Evening Update Thursday 18 July

The Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi has asked the Prefect for extra security at the Pasteur hospital in Nice.  He has requested a 24 hour police presence to protect staff. Employees at the emergency department are taking industrial action again today. In addition to drawing attention to verbal and physical assaults against staff, the unions are protesting at staffing and salary levels and the reduction in the number of hospital beds.

A motorcycle rider has died after an accident in Saint-Jeannet last night. Reports say that the 68-year-old Norwegian national apparently lost control of his bike for as yet unknown reasons. An investigation has been opened.

A fire in undergrowth has broken out today on a massif just to the west of Toulon, according to pompiers in the Var. About 80 firefighters and several water bombing aircraft have been deployed. Most of the forest massifs are classed as at severe risk of fire today and are subject to restrictions aimed at reducing the fire risk. In the Bouches-du-Rhône one part of the Sainte-Baume massif is totally closed to the public because of the risk of fire.

According to local reports, it’s been confirmed that Air France will be discontinuing its service between Toulon-Hyeres airport and Paris Charles de Gaulle. In a joint statement the Mayor of Hyères and the President of the Toulon Provence Mediterranean Metropolis said they were shocked at the news. They said that they intend to approach Air France management and the Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne to postpone what they described as “a bad blow for the Metropolis, for Hyeres, for Toulon and for the Var”.

A 27 year old soldier from Toulon has died after an accident in French  Guyana.  The French Army minister Florence Parly said that three soldiers had lost their lives and one had been seriously injured during an operation against gold mining. They had apparently been overcome by fumes in an illegal mine.

An agreement has been signed in Nice today to grant motorway access to firefighting vehicles free of charge.  The agreement, between Vinci Autoroutes and the Departmental Council of the Alpes-Maritimes, is the first one in France and it’s anticipated that similar agreements will be made around the rest of the country. Presently, firefighting vehicles are only allowed to travel on motorways without charge if they are involved in operations on the motorway itself.

A new product in the fight against crime is being rolled out in the Var with authorities hoping that it will lead to more criminal convictions. Integrated coding is being introduced in shops and business premises across the department and is used to track down goods after they’ve been stolen or to link suspects to a crime scene. Goods will be coded using a unique varnish which provides better traceability while businesses can opt to have their premises coded with a special spray. Experts from the National Gendarmerie Criminal Research Bureau are visiting police stations across the Var to familiarise officers with how to use the new products.

A local animal protection association has expressed concern that cats are going missing in Le Cannet.  The association says that the number of stray cats it feeds has gone down dramatically recently and a number of local cat owners have said that their pets have gone missing.

 

BUSINESS

Iran has said that it seized a "foreign tanker" and its 12 crew on Sunday for smuggling fuel in the Gulf. State television quoted Iran's Revolutionary Guards as saying the ship had been smuggling one million litres of fuel. A UAE-based tanker is known to have stopped transmitting its position as it sailed through the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday, but there hasn’t yet been confirmation that it’s the same tanker.

The European Commission has approved Vodafone's proposed $22bn takeover of Liberty Global’s cable business in the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and Romania after the UK company offered a number of concessions.

Morgan Stanley has announced pre-tax profits of $2.9bn compared with $3.1bn in the same period last year. Net profit was $2.2bn, which was higher than expectations. James Gorman, the bank’s chief executive, said that the company had reported solid quarterly results across all its businesses.

The European Commission has fined chip-maker Qualcomm €242m for "abusing its market dominance" in 3G baseband chipsets by charging prices below cost to force a competitor out of the market. The Commission said that Qualcomm sold the chipsets to Huawei and ZTE "with the intention of eliminating Icera, its main rival at the time”. Qualcomm is yet to respond.

 

SPORT

Tour de France… Britain's Simon Yates claimed his maiden Tour de France stage win with victory on stage 12 today. Yates outsprinted Pello Bilbao and Gregor Muhlberger after they broke clear with 32km remaining. French rider Julian Alaphilippe retained the yellow jersey, with Geraint Thomas second.

Cricket… England's World Cup-winning coach Trevor Bayliss will take charge of Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League in 2020. The Australian will step down from his England post when his contract expires after this summer's home Ashes series.

It’s Australia against England in the Women’s Cricket Ashes in Taunton. Australia lead the series 6-0 on points after winning all three ODIs and will retain the Ashes if they avoid defeat.

Golf… Rory McIlroy has had a difficult day at the Open as he made a quadruple bogey on the first hole and triple bogey at the last. McIlroy finished with a round of eight-over-par 79, that’s 12 strokes behind clubhouse leader Shane Lowry.

Football… Italian champions Juventus have completed the signing of 19-year-old Dutch international defender Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax. He helped Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals last season and made his debut for the club in 2016.

Also in football news, former Liverpool player Daniel Sturridge has been banned from playing football for two weeks and assessed a payment of £75,000 for breaching betting rules. Sturridge was given a six-week ban, four of which were suspended, and is free to play again on 31 July. The ruling was made by an independent regulatory commission.

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