Evening Update Friday 26th May 2023

The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, has passed a municipal decree banning the controversial comedian Dieudonné from performing in the city this weekend. The comedian, who critics accuse of spreading hate, had been due to perform on Saturday evening at a secret venue somewhere in Nice. Estrosi said Dieudonné was not welcome. The mayor plans to pass a similar order banning the controversial Islamologist Tariq Ramadan from talking at a literary event in Nice on 4th June.

A man was found seriously injured on the A8 motorway this morning near the Saint-Isidore tolls in Nice. Initial reports suggest the man is possibly a migrant who had managed to board a truck crossing the border from Italy. He was found lying on the ground and had no identity papers on him. The man was taken care of by paramedics - and gendarmes have begun an investigation.

A villa in La Gaude was completely destroyed by fire on Thursday evening. Seven fire engines and 20 firefighters were called out to the major fire at about 8pm. The property is uninhabitable. The fire also spread to the roof of a neighbouring home. No one was injured.

Meanwhile, residents at a villa in Toulon have had to be rehoused after their home was struck by lightning yesterday morning. Firefighters were called out to limit the spread of the resulting fire.

Police who were called out to the eviction of a tenant in Cagnes-sur-Mer arrived at the apartment to find it was filled with explosives. The entire block of flats, on Avenue des Bréguières had to be evacuated after police found jerry cans and gas bottles. Mine-clearing experts had to be called out and a large security perimeter was set up.

Environmental campaigners who are against the building of a floating private beach off the coast of Mandelieu have written a letter to prime minister Elisabeth Borne accompanied by a 15,000-strong petition. With the support from a lawyer in Marseille, campaigners are hoping to keep up pressure on authorities to stop the project going ahead. Canua Island was built in Italy and shipped to the Riviera this week ahead of the beach club's opening to the public. It will be moored 600 metres off the shore in La Napoule. The campaigners say the project will have "catastrophic environmental consequences", as well as causing noise and light pollution. They also say it sets a dangerous precedent - and could lead to many more floating resorts being granted permission to clutter the Med.

The mayor of Antibes says showers on the town's beaches will remain switched on this summer - despite general pressure to save water amid the risk of severe drought. Several municipalities on the coast turned off their beach showers last summer to save water. But Jean Leonetti said Antibes' showers would remain active for basic hygiene reasons. He said the problem of water management needed to be addressed higher up in French government - and small gestures by individual municipalities were not enough. Antibes has already committed to major savings in water by using recycled wastewater to clean the town's streets instead of drinking water. Last year, the mayor of Villeneuve-Loubet said towns that had chosen to switch off their showers were merely making "a political display" and the gesture was worthless.

Meanwhile, five beaches in the Alpes-Maritimes, and seven in the Var, have lost their prestigious Blue Flag label. The Pavillion Bleu aims to recognise beaches and marinas that have a sustainable tourism policy. In Nice, Bluebeach, Castel and the Plage du Forum have had their blue flags withdrawn. In Cannes, Nadine and Sud Aviation are no longer awarded. In the Var, three beaches in Canadel-sur-Mer, three in Six-Fours-les-Plages, and one in Saint-Mandrier-sur-Mer can no longer fly the blue flag.

And France's League for the Protection of Birds is inviting people to take part in a nationwide bird count this weekend. It would like as many people as possible to spend one hour counting and trying to identify the birds in their garden or on their balcony, to build up a national picture of the evolution of the bird population. The participatory science project is carried out twice a year - once in January, and again now to gather data on reproductive and migratory species. If you can spare an hour to take part, the website is oiseauxdesjardins.fr.

BUSINESS

Wall Street giant JP Morgan Chase is cutting jobs at failed US lender First Republic Bank, after buying the firm this month. Around 1,000 roles, or 15%, of First Republic's workforce will be cut. Earlier this year, problems at US regional banks triggered fears about a more widespread crisis. JP Morgan confirmed that it was cutting roles that were held by workers at the San Francisco-based bank but did not put a figure on the job losses. The affected employees will receive pay and benefits for 60 days, along with a package which includes a lump sum payment and other benefits. JP Morgan also said it was assisting them with finding new roles within or outside the company.

An engineering chief at Twitter says he is leaving the company a day after the launch of Ron DeSantis' US presidential campaign on the platform was hit with technical glitches. Mr DeSantis' entry into the race for the White House was hit by problems as a Twitter livestream malfunctioned. More than 80% of the firm's workforce has been cut since Elon Musk bought it.

The boss of the UK's second largest grocery chain has said that supermarkets have not been using high rates of inflation as a cover for making higher profits. Sainsbury's had made less money, to keep prices down, Simon Roberts said. Critics have accused food retailers of "greedflation" - putting prices up to bolster profits. The competition watchdog has said it will look at how the grocery market is operating. As well as the new focus on high food prices from the Competition and Markets Authority, some politicians have called for action on food prices.

SPORT

Dutch football club AZ Alkmaar have issued 43 stadium bans after West Ham United fans were attacked during their Europa Conference League semi-final match. Several Hammers players confronted the group of fans that had targeted an area containing their friends and family, who were unharmed. The Premier League side won the second leg in the Netherlands 1-0 to secure a 3-1 victory on aggregate. In a statement, the Dutch club said more bans could follow in the future. European football's governing body Uefa will review reports of the incidents before deciding on any action.

Football - In the Premier League action on Sunday Arsenal are at home to Wolves, Aston Villa play Brighton, Brentford face Manchester City, Chelsea are at home to Newcastle, Crystal Palace play Nottingham Forest, Everton play Bournemouth, Leeds face Tottenham, Leicester are at home to West Ham, Manchester United play Fulham and Southampton are at home to Liverpool.

Formula One - Williams driver Alex Albon brought the first practice session at the Monaco Grand Prix to an early end with a crash at the first corner. The British-born Thai  lost the rear mid-way through Saint Devote and hit the barrier. Ferrari's Carlos Sainz set the pace from Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton in an upgraded Mercedes. Championship leader Max Verstappen was struggling in sixth in his Red Bull. Verstappen, complaining that the car was set too low and bottoming, was behind his team-mate Sergio Perez and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc. After today's practice sessions, tomorrow's action at the Monaco Grand Prix includes third practice at 12.30pm and qualification at 4pm. The final race takes place on Sunday at 3pm.

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