Evening Update Thursday 17 February

While on a visit to l’Archet hospital in Nice today, the Minister of Health Oliver Veran has outlined the conditions set by the government, to end the wearing of Covid masks indoors. He said when France reaches a threshold of 1,500 patients in intensive care, masks will no longer be compulsory indoors. He expects the country to hit that level by mid-March. Currently, there are 3,126 people in réanimation across France, 402 of those are in the Alpes-Maritimes.

Also in health news, the Prefecture in the Alpes-Maritimes has called for vigilance, after a diagnosis less than 100km into Italy from the border with France, of a case of African swine fever in a boar. While deadly for animals, the disease is harmless to humans.

Prince Albert of Monaco has received thanks from the Mayor of Ventimellia for the principalities support in rebuilding a bridge over the Roya river, which remains destroyed since Storm Alex in 2020. Mayor Scullino said the mobilization was enduring proof of the friendship that has bound the two areas together for years. Work on rebuilding the bridge is expected to begin in September and cost ten million euro.

Commuters in Antibes and Sophia-Antipolis are advised a strike has been called on the local Envibus network, next Thursday 24th February. The action will affect all routes, except for school busses, between 9am and 4pm.

In international news, France is to withdraw troops from Mali after being involved in the fight against Islamist militants since 2013. In an announcement this morning President Macron said the decision to leave, followed a breakdown in diplomatic relations, amid growing hostility from Mali's governing military junta.

Students looking for seasonal work are invited to Cannes this Saturday, where employers will be looking to meet suitable candidates for summer positions. 28 employers issued 1,432 job offers at the last event in 2020. The event will be held from 9 am to 1 pm at the Gare Maritime this Saturday.

BUSINESS

Pay awarded to Apple boss Tim Cook is being questioned by ISS Institutional Shareholder Services. Mr Cooks pay last year, through shares salary and other costs, amounted to US$99m. In a letter to shareholders, the ISS said there are significant concerns over the design and magnitude of the package, where half of the award lacks performance criteria. Apple is due to hold its annual meeting for shareholders in the first week of March.

Banks insistence on customer usage of smartphone apps has attracted the attention of the Spanish banking regulator. It follows a revolt by older customers, who find using the apps difficult. Madrid has given Spanish banks until the end of the month to address the needs of the elderly. The campaign, called ‘I’m Old But I’m Not Stupid’, has now spread to Germany, where close to 30% of the population are over 60.

SPORT

Formula 1 - Michael Masi has been removed as race director, as a result of the inquiry into the controversial end to last year's World Championship at Abu Dhabi. The enquiry found that Masi failed to correctly apply the rules in a late safety car period, which had a direct impact on the outcome of the title race. The position of race director will now alternate with two people in the role, while extra help will be provided to officials.

Winter Olympics -  Canada have beaten the United States in women’s ice hockey to claim gold and avenge their shootout defeat in Korea four years ago. Canada led 3-0 in the second period and looked on course for a comfortable win, but the USA hit back with two goals late in the final period to ensure a nervy finish! However, Canada held on to win 3-2.

Cycling - The Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var gets underway tomorrow at Saint Raphaël. The 175km first stage course will leave Saint Raphaël at 11.30, travelling out to Saint-Maxime, before heading into the hills toward Le Plan de Castellet. It will finish back on the coast four hours later at La Seyne-sur-Mer. Click here for full map, times and road closures.

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