Evening Update Monday 4th December 2023

A series of police raids in Nice old town in the early hours of this morning have led to 15 arrests. Judicial police with sniffer dogs raided several apartments in a single block of flats on Rue Pont-Vieux before dawn. The arrests were reportedly made in connection with an ongoing investigation into drug trafficking and recent violence in Les Moulins district of Nice, believed to be a settling of scores between rival drugs gangs. Last Monday, two people were shot and injured at a known drugs dealing point in Les Moulins. They've since been able to leave hospital.

Seven people have been injured and about 20 have had to be rehoused after an apartment building in Marseille partly collapsed. About 80 firefighters were called out after an explosion on the top floor of the building in the city's 4th arrondissement on Saturday evening. Marseille mayor Benoît Payan attended the scene. The remains of the building were demolished on Sunday as it is no longer fit to be lived in. An investigation is under way to determine the cause. The building's residents are being put up in hotels until new accommodation can be found for them. 

A taxi driver in Nantes has been taken into custody after a football fan died in an altercation between Nantes and OGC Nice football supporters this weekend. Several private hire cars transporting Nice supporters to the match reportedly came under attack by Nantes supporters shortly before kick-off on Saturday. The 31-year-old Nantes supporter who died at the scene appears to have suffered a stab wound in the back, according to the Nantes public prosecutor. A murder investigation has been opened. The taxi driver turned himself in to police early on Sunday morning.

Three secondary schools in Nice have been targeted by bomb alerts this morning. Staff at the Vauban, Masséna and Estienne d'Orves lycees received similar threats by email. Only the Lycée Massena was evacuated. An investigation is under way to try to identify who is behind the hoaxes. They risk up to two years in prison and a €30,000 fine.

A man in his 60s has died after appearing to lose control of his car, which flipped on to its side, on the Boulevard du Mercantour in Nice. The incident happened early on Sunday morning between Saint Isidore and Lingostière.

Management at Isola 2000 are anxiously awaiting news about whether the resort will feature in France's final plans to host the 2030 Winter Olympics. Last week, the International Olympics Committee confirmed that France had been retained as the sole candidate to host the event - an application that's been jointly backed by the Paca and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes regions. But, while Isola 2000 featured in the initial plan, L'Equipe newspaper reports that the resort might not feature in the final programme. The IOC is reportedly keen to concentrate the 2030 Winter Games at fewer venues and avoid having events too far from each other - and Isola could be one of the places to miss out as a result. Isola 2000 say they haven't received any official confirmation yet - and the dialogue with the IOC was being carried out by the presidents of each region.

A cross-border taskforce bringing together French and Italian mayors on the Riviera has met for the first time. Mayors from most of the Alpes-Maritimes border towns, including Menton and Tende, met their Italian counterparts in Sanremo to discuss working more closely together. The cross-border co-operation covers several dozen municipalities on either side of the Franco-Italian border, representing a total population of 100,000. Among the topics on the agenda include cross-border transport, the environment and water quality, access to healthcare and better promotion of bilingualism.

A new cycle path has been inaugurated on the main road between Biot and Villeneuve-Loubet railway stations. The two-way path runs alongside the RD6007, over a distance of just over two kilometres. The Alpes-Maritimes department has pledged to invest €55 million in new cycling infrastructure by 2028 - including an additional 84 kilometres of protected bike paths, bringing the total to 320 kilometres.

And more than 500 swimmers have braved the 17°C water for the traditional pre-Christmas dip in the Med at Cros de Cagnes on Sunday morning. The 23rd edition saw participants from four to 84 years old take part - including one family where all three generations joined in. Organisers say this year's turnout - 547 to be precise - is a record.

BUSINESS

The US has unveiled rules aimed at keeping Chinese components out of electric cars sold in the country. The restrictions are tied to government incentives for electric cars made in America. The limits are intended to help build up the industry in America, but critics say they could slow adoption of electric cars. Chinese firms currently produce the vast majority of electric car batteries and the minerals used in them. But some US politicians say over-reliance on Chinese manufacturers is an economic and security risk.

The British business lobbying group the CBI is facing a deadline next September to refinance millions of pounds of funding put in place to avert its collapse during the autumn. Reports suggest that a seven-figure facility put in place with banks will expire at the end of the third quarter next year. The CBI is urging members to swallow a further rise in fees as it battles to regain its former standing among political and business leaders.

And railways in northern England will get an almost £4bn boost to bring faster and more frequent journeys. The UK government has pledged £3.9bn to accelerate the Transpennine Route Upgrade between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds, and York. It has already invested £3bn into the project, which is expected to deliver electrified tracks by the middle of the decade. The announcement comes after the planned HS2 route between Birmingham and Manchester was axed in October.

SPORT

Football - Manchester City striker Erling Haaland has criticised referee Simon Hooper on social media over a controversial decision late in Sunday's dramatic 3-3 draw with Tottenham. The Norway forward was incensed with Hooper after being denied the opportunity to play an advantage in the closing moments of a thrilling Premier League match at Etihad Stadium. Haaland was one of several City players to remonstrate with the official and he continued his protests after the game by reposting a message on X, formerly Twitter. The incident that angered City happened when Haaland was fouled in the fifth minute of stoppage time, managing to regain his footing to swivel and send Jack Grealish clear. Hooper initially appeared to acknowledge the infringement and wave play on, but then blew his whistle to pull play back for a City free-kick. The decision brought protests from the City players and criticism from pundits.

In local football, AS Monaco are third in the Ligue 1 rankings after a 2-0 home win against Montpellier. OGC Nice are second, behind Paris Saint-Germain, despite by a 1-0 defeat at Nantes.

Rugby Union - The former Wales forward Andrew Coombs has said he has been diagnosed with dementia at the age of 39. The former Newport back-row, who won the Six Nations in 2013, issued a lengthy statement on social media. Coombs is one of the 295 retired rugby union players who have brought a legal claim against three of the sport’s governing bodies - World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union - alleging they sustained brain injuries during their careers. Lawyers claim the governing bodies failed to take reasonable steps to protect players from injury caused by repetitive blows and that many have permanent neurological injuries, including early onset dementia and Parkinson’s disease. All 295 players are seeking damages as they argue the governing bodies were negligent and failed in their duty of care.

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