Evening Update 25 April

After six months of violent protest, and 10,000 town hall meetings across the country, President Macron will address the nation tonight with the government’s response to the gillets jaunes protests. Most of the policies he’s due to announce have already been leaked, including a cut in income tax and re-indexing the lowest pensions with inflation. It’s also rumoured he will announce measures to make the French work more than the treasured 35 hour week, and potentially, scrap one of the countries many bank holidays. The President is due on television at 6pm.

Traffic conditions in Monaco are the worst seen in many months. Adding to delays caused by Formula 1 works, is a massive landslide overnight, with hundreds of tons of rock falling on the Moyenne Corniche at Cap d’Ail. The fall has completely cut the road forcing all traffic back into Monaco. Inevitable diversions and delays are expected to be in place for a number of weeks.

Customs officers have been protesting at Nice Port against the regions lack of preparation for Brexit, particularly at Nice Cote d’Azur Airport. Earlier in the month they conducted a ‘work-to-rule’ at the airport to demonstrate delays that could be caused at customs and passport controls.

ANZAC Day was marked today in Antibes where the Mayor and local associations held commemorations at dawn and again at 10am. The services were followed by an Australian themed reception in the town.

BUSINESS

It’s been a bad day for mergers; In Germany, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank have abandoned merger talks, saying the deal would have been too risky. The merger had been supported by German government.  A proposed merger between two of the UK’s largest supermarket chains, Sainsbury's and Asda, has been blocked by the UK's competition watchdog. The Competition and Markets Authority said the merger would raise prices and lead to longer checkout queues.

Airlines Norwegian and Southwest have both revealed big hits to their earnings from the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft. Southwest said it had lost $200m revenue in its first quarter, while Norwegian said uncertainty over the aircraft’s future could cost it up to $60m.

SPORT

Formula 1 - Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi has become the first driver in 2019 to take an engine-related grid penalty. The Italian will drop 10 places on the grid for Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix after fitting a new control electronics box to his car. The incident highlights a weakness in Ferrari's electronics system, which has already cost the team a win this year.

Soccer - The UK Professional Footballers' Association ‘Team of the Year’ is made entirely of players from Manchester City or Liverpool … with one notable exception, France international and Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba. The ‘Team of the Year’ is a notional team voted for by professional footballers across the UK.

Rugby - England's Anthony Watson will make his first appearance for more than a year, when he starts at full-back for Bath against Sale tomorrow night. Watson replaces Tom Homer who has not played since the Six Nations where he suffered a serious injury.

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