Evening Update Thursday 6 June

Residents in the centre of Brignoles in the Var were awoken by the sound of gunshots in the early hours of this morning. Emergency services confirmed that they had been mobilised in the night. The mayor, Didier Brémond, said that the police believe it was a lone shooter and that nobody had been injured.

The railway station in Cagnes-sur-Mer was evacuated this lunchtime because of suspicious baggage. Firefighters and police cordoned off an area on the forecourt of the station but the bag turned out to be harmless.

Twenty Apartments have been destroyed or damaged in a major fire in Salon-de-Provence. Fire broke out in the four storey building yesterday evening and forty five firefighters with twelve appliances were involved in bringing the blaze under control. Thirty eight residents of the building have had to be relocated to alternative accommodation because of the fire.

A cyclist has been attacked by a motorist with an iron bar.  The incident happened to a cyclist who was part of a cycling team who were on a road near Forcalquier in the Alpes de Haute Provence. The motorist stopped his car and hit the cyclist with an iron bar about 50 centimentres long. The cyclists noted the motorist’s number plate before he drove off and the prosecutor's office of Digne-les-Bains has opened an investigation.

Events have been taking place in Normandy to commemorate D-Day. D-Day veterans have been joined by Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron, Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau. Theresa May and President Macron attended a ceremony for a new memorial in Ver-sur-Mer. President Macron and President Trump paid tribute to US forces in a service at Colleville-sur-Mer. A service has been held at Bayeux Cathedral, at which veterans and church figures gave readings and  Justin Trudeau spoke at a ceremony at Juno Beach, where many Canadian forces landed.

President Emmanuel Macron’s popularity rating has increased by two points this month. The survey conducted on May 28th-30th for LCI television, said Mr Macron’s trust rating stood at 40 percent – a level not reached since June 2018.  His satisfaction rating plummeted to 31 percent at the height of the yellow vest protests earlier this year.
 

BUSINESS

Fiat Chrysler has said that it has withdrawn its proposed merger with Renault. The announcement followed an attempt by Renault board members to reach a decision on the offer. Renault said it had been unable to reach agreement because French government representatives had requested a postponement. The French government is the biggest shareholder in Renault, with a stake of more than 15%.

The European Central Bank has left its main interest rate unchanged at 0% but has changed its forward guidance on interest rates. It now expects the key rates to remain at their present levels at least through the first half of next year - rather than their previous guidance which was for rates to stay steady until the end of this year.

Meanwhile, GDP in the Eurozone rose 0.4% in the first quarter according the EU's statistics office. Growth was 0.5% in the EU as a whole.  The figures are an increase in growth compared to the previous quarter when GDP climbed by 0.2% in the eurozone and 0.3% across the wider EU area.

Ford has confirmed that it plans to close its engine plant in Bridgend in South Wales in September next year. In a statement, it blamed the “significant under-utilisation” of the plant when it ends engine production for Jaguar Land Rover. It also said the site faced a “cost disadvantage” compared to its other facilities building the same products. GMB union regional organiser Jeff Beck said the Ford closure is a "real hammer blow for the Welsh economy and the community in Bridgend".

UK insurance company Aviva has said it will cut 1,800 jobs worldwide over the next three years in order to reduce costs, and plans split its business into two.  Aviva has offices in 16 countries and employs 30,000 people worldwide.

 

SPORT

Cricket...Australia are playing the West Indies in the World Cup at Trent Bridge.  Australia were 288 all out in their innings.

Tennis….Defending champion Simona Halep is out of the French Open. She was defeated 6-2  6-4  by unseeded American teenager Amanda Anisimova, who will now go through to the semi-finals. Meanwhile, world number one Novak Djokovic defeated German fifth seed Alexander Zverev 7-5  6-2 to gain his place in the semi-finals.

Football…Paris St-Germain forward Neymar will miss the 2019 Copa America on home soil after rupturing a ligament in his ankle during Brazil's match against Qatar. He limped off the pitch after  just 17 minutes of the match.

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