Evening Update Thursday 22nd February 2024

The Riviera ski resort of Roubion has announced it will not be able to open at all this season, because of the effects of climate change. Roubion was named in a recent report by France's auditor, the Cour des Comptes, as one of the 10 most vulnerable ski destinations in France. This weekend is one of the busiest for ski holidays, with the Paris half-term fortnight coming to an end and schools in the Paca region starting their break. The mayor of Roubion says it's unfortunate that the resort is unable to open - and about 30 local jobs are affected, directly or indirectly. During winter peaks in earlier years, up to 15,000 people came to the resort to ski.

Meanwhile, Isola 2000 ski resort has warned visitors of an increased risk of accidents because of the poor quality of this season's snow. Mild temperatures mean the snow melts during the day and freezes again overnight. Mountain rescue experts say this provides less cushioning in the event of a fall and they strongly recommend wearing a helmet. The relative lack of snow also means that skiers are more concentrated in certain areas, increasing the risk of collisions.

A moped driver has been charged with manslaughter after his passenger died in a crash in Cannes earlier this month. The 125cc scooter, with two people on-board, was seen zigzagging its way along the Boulevard Carnot late at night, when the driver lost control and violently hit the curb, with the scooter skidding on its side. The passenger's helmet came off in the impact and firefighters were unable to resuscitate her. The driver, a man in his 60s, tested positive for alcohol and suffered back injuries. He left hospital last week and was immediately placed in police custody before being released under judicial supervision. He'll appear in court shortly to answer the manslaughter charge and in the meantime is banned from driving any vehicle.

A juvenile court in Grasse has convicted two teenagers for making anti-Semitic and homophobic chants in the Paris metro. The two 17-year-olds, from Cagnes-sur-Mer, were visiting family in the capital for the Toussaint holidays and were among a group of eight young people arrested following the incident, which one of them filmed. Their sentencing has been postponed until September. The other suspects, the youngest of whom is 11 years old, have yet to stand trial.

A study by the European Commission has named Marseille as one of the dirtiest and most dangerous cities in Europe. The study, based on a poll of more than 800 residents in 80 European cities, puts Marseille third-worst for cleanliness behind Palermo and Rome. Paris came eighth-worst for hygiene. Marseille also came third-worst for safety. Just four in 10 respondents said they felt safe when walking at night, behind Athens and Rome. This compares with almost nine in 10 in Copenhagen, which achieved the best score for safety. Marseille residents taking part in the survey also said they were dissatisfied with access to green spaces. However, it came within the top 10 of European cities where people walk the most each day.

A burglar has been jailed for 20 months after stealing €400,000 of goods from a villa in Nice - and then apologising to its owner as he fled. The 31-year-old had loaded his car with cash, jewellery and designer clothing and was driving off just as the victim of the burglary returned home. He wound down his car window, said sorry, and then sped off. CCTV footage made it possible to retrace his route and stolen goods and weapons were found during a search of his home. The burglary occurred late at night last October on the Avenue du Dauphiné in Nice. Speaking in court, the defendant said he has no recollection of what happened and had been under the influence of drink and drugs.

And organisers of the Monte-Carlo Masters tennis tournament have unveiled further details of this spring's forthcoming 117th edition. Among the new features this year is a new catering area called Break Point and the ability to order food and drink from your seat using a QR code, to be picked up during a particular time slot. The grandstands have been slightly raised to offer visitors a better view. The tournament runs from 6th to 14th April. One match per day, including the final, will be shown on free-to-air television thanks to a partnership with France Télévisions, with the rest of the games shown on Eurosport. Tickets for all the games on the Cour Rainier III and the Cour des Princes are already sold out - although a handful of tickets have been kept aside and will be made available each day from the box office. A few hundred tickets remain on sale for the opening weekend. Last year's tournament saw record attendance, with 140,000 people over eight days.

BUSINESS

Japan's main stock index has hit an all-time closing high, surpassing the previous record set 34 years ago. The Nikkei 225 rose 2.19% on Thursday to end the trading day at 39,098. That topped the previous record closing high of 38,915 set on 29 December 1989, the last day of trading that decade. Asian technology shares were boosted after US chip giant Nvidia revealed strong earnings, driven by demand for its artificial intelligence processors. Global investors are returning to the benchmark index thanks to strong company earnings, even as the country's economy has fallen into a recession. The weakness of the Japanese currency has also helped to boost share prices of Japan's exporters as it makes their products cheaper in overseas markets.

Social media firm X (formerly Twitter) has admitted to taking down accounts and posts related to the ongoing farmers' protests in India. The site has claimed it took down the pages after the Indian government sent them "executive orders". The orders were "subject to potential penalties, including imprisonment", X said in a statement, adding that it "disagreed with these actions". Several activists had earlier complained about their posts being removed.

SPORT

Football - A court in Spain has found former Barcelona and Brazil footballer Dani Alves guilty of raping a woman in a Barcelona nightclub. He has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison. The 40-year-old, who is one of the most decorated footballers in history, had denied sexually assaulting the woman on New Year's Eve in 2022. His lawyer had asked for him to be acquitted and Alves can appeal against the sentence.

Cricket - England have named Ollie Robinson and Shoaib Bashir in their side for the fourth Test against India. The tourists have once again picked two seamers, with Robinson coming in for Mark Wood, while off-spinner Bashir is recalled for leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed. Captain Ben Stokes did not confirm whether he will bowl in a Test for the first time since July following surgery on his left knee in November. India lead 2-1, meaning England must avoid defeat to keep the series alive.

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