Evening Update Wednesday 31 January 2024

Protesting farmers staged a go-slow operation in the Var this morning, ending at the Capitou toll in Fréjus. The Prefecture said this afternoon that the protest will be maintained at the toll barriers until tomorrow, February 1st. The prefecture advised motorists to avoid the area and follow the diversions put in place. In Paris, protests have continued, especially near the Rungis market in the south of the city. The local prosecutor said that eighteen people had been arrested for obstructing traffic near the market, but three have since been released. Interior Minister Gerald Darminin said this afternoon that reinforcements, notably armoured vehicles, were sent to Essonne and Loiret to "firmly prevent access to Rungis". He said that agricultural demonstrations must be able to take place "without exceeding the lines" set at the start of the week.

There were major traffic jams around Marseille this morning because of an unexpected road closure. The L2 ringroad was closed in both directions from just after 9am. According to the Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur prefecture, the closure was caused by a breakdown in the L2 management computer system. The road has now reopened.

UK Home Secretary James Cleverly has held a meeting with French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin. In a social media post, re-posted by the Interior Minister, James Cleverly said that France "is a friend, neighbour and vital ally against the criminal gangs that fuel illegal migration". He said that the two countries joint work had cut small boat crossings across the English Channel by 36% last year.

Organisers of this summer's Paris Olympics have said that British fans have already bought half a million tickets, which is more than any country other than host nation, France. Paris 2024 chief executive Ettiene Thobois told BBC Sport that they are excited to welcome attendees from Britain and that "London 2012 is still in the memories of everyone".

A date has been set for the official inauguration of the Cineplanet multiplex cinema in Antibes. The project has been subject to several delays. However, the opening is due to be performed by the mayor of Antibes Jean Leonetti on February 13.

 

BUSINESS

Inflation in France has fallen more than expected. Provisional figures from statistics body INSEE showed that consumer prices increased by 3.1% on an annual basis in January, down from 3.7% in December. The drop in inflation was due to the slowdown over one year in the price of energy, food and manufactured products.  However, the prices of services and tobacco accelerated on a yearly basis.

Danish pharmaceuticals company Novo Nordisk has reported an increase in net sales of 31% in 2023 compared with 2022. Operating profit was up by 37%.

The European Commission has said that it will delay the implementation of rules which would have required farmers to set aside land to help biodiversity and soil quality. The Common Agricultural Policy rules oblige farmers in the EU to keep certain areas non-productive. The Commission's proposal was sent today to Member States who will vote on it in a committee meeting. The Commission said that the move "provides a first concrete policy response to address farmers' income concerns".

 

SPORT

Football... Aberdeen have sacked Barry Robson after just nine months as manager. He was the club's fourth manager in three years. The side are in eighth place in the Scottish Premiership, which the club described as "unacceptable".

Cricket... Jack Leach is a significant doubt for the second Test against India because of a knee injury sustained in the first Test. He missed the Ashes series last year because of injury and was playing in his first Test since last June.

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