Evening Update Thursday 19 December

Our region is preparing for the storm which Meteo France say will affect the Var and the Alpes Maritimes tomorrow. The Prefect of the Alpes Maritimes has announced that all schools in the department will be closed tomorrow. It’s believed to be the first time that all schools in the Alpes Maritimes have been closed. The chief of staff to the Prefect said that the decision had been made because it had been decided to suspend school transports and that the danger wasn’t to the schools themselves but on the road network. He also advised against travel in the department generally tomorrow. All the departmental parks of the Alpes-Maritimes will be closed to the public tomorrow because of the weather. Heavy rain is expected, especially tomorrow afternoon, with high winds of up to 100km per hour in places. As at early Thursday evening, for the Alpes Maritimes and the Var Meteo France have issued a Yellow Alert for heavy rains from 3am tomorrow, rising to Orange from 9am to at least 4pm. There’s also a yellow alert for high waves from midday tomorrow for the Alpes Maritimes and from 9am for the Var. Heavy snowfall is expected above 2,000 metres, with an Orange Avalanche alert for the Alpes Maritimes from midday tomorrow, replacing the current Yellow level alert.

The Christmas getaway is expected to begin tomorrow afternoon with heavy traffic on the roads of our region. Vinci Autoroutes say that traffic will be especially heavy on the autoroutes around the major cities. The bad weather forecast for tomorrow is expected to add to problems on the roads. Traffic is also expected to be heavy on Saturday morning and Sunday evening, as well as tomorrow evening.

Train services are disrupted again today because of industrial action, but one additional train is expected to run along the coast this evening compared to recent evenings. Union members blocked the bus station in Hyeres early this morning in support of striking bus drivers. Services returned to normal around the middle of the morning.

Two areas near Marseille were affected by electricity outages earlier today. Enedis said that they were the result of a malicious act and were intending to file a complaint. The outages affected the Plan-de-Campagne shopping area and a district of Manosque. The incident follows power outages in central Nice on Tuesday’s day of action which were allegedly caused by protestors.

A police officer has been sentenced by a court in Paris for violence against a Yellow Vest protestor. The case, which is the first prosecution against a member of the police force for violence during the protests, has attracted widespread attention. The 44 year old CRS officer received a two month suspended prison sentence.

A European court has ruled that Airbnb does not need an estate agent's licence to operate in France. The French tourism association had complained that Airbnb didn’t comply with French property laws.

 

BUSINESS

Vodafone says that its is selling its Vodafone Malta operation to Monaco Telecom for a cash consideration equivalent to an enterprise value of €250m. It will continue to use the Vodafone brand for a "transitional period". The transaction is conditional on regulatory approval from the Malta Communications Authority, with completion expected in the first quarter of 2020.

The Bank of England has kept interest rates on hold at 0.75%. It said the UK economy was expected to pick up from its current weakness but the Bank said it would monitor business and household reaction to Brexit as well as global growth. Two of the nine members of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee voted to cut rates.

UK monthly retail sales fell by 0.6% in November, the fourth month in a row without growth. However, the data doesn't include Black Friday sales.

Amazon is creating 1,000 jobs in County Durham. It's opening a new warehouse in Darlington - as part of plans to expand its operations in north-east England. Amazon already has 21 similar centres in the UK.

 

SPORT

Football… Liverpool have confirmed they will sign winger Takumi Minamino from Red Bull Salzburg when the transfer window opens on 1 January. The Japan international has signed a four-and-a-half-year deal until summer 2024.

Cricket… New Zealand have cancelled the opening day of their two-day warm-up match against Cricket Victoria because of the extreme heat in Australia. Temperatures are expected to rise to 45C in Melbourne on Friday. Coach Gary Stead says New Zealand will spend Friday resting before playing in a one-day match on Sunday.

Several England players have all earned six-figure contracts in the Indian Premier League's player auction – they are Eoin Morgan, Jason Roy, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran.

Olympics… Russia is set to appeal against the decision to ban it from all major sporting events for four years. Its anti-doping agency, Rusada, says it does not agree with the punishment from the World Anti-Doping Agency. Rusada said that  a letter to the world agaency will be prepared in the next 10-15 days.

Rugby Union… Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw has announced his retirement from international rugby after 76 caps. The 34-year-old is second on the all-time points list for Scotland with 714 points. Laidlaw has led the national team 39 times.

 

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