan Bernal won’t be competing in the Road World Championships in Yorkshire on 29 September. Bernal has pulled out of the Colombia team for the race. Bernal tweeted earlier this month that he wouldn’t compete in the race if he didn’t feel he could perform at his best wearing his national colours.

Motorsports... Formula 1 have said that they have a "contingency plan" to deal with poor air quality at the Singapore Grand Prix. A dense cloud of haze has descended on the city following forest fires in neighbouring Indonesia. An F1 spokesperson said that

race organisers have taken measures to “reduce the impact of the haze” for the race weekend.

Rugby Union… Reports say that Ireland full-back Rob Kearney could still be in contention for Sunday's World Cup opener against Scotland despite a calf injury. He’s now likely to train tomorrow. Ireland remain hopeful that both Kearney and Keith Earls, who has a thigh problem, can play in the match against Scotland.


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