Evening Update Friday 15th April 2022

A trade union is calling for SNCF rail workers on the Côte d'Azur to go on strike next Friday, 22nd April. The CGT is planning the day of action to call for better wages and the recruitment of more staff. 

A well-known street artist in Nice has been found not guilty of murdering his girlfriend by a court in the Seychelles. Thomas Debatisse - known locally by his pseudonym Otom - had been detained on the island since May last year. Emmanuelle Badibanga was the manager of La Passerelle, an event venue in Nice, and she was 32 when she was found dead in a hotel room in the Seychelles in April last year. Debatisse said he had found her dead in the bathroom and that she had killed herself. The trial lasted two months - the longest criminal trial in the Seychelles' history. The jury found Debatisse not guilty by six votes to two.
 
A family in Nice has filed a police complaint, claiming their 12-year-old son was punched in the face by a 30-year-old stranger on a bus, in an apparent racist attack. The incident happened on a number 15 bus one evening in late March. The boy was returning home to Villefranche-sur-Mer from Nice. His face injuries meant he had difficulty eating for several days and he is now too scared to take public transport. A witness has come forward.

Police in the Var are planning more roadside checks on motorbikes and scooters, as figures show a worrying increase in road deaths in the department. Eighteen people have died in road accidents in the department since the start of this year. That compares with 11 for the same period last year.More than half of the deaths were motorbike and scooter riders. The spot checks will ensure riders are wearing gloves and are properly insured.

A major power outage in Draguignan, in the Var, left homes and businesses on 30 streets without electricity this morning. The powercut affected a large part of the Salamndrier district of the town, including the Carrefour shopping centre. Energy firm Enedis said technicians had worked to restore power by lunchtime.

Staying in the Var, a popular casino in Hyères has reopened its doors after several months of refurbishments. The Casino des Palmiers combines games arcades, a hotel, restaurant, an auditorium for concerts, an events space for weddings and seminars, and a new range of slot machines. The venue also plans to start accepting cryptocurrency as payment from later this summer.

The mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard, has asked people who voted for Valérie Pécresse in the first round of the presidential elections to donate to help her repay her campaign expenses. Pécresse came just short of the 5% score that entitles candidates to reclaim some of their election costs. On Monday she called for emergency assistance, saying she was personally €5 million in debt.

The town of Breil-sur-Roya wants to install 37 CCTV cameras faced with what it calls a surge in day-to-day delinquency - everything from drug-dealing and illegal dumping to public drunkenness and failing to pick up dog mess. The surveillance cameras are expected to cost about €130,000. With a population of just over 2,000, the project represents roughly one camera for every 60 residents.

What's being billed as the world's first artificial intelligence trade fair has just opened in Cannes. The show brings together 300 speakers and showcases some of the latest innovations in AI - from virtual assistants to autonomous cars and applications for healthcare. Some 10,000 participants are expected at the fair, which finishes on Saturday.

And a star Russian soprano exiled in Vienna will be coming to Monaco next week to sing at the opera. The Monte-Carlo Opera has invited Anna Netrebko to perform Puccini's Manon Lescaut. She replaces the Italian soprano Maria Agresta, who is ill. Netrebko has been declared an "enemy of her homeland" by the Russian parliament.

BUSINESS

The minimum wage in France, the Smic, will increase by 2.65% on 1st May due to high inflation recorded since last November. For a full-time worker, the monthly net minimum wage will go up to €1,302. It's currently €1,269. The gross hourly minimum wage goes up from €10.57 to €10.85.

Tesla boss Elon Musk has admitted he is "not sure" his takeover bid for social media firm Twitter will be successful. He made the comments at a conference just hours after revealing that he had offered to buy the company for $54.20 a share, valuing the firm at $43bn. Twitter's chief executive told employees that the company was evaluating the approach. Parag Agrawal reportedly said at the staff meeting that the company was not being "held hostage" by the offer.

Chocolate giant Ferrero has seen its sales drop by 35% in the run-up to Easter, since the discovery of salmonella in its Kinder chocolates in early April. Normally the firm generates 10% of its annual turnover in the weeks leading up to Easter.

Amazon workers in France have rejected a proposed 3.5% general wage increase in the latest round of negotiations between five unions and management. Unions described the offer as "inadmissible". They're demanding at least a 5% increase. Some workers have been preventing trucks from leaving Amazon's eight logistics depots around France, in protest. Amazon responded by shifting the workload to other dispatching centres in neighbouring countries.

SPORT

Cricket - Joe Root has stepped down as England Test captain, citing the "toll" and "impact" the role has had on him. The 31-year-old was appointed Sir Alastair Cook's successor in 2017, and holds the record for the highest number of matches and wins as captain. But his last series as skipper ended in defeat by West Indies, the 10-wicket third Test loss stretching England's winless run to nine matches. Root initially said he wanted to stay on but now says "the timing is right".

Football - Burnley have sacked manager Sean Dyche with eight games left of their season in the Premier League. The Clarets, who have lost five of their last six top-flight games, are 18th and four points from safety. Dyche was the Premier League's longest serving manager, having taken over at Turf Moor in October 2012.  Dyche's last game in charge of Burnley saw them lose 2-0 to Norwich City, who are bottom of the Premier League.

The Ricketts family-led consortium has pulled out of the running to buy Chelsea because of "unusual dynamics around the sales process". The family, which owns MLB side the Chicago Cubs, had made the shortlist of bidders to buy the club but have now opted not to make a final bid. The consortium included billionaire hedge-fund entrepreneur Ken Griffin and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Chelsea fans protested against the Ricketts bid in recent weeks.

Tomorrow it's the first FA Cup semi-final. Manchester City play Liverpool with a 4.30pm kick-off our time. Also tomorrow in the Premier League, Manchester United play Norwich City, Southampton host Arsenal and Watford face Brentford. On Sunday, in the other FA Cup semi, Chelsea take on Crystal Palace, while in the Premier League it's Newcastle United vs Leicester City and West Ham United against Burnley.

Tennis - Alejandro Davidovich Fokina broke new ground Friday at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, overcoming 10th seed Taylor Fritz 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final. The Spaniard upset World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the second round and he demonstrated high levels of confidence against Fritz on Court Rainier III to further back up that win, after also eliminating David Goffin in the third round. The World No. 46 now leads Fritz 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series and qualifies for the last four at Monte-Carlo. Tomorrow is semi-final day at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, with the grand final on Sunday. If you can't attend in person, you can check all this weekend's scores in real time at montecarlotennismasters.com

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