Evening Update Friday 17th of May 2024

NEWS
Damaged Vineyards - Winegrowers in the Var are having a rough time. After the frost episode in April, hail is now affecting some of the department's wineries. Damage was reported in Ollières, while a very impressive thunderstorm hit Figanières on Thursday afternoon. Pierre Boyer, owner of Domaine Saint Jean Le Vieux, located in the communes of Ollières, Saint-Maximin and Tourves, estimates his losses at around 30% after the hailstorm.

Violence Anti-LGBTQ+ - The number of anti-LGBT offenses jumped by 13% in France in 2023. This rise is also felt by the Centre LGBTQIA+ Côte d'Azur, which notes that the number of reports received has also been increasing in recent years.

Blocked Prisons - There's no let-up in the anger in prisons following the deaths of two prison officers in the Eure region earlier this week. According to our information, prisons in Nice and even Grasse were once again blocked this Friday morning.

SOS Sacs A Puces - The SOS Sacs à puces association in Carpentras urgently needs help to continue saving and caring for stray cats. Facing bankruptcy, they have stopped taking in new cats since early May. They are seeking donations of cat food (especially pâtée or mousse) to be dropped off at their downtown store. A fundraising campaign is also available on their website.

Fake Gold Sale - An 18-year-old man posted a fake gold sale ad on Leboncoin. The buyer was ambushed and robbed in Avignon by three men who threatened him with a handgun, taking 1,000-1,500 euros and his car keys. The perpetrator was arrested that evening and admitted to the extortion.

Young Hero - Maxime, a 14-year-old junior firefighter, was in his apartment on the 28th floor of the Grand Pavois building in Marseille (8th district), when a violent fire broke out last Saturday. With great composure, he alerted the emergency services and took the right action to prevent the fire spreading.

 

BUSINESS
US prosecutors charged Christina Chapman with helping North Korean nationals secure remote jobs in the US using stolen identities, allegedly contributing nearly $7m to North Korea. Chapman ran a scheme involving 300 US companies, including Fortune 500 firms and a major TV network, from her Arizona home. She's accused of creating a "laptop farm" to make it appear the workers were in the US. Chapman faces nine counts of conspiracy to defraud the US and is alleged to have tried to secure jobs at US government agencies. Three North Korean co-conspirators remain at large, tied to North Korea's Munitions Industry Department. Chapman was arrested in Arizona, and it's unclear if she has legal representation.

Despite its global popularity, the stock market debuts of Chinese bubble tea chains have faltered, indicating investor skepticism despite the drink's immense success. China boasts half a million bubble tea shops, with the industry valued at $20 billion. However, recent IPOs, like Chabaidao and Nayuki, have disappointed, possibly due to broader market concerns in Hong Kong. Despite this, other chains like Mixue Group and Guming Holdings are planning their own listings. Analysts cite concerns over market sentiment and industry competition, suggesting a challenging road ahead for bubble tea companies and potential investors.

 

SPORTS
Tennis - Iga Swiatek beat Coco Gauff 6-4 6-3 to secure her place in the Italian Open final in Rome. Swiatek will play Aryna Sabalenka in the final after the world number two beat American Danielle Collins 7-5 6-2.

Rugby Union - Harlequins back-row James Chisholm has signed a new contract with the Premiership club. The 28-year-old's new deal will take him into a 12th season at The Stoop, having come up through the club's academy. He scored a try in his side's 2021 Premiership semi-final win over Bristol and went on to help the club win the title at Twickenham. He has scored a total of 19 tries in 149 appearances for Quins.

Golf - Xander Schauffele hit a major record-equalling 62 to set the pace in the first round of the US PGA Championship in Kentucky. The American holed nine birdies in a sensational bogey-free round to lead by three at Valhalla.

 

TRAFFIC
The Whitsun weekend will be a busy one on the roads. Friday will be the most difficult day, rated red in the outbound direction and orange in the inbound direction.

 

WEATHER
We’re blessed with a lovely weather today, clear skies throughout the region with moderate winds. Highs of 20 degrees in Nice, 22 in Cannes, Toulon and Marseille and 24 degrees in Saint-Tropez.
Chilly night with clear skies with lows of 12 degrees
Outlook for this week-end, Saturday fine and sunny with highs of 22 degrees, and cloudy Sunday with highs of 21 degrees.

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