Evening Update Tuesday 7 January

The French government has announced plans to prevent the blockade of oil depots and refineries ahead of Thursday’s national day of strike action. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has asked Prefects throughout France to mobilse police to prevent blockades. The Prime Minister said that he didn’t think there would be any supply shortages. The CGT union has called for blockades of oil facilities from today right through until this Friday but M. Philippe said that, while protests are legal, such blockades are illegal. He has also announced that he’s invited social partners to a meeting on Friday to discuss proposals for financing pension reform put forward by the CFDT union. According to reports, the National Assembly will deliberate the proposed pension reforms beginning on the 17th of February. Locally, it was announced today that the urban Envibus network serving Sophia Antipolis won’t be running this Thursday. Bus services in Nice will be severely disrupted and the tramway won’t be running. As far as train services on Wednesday are concerned, on the Grasse - Cannes - Nice – Vintimiglia line, about 65% of services should run and on the Marseille to Nice line 50% of services should operate. Nationally, 3 out of 4 TGV trains should operate on average.

A warehouse in Frejus has been seriously damaged by fire this morning. The fire broke out at the premises containing a metal cleaning businesses in the zone de La Palud. About 25 firefighters and three vehicles brought the blaze under control and no injuries were reported.

Gunshots were fired in Miramas in the Bouches-du-Rhône this morning. Police said that shots had been fired in front of a building known for drugs selling activities. There were no injuries.

21 people have received prison sentences for causing damage to the toll booths and a police building at Narbonne, between Montpellier and the Spanish border. 31 defendants had appeared before the local court charged with offences on the sidelines of a Yellow Vest protest last year.

Authorities are investigating an explosion in a building in the centre of Marseille this morning. The explosion happened on the ground floor of a building in the 2nd arrondissement. 20 firefighters and 6 fire engines brought the subsequent blaze under control but the cause of the explosion isn’t yet known.

A 24 year old woman has been seriously injured in an accident on the A7 motorway this afternoon. Traffic was stopped while an emergency helicopter landed on the motorway to take the woman to hospital in Marseille.

 

BUSINESS

 

BP has agreed to sell a package of North Sea assets to Premier Oil. Premier will take over the Andrew platform and BP's controlling stake in five surrounding fields, as well as its minority stake in the Shearwater field. BP said the move was part of a "reshaping" of its North Sea portfolio.

Carmaker Aston Martin has issued a profit warning after what it called a "very disappointing" 2019. The company said annual earnings were expected to fall by nearly half from a year earlier. Although core retail sales rose by 12%, wholesale volumes - which cover car sales through other dealers - were down 7%. The company said it was expecting earnings of between £130m and £140m, well below the £247.3m it reported last year.

Prosecutors in Tokyo have issued an arrest warrant for the wife of fugitive ex-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn. Carole Ghosn is suspected by investigators of making false statements to a Tokyo court in April. Mr Ghosn skipped bail in December, joining his wife in Beirut.

Eurozone inflation rose to 1.3% in December, according to the EU statistics agency Eurostat, up from 1% in the previous month. Inflation remains below the European Central Bank's target of 2%.

UK supermarket operator Morrisons has reported a 1.7% fall in like-for-like sales for the 22 weeks to 5 January, excluding fuel. The company said that trading conditions remained challenging.

 

SPORT

Cricket… England have beaten South Africa by  189 runs in a dramatic fifth day of the second Test in Cape Town to level the series at 1-1. England still needed three wickets in the final hour but man of the match Ben Stokes claimed them all to cap an outstanding all-round performance.

Motorsports… Max Verstappen has extended his deal with Red Bull until the end of the 2023 season. Verstappen has been with Red Bull since being promoted from Toro Rosso part-way through the 2016 season.

Tennis… Great Britain will play Australia in the ATP Cup quarter-finals after Belgium beat Bulgaria in a the group finale. Britain defeated Moldova 3-0 and topped Group C after Belgium won 2-1.

Football…The first semi final first leg tie in the English League Cup is being played tonight. Manchester United are hosting Manchester City.

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