Evening Update Friday 24 February 2023

The Prefecture in the Alpes-Maritimes is to convene a drought committee early next month to battle expected water shortages this summer. So far, this winter has been the driest since 1959. Several departments are already subject to water restrictions and any imposed by the new Alpes-Maritimes committee, which could include bans on filling of private swimming pools, will take legal effect. The committee next meet on March 7th.

The teenager who killed his Spanish teacher at a school near Biarritz on Wednesday has been formally charged with ‘assassination’. The 16-year-old remains in police custody.

The Carnaval in Nice will end a day earlier than planned this weekend. With the inclement weather forecast for Sunday, organisers will hold the final illuminated parade, which will include the burning of the king and the carnival closing fireworks, on Saturday instead of Sunday. Place Massena will be closed off for most of the day with the Battle of the Flowers scheduled for 2.30 and the night-time parade at 8.30.

Police have arrested a woman, after she accidentally pushed a thief, who was trying to steal her handbag at a train station, off the platform as a TGV train was passing through at high speed. The thief died from his injuries at the station in Val-de-Marne.

President Macron says he remains open-minded on the institutional future of Corsica. After a meeting with elected officials from the island, he said France would consider greatly increased autonomy but would draw the line at any calls for a Corsican republic.

Meanwhile, the President is facing flack after awarding the Legion of Honour medal, to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. There is anger as the President is asking French citizens to work two years longer before receiving a pension while giving France’s highest honour to an American billionaire.

Monaco has highlighted its commitment to gender equality, with the absence of any discrimination in legislative and regulatory texts. The declaration was made at a meeting of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in Geneva this week.

To mark a year since the beginning of the war, a show of support for Ukrainian refugees will be held on the Promenade des Anglais, near the Hotel Negresco, in Nice tomorrow morning at 11am. The Riviera has become a major refuge for people fleeing the war in Ukraine, with over 14,000 believed to be temporarily settled in the area.

BUSINESS

SNCF has presented a record €2.4bn profit in 2022 driven by improved logistics and the return of train passengers. Turnover has increased by 19.3% over  2019 levels, which was before the health crisis.

China's Central Bank says the economy there is expected to rebound in 2023. A bank report said it will focus its efforts on supporting domestic demand expansion and stabilising economic growth and prices while avoiding flood-like stimulus, according to the report. However, it said that the external environment remains severe and complex, adding the basics of domestic economic recovery are not solid.

International Airline Group IAG has forecast earnings could jump almost 90% this year as post-Covid business continues to rebound. The group, which owns BA, Iberia and Aer Lingus, has just agreed a full buy-out of Spanish airline Air Europa. The deal is aimed at expanding IAG’s position in Latin America where Air Europa serves 18 destinations.

US billionaire Thomas H Lee has been found dead at his office in New York. Reports say the 76-year-old died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Thomas H Lee is known for pioneering the corporate acquisition method known as a leveraged buyout. According to Forbes, Mr Lee was worth $2bn at the time of his death.

SPORT
Six Nations Report sponsored by Van Diemen's Australian Bar on Cours Saleya, Nice

A massive weekend of Six Nations action is ahead.

Tomorrow Ireland is the heavy favourites to secure their third bonus point when they take on Italy in Rome.  The match starts at 3.15pm French time.

Wales hopes to continue a long tradition of home wins against England. England, who have not won in Cardiff since 2017 are third, while Wales, who have yet to win a match are sixth. The match starts at 5.45pm.

On Sunday France face Scotland. While the Scots are in excellent form, they will have to take their game up another level, against Les Bleus. The match kicks off in Stade de France at 4pm Sunday.

Football - Everybody is talking about this weekend’s big derby match where OGC Nice have a chance to hand arch-rivals Monaco their first League 1 defeat of the year.

Nice is riding high under caretaker manager Didier Digard, remaining unbeaten in seven consecutive games. Whereas Monaco took a hit to their confidence this week, when Bayer Leverkusen eliminated them from the Europa League, in a heart-crushing penalty shoot-out on home ground on Thursday.

However, AS Monaco is performing spectacularly well in this seasons league, sitting pretty in the Top 3 and with a real shot at getting back into the Champions League at the end of the season.

Will OGC temper those Champions League ambitions? Kick-off for AS Monaco & OGC Nice is at 4.05pm this Sunday afternoon at Stad Louis II.

Meanwhile in Europa League, Manchester United will play Real Betis in the next stage, while Arsenal will face Sporting Lisbon. Draws for the Europa League Conference were made today with OGC Nice, the only Riviera club left in European competition, being drawn against Moldova’s Sheriff Tiraspol in the last 16. The next round of both Europa leagues takes place on March 9th and 16th.

Tennis - France’s Alexandre Muller is out of the Qatar Open after a three-set defeat by Andy Murray yesterday. Today, Murray takes to centre court for a semi-final game against one of the youngest ATP members, 21-year-old Jiri Lehecka. However, despite being 35-year-old Scot with the metal hip, Murry is on top form and determined to win a place in the final to defend his Qatar title. The match is being shown live today on Eurosport and Amazon.

Formula 1 - George Russell says he doesn’t expect Mercedes to be competing for victory at the start of the season in Bahrain next week. He said he believed Red Bull will initially be the team to beat as they have a strong car and Max Verstappen is performing particularly well. However, he did say Mercedes will eventually have a car capable of fighting for the title.

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