Evening Update Monday 5th February 2024

Three of the 14 monkeys stolen from a zoo in the Var last month have been found in Marseille. The rare squirrel monkeys went missing from their enclosure at the animal park in La Londe-les-Maures. Gendarmes and volunteers from the SPA animal welfare charity managed to track down one of the animals to an apartment block in Marseille's 9th arrondissement, where a man was keeping the monkey in a cellar. Another raid a few days later resulted in two more being found in the 12th arrondissement. A 20-year-old man has been arrested and questioned by police. A judicial investigation has been opened. The maximum prison sentence for detaining and transporting a protected species in France is seven years.

Two people have been injured - one seriously - after a violent fight broke out in the L'Ariane housing estate in Nice in the early hours of this morning. A 40-year-old man was taken to Pasteur 2 hospital with head injuries and multiple cases of bruising. Another man, aged 22, was also hospitalised with less serious injuries. National and municipal police were on the scene this morning to try to piece together the circumstances.

A man in his 50s has died in a car accident in Touët-sur-Var on Sunday evening. His vehicle ended up on its roof with the driver trapped inside. He suffered a heart attack and couldn't be resuscitated. It's not believed that any other vehicle was involved in the incident.

Meanwhile, a man in his 40s is in a serious condition in hospital after a tractor accident on his property in Villefranche-sur-Mer. Paramedics were called out to the Chemin du Mont Leuze on Friday afternoon. The tractor had overturned and the man was trapped, with multiple injuries. He was taken to Pasteur 2 hospital in Nice.

A school in Villefranche-sur-Mer has been evacuated this morning as a precaution, after several people reported an unusual smell. Pupils and staff were told to leave the Max-Gallo school on the Col de Villefranche shortly after lessons began. A dozen firefighters were sent to the scene to try to determine the origin of the strange odour. Their searches proved inconclusive and after further checks were carried out, everyone was allowed back into the building by mid-morning.

Today marks the 10th anniversary of a freak accident at a shopping mall in Nice, which could have been deadly but miraculously only left two people slightly injured. A 300-square-metre section of the roof at Carrefour Lingostière shopping arcade collapsed on 5th February 2014, injuring two people working in a pharmacy. About 100 firefighters were called out to the scene, including reinforcements from Monaco specialised in searching for people buried under rubble. The shopping centre was able to partially reopen 10 days later, but months of construction work were needed to fully secure the building. No criminal investigation has been opened into the incident.

Management at a supermarket in Nice have begun displaying photos of customers caught shoplifting, in the hope of deterring others. The Super U on the Boulevard de la Madeleine has a poster at the entrance to the store with mugshots of recently caught thieves. Management say they lose €150,000 worth of products to shoplifters each year, with two or three people being caught stealing each day. The faces on the photos are not blurred and the practice is technically illegal. But the shop's owner says it’s working and he plans to continue.

The Draguignan branch of the Restos du Coeur charity is appealing for volunteers to give up one day of their time for a massive donations campaign next month. The group needs 80 volunteers over the weekend of the 1st to 3rd March to be present in local supermarkets and collect food donations from shoppers. Last year's operation saw 15 tonnes of food collected. The Draguignan section of the Restos du Coeur is currently helping about 900 people in need.

With school half-term holidays fast approaching, the Riviera's ski resorts are desperately hoping for snow. Overnight temperatures recently haven't fallen below zero at most of the Mercantour ski resorts. La Colmiane hasn't seen any fresh snow since 10th January - and only half of its 17 slopes are open. Half-term is a crucial period for ski tourism and the first holiday fortnight, for pupils in Paris and the suburbs, begins this Friday. Here on the Riviera, half term begins on 24th February.

And Nice has been named the 13th best town in France to live in, in an eagerly awaited annual league table. The Association of Towns and Villages ranking takes into account almost 200 different criteria including safety, health, public transport and education. In the ranking of towns with more than 2,000 inhabitants, Nice is 13th, Antibes 25th and Cannes 40th. Paris comes in at 103rd and Marseille is 135th. In the ranking of villages with less than 2,000 residents, Théoule-sur-Mer is 12th and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat 44th. For the fourth consecutive year, three towns in the south-west come top of the list - Bayonne, Biarritz and Anglet - followed in fourth place by Angers in the Pays de la Loire.


The boss of Emirates airline has warned Boeing is in the "last chance saloon", saying he had seen a "progressive decline" in its performance. Boeing has come under scrutiny after a panel on a 737 Max 9 passenger jet blew off mid-air last month.
Emirates president Sir Tim Clark is a leading industry figure and the airline is a major Boeing customer. He also told the Financial Times that Emirates would send its engineers to monitor Boeing's production lines.

The UK registered its one millionth electric car last month, despite a big drop in sales. New electric vehicle registrations by private buyers fell by a quarter in January, threatening to undermine the UK's net zero promises.The figures have sparked more calls for tax cuts to boost uptake among buyers.


Cricket - England's series with India is level at 1-1 after a target of 399 to win the second Test proved to be well beyond the tourists. England were bowled out for 292 to lose by 106 runs on an anti-climactic fourth day.

Athletics - Noah Lyles says he wants to win "all the Olympic medals" after setting a personal best in winning the 60m at the Boston Indoor Grand Prix. The American triumphed in 6.44 seconds, the fastest time of 2024 and 0.10 seconds off Christian Coleman's indoor world record.
Lyles, the 100m, 200m and 4x100m world champion, is set to race in all three events at this summer's Paris Olympics.

Golf - Joaquin Niemann beat Sergio Garcia on a dramatic fourth play-off hole that took place in near darkness to win the Mayakoba title in Mexico. The players had been offered the chance to play the fourth play-off hole on Monday, but both agreed to continue despite the rapidly fading light.

In local football at the weekend, OGC Nice are second in the Ligue 1 table behind PSG. Nice had a goalless draw away at Brest, who are third. AS Monaco are fourth in the table after a 1-1 draw at home to Le Havre.

Photo: Luc Viatour/Wikimedia. Licensed under Creative Commons

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