Evening Update Thursday 11 May 2023

Water restrictions are to come into force in Monaco with immediate effect starting this weekend. It will mean a limit on the cleaning of roads and streets. For private persons, the watering of plants and lawns will be prohibited from 08:00am until 8:00pm daily, as will the washing of boats, both private and professional. Monaco has five water sources of its own but imports much of its water from the neighbouring Alpes-Maritimes. Speaking today, Minster of State Pierre Dartout said we are now living with the consequences of global warming.

Emergency services are clearing up after a massive explosion in the centre of Milan, injuring four people, with domino explosions destroying cars & buildings on a city street. The Mayor of Milan has ruled out foul play, saying the blast was caused by a van carrying oxygen cylinders that caught fire.

In Nice, a 30-year-old man is on trial for the rape and attempted murder of a woman at the Promenade des Arts carpark near the Old Town. The events took place after Fete de la Musique in 2019 when the couple returned to the woman's car. When she refused the man's advances, he attacked her until police arrived and he was arrested ‘in flagrante delicto’. The man claims no memory of the event as he was intoxicated. Today the public prosecutor has asked the court to impose a minimum 20-year prison sentence.

The Carton Hotel in Cannes and security company BSL have each been ordered by the commercial court to pay €7.7m in connection with the so-called ‘heist of the century’. It happened in 2013 when a man stole €103 million euros worth of jewellery from an exhibition and sale being held at the hotel. The case was taken by the jewellers' insurance company, Lloyds of London. Neither the thief nor the jewels have been seen since the robbery.

Surveillance drones have been approved to monitor the border with Italy for illegal migrants.  The prefecture of Alpes Maritimes approved the move today, saying the drones would patrol four areas from the bord de la mer at Menton right up to Breil-sur-Roya.

80% of French people have had to cut back on spending in recent months due to inflation. A new survey from Elabe Institute says 49% have given up ‘nights out’ to the cinema or bars, 45% have not taken a weekend break and in the weekly shop, many people are cutting back on buying meat and fish with a tendency to buy cheaper products or smaller quantities.

Families of middle and high school students will not have to take any formal steps to claim a grant or scholarship from the start of the 2024 school year. The grants will be awarded to eligible families automatically as part of a drive to simply administrative and public services in France.

In Monaco, a man was in court today charged with money laundering, after being found carrying cash and casino chips worth almost €14,000. Taking amounts over €10,000 into Monaco without declaring it, is illegal.  The man explained he was a car salesman from Ukraine, where you can trade in vehicles without declarations. He said he was unaware of this rule and that is why he had no paperwork to prove where the money came from. The man's defence argued that the money was in the form of casino chips, which are not considered cash under Monegasque law. The court agreed with the defence and acquitted the man of all charges. The defendant thanked the court for explaining the rules to him and said the next time he would be more careful.

Business

In the UK, the Bank of England has raised it rate another quarter of one per cent, to sit at 4.5%, its highest rate in 15 years. However, the Banks chairman said he did not expect the UK to slide into recession. The value of sterling was little changed by the increase which was widely expected.

Sales at luxury group Prada have risen 22% in the first quarter of the year to top €1 billion euro. However, in the Americas, where other luxury groups had already flagged a slowdown, retail sales were up just 5%.

The standoff over the US debt ceiling is overshadowing the G7 meeting in Japan, heightening recession fears in the US. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is expected to face questions from her G7 counterparts on how Washington will prevent turbulence in financial markets, already jittery after the recent failure of three US banks. Today, another American bank is under pressure after it said deposits had declined 9.5% during the week of May 5th. Shares in Pacific Western Bank are down 20% in premarket trading today, after a previous 40% drop this month and more than 70% for the year.

Sport

Tennis - Andy Murray is to make a decision with his team over the next few days about whether to play in the French Open or not. The former champion was knocked out of the Italian Open yesterday by Fabio Fognini from San Remo, after a three-set battle lasting nearly three hours.

Organisers of the Madrid Open have apologised for their ‘unacceptable decision’ not to allow women's doubles finalists to make presentation speeches. They gave no explanation as to why that decision was taken. Yesterday, one of the women players involved, Jessica Pegula criticised organisers by asking ‘what century were they living in’.

Football - José Mourinho has denied rumours over a possible move from Roma to Paris St Germain. Current manager Christophe Galtier is expected to leave the club at the end of the season, but only if the right candidate can be brought in to replace him. Meanwhile, a slight change of ownership could be on the cards as PSG are opening the door to outside investment. It's believed three parties are interested in taking a 5 to 15% stake in the €4 billion euro club.

Figure Skating - Hungary has withdrawn from hosting next January’s European Figure Skating Championships in Budapest. The Hungarian Federation said this was due to the war in Ukraine, its impact on the economy and energy prices.

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