Evening Update Wednesday 14 June 2023

French Minister of Ecological Transition, Christophe Bechu has said that there are "very serious concerns" about groundwater levels on the Mediterranean coast. Speaking to French media he said that two-thirds of French groundwater levels are below seasonal averages.

Six migrants, including one minor, have been discovered in the back of a truck in Antibes. The driver of the truck alerted police. The adult migrants have been placed in administrative detention and the minor has been placed in a care home. No action is being taken against the driver.

A motorist has died after being shot by a police officer in the Charente department in western France. The driver of the vehicle apparently refused to comply with police instructions and the officer opened fire. The officer  sustained injuries and has been hospitalised.

Three Ajaccio football supporters have been charged with "aggrevated violence in a sports arena" and other offences after a match against Marseille on 3 June. The three are suspected of being involved in agression towards an 8 year old boy who is suffering from brain cancer who was at the match and who was wearing a Marseille shirt. The incident has aroused strong emotions, with President Macron calling for "strong" sanctions against those involved.

Reports in French media say that the government is considering reducing the age at which a driving licence can be obtained to 17 years of age. The age limit is currently 18. It's thought that the government's plans may be announced as soon as next week.

Nice has been ranked in first place in a survey of local shops. The American Expess "Shop Small" survey gives recognition to those cities in France with the most dynamic local shops and which are the most appreciated by local residents. Paris was in second place, with Burgundy in third and Lyon in fourth. In a post on social media Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said he was proud to see Nice at the top of the ranking and thanked local merchants "for their tireless work and commitment to providing quality products and service for the people of Nice and visitors".

 

BUSINESS

Vodafone and the owner of Three UK have announced a plan to merge their UK-based operations. Vodafone will own 51% of the new business while Three UK-owner CK Hutchison will hold the remaining stake. The combined business will have about 27 million customers, making it the biggest mobile network in the UK. The deal still needs to be approved by regulators.

The EU Commission has said that it is sending a Statement of Objections to Google over "abusive practices in online advertising technology". It said that it takes issue with Google "favouring its own online display advertising technology services to the detriment of competing providers of advertising technology services, advertisers and online publishers". Google has said that it disagrees with the Commissions view.

The UK economy is estimated to have grown by 0.2% in April, after a contraction of 0.3% in March, according to the Office for National Statistics. The ONS said that the economy is just 0.3% larger than before the pandemic in February 2020.


SPORT

Football... Real Madrid have completed the signing of Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund. The England midfielder has signed a six-year deal. Real Madrid will pay 103m euros for Bellingham, in addition to various potential add-ons which could see the deal reaching 133.9m euros.

Former Chelsea player and manager John Hollins has died aged 76. He made almost 600 appearances as a player during his two periods at the club between 1963 and 1984. He was appointed as manager in 1985 and held the position for three years.

 

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