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Evening Update Monday 22nd May 2017

Drugs - 27 men and 8 women, all from Nice, have appeared in court in Marseilles today at the beginning of the so-called ‘Cocaine Cruise’ trial. They’re accused of being paid €10,000 each to pose as couples on a cruise, while smuggling cannabis from Morocco to South America, and cocaine on the return trip. It’s believed thirteen cruises took place between 2012 and 2014. The case is expected to last up to two weeks.

Fire - Two fire-fighting planes, have brought a brush fire in La Roquette-sur-Var, under control. The planes were called in as fire teams were unable to reach the area by road.

Helicopters - Residents in St-Tropez have been subject to the noise of helicopters all day as part of an aerial operation to install sculptures in the town’s citadel. The works are from German artist who normally exhibits in Berlin, New York or London. However, this summer, a special exhibition of his work will overlook St Tropez where he has based his studio for the past 15 years.

BUSINESS

Portugal has received a clean bill of health from the European Commission after its budget deficit fell to 2% of GDP last year, allowing it to exit the Commission's excessive debt procedure. Portugal was  suffering under austerity policies, until elections in 2015, when a Socialist-led coalition reversed the austerity measures. Portugal is performing better than France where the budget deficit hit 3.4% last year, four percentage points above the European limit.  

SPORT

Former MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden has died, five days after being involved in a crash with a car on the Rimini coastline in Italy on Wednesday. Hayden, who competed in the World Superbike Championship in Italy on 14 May, won the MotoGP championship in 2006. He was 35 years-old.

Formula 1 - It’s just days to go to this weekends Monaco Grand Prix, and the principality is being taken over by the sport as all the big team trucks roll in to set up for the weekend. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says he’s beginning to feel the excitement again also. Although Mercedes dominated F1 for three years, Wolff says this years new rules and intense competition with Ferrari has revived his love for the sport. As we head into the weekend, it is intense with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel leading Mercedes Lewis Hamilton by six points so far in the championship.

Football - The American company with a majority shareholding in Arsenal Football Club say their 67% stake in the team is not, and never has been, for sale. The statement follows a recent £1bn buyout bid by Alisher Usmanov to take full control of the Gunners. The Americans say they are committed 100% to the club even though Arsenal have just failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years.

Tennis - Former world number one Victoria Azarenka is planning to play at Wimbledon as she returns to tennis following the birth of her son. The Belarusian hasn’t played since last year's French OpenNovak Djokovic, who recently sacked his entire coaching team, has taken on Andre Agassi as his new coach, but only on a short-term basis, until after the French Open which starts next week.

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