Evening Update Friday 21st October 2022

Tourism professionals on the Riviera say fears that the recent fuel shortages would have an impact on holiday bookings this autumn appear to be unfounded. According to the union representing the hotel industry, UMIH, many French people had cancelled their Toussaint holiday plans because of the fuel crisis. But, with the situation gradually returning to normal, the hotel sector here on the Riviera says bookings are looking good for the half-term holidays - and it promises to be a successful period. The Nice-Cannes marathon has helped drive bookings and many hotels are annoucing occupancy rates around the 90% mark. Foreign visitors are also back in big numbers - representing 80% of hotel customers, compared with 65% in recent years due to the coronavirus pandemic. A strong US dollar is encouraging American tourists back to the Riviera. Gîtes de France is also happy with booking rates for the Toussaint break. 

Firefighters in the Bouches-du-Rhône have been busy today trying to control a fire at the mineral port in Fos-sur-Mer. Several tonnes of wood chips were on fire, near the western basin of the Port Maritime. More than 100 firefighters worked on trying to stop the fire and prevent it spreading to nearby homes and vegetation.

A Marseille football supporter has been charged with attempted murder following an incident at the Vélodrome during a Champions League match against Eintracht Frankfurt in September. Violence escalated before and during the tense match. Three members of the security forces were injured and 17 people were arrested on the sidelines of the match after projectiles and fireworks were thrown by Marseille supporters. A German supporter was hit in the neck by one of these projectiles. The 65-year-old man was seriously injured and signed off work for four months. His partner also suffered burns. The Marseille public prosecutor's office launched a judicial investigation for attempted murder, wilful violence and the possession of fireworks within an enclosed sports environment. Investigators managed to identify a suspect, a 26-year-old man from Marseille. He appeared in court yesterday and has been placed in pre-trial detention.

The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, has given evidence at the trial in Paris over the 14 July terror attack in Nice in 2016. He said he had not been given any information in advance about how many national police officers would be patrolling the French national holiday celebrations on the Promenade des Anglais. Estrosi was also asked how Nice's 1,800 CCTV cameras had not captured any images of the truck in the 40 minutes leading up to the attack. The lawyer representing the various civil parties in the trial, Virginie Le Roy, said she was disappointed with the mayor's answers.

A new study suggests the gender pay gap in Monaco is narrowing. The Monegasque Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies says that, in 2019, women in the principality were, on average, paid 6% less than men. That's down from 10% in 2012. Women represent 40% of all employees in Monaco - and 42% in the Monegasque civil service.

Four agglomerations on the Riviera have agreed to join forces to better manage their household rubbish collections and make them more efficient. Antibes, Cannes, Grasse and Valberg will now pool their resources together. For example, an incinerator in Antibes will take tens of thousands of tonnes of waste from neighbouring Cannes and Grasse. Cannes, meanwhile, plans to build a new plant to treat organic waste from all four areas taking part in this partnership - with the overall aim of reducing the amount of waste that gets sent to the incinerator each year.

The Restos du Coeur charity, which provides meals to the poor and homeless, has inaugurated a new base in Saint-Laurent-du-Var. The new premises are more than three times bigger than the charity's previous home. The Saint-Laurent-du-Var base will serve as the main warehouse for the whole Riviera. The charity has seen a 20% rise in demands for help so far this year and is appealing for more volunteers.

BUSINESS

TikTok has denied a report that a China-based team at its parent company ByteDance planned to use the app to track the locations of US citizens. The social media giant said on Twitter that it has never been used to "target" the American government, activists, public figures or journalists. The firm also says it does not collect precise location data from US users. It was responding to a report in Forbes that data would have been accessed without users' knowledge or consent. The US business magazine, which cited documents it had seen, reported that ByteDance had started a monitoring project to investigate misconduct by current and former employees. It said the project, which was run by a Beijing-based team, had planned to collect location data from a US citizen on at least two occasions. The report said it was unclear whether American citizens' data was ever collected but there had been a plan to obtain location data from US users' devices.

Official figures show a gloomy picture for the UK economy with government borrowing up and people shopping less than before the coronavirus pandemic. Retail sales volumes fell more than expected by 1.4% last month, continuing their slide from August. Meanwhile, government borrowing rose to its second highest September on record. The UK is borrowing billions of pounds to limit energy bill rises for households and businesses. Borrowing - the difference between spending and tax income - was £20bn last month, up £2.2bn from a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. It is the second highest September borrowing since monthly records began in 1993.

France has given a €20-million fine on US firm Clearview AI for breaching privacy laws, as pressure mounts on the controversial facial-recognition platform. The company collects images of faces from websites and social media feeds without seeking permission and sells access to its vast database — reportedly around 20 billion pictures — to clients including law enforcement agencies. Privacy activists around the world have raised objections to the business model, already winning a case in the United States that has forced the firm to stop selling its main database to private clients. The French complaint to French privacy watchdog CNIL is one of a slew filed by activists across Europe that has already resulted in fines in Italy and Britain. CNIL ruled last year that Clearview was processing personal data unlawfully and ordered it to stop, but said on Thursday that the firm had not responded. In addition to the €20-million fine, CNIL once again ordered the firm to stop collecting data from people residing in France and delete the data it had already collected.

SPORT

Cricket - Ireland advanced in the T20 World Cup by dumping out two-time champions West Indies with a nine-wicket victory in Hobart. In a winner-takes-all final match of the group stage, Ireland coasted a pursuit of 147 with 15 balls to spare. The West Indies ended on 146-5, and Ireland won by nine wickets with an impressive 150-1. It's another famous win at a global tournament for the Irish, who take their place in the Super 12 stage alongside heavyweights like hosts Australia, England, India and Pakistan.

Formula 1 - The FIA has offered terms of an 'accepted breach agreement' to Red Bull following their breach of Formula 1's cost cap. The development in the saga that has dominated the start of the United States GP weekend leaves Red Bull with a decision over whether to accept the offer and likely a lesser punishment, or go before an adjudication panel. The details of the FIA's offer to Red Bull, however, are still unclear. Red Bull were last week the only team found guilty of exceeding the $145m spending limit from Max Verstappen's maiden title victory last year - with a 'minor' breach meaning they had overspent by less than five per cent ($7.25m) - although have emphatically rejected claims from rival teams that they have purposely cheated.

Football - Premier League action this weekend. Tomorrow, Nottingham Forest are at home to Liverpool in the lunchtime match. In the afternoon with a 4pm kick off, Everton play Crystal Palace, Manchester City play Brighton and Chelsea are at home to Manchester United. On Sunday Aston Villa play Brentford, Leeds face Fulham, Southampton are at home to Arsenal and Wolverhampton face Leicester, kick off for all the matches is at 3pm with a 5.30pm kick off for Sunday’s last match of the day; Tottenham are at home to Newcastle.

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