Evening Update Monday 10th October 2022

Street lights will be dimmed and ski lifts will go slower under a new plan by the Nice metropolitan region to save energy this winter. The French government set out its energy saving plans last week. Now it's the turn of the Nice Côte d'Azur metropolis to take action locally. The city will be asking more municipal employees to work from home and the facades of municipal buildings won't be lit up between 11pm and 5am. The Voie Rapide in Nice will not be lit up at night, and the street lights will be dimmed overnight on the Promenade des Anglais. And if you're thinking of heading off to one of the Mercantour ski resorts this winter, the ski lifts will travel at a lower speed during times when there are fewer visitors.

A man whose 12-year-old daughter was killed in the 2016 Nice terror attack has had a chance meeting with France's then-president, François Hollande. Hollande was a guest at a literary festival in Mouans-Sartoux this weekend, to promote his latest book.  Local writer Thierry Vimal was also a guest at the event. He's published two books in the aftermath of the 2016 attack and has given a written testimony for the current trial in Paris. Among his questions for the former French president was why organs were taken from his daughter's body for donation without his knowledge. François Hollande is giving evidence at the terror trial in Paris today, as well as former interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve and Nice mayor Christian Estrosi.

Meanwhile, some of the musicians who performed at the Prom Party on the night of the Nice terror attack have given their testimony at the trial in Paris. Members from two bands who put on concerts in front of the Negresco spoke of what they called a lack of police presence or checks on the night. In particular, they compared the night with the Fête de la Musique festivities just a month earlier, when the musicians themselves had their guitar cases and other equipment thoroughly searched. Also just before the atrocity, there was also a reinforced police presence and searches as Nice hosted several football matches for Euro 2016.

A motorcyclist in his 20s has died in a crash in Nice Saint-Isidore around 6am on Saturday. The exact circumstances remain unclear. The accident happened on the Boulevard du Mercantour, between Saint Isidore and Lingostière. Initial investigations suggest no other vehicle was involved. Paramedics tried to resuscitate him but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

More demonstrations have taken place on the Riviera this weekend in memory of the 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by morality police and brutally killed in Iran. After last Sunday's gathering in Nice, another protest was held on Place Masséna this Sunday afternoon. There was also a rally outside Cannes town hall on Friday evening. The cinematheque in Nice is supporting the cause by screening Iranian films this Monday evening.

If you thought yesterday's rain was particularly intense - you weren't imagining it. In Nice, the rainfall was the heaviest seen over a 24-hour period in seven years. The weather station at Nice airport recorded 85 millimetres of rain in just a few hours in the early hours of Sunday morning. That's the equivalent of 85 litres of water for every square metre of land - and it's the heaviest rainfall we've seen since the deadly floods that hit the Riviera in October 2015.

Firefighters were called out on Sunday night to two fires at vehicle scrapyards on the Riviera. The first, in Draguignan, saw several dozen vehicles destroyed. Thirty firefighters attended the scene - one of whom suffered minor injuries. The second fire was at a scrapyard in Antibes at about 3.00 this morning. Forty vehicles went up in smoke. Firefighters managed to bring the blaze under control without any injuries.

200 residents in an apartment block in the north of Nice have been told they mustn't go out on their balconies - because they might not be safe. It's a precautionary measure, after a balcony collapsed at the Mont Gros residence, just off the Grande-Corniche. Experts were called in and their report suggests a structural defect where the steel railings are attached to the concrete floor of each balcony. A security perimeter has been set up around the building and a company has been called out to replace all the balcony railings in the coming weeks. Children at a school occupying the ground floor of the tower block have been moved to another nearby school until the works are completed.

BUSINESS

The Bank of England has announced new measures to keep the UK’s financial markets functioning, following the turmoil which hit the pensions industry after last month’s mini-budget. In a statement this morning, the Bank said it will take additional measures to broaden its support, as it prepares to end its emergency backstop support on Friday. That emergency support saw the Bank promise to buy up £65bn of long-dated UK bonds – at up to £5bn per day. So far, it has only bought around £5bn, having calmed the market panic that saw bond prices slump. But with that support ending on Friday, the Bank is pledging to increase the maximum auction size, to up to £10bn per day. That could help maintain financial stability this week, preventing bond prices tumbling into a dangerous spiral again.

TotalEnergies has offered to bring forward this year's pay negotiations with unions if they dropped a blockade of fuel depots and refineries that has slashed petrol supplies across the country. Like other major oil companies, TotalEnergies has seen its profits soar as energy prices skyrocket during the war in Ukraine, and government officials have been pressing the company to settle the standoff. It runs a network of around 3,500 filling stations in France and most of them are low on fuel or even empty for some types. The proposed discussions would define “how employees will benefit from TotalEnergies’ exceptional results before the end of this year, taking into account this year’s inflation. On Sunday, the CGT union branch said they would continue their strikes but were open to talks. Currently three of Total’s refineries are blocked, including its largest, in Normandy. The government has already dipped into strategic stockpiles in a bid to bring relief.

SPORT

Formula 1 - A frightening incident involving Pierre Gasly at the Japanese Grand Prix has brought back memories of the tragic death of Nicois Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi. Gasly was involved in scary scenes on Sunday at Suzuka when he narrowly avoided crashing into a tractor on the same track where Bianchi was killed in a similar incident in 2014. The race was red-flagged on the third lap after Carlos Sainz crashed into a wall, with a tractor coming out onto the track to tow away his car. However the tractor was on the track before all drivers knew the race had been red-flagged, resulting in a horrific moment as an unaware Gasly flew past the tractor at high speed and only narrowly avoided hitting it. The incident brought back painful memories of Bianchi's death after he collided with a recovery vehicle in 2014. He remained in a coma with a head injury for nine months before he died at age 25 in 2015. Bianchi’s death was the first from an on-track incident in F1 since Ayrton Senna’s fatal accident in 1994.

Rugby Union - A former boss of Wasps is spearheading a takeover bid for the Premiership Rugby club that could save it from the threat of relegation or extinction. David Armstrong, who stepped down as Wasps' chief executive in 2017, is working with an investment firm on a bid to buy the club and its Coventry Arena stadium. The auction of Wasps is taking place just days before its holding company faces being plunged into administration. The bid led by Armstrong is reportedly worth more than £50m, with a further £12m earmarked for working capital. Wasps have been pushed to the brink of financial ruin by a debt pile which includes an unpaid tax bill owed to HM Revenue & Customs.

Local football - Wins all round in local football this weekend, OGC Nice beat Troyes 3-2. AS Monaco enjoyed an away win at Montpellier, 2-0. So that puts Nice 11th in the Ligue 1 table and Monaco are 5th.

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