Evening Update Thursday 6 February 2020

A man has died after being hit by a train at Cuers in the Var this afternoon. The incident happened at about 3.00pm and according to reports involved an intercity train. Rail traffic in both directions between Toulon and Les Arc has been badly disrupted.

A demonstration has been held in Nice this morning as part of the national day of action against pension reforms. Once again, there are no tram services running in Nice today and there is disruption to bus services across our region. About 50 firefighters lay down on the closed tramway tracks as part of the protest in Nice as it got underway from the Place Massena. As is usual, estimates of the number of protestors varied, with the unions saying there were 8,000 protestors but police put the number at 1,600. Other demonstrations have been held throughout France, including in Bordeaux, Montpellier, Toulon and Béziers, with a march in Paris taking place this afternoon from the Gare de l'Est to the Place de la Nation.

A fire has consumed almost twenty hectares of forest today in the arriere pays of Nice. The fire, in the area between Bézaudun and Bouyon, has now been brought under control. About thirty firefighters and other personnel with at least ten vehicles were involved in fighting the blaze.

Several local associations have filed an application to suspend the approval of the extension of Terminal 2 at Nice Cote d’Azur airport. The associations object to alleged environmental and health issues relating to the extension. The application, filed at the Administrative Court of Nice, seeks to annul the decree made by the Prefect last month granting a building permit for the works.

A motorist has been stopped speeding on the RN7 near Brignoles. Police say the motorist was driving at 124km/hr in a 50 area. Police seized the vehicle and confiscated his driving license. Police have called for motorists to take extra care in the region following several accidents in recent days.

Air France KLM has announced an extension of the suspension of its flights to and from mainland China. The company says that, because of the coronavirus outbreak, it will now suspend all flights until the 15th of March. It says that, depending on how the situation evolves, it plans to gradually reintroduce flights to and from Shanghai and Beijing from the 16th of March.

 

BUSINESS

China plans to halve tariffs on over 1,700 goods it imports from the United States. Chinese officials said tariffs on some goods would be cut from 10% to 5%, and on others from 5% to 2.5%. A partial resolution to the long-running US-China trade war was agreed last month with China promising to boost imported US goods by $200bn.

Twitter has hit $1bn in quarterly revenues for the first time, beating analyst expectations. However, the company also announced fourth-quarter net income lower than expectations, at $119m, down from $255m in the same period last year.

Carmaker Volvo has reported increased fourth quarter profits. Revenues also rose, by 8.4%. Sales of Volvos rose nearly 10% in 2019 after increases in China and the US and strong demand for a line of SUVs. The company is owned by China's Geely, which acquired it from Ford in 2010.

Cosmetics company Estee Lauder has cut its profit forecast for 2020, blaming the coronavirus outbreak in China. The company said it had seen a decline in air travel and consumer traffic in key shopping and tourist areas.

 

SPORT

Rugby Union…. England have announced five changes to their starting XV to face Scotland in Saturday's Six Nations match. Scrum-half Ben Youngs is amongst the senior players left out. He’s replaced by Willi Heinz. Amongst the other changes, flanker Lewis Ludlam is in for Courtney Lawes. Saracens' Ben Earl is set for his debut as one of the six forwards on the bench. There’s only one change to the Scotland line-up. Back row Magnus Bradbury replaces Nick Haining. In other Six Nations news, centre Nick Tompkins has been handed his first Wales start for the trip to face Ireland. It’s the only change to the Wales team that defeated Italy.

Football… Premier League clubs have voted to change the summer transfer window to bring it in line with the rest of Europe. In a statement, the Premier League said the deadline has been changed to what it called the "traditional point at the end of August/early September". This year the closing date will be 1 September at 5pm UK time.

Cricket… Jofra Archer will miss England's tour of Sri Lanka next month because of a low-grade stress fracture in his right elbow. He missed the last three Tests of England's series win in South Africa. Archer will also miss the 2020 Indian Premier League season.

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