Evening Update Friday 18 February

Storm Eunice, which has put the UK and Ireland on Red Level lockdown, is also battering northern France this afternoon. Huge waves have been reported on the Brittany coast, and a gust of 149km/h has been recorded near Cherbourg. The Atlantic storm has severely disrupted trains services, which SNCF say will not return until tomorrow. Meteó France has put five departments, Nord, Pas-de-Calais, Somme, Seine-Maritime and Marche, on Orange Alert until 6am tomorrow.

The Covid incidence rate in the Alpes-Maritimes has fallen dramatically in 18 towns including Cannes, Cagnes-sur-Mer, Grasse, Le Cannet, Menton, Vallauris, Beausoleil, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and La Trinité. The infection rate is now below 1%, the lowest since last December. Yesterday in Nice, the Minister for Health Oliver Veran announced that, when the occupation of intensive care beds falls below 1,500 nationally, the requirement to wear masks indoors will be lifted.

Two women are to appear at court in Paris after spreading rumours online that Brigitte Macron was a transgender woman and not the mother of her children. The case will be heard on June 15th.

Monaco is moving closer to strengthening judicial relations with the United Arab Emirates, which include extradition agreements and steps to fight against terrorism, money laundering and corruption. The move follows recent high-level meetings between Monaco’s Justice Secretary and the Emirates’ Minister of Justice which are expected to progress further this year.

A ship carrying almost 4,000 luxury cars including Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini, has had to be abandoned after it caught fire in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. 22 crew members have been rescued with no injuries. The owner of the ship, Felicity Ace, is drawing up a plan to tow the ship to safety.

In Juans-les-Pins, it’s been announced this afternoon that the legendary George Benson, and world superstar John Legend, are both to appear at the Jazz-a-Juan festival this summer. The new additions join Diana Krall and Herbie Hancock who were announced earlier in the year. The annual Jazz festival returns to the seaside resort in early July.

BUSINESS

Renault has reported its first annual profit in three years, as it steps up the shift to an electric and greener future. The turnaround is thanks to a 'Renaulution' plan by CEO Luca de Meo to cut costs and emphasise ‘value over volumes’ which is now bearing fruit.

Cathie Wood of Ark Invest has said the technology companies in her innovation portfolio are drastically undervalued and she believes the fund’s recent sell-off is short-lived. Despite the underperformance, her ARKK Innovation EFT has attracted more than $70 million in net inflows, with top holdings including  Tesla, Exact Sciences and Coinbase.

OPEC is working to integrate Iran into its oil supply-limiting accord, should the United States lift sanctions on Iranian exports. The deal could bring 1.3 million barrels per day of Iranian oil back into the market, which would ease supply, and take some heat out of a rally which drove oil prices to almost $100 a barrel.

SPORT

Olympics - Following Monaco’s success at the winter bob-sleighing competition, Prince Albert has promised the principality will be sending a larger delegation to the next Summer Olympics, to be held in Paris in two years’ time. The event will hold particular significance for the Prince, as 100 years ago, his grandfather Jack Kelly won gold in rowing at the 1924 Olympics, also held in Paris.

Today at the Winter Olympics Norway have made history, as they won a record-breaking 15th gold medal, after winning the men's “mass start biathlon”. Their tally surpasses the previous best of 14 gold medals won by Canada in 2010.

Formula 1 - Lewis Hamilton has been speaking following the removal of Michael Masi as race director. Hamilton was on course for a record eighth world title, when the race director failed to operate the rules correctly, during a late safety-car period which cost Hamilton the championship. Hamilton said the controversy made him consider his future but he does not want it to define his career. He said it was good to see Formula 1 were making changes, as accountability is key, and this should never happen to anyone again.

Tennis - Novak Djokovic says he plans to compete at Paris 2024 to add Olympic gold to his 20 Grand Slam titles.

He won bronze in Beijing in 2008 but has not claimed a medal since. Meanwhile, Djokovic has been given the green light to play at the Italian Open after the Health Minister there said tennis is an outdoor sport, and the tighter green pass is not required. He that Djokovic may not be allowed in a hotel or a restaurant, but if he wants to play tennis, he can play.

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