Evening Update Tuesday 24 December

Authorities have announced an increased police presence in Grasse after violent incidents last night. According to the Mayor of Grasse, Jérôme Viaud, police had to deal with a group of about thirty hooded individuals who demolished poles supporting video surveillance cameras. The mayor said this afternoon that fourteen of the affected cameras are now back in service. Fireworks which are prohibited by prefectural decree were let off in the streets. A shop was also partially damaged by fire and waste bins were ignited but there have been no reports of injuries. The mayor called the incident, in the Fleurs de Grasse area, “shocking and unacceptable”.

In Corsica, Ajaccio airport has been closed to air traffic again today as clean-up operations continue after the recent storms. The local Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that the airport is affected by a large area of stagnant water which has prevented the opening of the runway. A shuttle service by bus to get passengers from Ajaccio to Bastia airport which was implemented yesterday has been continuing today.

Strike action is continuing on the railways today, affecting the seasonal plans of many travellers. Nationally, 40% of TGV and TER trains and 20% of Intercity trains are scheduled today. Locally, the SNCF plans 3 TER services out of 10 in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region. Some trains are being replaced by coach services. Trains will be severely disrupted again tomorrow, Christmas Day. You can find out more information about local TER services at www.ter.sncf.com For TGV and Intercity services see www.sncf.com For OUIGO trains see www.OUIGO.com

The head of the SNCF has estimated the shortfall in revenue since the 5th of December at 400 million euros. Jean- Pierre Farandou said that he expected services next weekend to be an improvement on last weekend.

A new decree has been made by French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe introducing a fine for buying illicit tobacco products. Previously, the government has attempted to tackle the smuggling of tobacco by punishing the smugglers themselves. However, this decree is aimed at consumers of smuggled cigarettes and other tobacco products who now face a fine of 135 euros.

President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte will be spending Christmas in the Var, according to an announcement from the Elysée. They will travel to Fort de Brégançon in Bormes-les-Mimosas tomorrow and are expected to stay there for about a week.



Cricket.... Ben Stokes hasn't been training with England today because his father has been admitted to hospital in South Africa after suffering a serious illness. Stokes hasn't attended England's training session at SuperSport Park so that he can be at his father's bedside. The first of four Tests against South Africa begins on Thursday.

Football... Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will miss at least the next two games with ankle ligament damage.

The Christmas football bonanza gets into full swing on Boxing Day with a full programme. Spurs play Brighton. Aston Villa host Norwich. Bournemouth play Arsenal. Chelsea host Southampton. Crystal Palace face West Ham. Everton play Burnley. Sheffield United play Watford. Manchester United play Newcastle and Leicester host the leaders Liverpool. Wolves play Manchester City on Friday.

Tennis... Australian Open organisers have announced an increase in prize money with the biggest gains for those losing in the earlier rounds. The overall prize fund for the tournament has increased by 14% to 71 million Australian Dollars. Players who exit in the first round will receive 20% more than last year while money for losers in the opening qualifying round is up by a third. The tournement begins in Melbourne in January.


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