Evening Update Friday 22 September 2023

Pope Francis arrived in Marseille this afternoon and was welcomed by French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. He is on a two day visit to the city. He has attended a ceremony at the Notre Dame de la Garde basilica to pay tribute to migrants lost at sea and will celebrate mass at the Velodrome tomorrow. It's expected that President Macron will be present for the service.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla are concluding their visit to France today in Bordeaux. They are visiting environmental projects and meeting emergency workers involved in fighting forest fires as well as attending a reception on board a Royal Navy ship.

A man who was allegedly planning an attack has been taken into police custody in Nice, according to reports. The national anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation after a weapon was discovered at the man’s home.

A cannabis plantation near Grasse has been destroyed by authorities. Alpes-Maritimes gendarmes spotted the plantation whist doing aerial reconnaissance above Greolieres. Gendarmes went to the site and arrested an individual. Investigators discovered 112 plants of cannabis, measuring between 2 and 3 meters in height. The person arrested claimed to cultivate CBD and trade it on local markets. However, gendarmes said that he has no authorization, has made no declaration of his activity to the gendarmerie brigade and the municipality and is not able to provide the documents allowing the traceability of the sales made. They added that the individual also had several illegal cannabis plants on his property and at least 2kg of cannabis herb.

Meanwhile, authorities in Marseille have made a large seizure of drugs. Over 40kg of cocaine were discovered in an apartment in the 10th arrondissement. Three people were arrested.

Two men have been given jail sentences after beating a bus driver to death after he asked them to get off for not correctly wearing face masks during the pandemic. The attack occurred in Bayonne in the west of France on the evening of 5 July 2020 when masks were mandatory on all public transport. The two were given sentences of fifteen years and thirteen years.

Monaco has had a good summer season according to the director of the Department of Tourism and Conventions. Guy Antognelli said that occupancy rates were 75% in July and 72% in August, numbers which are still down compared to before the pandemic in 2019. The top four countries since the start of the year from which visitors to the Principality originated were France, the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy. He said that there was growth in non-European customers, including "a strong increase" from the Middle East.

 

BUSINESS

Warner Bros Discovery has announced a major expansion of its studios near London. The capacity of the Leavesden facility will increase by more than 50%. The company said that it will create 4,000 direct or indirect jobs.

The UK's competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority has said that Microsoft's revised offer to buy games company Activision Blizzard "opens the door" to the deal being cleared. The CMA said the amended deal appeared to address concerns it had raised. The CMA is now consulting before making a final decision.

Amazon has said that starting in 2024, Prime Video shows and movies will include limited advertisements in the UK, US, Germany and Canada starting early next year. It will be extended to several other countries including France during 2024. The company said that it aims to have "meaningfully fewer ads than linear TV and other streaming TV providers". It added that it will offer a new ad-free option and will reveal the price of that option at a later date.

 

SPORT

Motorsports... Max Verstappen was fastest in today's practice for the Japanese Grand Prix. Ferrari's Charles Leclerc was in second followed by Lando Norris. Lewis Hamilton was in 14th place. The practice was brought to an early end when Pierre Gasly lost control and crashed.

Rugby Union... The French Rugby Federation has confirmed that France captain Antoine Dupont suffered a fractured cheekbone in yesterday's match against Namibia. It said that he will remain with the squad and will see a specialist to determine the length of time he will be out of action.

Football... Germany have appointed Julian Nagelsmann as manager until July next year. He was last with Bayern Munich which he left in March.

Cricket... India have beaten Australia by five wickets in the one day international. Australia batted first and were all out for 276. India were 281 for 5.

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