Evening Update Monday 14 February 2022

A massive explosion at a house near Perpignan has taken the lives of seven people, including two children. The blast, which happened around 1.30 this morning also injured up to 20 other victims. As emergency services extinguished the final flames this afternoon, police are following a line of enquiry where arson may have been the cause of the blast.

In Nice, the vaccination centre at the Palais des Expositions has moved to Quai Lunel in the port area from today. People are reminded that to keep your Pass Sanitaire valid, you must receive a booster shot within four months of your second vaccination.

Belgian authorities are attempting to prevent a Freedom Convoy of 1,300 vehicles from travelling to Brussels from Lille in Northern France today. They’re employing border checks and channelling convoys to a parking lot on the outskirts of the city. The Freedom Convoy is similar to the Gilets Jaunes movement of recent years, with people demanding an end to vaccine passes in addition to social demands.   The Belgian Prime Minister told protestors because they had such hard rules during Covid, they don’t have so many anymore. So complain at home’.

Monaco is to launch its first ‘Mona-collect’ scheme where residents can drop off items they want to get rid of, both for waste that cannot be thrown away in conventional containers or for objects which may still be useful. Several charities will collect what can be reused such as clothing, toys, books and small household appliances, while the rest will be sent to recycling or treatment centres. The event takes place on Port Hercule Friday 25th and Saturday 26th of February.
French customs have reported seizing over nine million counterfeit items in 2021, with toys and cosmetics making up a large proportion. With the increase in cigarette prices in France, tobacco smuggling is up also with more than 400 tons of tobacco and cigarettes seized. They come mainly from other European Union countries where tobacco taxation is lower.

A very special couple are celebrating St Valentines Day today in Cannes-la-Bocca. Paul and Louisette, who are 98 and 88 years of age respectively, met through a marriage agency just three years ago. Today they live together at the Arpavi Residence near Cannes. The love birds say they kiss up to 25 times a day, but other physical activities, don’t quite work at their age. However, they do report having the feelings and reactions in the same way.

BUSINESS

The crisis in Ukraine is affecting key stock markets and commodities, with world markets falling up to 3% and crude oil prices hitting a seven-year high of almost $100 a barrel. Russian assets are also retreating with the MoEX Russia index falling 3.4% in trade today.

Blackstone has reached an agreement to take over the Crown Casino chain in Australia. The buyout will cost the US private equity giant AU $9bn, about 10% above its initial offer last year.

UK tax authorities have seized three non-fungible tokens, in what is thought to be the first seizure of NFT’s by UK Revenue. The NFT’s were part of a £1.4m VAT fraud scheme involving three people running 250 fake companies. NFT’s are like certificates of ownership on non-physical virtual assets which allows them to be bought and sold.

SPORT

Winter Olympics - France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron have won Gold in the ice dance this afternoon with a world-record score. The French pair scored a world-record total of 226.98, more than six marks clear of world champions. 

The World Anti-Doping Agency has said it’s disappointed with the decision to allow Russian ice skater Kamila Valieva to compete in Beijing this week. Despite testing positive for a banned substance on Christmas Day, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said, age and issues around timing of the test result announcement, were reasons for its ruling. Valieva will compete in tomorrows figure skating competition where she is favourite to win gold.

Also tomorrow, UK freestyle skiers Kirsty Muir and Katie Summerhayes will try to win Team GB's first medal after qualifying for the slope-style final. The original qualifications had to be rescheduled after heavy snowfall and poor visibility on Sunday.

Basketball - AS Monaco suffered another frustrating last minute defeat in Lyon, losing by just a few overtime points 87-79. However, if they can find the golden-touch that saw them win 10 of their previous 13 games, the Roca team are still in a strong position to reach the play-offs in the Betclic Elite.

American Football - The Los Angeles Rams scored a late touchdown to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in yesterday’s Super Bowl. The Bengals were favourites to win their first Super Bowl, just two years after being the NFL's worst team. The win for the Los Angeles Rams, makes them just the second team to win a Super Bowl in their home stadium.

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