Evening Update Friday 8th July 2022

A new requirement to wear masks on public transport within the Nice metropolitan area has been struck down by a court. A group of local citizens filed an appeal against the measure, which was announced earlier this week by Nice mayor Christian Estrosi. Their lawyer said that at no point did Estrosi present evidence that the coronavirus situation in Nice was significantly worse than elsewhere in France. Previously, rules on mask-wearing have been set at a national level. The judge in Nice's administrative court said there was no compelling reason for the measure to go ahead. They described it as "manifestly unlawful" and would have had an unfair impact on people living outside Nice but who had to travel to the city.

A popular mountain guide in the Mercantour has died in an accident while out climbing. Marine Clarys from Saint-Martin-Vesubie was 35 years old. She was guiding another mountaineer at the Cougourde refuge, at an altitude of 2,800 metres, when she suffered a fall on Thursday. An air ambulance helicopter was called out to recover her body and rescue the other mountaineer. Marine Clarys was the first woman to qualify as a high mountain guide in the Alpes-Maritimes. Her death has caused great shock within the local community.

A manslaughter investigation has been opened into a deadly fire in Monaco three weeks ago that cost the life of a firefighter. Sergeant Thierry Pérard died putting out the blaze in a luxury first-floor apartment on Avenue Princesse-Grace on 19 June. The Monaco public prosecutor has opened a judicial investigation for manslaughter and involuntary injuries - and an investigating judge has been appointed. The victim had served with the Monaco fire brigade for 26 years and died from smoke inhalation. Another firefighter was slightly injured.

Police in Marseille have managed to catch two thieves who stole from bathers on the beach - thanks to the GPS function in a mobile phone. A couple, who were on holiday from Paris, had carefully locked all their personal belongings, including wallets and phones, in their car. But the thieves stole their car key and managed to locate the vehicle, emptying it of everything. The geolocation on one of the stolen phones allowed police to track the thieves down to a Marseille hotel room - where they found all the stolen belongings, and those from other thefts as well.

Europe's largest telecommunications satellite is currently being assembled in Cannes.  150 people have been working shifts - day, night and at weekends - for the past three years at the Thales Alenia Space facility in La Bocca. The nine-metre-wide satellite is about the size of a three-storey building and will weigh six-and-a-half tonnes. Its cost is estimated at around 100 million euros. Once deployed in space next year, it will provide ultra-high-speed internet access to under-served regions.

The Paca regional health agency has produced an interactive map showing all the surgeries and medical centres in the region where you can see a duty GP without an appointment. With five million holidaymakers, the Paca population doubles in the summer. Accident and emergency wards see a spike in non-urgent admissions as visitors do not necessarily know how to find a doctor. See https://www.paca.ars.sante.fr/les-lieux-de-soins-non-programmes-en-region-paca

Fireworks are to return to the Promenade des Anglais in Nice on July 13th. The annual display traditionally held on July 14th across France will be moved to the 13th in tribute to the victims of the Nice attack in which 86 people were killed and several hundred were injured. This year the fireworks will be fired from the sea, opposite the Quai des Etats-Unis at 10.30pm on the 13th.

Meanwhile, a planned fireworks display in Valbonne on 13th July has been cancelled. The decision was taken by the town hall because Valbonne has been on an enhanced drought alert since the end of June and with the high risk of fire, the display was considered too risky. The rest of the national day festivities, including a ball and a parade of vintage cars, will still go ahead.

After a two-year absence, Monaco's old town is celebrating its traditional carnival this evening. The 10th edition of the event has Africa as its theme and the procession will wind its way through the narrow streets of the Rocher, with three 45-minute parades planned, at 6.15, 7.45 and 9.15 this evening.

And Monaco is giving a nod to Belgian surrealism this summer with a series of bronze sculptures celebrating the popular cartoon character The Cat (Le Chat) by Philippe Geluck. Le Chat is an adult-sized, obese, anthropomorphic cat in a suit who's gone on to become one of the most successful Francophone comic series – and been translated into other languages including English. Now 20 statues of the cat, each about 3 metres tall, have been unveiled on the Larvotto promenade, in the presence of Geluck himself and Prince Albert II of Monaco. The sculptures have toured the Champs-Elysées, Geneva and Brussels and you can see them here in Monaco all summer long until 2nd October.

BUSINESS

The planned takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk is in “serious jeopardy”, according to a report, sending shares in the company 4% lower. Musk’s team has stopped certain discussions around funding for the $44bn deal, according to a report in the Washington Post, citing three people familiar with the matter. The report said Musk had concluded that Twitter’s figures on spam accounts – a bone of contention in the deal – were not verifiable. Twitter executives defended their spam policy on Thursday, citing a specialist team and automated processes that weed out 1m fake accounts a day, but the report stated that access to the company’s feed of public tweet data had still failed to satisfy Musk.  Twitter has stated consistently that fewer than 5% of its daily active users are spam accounts – a figure that Musk doubts openly. The report said a “change in direction” from Musk was likely to come soon, indicating that he will follow through on threats to attempt to walk away from the agreed deal.

Britain's competition regulator has launched an in-depth study to examine concerns about soaring fuel prices. The Competition and Markets Authority will look at the differences between petrol and diesel prices in rural and urban areas, as well as the growing gap between the price of crude oil when it enters refineries and the wholesale price when it leaves. In an urgent review published on Friday, the CMA found that although there were concerns about some retailers profiting from the current situation, this was not a big contributor to soaring prices at the pump. About 40% of the current growth in fuel prices was down to increases in how much refineries are charging retailers for wholesale diesel and gas. The difference between the cost of crude oil and wholesale prices tripled in the past year.

SPORT

The English Premier League has postponed a vote on a voluntary ban on shirt sponsorship by gambling companies as the political crisis in Westminster threatens to delay crucial industry reforms. The Premier League on Thursday emailed the 20 top-flight clubs to inform them that a deadline to give their backing for curbs had been scrapped. Instead, the proposals will be discussed at a previously scheduled shareholder meeting on 26 July, according to club executives. The delay comes within hours of Chris Philp, the gambling minister, resigning alongside dozens of colleagues as they tried to force Boris Johnson from office. Philp had been due to unveil a white paper on gambling reform in the coming weeks, with the threat of legislation to eliminate gambling brands appearing on Premier League shirts still on the table.

Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter and vice-president Michel Platini have both been found not guilty following their fraud trial in Switzerland. The pair stood trial over a payment of 2m Swiss francs (£1.6m) made by Blatter to Platini in 2011. Both men had denied wrongdoing and said the transfer was belated payment for Platini's advisory work for Fifa. Blatter and former Uefa president Platini, were banned from football in 2015 and indicted last November.

Ajax have signed winger Steven Bergwijn from Tottenham for a club record €30 million. The 24-year-old Netherlands international, who previously played for Ajax at youth level, has signed a five-year contract. Bergwijn scored eight goals in 81 appearances for Spurs after joining from PSV Eindhoven in January 2020.

Former Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere has announced his retirement from professional football. Earlier in July, Wilshere left Danish club AGF after less than five months, stating that he is now "considering his next step" in his career. The 30-year-old former England international, whose career has been dogged by injury problems, joined the Danish Superliga club in February and played 14 league games for the club. The former Arsenal and West Ham midfielder had been without a club since he was released by Bournemouth last summer and had been training with Arsenal and Italian side Como to maintain his fitness as he looked for a new club.

Finally, this weekend it's the Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix. The race gets under way at 3pm on Sunday. Max Verstappen currently leads the championship by 34 points.

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