Evening Update Thursday 1st June 2023

A decree banning the use of electric bikes and scooters in certain parts of Nice city centre over the summer comes into force today. It applies to the Rue Masséna, Place Masséna, the old town, Avenue Jean Médecin and pedestrian areas of the Promenade des Anglais. Anyone using a motorised device, such as hoverboards and electric scooters or bikes, in the affected area faces a €38 fine. The decree applies for the length of the summer season. The city of Nice will decide in September whether it should be extended.

A man in Marseille has been injured after being shot during an altercation in a bar in the city's fourth arrondissement. After an argument, the suspect left the bar, only to return shortly afterwards with a loaded shotgun. The victim was injured in the leg and is not said to be in a life-threatening condition. Police arrested a suspect in possession of a gun and he was taken into custody.

An appeal for witnesses following the tragic death of a young woman who fell while clinging to the outside of a high-speed train in the Var has resulted in several people coming forward with useful information. 24-year-old Maëva had briefly got off the TGV at Saint-Raphaël station, the weekend before last, and didn't make it back onboard in time before the train set off. In a panic, she jumped on to the outside of the train and fell to her death a few kilometres further in the Esterel. A number of passengers who were present at Saint-Raphaël station at the time have come forward to help investigators, who are trying to piece together whether SNCF staff at the station saw what happened and could have prevented the tragedy from occurring. The young woman's family are planning to take legal action against the SNCF.  Meanwhile, investigators are still trying to track down the victim's luggage, an orange suitcase which she had left on the train. Her parents are keen to retrieve it, including her laptop, which contains music that she had written and performed, but as yet there are no signs of it.

In what's likely to have been the busiest week of the year at Nice Côte d'Azur airport, security guards have collected a record amount of banned products from passengers' baggage. A tonne of confiscated products have been taken away from passengers in recent days and donated to the charity les Restos du Coeur. Liquids in containers larger than 100ml are banned - and the donated items include hygiene products such as shampoo and shower gel, but also food items such as jars of jam and local produce including olive oil and tapenade. Confiscated items from Nice airport have been routinely donated to the Restos du Coeur for the past year. In an average week, the charity picks up somewhere between 600 and 700 kilos of items - but that figure has soared in the past week due to the large number of people passing through the airport for the Monaco grand prix and the Cannes film festival.

With 100 days to go before the start of the Rugby World Cup, hotels in Nice have reported strong booking levels. Tourism professionals on the Riviera say hotel occupancy currently stands around the 70% mark for the evening of the match between England and Japan, on Sunday 17th September, with similar booking levels for the Wales-Portugal match in Nice. Nice will also be the venue for Italy-Uruguay on 20th September and Scotland-Tonga on 24th September. The World Cup runs from 8th September to 28th October, in nine French cities, including Nice and Marseille. The South African squad have chosen Toulon for their base during the tournament, while the Scottish team will be staying in Nice.

Meanwhile, the return of the Formula 1 Fan Zone during last weekend's Monaco grand prix appears to have had a positive effect on local businesses. The Fan Zone had been absent from the Place d'Armes for the past two years. After a relatively quiet start last Thursday and Friday, several local shops, cafes and restaurants around La Condamine have reported good results over the weekend.

Monaco's oldest high-rise apartment block is to undergo a complete renovation at a cost of €170 million. The 17-storey Schuylkill overlooks the port of Monaco, on the Boulevard de Suisse, and was built in the 1960s. It's showing signs of age and will receive a top-to-bottom renovation, inside and out, over a four-year period to bring it up to modern standards. The top three floors will be demolished and rebuilt again. The works are due to begin next spring.

And American burger chain Five Guys has announced it will be opening a second restaurant on the Riviera, this time in Cannes. Five Guys is already present at Cap 3000 in Saint-Laurent-du-Var. The Cannes branch will open in the Cineum complex at La Bocca and has begun recruiting staff. The fast-food outlet, whose fans reportedly include former US president Barack Obama, expanded into France in 2016 and now has 26 French outlets.


The US and Taiwan are signing a new trade deal today as tensions with China rise. It will be the first agreement under a framework for talks between Washington and Taipei called the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade. The framework aims to strengthen economic ties between Washington and Taipei and open Taiwan to more US exports. The announcement comes ahead of a high-level global security summit in Singapore this weekend. In recent years, the relationship between the US and China has become increasingly strained.

And in the UK there are now more non-EU than EU workers in a number of sectors that were previously reliant on European citizens, demonstrating the Brexit effect and the impact of international events on immigration patterns. Analysis by The Guardian newspaper shows that the number of non-EU workers surpassed their EU counterparts for the first time in 2022, at an average of 2.7 million against 2.5 million workers last year. It also shows that various sectors which once relied on EU workers – such as accommodation and food services, admin, and wholesale, retail and vehicle repair – have shifted towards non-EU and British employees. Other sectors such as agriculture, forestry and fishing still depend on EU workers, but have witnessed changes. The proportion of non-EU workers has risen to 6%, compared with 2% in 2019 and 1% before the Brexit referendum.


Football - Jose Mourinho furiously confronted referee Anthony Taylor in the car park following Roma's Europa League final defeat to Sevilla last night. Sevilla won on penalties to condemn Mourinho to his first defeat in a European final after an ill-tempered match which saw British referee Taylor dishing out 14 yellow cards, the most ever in a Europa League game, and playing almost 30 minutes of stoppage time in total. After the game footage - which has been shared widely on social media - showed Mourinho directing a string of expletives towards the officials in the car park, labelling their performance a disgrace. UEFA are waiting on the referee's match report before deciding whether to take any action against Mourinho.

Rugby Union - London Irish have been granted a final stay of execution by the Rugby Football Union at the explicit request of the club’s players and staff but the Exiles’ chances of long-term survival are considered slim. Irish have until 6 June to pay the outstanding 50% of the wages of players and staff as well as meet the RFU’s initial demands if they are to avoid suspension from the Premiership. The prospect of the takeover being completed is considered a long shot by insiders, however, and it is understood the extension has been granted primarily in the hope that club employees will at least receive their salaries. Suspension would represent a bleak outcome for Irish, who would join Wasps and Worcester in being ejected from the Premiership in the space of eight months. It would also accelerate plans for a 10-team Premiership, which would be introduced from next season.

Formula 1 - With the Monaco grand prix now over, Formula 1 heads to Barcelona for the Spanish GP this weekend and it could be a pivotal point in the 2023 season. The circuit is arguably the most familiar to the drivers and teams, having regularly played host to testing sessions over the years. Several teams will be running upgrades on their cars this weekend, either for the first time or certainly running them for the first time in representative conditions. Traditionally, Barcelona has not been the happiest of hunting grounds for Red Bull. The team has won there only four times - in 2010, 2011, 2016 and 2022. But Red Bull are unbeaten in 2023 so far.

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