Evening Update Monday 11th March 2024

A man is being treated for serious injuries in hospital after a shooting outside his home in Pégomas on Saturday evening. The victim, in his 30s, was ambushed by seven hooded men as he left the underground car park at his apartment block. They sprayed tear gas and shot him several times by the entrance to his flat, then stole the victim's car to escape. A neighbour who works as a volunteer firefighter gave the man first aid until paramedics arrived. The Grasse public prosecutor's office has opened an investigation into attempted murder.

Environmental activists from several European countries have met in Marseille this weekend for a protest action against the pollution caused by cruise ships on the Mediterranean. Seventeen associations from France, Italy and Spain took part in the demonstration, describing cruise tourism as an "ecological disaster". The protest was organised by a local collective, Stop Croisières, which is campaigning more broadly for an end to excessive mass tourism. The group was behind a blockade of the Wonder of the Seas cruise ship in Marseille port in 2022. 2023 was a record year for cruise ship tourism in Marseille, up 76% in a year with more than four million passengers.

Meanwhile, a major operation is under way to remove dozens of shipwrecks from the bay of Saint-Mandrier and La Seyne-sur-Mer in the Var. A local environmental association has drawn up an inventory of 45 small abandoned sailboats. It says the bay has become an underwater dumping ground. The group says ships frequently run aground in strong winds - and it can take months each time for the wreckage to be cleared. The marine préfecture says the long delay is because a procedure has to be followed to track down the boat's owner and serve them with formal notice before the wreck can be removed. Local authorities in La Seyne say they spend €60,000 each year on removing abandoned ships. The latest clean-up operation began this morning, starting with three large wrecks.

France's new ambassador to Monaco says he's hopeful that French president Emmanuel Macron will make an official visit to the principality later this year. Jean d'Haussonville said there was a strong desire from both sides to make the visit happen. A first visit by Macron to Monaco in 2020 was postponed indefinitely because of the pandemic. A state visit - which involves staying overnight - by a French president hasn't happened since François Mitterrand came to Monaco in 1984. Meanwhile, the Elysée palace is making plans for a state visit by Prince Albert II to Paris in May - the first of its kind since Prince Rainier III was received by General de Gaulle in 1959.

Residents in Nice have reported seeing and hearing an Air Portugal passenger plane flying over Nice at low altitude this weekend. The plane took off from Nice airport shortly after 7pm on Saturday. Instead of following the regular flight path, turning right over the sea, it turned left and flew over Nice city centre and Mont Boron at about 3,500 feet before finally turning towards the Med. The take-off procedure from Nice states that planes must not fly over the city below 5,000 feet unless otherwise instructed by air traffic controllers.

After a slow start to the season, the Riviera's ski resorts have reported excellent levels of snow in recent days, to coincide with the end of the local school half-term holidays. Yesterday, 12 slopes and nine ski lifts were open at Auron. Isola 2000 is accessible again after an avalanche blocked the access road on Sunday. And Gréolières has welcomed more than 1,000 skiers per day, although some visitors reported long queues to hire equipment. Roubion ski resort, which last month warned that it might not open at all this season because of a lack of snow, was ready to welcome visitors this weekend until it was hit by a power cut. The supply was restored yesterday afternoon and management at Roubion hope to be able to open next weekend instead.

And if you know someone looking for a job at the moment, an event in Menton tomorrow is here to help. 500 vacancies will be on offer at the 16th edition of Menton's jobs fair at the Palais de l'Europe, on Tuesday from 10am until 4.30. About 50 employers from a range of sectors will be present, from retail and tourism to construction and finance. There'll also be advice and coaching sessions on starting your own business and improving your CV.

BUSINESS

US investment firm Elliott Advisors has walked away from making a takeover bid for the British electronics retailer Currys after being rejected by the retailer's board "multiple times". It had initially proposed an offer that valued the electricals chain at £700m, and then raised it to £757m. But Currys rebuffed the approaches, stating that they "significantly undervalued" the business. Currys could still receive a bid from China's JD.com, which said last month it was considering an offer for the firm. Currys has more than 800 stores globally and employs 28,000 people. In the UK, it operates about 300 stores with 15,000 staff. Elliott Advisors owns the UK bookseller Waterstones. Shares in Currys were down 11% today on the news.

Bitcoin hit a new record high earlier today, breaking the $71,000 mark. On Monday morning, the cryptocurrency hit $71,209, adding further to a rally from less than $16,000 in late 2022. The price of bitcoin had surged to a record of $68,550 in November 2021 amid euphoria from retail investors – many of whom had received money to help them through the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns. Historically low interest rates were also thought by many economists to have helped drive the price higher.

SPORT

Tennis - Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz has reached the fourth round at Indian Wells with a comfortable straight-set win over Felix Auger-Aliassime. World number two Alcaraz cruised to a 6-2 6-3 victory over the Canadian to set up a meeting with Hungary's Fabian Marozsan in California. Italian third seed Jannik Sinner also progressed in straight sets, beating German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3 6-4. Greek 11th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas beat American Frances Tiafoe 6-3 6-3.

Football - With just one point separating the top three with 10 games to go, the title race has never been closer at this stage of a Premier League season. Arsenal are top, above Liverpool on goal difference, while Manchester City are a point behind in third place. Tottenham took a leap towards Champions League qualification with their 4-0 win at rivals Aston Villa. Spurs remain in fifth, but are now two points behind fourth-placed Villa with a game in hand. At the other end of the table, Sheffield United replace Burnley at the bottom of the Premier League, on goal difference, following the Clarets' draw at West Ham. They both remain 10 points from safety.

And in local football, AS Monaco are third in Ligue 1 after their 1-0 away win at Strasbourg. OGC Nice slip down to sixth in the table following a goal-less draw at home against Clermont.
 

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