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Evening Update Mon 31 July 2017

Weather - As violent summer storms affect large parts of the country this week, Metró France is about to put the south coast on heatwave alert, as temperatures climb five to six degrees higher than normal for this time of year. Tropical humid conditions are predicted to peak on Thursday, with daytime temperatures reaching 33d on the beaches, and almost 40d inland, along with hot humid nights.  

Water - The Préfecture is restricting water supply in 52 communities across the Var as drought conditions get worse. There is a hosepipe ban in force between 9am and 7pm and topping up of swimming pools requires permission from the local town hall. Some areas have introduced a ban on people washing their cars by hand, although service station carwashes are still operating. Details of all restrictions are available Préfecture website; www.var.gouv.fr

Pickpockets - Eastern European gangs are flooding the region with teenage pickpockets who are working trains along the coast. The teenage girls, aged 10 to 15, work in small teams, targeting tourists on crowded trains. Officials at Gare Thiers in Nice say they are overwhelmed, as there are more pickpockets than guards. The officials are also seeking permission to prevent the thieves from getting on the trains.

Airport - At Nice Airport, the employee photographed punching an Easyjet passenger holding a baby, has been identified as an employee of a company, sub-contracted by the airport, to assist passengers with reduced mobility. The incident, which went viral on Saturday night, happened after a 12 hour delay to a flight from Nice to London Luton. Today, Easyjet stressed the man had nothing to do with the airline, nor their ground handling agents, while the airport stated they wholly condemned the incident, and calling for the man be suspended pending investigation.

Death - The legendary French actress, singer and director, Jeanne Moreau, has died at the age of 89. Born to an English dancer in 1928, Ms Moreau starred in over 130 movies, is the only woman to have chaired the Cannes Film Festival jury twice, and won France's equivalent of an Oscar, a Cesar, for best actress in 1992. Paying tribute to her, President Emmanuel Macron said Moreau was a free spirit whose success was her strength, to never be where she was expected, by always embracing new genres.

Pitch - The man who ran onto the football pitch during the OGC Nice/Ajax Amsterdam Champions League match last week, has been banned from the stadium for six months. The match was stopped briefly when the man ran onto the penalty area of the field during the 80th minute.

BUSINESS

HSBC has reported a 5% rise in its first half profits, and announced a share buyback scheme, as it prepares to ring-fence its UK retail arm by 2019. The bank, Europes biggest, reported a a pre-tax profit of £7.8bn for the first six months. The bank has also announced a share buyback of up to $2bn which it expects to complete by the end of 2017. Shares rose 3% on the news in early trading.

The unemployment rate in the Eurozone has fallen to its lowest since February 2009, according to the latest official figures. The rate dropped to 9.1% last month, from 9.2% in May. Separately, inflation remained unchanged in July at 1.3%. However, core inflation, which excludes food, alcohol and energy prices, rose to 1.2% in June.

The UK will not cut tax rates after Brexit in a bid to undercut EU rivals. The UK Chancellor told Le Monde newspaper that tax raised as a percentage of the British economy, puts the UK right in the middle of European countries. They don’t want that to change that, even after they leave the EU.

SPORT

Football - FC Barcelona say they will go to court if Paris St-Germain sign their forward Neymar da Silva Santos. Under footballs Financial Fair Play rules, a club cannot spend more than they earn. With PSG offering a world record breaking €222 million for the player, they could be in breach of that rule. Barcelona say should that sum be offered, they will ask UEFA to investigate the matter, and if they fail to take action, the Spanish club will go to court.

Mario Balotelli is to miss the return leg of the Champions League match against Ajax in Amsterdam on Wednesday.  The Italian striker, who scored in the first leg of the match, is suffering a thigh injury.

Cristiano Ronaldo has appeared at a Spanish court where he’s facing allegations of evading €14.7 million in tax. Ronaldo had been expected to make a statement after the pre-trial hearing, but left without saying a word. He is the latest in a string of footballers to be pursued by the Spanish tax authorities, including Lionel Messi, who was handed a €252,000 fine, after being found guilty of the same charge last year.

Formula 1 - Daniel Ricciardo says he’s prepared to move on from the crash in which Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen took him out of the Hungarian Grand Prix. Verstappen apologised to both Ricciardo, and the team, in public and in private. Today Ricciardo said the situation was handled and taken care of in the right way to move forward.

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