Evening News Update Thursday 20 December

Four employees of a post office in Grasse were threatened with a machete during a raid this morning. Two hooded men entered the post office at opening time and got away with about 3,000 euros.  The employees have been offered counselling by La Poste and the post office is expected to remain closed until after Christmas.


The Minister of National Education Jean-Michel Blanquer is visiting Nice this afternoon.  About  20 protesters staged a demonstration when the minister arrived.  Union members said they were protesting against the reform of high schools and the bac, against Parcoursup and in favour of an increase in purchasing power.


After two days of protests by police officers, the French government has announced that a salary adjustment agreement has been concluded following negotiations with unions.  A first re-evaluation of 40 euros per month will take place from January. Earlier this week the government agreed to pay an exceptional bonus of 300 euros to officers who had been involved in keeping order during the yellow vest protests.  


Employees of Nice Cote d’Azur airport who earn less than 2,000 euros gross a month are to be given a bonus.  The payment of 500 euros each will be made to full-time employees in January.

 

Local reports say that yellow vest protesters are expected to gather at the Italian border in Menton on Friday afternoon. A peaceful demonstration probably involving filtering but not blocking of traffic is expected, according to an organizer quoted by local media.


BUSINESS

The Bank of England has cut its growth forecast and warned a lack of clarity over Brexit is hitting the economy. The Bank said uncertainty over the UK's departure from the EU had "intensified considerably" over the past month. Against a backdrop of weaker global growth, the MPC voted unanimously to keep interest rates at 0.75%. It said the economy was likely to grow by 0.2% in the final quarter of 2018, down from an earlier forecast of 0.3%. That follows growth of 0.6% in the previous quarter.

Altria Group, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes is paying $12.8bn to take a 35% stake in e-cigarette company Juul Labs. The deal values San Francisco-based Juul at $38bn

EU competition regulators have charged four banks with being involved in a bond trading cartel. The European Commission did not name the banks but said the activity had taken place over the seven years up to 2015. The commission said the four banks exchanged commercially sensitive information and coordinated on prices.

The US justice department has announced criminal charges against two hackers said to be connected to China's main intelligence service.  The two allegedly targeted networks in the US and allied countries to steal commercial secrets.

 

SPORT


Football…League 1 side Burton Albion have been drawn against Manchester City in the Semi Finals of the Carabao League Cup. Chelsea have been drawn against Spurs in the other match.  The two legs of the semi-finals will be played during the weeks commencing 7 January and 21 January.


Cricket…England Test captain Joe Root will make his Big Bash League debut for Sydney Thunder in Canberra tomorrow.  He’ll play alongside England vice-captain Jos Buttler against Melbourne Stars.

Former Australia captain Steve Smith has appeared in a Vodafone Australia advert in a bid to spread awareness about mental health for young Australians. Smith is serving a 12-month ban from playing state or international cricket for his role in the ball-tampering scandal against South Africa in March. He is also banned from the Big Bash, sponsored by Vodafone Australia.

 

 

 

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