Evening Update Friday 8th December 2023

Three people have been arrested on suspicion of delivering drugs and cigarettes to prisoners in Toulon and Draguignan by drone. The suspects, who are in pre-trial detention, are believed to be part of a broader drug delivery network operating at more than a dozen prisons around France and Belgium. The arrests are the result of an almost year-long investigation after prison officers in the Corrèze became suspicious. Prosecutors believe the sophisticated operation was organised through the social network Snapchat. The three suspects on the Riviera will stand trial on 1st February on charges of drug trafficking, illicit delivery of objects to detainees, money laundering and flying over prohibited areas. They could face up to 10 years in prison.

Residents in parts of the Les Moulins housing estate in Nice have been told by La Poste that they'll no longer receive parcels delivered to their door because the neighbourhood is too dangerous. Several recipients of parcels in the area have reported receiving an email from La Poste advising them that they live in a "risk zone" and inviting them to collect their package from a local pick-up point instead. La Poste said in a statement that the safety of its employees was important and the measure would be in place until the situation improves. Les Moulins has seen recent violence mostly linked to drugs score-settling. A 20-year-old man was stabbed in the neighbourhood this afternoon, moments before French interior minister Gérald Darmanin was due to visit the area. The attack happened on the Place des Amaryllis and the victim was taken to hospital with serious injuries to his legs and back.

A motorcyclist in his 40s has died in Cagnes-sur-Mer in a crash with another vehicle yesterday evening. The violent collision occurred on the Avenue du Val en Sol at about 9pm. Eight parademics attended the scene and tried to resuscitate him without success.

About 1,000 homes in Mandelieu have been without gas since yesterday morning after an accident at a construction site cut off the supply. Gas supplier GRDF said the La Théoulière neighbourhood was affected by the ruptured pipe, which caused a gas leak - and supplies would gradually be restored to all the affected properties by this evening.The gas was reconnected to a local nursing home as a priority yesterday evening.

The City of Nice has named the four schools that will soon take part in an experiment into the wearing of school uniforms. Education minister Gabriel Attal announced the initiative earlier this week, and Nice mayor Christian Estrosi immediately expressed an interest. The four schools are all at primary level. They're the Ecole Ronchèse in the city centre, behind Nice-Etoile shopping centre, the Ecole Fabron in the hills above Nice, the Ecole Bon Voyage to the east of the city and the Ecole Bois-de-Boulogne in Les Moulins.

Funfair operators have reached an agreement with the City of Nice over where they're allowed to set up their rides this winter. 77 attractions will open to the public on a plot of land next to the MIN wholesale food market to the west of the city. The fairground operators had initially rejected the proposal - but have now negotiated a lower rent to occupy the land. The funfair operators had previously threatened to take part in a go-slow protest with their trucks through the centre of Nice. However, no solution has been found for about 10 children who are part of the travelling group, who need a place to go to school while the funfair is in town.

138 candles have been lit outside the Nice justice palace - one for each of the hostages believed to still be held captive by Hamas. Demonstrators read out the names and ages of each of the hostages, to mark two months since the Hamas attack on Israel, and also to coincide with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

And commuters on the main railway line from Les Arcs to Cannes have succeeded in a campaign to stop a busy morning rush hour service being scrapped. Several hundred passengers had signed a petition urging the SNCF not to remove the 7.57 train from Les Arcs from the timetable from next Monday. The Paca region intervened and the SNCF has agreed to keep the service running for at least the next three months, while a more permanent solution is found. Had the cancellation gone ahead, commuters would have had no train services from the Var towards the Alpes-Maritimes between 7.30 and 9.15 each morning. The Paca region is exploring the possibility of allowing commuters with a regular Zou season ticket to board Intercité trains, to make up for the lack of TER services during the morning rush hour.

BUSINESS

Millions of UK consumers could receive payouts after a legal claim was launched against mobile phone networks. Justin Gutmann, a former executive at Citizens Advice, alleges Vodafone, EE, Three and O2 overcharged customers for phones beyond the end of their contract. He is seeking damages of more than £3bn on behalf of 4.8 million people. Responding, EE called the claim "speculative", while O2 said it hadn't been contacted. Vodafone said it didn't have sufficient detail for its legal team to assess, and Three declined to comment. The claim is being brought on behalf of consumers who bought contracts made up of a mobile phone and services like data, call minutes, and texts. Gutmann estimates that 28.2 million UK mobile phone contracts could be affected, starting from 2007.

The investment management firm co-founded by Tory MP and former business secretary Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg is to be wound down. Somerset Capital Management is understood to have taken the decision after the loss of its largest client, wealth management powerhouse St James's Place, last month. The Financial Times said the move sparked a loss of confidence among other remaining clients. Somerset specialised in emerging market funds for institutional investors and values are believed to have been hurt by the global economic struggles, particularly in China.

SPORT

Formula 1 - The FIA has dropped its investigation into the conduct of Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and his wife Susie, the head of F1 Academy. The move comes 48 hours after the FIA, F1's governing body, announced its compliance department was looking into allegations against the Wolffs and 24 hours after Mercedes' nine rival teams united in coordinated social media posts to deny making any complaints about them. In a statement on Thursday evening, the FIA said it was satisfied that compliance management system is robust enough to prevent any unauthorised disclosure of confidential information.

Saudi Arabia's sports minister says claims of 'sportswashing' against the country are "very shallow", as he defended its right to host the men's football World Cup. Critics say unprecedented spending on sport has been used to improve the oil-producing kingdom's reputation over its human rights record and its environmental impact. But the Saudi government insists the investment is boosting the economy, opening it up to tourism and inspiring people to be more active. Saudi Arabia is bidding unopposed to be the host of the 2034 men's World Cup. It's said to be "studying the possibility" of hosting the tournament in the summer, despite the kingdom's extreme heat.

Football - In the Premier League tomorrow. The lunch time game will see Crystal Palace at home to Liverpool, kick off is at 1.30pm French time. With a 4pm kick off French time on Saturday, Brighton play Burnley, Manchester United are at home to Bournemouth, Sheffield United face Brentford and Wolves are at home to Nottingham Forest. The last match of the day, with a 6.30pm kick off French time, will see Aston Villa play Arsenal.

This weekend in Ligue 1, Monaco are away at Rennes tomorrow with a 5pm kick-off. OGC Nice host Reims at the Allianz Riviera, kicking off on Sunday at 1pm.
 

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