Evening Update Monday 11th April 2022

So we know it'll be an Emmanuel Macron vs Marine Le Pen second round in the French presidential elections in a fortnight. The results from last night's first round show some substantial differences in voting intentions across the Riviera. In the Alpes-Maritimes, Marine Le Pen came top with 26.6% of the vote, with Emmanuel Macron managing 25%. In the Var, Le Pen achieved one of her best scores, with 30.6% compared with Macron's 23.7%. Fréjus voted for her by a remarkable 35.5%. Macron fared better in some of the Alpes-Maritimes' big towns, coming top in Nice, Cannes and Antibes - while Marine Le Pen achieved more than 30% of the vote in Menton. Emmanuel Macron had the most votes among French citizens living in Monaco. Jean-Luc Mélenchon came top in Marseille.

Meanwhile, French TV channel TF1 was the winner in the audience battle on election night. Its rolling coverage attracted 7.2 million viewers, the best election night score since 2007. TF1 decided this year not to devote the entire evening to the results, citing fatigue among viewers. It stopped at 10pm and offered viewers a film instead.

A man is in police custody after passers-by reported him to police for alleged animal cruelty. Witnesses say they saw him dragging a puppy by the ear and then violently throwing the animal to the ground. The incident happened yesterday on Rue Clément-Roassal, behind Nice-Ville station. Prosecutors will decide today whether to charge the man.

Tourism leaders on the Riviera are working on a plan to attract more business visitors to the region. While 2021 saw a bounce-back in leisure tourism on the Côte d'Azur, business travel has been slower to recover. The regional tourism board will launch a campaign to encourage industries to hold their seminars and business events here, not just in convention centres but golf courses and other venues. Last month, 20,000 professionals from the real estate industry attended Mipim in Cannes - one of the biggest business events the Riviera has hosted since the coronavirus pandemic.

In other French news, two people have died and several were injured in a French tourist coach accident on a motorway in northern Belgium on Sunday. The driver tested positive for narcotics. The 35-year-old was driving a French BlaBlaCar coach. His licence was withdrawn immediately. The 30 passengers on board were mostly French but people of Spanish, Canadian, Mexican, Croatian and American nationality. The accident occurred at midday yesterday on a motorway in the province of Antwerp, near the town of Schoten.

OGC Nice football club is inviting all Nice residents to pick up a free poster and display it in their front window in the run up to the Coupe de France final on 7th May, when Nice will play FC Nantes at the Stade de France. A local artist, called Coun, is behind the poster campaign in the club's colours of red and black. They're available from the OGC Nice shop on Place Masséna.

And a woman in the Bouches-du-Rhône has safely given birth to a baby girl in the back of an ambulance on its way to the maternity ward in Aix-en-Provence. All firefighters in France receive training in delivering a baby. The woman gave birth soon after the ambulance collected her from her home in Trets, about 25 kilometres from the hospital. Mother and baby are both doing well.

BUSINESS

Société Générale has announced it will cease its activities in Russia and sell off its stake in Russian bank Rosbank. It's in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The French bank said exiting Russia would have a negative impact on its accounts in the region of €3 billion.

Congestion chaos at the port of Dover is causing substantial losses for thousands of hauliers. Truck drivers with perishable goods are asking to be given priority boarding ferries to France. According to the British Meat Processors Association, some members have had to wait for over 24 hours to cross into mainland Europe which has caused meat and other perishables to go off.

Meanwhile, new figures show the UK's economic growth slowed in February following a sharp fall in the production of cars and computer goods. The Office for National Statistics said the economy expanded by 0.1% compared with 0.8% in January. The fall in manufacturing was off-set by growth in the services sector including areas such as tourism and travel.

And Elon Musk has decided not to join the board of Twitter. His appointment was due to become effective on Saturday after he revealed last week that he had bought a 9.2% stake in the social media platform. The Tesla boss remains Twitter's largest shareholder and the firm will remain open to his input, Twitter said.

SPORT

One of the UK's top boardroom headhunters is to oversee the search for a new chairman of the Premier League. The recruitment process is gathering pace, five months after the role's last incumbent resigned. MWM Consulting has been appointed to identify a successor to Gary Hoffman. The Premier League has said that it aims to have a new chair in place before the start of next season, leaving it less than four months to finalise an appointment to one of the most powerful posts in sport.

NBA chairman Larry Tanenbaum and Eduardo Saverin, the Facebook co-founder, are understood to have agreed to back Steve Pagliuca's multibillion pound takeover bid for Chelsea. The chairman of the world's richest basketball league has joined one of the consortia preparing to table final takeover bids for the club this week. Tanenbaum owns a host of North American sports teams. The four remaining consortia plotting to replace Roman Abramovich as Chelsea's owner must table final bids on Thursday, two days after the crucial second leg of the London club's Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid.

It's day three of the Monte-Carlo Masters at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, and PSG players Neymar and Marco Verratti were among the spectators at today's tennis action, with fans rushing to pick up an autograph. Earlier today on the Rainier III court, Italy's Fabio Fognini defeated Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech 7-5 4-6 6-3. Meanwhile, on the Cour des Princes, the US's Sebastian Korda made a winning start on his debut at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, overcoming Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp in straight sets, 7-5 6-4, to reach the second round. It has been 13 months and two left foot surgeries since Stan Wawrinka has competed in a tour-level event, and the former World No. 3 was back at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters today. Wawrinka won the first set against Alexander Bublik, but the Kazakh fought back to win 3-6 7-5 6-2, eliminating Wawrinka from the tournament at the first round. Finally, Argentine Diego Schwartzman defeated Karen Khachanov to make it through to the next round in an epic three-hour match that ended 6-7 6-3 6-3.

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