Evening Update 05/04/24

NEWS

A hiker made a macabre discovery in the early evening of Thursday 4th April, on a footpath in a commune of the Portuguese island of Madeira. According to the information gathered on the spot, the area was very steep. Initially alerted by a "strong smell", he then discovered the body of Véronique Blond, the wife of the french baker couple who had been missing for 20 days. He immediately raised the alarm, and the fire brigade and police were immediately on the scene. Her husband, Laurent Blond, is still being sought. Police with dogs are mobilised in Madeira.

At Marineland the death of the orca Inouk / on Thursday 28 March / was caused by the accidental ingestion of a metallic foreign body / weighing less than 2 grams, which caused local inflammation / resulting in digestive problems for the animal. The park's management states that "at this stage, the causes of the presence of this object are unknown". Inouk is the second orca to die in Marineland's tanks in less than six months. In October 2023, Moana, aged 12, succumbed to "septicaemia", according to park management.

On Thursday, MEPs adopted an EELV bill on minimum prices for food products, with the aim of better remunerating farmers. The aim is to buy food at a "fair price" / and to pay farmers twice the minimum wage. These prices will be reviewed every four months, and the calculations will also have to take account of the size of the farm / or the specific characteristics of the overseas territories.

A 17-year-old teenager from Dordogne / has been arrested for allegedly making threats to attack a secondary school in northern France. The teenager sent a message with references to Islamism / on the school's digital workspace, threatening to plant a bomb in the school. In the past two weeks, around 400 secondary schools in France have received similar threats on their online messaging systems. The teenager, who lives near Chancelade, managed to hack into the mailbox of the targeted school. By tracing him on the Internet, a specialist cybercrime investigator from the Lille PJ was able to identify him. The teenager was located at his parents' home with the assistance of the Périgueux police. He is expected to appear before a juvenile court judge / in the coming weeks.

Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher has given approval for beet growers / to use the insecticide Movento more frequently / to combat aphids. Previously, beet growers were limited to using the product twice a year, but now they will be able to use it up to five times annually. This change is meant to provide an alternative solution for the beet industry to address the risk of yellowing. The Minister clarified that this decision does not compromise the ban on neonicotinoids and focuses on preventing the use of plant protection products that have a proven impact on public health. The Minister stated that the use of such products has decreased by 96% due to the efforts of farmers to adopt more environmentally-friendly practices. Additionally, the Minister emphasized the need to explore alternatives to banned products. However, farmers will have to adjust to less potent options, acknowledging that their approach will need to change.

 

BUSINESS

Some musicians are claiming that they are losing money by touring the US due to the high costs of obtaining a visa. Foreign artists and their support staff have to apply for special visas, which have seen a significant increase in fees since April, in some cases more than doubling to over $1,000 per person. This is not including additional costs for rent, staff, technology, and delays in processing applications following the COVID-19 pandemic. Some artists have had to pay up to $2,805 in additional fees to expedite the process due to processing delays. The US embassy has stated that the price increase was necessary due to their own increased expenses, and they do not profit from visa fees. However, artists like CMAT, an Irish singer-songwriter, argue that even before the increase, travelling to the US was already extremely expensive, and now some musicians run the risk of being excluded.

Billionaire Joe Lewis, owner of Tottenham Hotspur football club, has been fined $5m (£4m) for insider dealing but will avoid jail time. Lewis pleaded guilty to the charges, with the court hearing how he had used his position to enrich his loved ones, friends, and employees. The scheme involved a pilot who received a loan of $500,000 from Lewis along with a stock market tip. This tip advised buying shares in a pharmaceutical company that was about to announce positive results for a new cancer drug. Two weeks later, the pilot confirmed that the tip was correct and cashed in on the stock's significant increase. However, the entire operation was found to be illegal. Lewis, 87, is one of Britain's wealthiest individuals and was fined $5m and placed on three years' probation.

 

SPORTS

Formula 1 – Lewis Hamilton said Mercedes had their "best session of the year" in Friday's practice at the Japanese Grand Prix 2024. The seven-time champion was fifth quickest, with team-mate George Russell fourth, both just under 0.5 seconds behind Max Verstappen of Red Bull. Verstappen led Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez by 0.181 seconds, with Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, winner of the last race in Australia, 0.213secs off the pace in third. Behind the Mercedes pair were the second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso. The times were set in the first session, while the second was rendered irrelevant by wet conditions.

Rugby Union - Robert Baloucoune says Ulster's players think they can win the European Challenge Cup despite the province's recent upheaval. After the exits of coach Dan McFarland and CEO Jonny Petrie, Ulster face Montpellier away on Sunday in the last 16 of the European competition. However, Baloucoune, 26, says the mood in Ulster's camp remains positive.

Tennis - Nick Kyrgios says he still has "fire in the belly" as he prepares to return to training. The Australian player missed all four majors in 2023 because of wrist, knee and foot injuries and has played just one ATP Tour match since October 2022. As a result, in January the former Wimbledon finalist said he did not want to play tennis anymore. But speaking to the Australian Open Show podcast, Kyrgios, who’s now 28, said he is ready to reignite his career.

 

WEATHER

This afternoon, Fine and sunny with a moderate breeze. Highs of 17 degrees in Nice, 19 in Cannes and Toulon, 20 in Saint tropez and 23 in Marseille.

This evening going down to 14 degrees with cloudy skies.

The outlook for this weekend, fine with highs of 17 degrees on Saturday and 20 degrees on Sunday.

Weather elsewhere

London 18° light rain.

Paris 19° cloudy.

Dublin 15° light cloud.

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