Evening Update Friday 15th March 2024

Hundreds of colleagues, friends and relatives have attended the funeral for an Escota motorway worker who was killed on the A8 earlier this month. 54-year-old Tony Nellec was run over by a car in pouring rain while carrying out emergency repair works on the motorway, a few kilometres after the La Turbie tolls. The car's 18-year-old driver had just passed his driving test and lost control while reportedly speeding. He has been charged with manslaughter and is in pre-trial detention. Another motorway worker and an accompanying police officer were also injured. The president of Vinci Autoroutes attended yesterday's funeral at Nice crematorium in Colomars and gave a speech. During the funeral, a message was displayed on all of the A8's digital road signs, paying tribute to him.

In Marseille, an electric scooter rider has died after being hit by a truck. The incident happened in the 15th arrondissement during yesterday morning's rush hour. It comes just one day after a citizens' collective protested in Marseille about poor infrastructure and badly parked cars blocking pavements. France recorded 42 road deaths last year involving electric scooter users, up from 35 in the previous year.

Four people were evacuated on Thursday evening when a fire broke out at a chalet at Isola 2000 ski resort. More than 40 firefighters attended the scene and managed to stop the fire spreading to other neighbouring buildings. No one was injured. A police investigation is under way.

The Alpes-Maritimes préfecture has passed a decree confirming the permanent closure of a Muslim secondary school in Nice. The Avicenne private college will close its doors for good at the end of the academic year. It had been open since 2015. Alpes-Maritimes prefect Hugues Moutouh said the school had been under investigation for a lack of transparency in its financing.

And French actress Camille Cottin has been named as the host of this year's Cannes film festival. The star of Netflix hit "Call My Agent" and the Ridley Scott film House of Gucci will host the opening and closing ceremonies at the 77th edition of the festival, which runs from 14th to 25th May. This year's festival has already appointed the head of its jury: Barbie director Greta Gerwig. Her jury will pick a successor to "Anatomy of a Fall", which won last year's Palme d'Or. The festival line-up is due to be announced on 11th April.

BUSINESS

McDonald's has been experiencing technical problems in its restaurants today, with customers in several countries reporting being unable to order food. In Japan the fast food chain confirmed there was a "system failure" and asked customers to "wait for a while" for service to be restored. Social media users have also complained of issues in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Austria. Downdetector, a system used to monitor IT problems in businesses, noted a spike in issues with the McDonald's UK app from around 6am on Friday. Some media reported that there was also an outage in China and Sweden.

Oil prices have slipped 0.2% this morning but are on track for a near-4% gain this week. The Paris-based think tank, the International Energy Agency, yesterday raised its forecasts for global oil demand higher and predicted a small oil deficit this year, as Opec and its allies are expected to extend their output cuts. US stockpiles of crude fell unexpectedly. Brent crude is trading 16 cents lower at $85.26 a barrel while US crude is at $81.1 a barrel.

House prices in China’s major cities continued to fall in February, as the country’s property slump deepened. Average prices for new homes in the most affluent cities fell 1% from a year earlier, while those for second-hand homes dropped 6.5%, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The NBS published its 70-city housing prices data, which showed primary and secondary market prices declining for the 9th and 10th consecutive months respectively. New home prices have dropped 4.9% and secondary market values are down 10.1% since their respective peaks in 2021.

SPORT

Rugby - The first confirmed diagnosis of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in a fully professional rugby union player has been made in New Zealand. Billy Guyton, who represented the Māori All Blacks, played scrum-half in Super Rugby for the Blues and had stints with the Hurricanes and Crusaders, died in May at the age of 33. His brain was donated to the brain bank at the University of Auckland. This week, his family received a summary of the results, the first item of which details “changes consistent with chronic traumatic encephalopathy” - a degenerative disease. Guyton had suffered from multiple concussions and took the decision to retire because of the symptoms he was experiencing in 2018 at the age of 28.

Cricket - The England and Wales Cricket Board has advised parents and clubs to stop using plastic balls distributed through its popular All Stars and Dynamos schemes, after discovering concerns over their chemical composition. The youth engagement programmes, aimed at the ages five to eight and eight to 11 and running since 2017, have previously included free playing kit alongside coaching programmes. But safety testing on the products has shown the level of phthalates – a widely used chemical group that increases durability of plastics – is beyond approved levels.

Football - In the Premier League on Saturday Burnley are at home to Brentford, Luton Town play Nottingham Forest and Fulham face Tottenham. On Sunday West Ham are at home to Aston Villa. In the FA Cup quarter finals Chelsea play Leicester City and Manchester United are at home to Liverpool. In local football this weekend, OGC Nice are away at Lens tomorrow with a 9pm kick-off. Monaco play Lorient at the Stade Louis II on Sunday at 3pm.

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