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Evening Update Thurs 18th May 2017

Death - The death has taken place of Francois Hollande’s older brother Philippe in Antibes. The former prime minister had visited him just yesterday. Today, Monsieur Hollande confirmed his 64 year-old brother had been suffering from cancer. He said their family had now gathered in Cannes, and that he would be personally arranging the funeral, which will take place on the Riviera in the coming days.

Politics - The chief of the Alpes-Maritimes prefecture will neither confirm, nor deny, that he has been appointed as Emmanuel Macron’s Chief-of-Staff. At just 35 years of age, Francis Xavier Lauch, has shown great skill at managing two big catastrophes on the Cote d’Azur, the October 2015 floods and 2016 terror attack.

Train/Bus - A new single Zou card will allow you to use rail, bus and tram services in and around Nice from next month. It follows a deal between Ligne d’Azur and SNCF where for €33 a month, you can use any bus or tram in Nice, and any train between Cagnes-sur-mer and Cap d’Ail. The new Zou cards go on sale next week and can be used from June onward.

Cannes - The opening ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival is not proving to be the television draw it once was. Overnight viewing figures show the programme on Canal+ had less than half a million viewers, its worst performance to date.

Water Bike - The Riviera Water Bike Challenge, supporting the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, is looking for volunteers and skippers to help with the race between Nice and Monaco on June 4th. They also seek the use of RIB boats that can hold 5 to 6 people. If you would like to get involved and help, email Joshua Warren. His email is Joshua@jwarren.eu

BUSINESS

The unemployment rate in France has fallen below 10% for the first time in five years. INSEE say the current jobless rate is 9.6%, or 2.83 million people. Emmanuel Macron has made fighting unemployment his number one priority.

A ban on laptops in cabin baggage of flights from Europe to the USA is not going to happen. At a meeting of US and EU officials in Brussels yesterday, the Americans wanted a ban on electronics on flights from eight mostly Muslim countries, to be extended to Europe. Although it’s been ruled out for now, other new security measures are being considered.

SPORT

Football - We knew on Sunday, but last night a 2-Nil over St Etienne made it official. AS Monaco are the football champions of France. With 92 points and 104 goals, it’s their first league victory in 17 years, and breaks a four year run at the top for Paris St Germain. There were lots of celebrations at Stade Louis II in Monaco last night, led by Portuguese coach Léonardo Jardim , who this season has also led Monaco to the semi-finals of the Champions League, the Coupe de France and the League Cup as well. All eyes are now on Monaco’s 18 year old star player Kylian Mbappe, the youngest player to score 15 league goals in Europe's top five leagues, since Michael Owen in 1998. Despite rumours he could be moving to Real Madrid or Manchester United, the club say he’s here to stay.

Tennis - Britain's Johanna Konta has been knocked out of the last 16 in the Italian Open by Venus Williams. The 26-year-old world number six recovered from a set down to level, but Williams dominated the final set to win 6-1 3-6 6-1.

Motor Racing - Fernando Alonso was fourth fastest in practice for the Indianapolis 500 as strong winds limited the number of laps done by drivers. Alonso's best lap was 219.533 mph.

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