Evening Update Monday 12th February 2024

A landslide has cut off access to Auron and Isola 2000 ski resorts today. The Route de la Tinée, otherwise known as the route du ski, was completely blocked about 3 kilometres south of Isola village. The landslide happened at 3am this morning and no possible diversion can be put in place. Nice metropolitan authorities have dispatched a geologist to secure the site. A 40-metre stretch of road was covered in several tonnes of debris. 130 students at Jean Franco secondary school in Saint-Etienne-de-Tinée have been unable to attend lessons. The landslide comes at a crucial time for the Mercantour ski resorts. School pupils in the Paris region are currently on half-term holiday and Auron had reported a strong level of hotel bookings this week, after a busy weekend with abundant snowfall.

Meanwhile, a skier was airlifted to hospital after a 10-metre fall at Isola 2000 yesterday. He suffered serious injuries and is being treated at Pasteur 2 hospital in Nice.

Four men have gone on trial over the kidnapping and killing of a man from Valbonne last summer. 50-year-old Christophe Fruchart was a fan and collector of luxury cars and ran a small business trading used vehicles. He was ambushed by a group of men in the underground garage at a residence in Juan-les-Pins where he stored some of his cars. Friends alerted police to his disappearance last June. Blood stains were found in the garage and his body was later found buried in a forest in Gourdon. A post-mortem found he had been hit repeatedly with a baseball bat. Three suspects were arrested soon after his death and have been in custody since last summer. A fourth, who was on the run, was arrested last month. They've been charged with kidnapping, theft in an organised gang and hiding a dead body.

A 25-year-old man is in a critical condition in hospital after being run down by a driver on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. The incident happened around 7.30 on Saturday morning. Suffering from multiple injuries, he was taken by paramedics to the intensive care department at Pasteur 2 hospital. Municipal and national police attended the scene and an investigation is under way.

Sixteen migrants have been rescued from rising water levels after they set up a makeshift camp beside the Paillon river. Almost 40 firefighters and nautical rescue experts were called out on Sunday to evacuate the group, who had been sheltering under a bridge and risked being swept away by the fast-flowing water. They've been put up in temporary accommodation.

Nurses and caregivers have been out on strike today to protest about working conditions and pay. They took part in a go-slow protest around the Centre Administratif in Nice this lunchtime. A similar protest was held earlier today in Marseille.

The Charles III college in Monaco has fully reopened to pupils today, after it was evacuated last week due to potentially toxic vapour in the air. Technicians carrying out maintenance on the swimming pool made a mistake while handling chemicals, causing a reaction which generated chlorine fumes. Several pupils and staff members were treated for breathing difficulty and irritation to the eye. The school was closed for several days while air quality tests were carried out by firefighters.  The results have all come back negative and lessons resumed this morning.

The speed limit on several motorways around Marseille and Aix-en-Provence will be lowered from next week in an attempt to improve air quality, limit noise pollution and reduce the risk of accidents. The A50 between Marseille and Aubagne and the A51 from Marseille to Aix will go from 110 to 90 kilometres per hour.

Nice Airport has announced a €15 million investment in new technology to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. 70 parking spaces for light aircraft, including private jets, that are the furthest away from the terminal buildings will be connected to the terminal's electricity supply. The airport has also pledged to invest in more electric vehicles between now and 2026. The project aims to reduce the airport's carbon footprint by almost 7,000 tonnes per year. About a quarter of the €15 million will come from European Union subsidies.

And this week is your last chance to use one of Nice's iconic Vélos Bleus. From next Tuesday, two new bike-sharing schemes will be operating in the city instead. 1,000 Lime bikes and 1,000 Pony bikes will be available in 12 municipalities within the Nice metropolitan region. They're free-floating, which means they don't have fixed docking stations and can be found using a mobile phone app. Bikes can be hired by the minute, or it's possible to buy a day pass or monthly subscription.


Thousands of jobs are at risk at British retailer The Body Shop, as owners look set to call in administrators. The Body Shop could go into administration as early as this week, leading to store closures, after disappointing trading over Christmas and in early January. The retail chain, which has more than 200 shops, was bought by the pan-European private equity investor Aurelius last November. The Body Shop, known for its ethical trading ethos, dates back almost 50 years.

Heathrow Airport has managed to grow its passenger numbers close to pre-pandemic levels last month. The UK’s largest airport reported this morning that it was used by almost six million passengers last month. That's a 9.4% increase on last year, and not far below the 6.1m in January 2020, just before the pandemic. The weight of cargo handled by the airport rose 20% year-on-year, to 122,000 tonnes.

And US president Joe Biden has launched an attack on food and drink companies who are cutting the size of their products but not the cost. In a video posted ahead of last night’s Super Bowl, Biden pointed out that sports drinks bottles are smaller and consumers are getting fewer crisps in a packet. He said: "Some companies are trying to pull a fast one by shrinking the products little by little and hoping you won’t notice."


Football - The Champions League last 16 begins tomorrow with holders Manchester City away to Danish champions FC Copenhagen. Also tomorrow, Real Madrid are away to RB Leipzig. Arsenal are the only other British club in action, hoping to reach the quarter-finals of Europe's premier competition after a 14-year absence. Barcelona are back in the knockouts after a three-year absence, taking on Napoli who are one of seven clubs in the last 16 who have never won the Champions League or European Cup. On Wednesday, Paris St-Germain and Real Sociedad will meet for the first time in a Uefa competition.

Formula One - Fernando Alonso says Lewis Hamilton's move to Ferrari could turn the Italian team into championship contenders in 2025. Alonso added his "first priority" if he stays in Formula 1 after this year would be his Aston Martin team. The 42-year-old said he had had "no contact" with Mercedes so far. He is reportedly under consideration by the former world champions for Hamilton's seat next year.

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