Evening Update Thursday 15th February 2024

A gardener has gone on trial accused of the attempted murder of an Australian man and his son at their home in 2020. The 45-year-old was working as the property manager at an estate in Vallauris, which the family were renting during the coronavirus shutdown. Prosecutors say that, while under the influence of cocaine and alcohol, the gardener launched an unprovoked attack on the father and his son in a fit of madness, leaving the young boy in intensive care for a month. The suspect says he has no memory of the alleged attacks. A verdict is expected tomorrow.

Three people have been jailed for between nine and 18 months after police uncovered a lucrative drug trafficking network around Cagnes-sur-Mer. An anonymous tip-off led to police finding four kilos of cannabis resin and about €600 in cash at a property on the Chemin des Canebiers. A 27-year-old man from Nice, believed to be the ringleader in the operation, has been jailed for 18 months and fined €5,000. One accomplice was also sentenced to 18 months behind bars and a €2,000 fine. A second accomplice will spend nine months under house arrest with an electronic tag and has been fined €5,000.

The director of Gassin hospital in the Var says he's hopeful that its accident and emergency department will finally be able to reopen 24/7. The Gassin A&E ward has been closed at night for the past five months due to a shortage of emergency doctors. The Force Ouvrière trade union says it's been sounding the alarm about dangerous levels of short-staffing at the hospital for years.

Staff at the Habitat store in Monaco, which has been in liquidation since the new year, have finally received their December pay packet. The store has been closed since late November and seven employees have been waiting anxiously for their back-pay and to find out what happens next. The staff have now received formal confirmation that their employment will be terminated, with a notice period expiring at the end of March. The formal notice means they can now finally start to search for another job. They've yet to be paid for January. Habitat Monaco's assets will be auctioned off, at a date yet to be confirmed.

The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, says the SNCF should call back retired train conductors to fill in for their striking colleagues this weekend. A controllers' strike begins this evening at 8pm and runs until 8am on Monday. Estrosi accused unions of sabotaging the half-term holidays and putting the travel plans of millions in jeopardy. He said retired controllers, other SNCF personnel, army reservists, police and gendarmes should be called in to provide reinforcement. But being a train controller is a specialised job, which requires extensive safety training and route knowledge. The majority of trains in France cannot be operated without a second staff member on board for safety reasons.

Two Rottweilers who were taken away from their owner after biting a jogger have been allowed to return home after a legal challenge. Authorities in Draguignan seized the two dogs in January last year after they escaped from their home and attacked a runner. Their owner hired a solicitor specialising in animal law, who successfully pleaded in court that Draguignan had failed to follow correct procedures and regulations. The lawyer said the Rottweilers should have been handed over to a rescue shelter or animal protection association. Instead, they were placed with a private individual - and concerns were raised about the conditions in which they were being kept. A court in Toulon ordered Draguignan town council to pay €2,000 in damages to the dogs' owner and hand back the animals immediately, or face further penalties of €500 per day.

Farmers in the Var have set up a fresh produce market immediately in front of a hypermarket in Draguignan to protest about low pay and unfair competition. About 40 fruit and veg producers set up their stalls by the entrance to the Carrefour store in the Salamandrier district yesterday to raise awareness among customers.

The relatives of a man who left his entire fortune to the Var town in which he lived - and not his family - are taking legal action to try to have the will declared null and void. Robert Debeausse, a retired businessman, left his €9 million estate, including a seafront villa, to the town of Le Pradet when he died last August at the age of 93. A previous version of his will, drafted in 2020, said his wealth should be shared among his son and grandchildren. By 2021, his family say he had become increasingly isolated, forgetful and had difficulty hearing and moving around by himself. A revised version of his will, drafted without his family's knowledge, names Le Pradet as the sole benefactor. The town council has yet to decide whether to accept the legacy. It says it won't make a decision until the family's legal appeal is heard in court.

And a man's been questioned by police on suspicion of stealing an ambulance to get home from Antibes hospital on New Year's Eve. The man, from Cagnes-sur-Mer, was taken to A&E after a suspected overdose on medication. When he was discharged, he asked an ambulance driver for a lift home. And when they refused, it's claimed he took matters into his own hands and drove off by himself without anyone noticing. Ambulance crew noticed the missing vehicle a few hours later. The hospital's CCTV footage failed to capture what happened. The ambulance was found near Cagnes-sur-Mer station with two flat tyres. Questioned by police yesterday, the suspect says he has no recollection of what happened. He says it's possible he could be the perpetrator and apologised if so, offering to pay for any damage caused.


The UK fell into recession during the final three months of last year, official figures show, after the economy shrank by more than expected. Gross domestic product - a key measure of economic activity - dropped by 0.3% between October and December. That follows a fall between July and September. The UK is considered to be in recession if GDP falls for two successive three-month periods. The figure will be a blow for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Growing the economy was one of five pledges he made in January 2023. Meanwhile, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is less than three weeks away from unveiling his latest Budget.

Elon Musk's rocket company SpaceX has moved its state of incorporation to Texas from Delaware. The move comes after a Delaware judge ruled last month in favour of Tesla investors who had launched a lawsuit to challenge Musk’s $56bn pay package as excessive. Musk, who is also CEO of Tesla, said earlier this month that he would hold a shareholder vote to move Tesla’s state of incorporation to Texas as well.


Football - Crystal Palace are set to sack manager Roy Hodgson, with former Eintracht Frankfurt boss Oliver Glasner a strong favourite to take the job. The Eagles are currently 15th in the Premier League table and are five points above the relegation zone. Hodgson took charge of his 200th match as Palace manager earlier this week but his side were beaten 3-1 at Selhurst Park by Chelsea. Palace face Everton at Goodison Park in the Premier League on Monday. Palace have won three league games since their victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford in September and have lost 10 of their past 16 top-flight matches.

Manchester United have approached Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth about joining the club. Ashworth has a long-standing relationship with Ineos head of sport Sir Dave Brailsford. Talks over compensation are yet to take place between the two clubs. If a deal is agreed, it would be another significant move by Ineos, whose 25% ownership of Manchester United is set to be confirmed early next week.

Cricket - Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja both struck centuries to take India to 326-5 after England made a stunning start to the first day of the third Test. England are yet to bat. This is shaping up to be another compelling contest in a series perfectly poised at 1-1.

Golf - Tiger Woods says he is "pain-free" as he prepares for his first PGA Tour event of 2024 at the Genesis Invitational, which starts today. But the 15-time major champion added he is still adapting after the ankle surgery he underwent in April 2023. Woods' schedule has been limited since injuring his leg in a car crash in 2021 and he last played in December.

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