Evening Update Monday 22nd May 2023

Another three people have been shot dead over the weekend in apparent gang-related violence in the suburbs of Marseille. The three victims were in a car when another vehicle pulled alongside it and shots were fired. The three are all said to be men in their mid-twenties. Two other occupants in the car managed to escape uninjured. The Bouches-du-Rhône police chief attended the scene on Sunday morning. Settling of scores between rival gangs, usually in the context of drug trafficking, are on the rise in France's second-biggest city. An investigation has been launched.

A pile-up on the A8 motorway caused about an hour of traffic jams on Sunday morning. The accident involved three cars on the westbound carriageway, just after the junction for Villeneuve-Loubet. The three drivers were taken to hospital in Antibes with minor injuries.

The organisers of the Cannes Film Festival have apologised to a disabled actress, who was turned away from a screening by security guards for dress-code reasons. The 23-year-old woman was told she couldn't attend the screening of Martin Scorsese's 'Killers of the Flower Moon'. Instead of black shoes or boots, she was wearing trainers - for medical reasons - after she suffered a stroke which affects her ability to use her right leg. Festival management say the dress code rules is "obviously not supposed to apply" to people with a disability - and they will be in touch with her to offer a personal apology. They haven't said whether they'll be training security guards to avoid this incident happening again.

In the height of the Cannes film festival, trade union activists have kept up their demonstrations against France's pension reforms - despite a ban on protests within the immediate vicinity of the Palais des Festivals and the Croisette. Somewhere between 200 and 500 demonstrators marched down Boulevard Carnot in Cannes, outside the protest ban perimeter, on Sunday. The préfecture gave police the authorisation to use drones to monitor the procession from above.

Meanwhile, activists from Extinction Rebellion staged a protest on the tarmac at Cannes-Mandelieu airport against the increased use of private jets by the rich and famous jetting into the Cannes film festival. The protestors managed to get a remote-controlled toy car on to the airport grounds, equipped with a smoke bomb and a flag, which they then drove across the runway. The aim was to prevent private jets from taking off or landing. Airport security services were quick to stop the protest.

Elsewhere in Cannes, about 15 activists from the Attac collective held a protest at Port Canto on Saturday, condemning the impact of super-yachts on the environment. They unfurled a banner reading: "Do not let the ultra-rich destroy the planet." Attac said that in the face of climate change, it was not understandable that stars and billionaires are exempting themselves from collective efforts and acting irresponsibly. They said the 40 luxury yachts moored in the port represented 85 tonnes of CO2 emissions per hour. Two demonstrators were arrested and released a few hours later without charge.

A film studio in Nice has been selected as one of the winners to receive a total of €350 million in state support for France's film and video games industries. La Victorine was one of the winning candidates for the state aid, with the announcement of the winners timed to coincide with the Cannes film festival. ESRA audiovisual school in Nice and a local video games school, Isart, also made the winners' list. Across France, 68 film and animation studios, video games makers, training establishments and special effects and post-production studios will receive funding. It's part of a broader plan, called France 2030, to boost the country's economy, which included about €1 billion set aside for culture. According to the French government, every euro invested in shooting and making a film in France generates almost €8 in economic benefits.

And waiters at cafes and restaurants in Nice have competed in a 2km race through the old town, while trying not to drop a tray full of drinks. Running is forbidden and any toppled drink leads to instant disqualification. The winner in the men's category was the owner of the Café Noir in Nice old town. He completed the course in 10 minutes and wins his weight in beer, which he says he'll share with his colleagues and regulars. In the women's category, a waitress from Oscar restaurant on Rue Masséna was first over the line.

BUSINESS

UK and US regulators were told of a state-led drive to "rig" interest rates in the 2008 financial crisis, but covered it up, evidence indicates. Documents suggest lenders sharply dropped their interest rate estimates after pressure from central banks. Evidence was not shown to juries where bankers were jailed for smaller-scale interest rate "rigging". Regulators said they had followed disclosure rules, declined to comment or in one case rebutted the claims. At the height of the 2008 financial crisis, when bank lending had almost ground to a halt, central banks around the world urged calm. But behind the scenes, the investigation reveals evidence that they were pulling levers to restore calm artificially - measures which would later be ruled to be against the law in the UK.

President Joe Biden and top Republican Kevin McCarthy have spoken on the phone, in a change of tone in stalled talks on lifting the US debt ceiling. Mr Biden told reporters the call "went well" and the two would talk again on Monday, as he arrived back at the White House from the G7 summit in Japan. The two sides remain at odds over budget cuts demanded by the Republicans as a condition for raising the ceiling. Failure to do so by June could result in the US defaulting on its debt. That would mean the federal government could not borrow more money or pay all its bills. The Treasury Department has warned that a default could begin on 1 June. Such an outcome would cause chaos in financial markets and lead to further rises in interest rates.

John Allan is stepping down as chairman of Tesco following allegations over his conduct. Mr Allan, who is also a former president of the CBI business lobby group, has strongly denied three of four claims made against him. However, board member Byron Grote, who will temporarily replace Mr Allan as chairman, said: "These allegations risk becoming a distraction to Tesco." Tesco said it had made "no findings of wrongdoing". Mr Allan will leave Tesco in June after eight years in the role.

SPORT

Golf - A resurgent Brooks Koepka held off Scottie Scheffler and Viktor Hovland to claim his third US PGA Championship title at Oak Hill in New York state. Koepka, 33, carded a three-under 67 to win his fifth major on nine under, two shots clear of Scheffler and Hovland. Scheffler, who returns to world number one, hit a 65 to get to seven under, while Hovland - who had a double bogey on the 16th - shot a two-under 68. Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy carded a 69 to end joint seventh on two under.

Tennis - Britain's Andy Murray has withdrawn from the French Open to prioritise the grass-court season in the build-up to Wimbledon. Murray, 36, has only played at Roland Garros once since 2017. The three-time Grand Slam champion won the clay-court Challenger event in Aix-en-Provence in May but has struggled for consistency on the surface. The French Open, the second Grand Slam of the year, takes place from 28 May to 11 June. Murray lost to long-time rival Stan Wawrinka in Bordeaux last week and also had early exits at the ATP Tour events in Rome, Madrid and Monte Carlo.

Football - Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior said "La Liga belongs to racists" after being subjected to racist chants at Valencia. The 22-year-old was dismissed for violent conduct on 97 minutes after an altercation with Hugo Duro. Earlier in the game, Vinicius attempted to bring a Valencia fan to the referee's attention. In a statement, La Liga said it has been "fighting against this kind of behaviour for years, as well as promoting the positive values of sport, not only on the field of play, but also off it". The Brazil forward has been the subject of racist abuse numerous times this season in La Liga.

Olympics - French Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra has revealed that she expects around 400,000 spectators to attend the Opening Ceremony of next year’s Olympics in Paris free of charge - 100,000 fewer than had previously been planned. Oudéa-Castéra revealed the revised figure when questioned over the price of tickets by the Finance Commission at the French National Assembly. Paris 2024 organisers had proposed to stage the Opening Ceremony in front of 600,000 spectators after revealing that the event would be held on the River Seine rather than in a stadium. Under those plans, 500,000 seats on the high quays above the river from Pont d’Austerlitz to Pont d’Iéna would be free to the public, while the other 100,000 would be for ticket holders. But the figure for free access looks set to be reduced as the French Government aims to finalise plans for the spectacle on the River Seine.

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