Evening Update Thursday 14 March

Isola 2000 has announced that helicopter flights to and from the resort will end in April.  A petition against the flights on environmental grounds had gathered more than 5,400 signatures. The director of the tourist office said in a statement that he had been very satisfied with the helicopter service but that it would not be renewed in April.  Isola 2000 plans to close for the season on the 22nd of April. 

Firefighters are still trying to extinguish a fire in the arriere-pays of Nice, over a week after it began.  The fire, near Clans, which is in a particularly inaccessible area, consumed a further 15 hectares yesterday. Reports say that about 60 personnel are involved in the operation. Canadair water bombing planes were brought into operation this afternoon. Bringing the fire under control is being hampered by the strong winds.

Industrial action has led to the closure of the Nice Cadéi tax office today. Agents are demonstrating against reductions in staffing levels. About 200 protestors are estimated to have gathered in front of the tax office this morning.

Staff at a port facility near Marseille have gone on strike today.  They are protesting at the impact of Brexit on the French customs administration.  They allege that the customs system is not sufficiently prepared for the impact of Brexit. Customs officers in the Hauts-de-France region, which includes the port of Calais, have been on strike over the issue since the 4th of March and the industrial action is now spreading nationwide.

A 25 year old man has been found dead on a street in Marseille.  The man was found in the old port area next to a building which was surrounded by scaffolding.  Investigations are trying to establish if the man was attacked or if he fell from the building.

Five months after pollution hit the beaches in the Var region, authorities have intensified the "clean up" operation on the last stretch of coastline at La Croix Valmer. The aim is to make sure that the entire area is ready for the tourist season which is just around the corner with the Easter holiday fast approaching.

French air accident investigators have received the black boxes from the crashed Ethiopian Airlines plane as they attempt to uncover what caused the Boeing 737 Max to crash. The Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety received the flight data and cockpit voice recorders earlier today. Regulators across the world have continued to ground the Boeing aircraft after the accident.


A new law will see French motorists convicted of drink driving being allowed to continue using their vehicles by fitting them with a breathalyser machine. The French interior minister, Christophe Castaner has approved the move after a year-long trial of the scheme in seven French departments. The new machines will stop the engine from starting if the driver has been drinking. 

 

BUSINESS


Facebook appears to be recovering from a disruption to all of its products that left them mostly inaccessible across the world. The company's main social network, its two messaging apps and image-sharing site Instagram were all affected. 

It’s been announced that UK trade with Fiji and Papua New Guinea will continue uninterrupted post Brexit after international trade secretary Liam Fox signed a trade continuity agreement. The UK government says the deal could save fish exporters £2.1m in tariff charges, and sugar exporters £8.6m. The UK is seeking to provide continuity for existing EU trade agreements covering more than 70 countries that account for 11% of total UK trade. So far, the UK has, in addition to the new agreement, also agreed 6 other deals – with The Palestinian Authority, The Faroe Islands, Eastern and Southern Africa, Chile, Israel and Switzerland.

 

SPORT


Rugby Union… Liam Williams is fit to start as Wales name an unchanged side to face Ireland on Saturday. Gareth Anscombe starts at outside-half with Dan Biggar still on the replacements bench. Wales are chasing a third Grand Slam under Warren Gatland - adding to the 2008 and 2012 successes - which would be a record for one coach.

Motorsports..Tributes have been paid to Charlie Whiting the Formula 1 race director, following his sudden death at the age of 66. Whiting, who was one of the most influential people in the sport, suffered a pulmonary embolism this morning in Melbourne. He was due to officiate this weekend's season-opening Australian GP.

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