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Evening Update 15 Feb

Court - The public prosecutor has requested a five year sentence, and a ban from ever operating a business, against Jacques Cassandri, the suspected mastermind of France’s “heist of the century”, where €29m was stolen from the Societé General in Nice in the late seventies. The prosecutor described Cassandri as a thug with a violent past, and is known to friends as the French Al Capone. The trial continues tomorrow with pleadings of the defence.

Meanwhile this morning, lawyers, magistrates and judicial personnel, were demonstrating at courthouses in Nice, Grasse, Draguignan, and Marseilles. They’re protesting changes which could change the structure of the court system itself.

Maëlys - The mother of the 8 year-old schoolgirl, whose remains were found yesterday, six months after she vanished from a wedding in the Alps, has published a Facebook post, addressing both her daughter and her killer. To the killer, she said my daughter will haunt you in your prison, until you die and go to hell.  To her daughter, she expressed regret, saying she was not able to protect her, and the guilt will stay with her for a long time. The killer, Nordahl Lelandais, was the only suspect in the case, and has eventually admitted the crime, saying it was an accident.

Carnival - Motorists are reminded that the Nice Carnival begins this Saturday, meaning diversions and parking restrictions will be in place in the city until March 3rd.  For full details go to nicecarnival.com

BUSINESS

Unemployment in France is at its lowest level since 2009, with figures from INSEE out today, showing an unemployment rate of 8.9%. The IMF have credited the drop, to new economic policies by President Macron, who has promised to bring the overall unemployment level down to 7%, by the end of his term in 2022.

Amazon is to create 2,000 new jobs this year bringing their total staffing levels in France to 7,500 workers. The country is Amazon’s biggest European market, after Britain and Germany, and the new jobs are the latest, in more than two billion euro invested by Amazon in France, since 2010.

Airbus has reported better-than-expected profits of €4.3bn, up 400 million on 2016. Shares in the company were up 10% in lunchtime trading today. The aerospace group report revenues remained stable at €66.8bn.

Monaco Telecom has come first, in the world ranking of mobile operators. Tests on the quality of service from connection, to upload & download speeds and video streaming, have seen Monaco Telecom rank first out of 290 global operators.

SPORT

Football - OGC Nice begin the knockout phases of the Europa League tonight, with a home tie against Russian Premier League leaders Lokomotiv Moscow. Nice may have had a bad run of games in the national league, but the team is ready for their first ever encounter against the Russians, with Super Mario very much on solid form having scored three goals in last four league games. Kick-off at the Allianz Riviera is at 7pm.

The man who owned Portsmouth FC for six weeks in 2009, has been jailed for five years in the United Arab Emirates, for stealing £5m from his wife to fund the purchase. The same man also fronted the Abu Dhabi United Group's deal to buy Manchester City in 2008.

Winter Olympics - Frenchman Pierre Vaultier has won the Olympic snowboard-cross title at Pyeongchang, bringing Franc’s medal total to six, half of them gold. Germany and Norway still dominate the rankings with over 15 medals each.

In skiing, Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal has become the oldest Olympic alpine skiing champion, as he won downhill gold at the ripe old age of 35. And American star Mikaela Shiffrin has won the giant slalom gold, in the first of her four events, where she is expected to hit gold in each.

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