Evening Update Monday 20 February 2023

Soaring food prices in France should ease by summer according to Minister for the Economy Bruno le Marie. The minister made the comments while speaking about ‘red march’.  This is the month in France when major supermarkets change prices, after making annual supply deals with major food manufacturers. Negotiations between supermarkets and suppliers, which must be concluded no later than March 1st, are traditionally tense but are even more so this year with inflation, rocketing energy costs and war in Ukraine. The Minister said he will speaking to the relevant parties in the coming days but he did not expect ‘red march’ to be drastic, as a growth cycle is expected this year which will dull inflation.

Sexist behaviour or sexual violence has been experienced or witnessed by 58% of passengers on TER trains in the Alpes-Maritimes. This comes from a survey of over 1,200 train users by the department. In response, a new publicity campaign is to launch next month on the ZOU network, Lignes d'Azur, Envibus, Sillages and Zest Bus. Posters will display messages encouraging passengers to report sexist behaviour with the slogan "Witness today, victim tomorrow".

Another policeman has committed suicide in Toulon. The 50-year-old officer took his life, in his own office, using his service weapon. Suicide is a particular problem within the French forces, with one suicide every four days.

A doctor and two pharmacists have been given stiff sentences for issuing false certificates during the Covid 19 crisis. At the court in Nice, the three were charged with ‘endangering the lives of others’ by issuing 50 negative certs on patients they hadn’t tested. The three each received suspended jail sentences, a ban on practising medicine and fines of several thousand euros.

There will be more direct flights than ever to the US and Canada this year after a route expansion announced today by Nice Cote d’Azur Airport. The cornerstone is a new Delta Airlines daily service to its hub in Atlanta, Georgia. This is in addition to regular flights to Montreal, Toronto and during the summer, up to three flights a day to New York with United, Delta and the all-business class service from French airline La Compangnie. Services to the Gulf are also increased with new services to Riyadh, Kuwait and Bahrain. The changes mean you can now fly directly to over 100 destinations worldwide from Nice.

The Carlton Hotel in Cannes is to officially reopen next month on March 13th. The world-famous hotel on the Croisette has been closed for the last two and half years for extensive renovations costing €350m. They include an extension of two new wings, a swimming pool and a garden, however, the famous façade will remain unchanged. The Carlton Hotel was a central location for the Alfred Hitchcock film To Catch a Thief, where Hollywood star Grace Kelly first met Prince Rainier III. The couple married a year later in Monaco.

BUSINESS

The EU is planning to fast-track new rules for banks holding crypto-assets. This is so the Union can keep with a  globally-agreed deadline set by the Basel Committee of banking regulators. The committee, comprising members from the world's main financial centres, has set a January 2025 deadline for implementing capital requirements for banks' exposures to crypto-assets such as stablecoins and bitcoin.

SPORT

Football - Neymar is recovering today from a kick to the calf, after a thrilling match between Paris St Germain and Lille yesterday. Twenty minutes into the game, PSG were leading 2-0, when three goals from Lille transformed the game and put them ahead 3-2. It was the 87th minute before Kylian Mbappe equalised and a last-minute goal, from the 22-yard line by Lionel Messi, eventually won it for the Parisians. The result puts PSG five points clear at the top of the table.

Meanwhile, the club are in talks with Messi to extend his contract after it expires this summer. There has been reported interest from Saudi Arabia and Barcelona, but no formal offers have been made. It's believed Messi wants to stay in the elite of European football until at least 2024.

Also in League One, seven people were arrested outside yesterday’s match between Toulouse and Olympique Marseille. The match, which was classified as at risk of violence, saw the seven arrested for possession of smoke bombs, theft with violence, use of narcotics and selling counterfeit tickets.

Formula 1 - Honda says it is considering a return to the sport to coincide with the new engine regulations that will be introduced in 2026. Honda officially pulled out of F1 at the end of 2021, although the two Red Bull teams still use its engines. The new engine regulations will see a significant increase in the proportion of power provided by electricity and the use of carbon-neutral synthetic fuels.

Tennis - Novak Djokovic has equalled Steffi Graf's record for most weeks as world number one after today marked his 377th week at the top of the men's rankings. Djokovic has held the record for the most weeks as men's world number one since March 2021.

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