Evening Update Wednesday 22nd of May 2024

NEWS
Éric Ciotti wants to Privatise SNCF - Éric Ciotti plans to table a bill to privatise SNCF, calling union threats before the Olympics "scandalous." He argues that SNCF should be managed privately to reduce costs, citing the successful privatization of France Télécom and airports as examples. He suggests similar reforms could apply to other state-owned enterprises like France Télévisions.

Controllers with Cameras - Nice has equipped some Lignes d'Azur bus and tram controllers with cameras. Twelve cameras have been given to team leaders to combat the rising number of insults and offences on public transport, explained Gaël Nofri, deputy in charge of transport and chairman of the Lignes d'Azur network.

New School in Avignon - The new school in Avignon's Joly Jean eco-neighbourhood will be named Melly et Paul Puaux, opening in September 2024. The couple significantly contributed to Avignon's cultural history, working with the Festival's founder and establishing Maison Jean Vilar, a place of memory, of transmission, and of invention of the work of Jean Vilar. Paul Puaux was a key figure in the Avignon Festival, while Melly Puaux helped preserve its legacy.

Retirement Home in Avignon - A woman from the Vaucluse region has denounced ill-treatment in a retirement home in Avignon. She has lodged a complaint. After the death of her mother, she launched a collective campaign to reject an end of life without dignity or care.

Mobile-Home on Fire - A mobile home fire in La Roquette-sur-Siagne early Wednesday claimed the life of a man in his sixties. The blaze was extinguished by 22 firefighters using two hoses and nine pieces of equipment. The cause of the fire is still unknown. The site of the mobile home is none other than where the bodies of 117 cats were found last February.

Cannes Film Festival - The general public is in for a treat at the Cannes Festival today: actor Pierre Niney is in revenge mode with "The Count of Monte Cristo", a new adaptation of Dumas' masterpiece, and comedian Artus will be walking the steps with the disabled cast of his hit film "Un p'tit truc en plus".

Yellow Alert in Alpes-Maritimes - Météo France has placed the Alpes-Maritimes under a yellow alert for thunderstorms. The alert will continue until mid-evening, around 9pm. Only the towns of Nice, Antibes and Théoule-sur-mer are expected to remain sunny throughout the day.

 

BUSINESS
The IMF recommends the UK cut interest rates to 3.5% by the end of next year from the current 5.25%, despite an improved growth forecast for 2024. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt welcomed the IMF's positive outlook, but opposition figures criticized government policies. The IMF noted the UK economy is "approaching a soft landing" and upgraded its growth forecast for 2023 and 2025. However, it warned of tough choices on taxes and spending, advising against further tax cuts and suggesting increases in road usage, VAT, inheritance, and property taxes. The IMF also recommended ending the state pension's triple lock and emphasized the need to bolster public finances and maintain climate policy commitments.

Falling gas and electricity prices have driven UK inflation to its lowest in nearly three years, with prices rising by 2.3% in the year to April, down from 3.2% in March. Despite the decrease, inflation remains above the Bank of England's 2% target. The Bank may cut interest rates this summer, currently at 5.25%. Lower energy prices, down 27% from a year ago, were the main driver behind the drop, though mobile phone bills and rents continued to rise. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hailed the drop, while Labour's Rachel Reeves urged caution. High energy costs, driven by global price increases following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, have significantly impacted the cost of living. The Bank expects inflation to fall close to its target soon but seeks more evidence before cutting rates, likely in August or September.

 

SPORTS
Cricket - Captain Jos Buttler says England's "pride was dented" by their disappointing defence of the 50-over World Cup last year. England failed to make it out of the group stage in India, finishing seventh with six defeats in nine matches.

Rugby Union – The wing and occasional full-back Simon Zebo has announced that he will retire from playing rugby at the end of the season. The 34-year-old was capped 35 times by Ireland, helping his country win the Six Nations in 2015 and also featuring in that year's World Cup. He has made 173 appearances for Munster over two spells with the Irish province to date and is their record try-scorer with 72.

Athletics - Nobody was more stunned than the British teenager on the Tokyo track. Keely Hodgkinson stood with her eyes and mouth wide open in astonishment, hands fixed either side of a head dizzied by two laps that had changed everything. An Olympic underdog three years ago, she has become one of the gold medal favourites at Paris 2024.

 

WEATHER
Mostly sunny this afternoon with risks of thunderstorm higher in the Alpes-Maritimes. Moderate to high winds with gusts of up to 65km/h. Highs of 21 degrees in Marseille, 22 in Toulon and Nice, 24 in Cannes and a blazing 27 degrees in Saint-Tropez.
Tonight, clear skies with lows of 15 degrees.
Outlook for tomorrow, fine morning followed by occasional showers and risks of thunderstorms in the afternoon before going back to clear skies at night. Highs of 21 degrees.

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