Evening Update Thursday 26 September

Jacques Chirac, the former French president has died aged 86. Chirac served two terms as president and one as prime minister, and took France into the single European currency. He also held several ministerial positions and in a statement this afternoon the Mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard, said that Jacques Chirac had been the most popular minister of Agriculture of the 5th Republic. The French National Assembly observed a minute's silence today in memory of M. Chirac. A tribute is being organized in Nice in the presence of the mayor, Christian Estrosi. The tribute, which is open to the public, will be held this coming Friday at 6pm on the promenade du Paillon near the water mirror area. A book of condolences has been opened at Nice Town Hall.

A vehicle caught fire on the A8 motorway this morning, just after the St Isadore payage on the carriageway towards Italy. Large amounts of smoke were produced by the fire but it was brought under control by pompiers and no injuries were reported. In Nice, there was traffic disruption after a motorcyclist lost control of his bike on the Voie Mathis this morning. He suffered slight injuries in the crash. A tourist coach got stuck on a lane separator on the rue Hotel-des-Postes, which also caused disruption this morning.

Cannes has announced it will ban the most polluting cruise ships from next year in a bid to boost air quality. The ban will target ships that do not respect a 0.1% cap on sulphur in their fuel. Under the European Union’s clean air policy, the cap is already enforced in Baltic, North Sea and Channel ports and it may be extended to the Mediterranean.

VTC drivers staged an operation escargot go-slow in Marseille this morning. They were protesting over various grievances in connection with the Uber App, particularly in relation to pricing.

In national news, firefighters have been fighting a large fire at an industrial factory in Rouen. The fire broke out in the early hours of this morning at a factory which produces fuel and paint additives, causing several explosions. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner visited the site earlier today.

 

BUSINESS

The number of German firms switching workers to short-time employment rose during the month, according to the Ifo economic institute. Some 5.5% of manufacturers said they had used the short-hours facility in September, up from 3.8% in June. The facility is a way to avoid mass layoffs. 12.4% said they expect to use the facility in the next three months.

UK car production increased by 3.3% last month, the first rise in over a year according to industry figures. The figures were helped by a number of plants bringing forward planned summer closedowns to April to guard against the potential disruption of the-then March 29 Brexit date.

Shares in ABN Amro have fallen today after the Dutch bank said that local prosecutors are investigating alleged money laundering. ABN Amro said it will cooperate fully with the investigation.

Education publisher Pearson has warned that its profits are set to be at the lower end of expectations after seeing weaker than expected trading in its US Higher Education Courseware business. In its nine month trading update, Pearson said it now expects adjusted operating profit to be at the bottom of its guidance range of £590m to £640m.

 

SPORT

Tennis… Australian player Nick Kyrgios has been given a suspended 16-week ban and a $25,000   fine for 'aggravated behaviour' subject to a six-month probationary period. He smashed two racquets in a Cincinnati Masters match in August. He was later fined $113,000 for five separate infractions. However an ATP investigation determined Kyrgios' "pattern of behaviour" over the past 12 months to be in violation of the governing body's code.

Motorsports… All four drivers from the Red Bull and Toro Rosso teams will be hit with grid penalties at the Russian Grand Prix. Engine partner Honda has decided to fit all four cars with new engines and the penalties are all for exceeding the permitted number of engine parts for a season. Max Verstappen said he was confident the grid drop would not affect his weekend too badly.

Football… Derby County captain Richard Keogh has been ruled out until the end of the season due to a knee injury sustained in a crash that led to two of his team-mates being arrested. Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett have been charged with drink-driving following the accident in the city's Allestree area on Tuesday night.

Cricket… England all-rounder Ben Stokes is one of four players nominated for the Players' Player of the Year by the Professional Cricketers' Association. Essex spinner Simon Harmer, Gloucestershire all-rounder Ryan Higgins and Warwickshire batsman Dom Sibley are also nominated. The winner will be announced next Wednesday.

 

MA NOLAN’S RUGBY WORLD CUP REPORT

England have beaten the USA by 45 to 7 this afternoon. Tougher tests lie ahead in the shape of Argentina and France but England will travel to Tokyo this weekend in much improved mood.

Meanwhile, Italy have beaten Canada in Pool B this afternoon and have secured a bonus point. Final score Italy 48 Canada 7. Italy now top the group but have yet to play South Africa or New Zealand.

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