Evening Update Wednesday 19 February 2020

There’s been a sharp increase in deaths and injuries on the roads of mainland France in January. There was a 9.7% increase over January last year, with 260 people losing their lives. The figures are in contrast to the historically low figures of road deaths for the whole of 2019. As far as injuries on roads are concerned, there was an increase of 18.4%, with 5,628 people suffering injuries in January.

It’s been announced that a new Ikea store will be opening in the centre of Nice this summer. The head of Ikea in France said that the 300 square metre shop will be on the rue Paul-Déroulède, near the avenue Jean-Médecin. A much bigger store, covering about 24,000 square metres, is currently under construction in the plaine du Var and is due to open next year.

Pompiers in Marseille had to rescue a protestor last night after he was left suspended in mid-air. The man had apparently been trying to hang an environmental protest banner next to the Mucem Museum on the waterfront when his harness malfunctioned and he was left suspended about 20 metres above the water. He was taken to hospital but isn’t thought to have been injured.

According to figures from Meteo France, the Var and the Alpes Maritimes have experienced their warmest winter since 1958. On average, temperatures were 2.5 degrees above normal in the Var and 2.6 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes during the December to February period, but many extreme temperatures were recorded. For example, on the 3rd of February Fréjus registered 26.4 degrees and Seillans recorded 27 degrees.

Air France is introducing a new route from Nice Cote d’Azur airport over the summer. There’ll be direct flights to the Algerian capital Algiers from 14th July to August 27.

A new car park has opened on the outskirts of Antibes with the aim of encouraging people to leave their cars and cycle, take public transport or car-pool. The car park, on the road from Antibes to Grasse, has 50 spaces where you can park for up to 24 hours free of charge. Bus stops are nearby and there are secure bike boxes. Future plans include the installation of electric vehicle charging points and integration with the soon the be completed tram network.

A third aircraft is being sent to China to repatriate French citizens because of the coronavirus outbreak. A holiday centre in the Bouche du Rhone was used to quarantine returnees on the first repatriation flight. They were able to leave the centre last week. Some of the returnees on a second flight were also confined to the same holiday centre in Carry-le-Rouet while others were housed in a fire department training school in Aix-en-Provence. The location where the new returnees will be confined hasn’t yet been made public.

Nine mayors in north-west of France are involved in an unusual protest against the lack of healthcare resources. The mayors in the Sarthe department have all signed a decree which bans local residents from falling ill. The decrees say that it’s forbidden to seek medical attention, have an accident or "to be born with health problems" in the area. It is, however, permissible to move to Paris, to "access efficient health services". The decree has no legal force but the mayors describe it as a "symbolic but strong act" of protest.

 

BUSINESS

UK inflation rose to a six-month high in January as petrol and house prices rose. The Office for National Statistics said that the CPI measure of inflation stood at 1.8% last month, up from 1.3% in December.

Qatar Airways has increased its stake in IAG, the owner of British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus. Qatar Airways increased its stake from 21.4% to 25.1%.

Uber has closed a customer support office in Los Angeles, laying off around 80 workers. Some of the roles are expected to be moved to the company's operation in Manila in the Philippines.

In the UK, Metro Bank has appointed Dan Frumkin as its CEO. Mr Frumkin has been serving as interim chief executive since 1 January, after joining the bank last September as chief transformation officer.

 

SPORT

Rugby Union…. Scotland centre Huw Jones has been replaced by Chris Harris in one of three changes to the side playing against Italy this weekend. Ben Toolis replaces the injured Jonny Gray at lock, while Stuart McInally is in for Fraser Brown. Fly-half Finn Russell is still missing after a breach of protocol.

Golf…. Rory McIlroy has said that he doesn’t want to compete in a proposed breakaway Premier Golf League. The 18-event world tour has divided opinion in the sport. Tiger Woods and Justin Rose both say they have been approached about the new format.

Football… Reports say that Liverpool are set to let Adam Lallana leave in the summer when his contract runs out. There are not believed to be any talks taking place between the club and the player over a new deal. Lallana has played 13 times for Liverpool in the league this season, scoring once.

Cricket…. India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara has joined Gloucestershire for the first six matches of the County Championship this season. He is seventh in the ICC Test batting rankings, averaging 49.48 in 75 Tests.

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