Evening Update Thursday 23 February 2023

The Mayor of Nice says he is considering legal action against the company causing traffic chaos throughout the city today with a convoy of out-sized trucks. The six semi-trailers, which arrived in Nice this morning, had been delayed on their journey from Spain to Monaco. As they are restricted from travelling during daytime hours, the six have parked, taking up an entire lane of the Promenade des Anglais at the airport. Mayor Christian Estrosi said a government rule from 1957 means the convoy must use the Promenade and not the A8 to traverse the city. A government rule that the mayor said, needs to change.

A minute’s silence was observed at 3pm this afternoon in schools across France in memory of Agnès Lassalle, the 53-year-old teacher murdered in her school classroom by one of her students yesterday. Colleagues have described her as a dedicated teacher who spent all her energy on her students. Her 16-year-old assailant remains in police custody claiming voices in his head made him do it. Pupils in the classroom who witnessed the murder are being taken care of by a specialised psychological unit.

Police are investigating a familicide in Clermont-Ferrand after the bodies of a 53-year-old man and his 7-year-old son were found at their house in Puy-de-Dôme yesterday. It’s believed the man's wife died from an illness a year ago. The bodies were discovered by another child in the family, a teenager. It’s thought the father committed murder before hanging himself.

A motorcyclist in his thirties is recovering in Pasteur Hospital after a serious accident on the A8 at Villeneuve-Loubet this morning. The accident happened around 8.30 this morning on the west side of the autoroute heading toward Aix-en-Provence. The driver of the car is being treated for shock at hospital in Antibes.

Nice football fans have been on social media today expressing anger over the cost of tickets for the derby match against AS Monaco this Sunday. They say the tickets are double what they have been in the past. The lowest-priced ticket is €55, up from €20 previously, with children's tickets at €40. Monaco, however, said it was simply following market rules, with the price of tickets against Nice set at the same level as those for a match against PSG or Marseille. AS Monaco has also doubled the number of tickets available to Nice supporters, from the 5% of capacity stipulated by Ligue 1 regulations to 2,000.

Water in private swimming pools could face restrictions as ministers meet today to discuss a potential drought crisis being caused by the unseasonably dry winter. No rain has fallen anywhere in France in over a month, making this the driest winter since 1959. Restrictive measures are expected from March in order to deal with the drought ahead of the summer. Several departments are already subject to water restrictions such as the Pyrénées-Orientales, the Var, the Bouches-du-Rhône and the Isère.

BUSINESS

Qantas has announced half-year profits of more than $1.4bn Australian dollars. It’s a dramatic turnaround of the airline's fortunes since last year when it lost almost half a billion. CEO Alan Joyce said revenue had tripled for the six months to the end of December, thanks to an easing of pandemic travel restrictions, higher airfares and cost-cutting.

Mercedes-Benz has announced a partnership with Google on navigation, which will offer super-computer-like performance in every Mercedes with automated driving sensors. The German carmaker has also agreed to a revenue share with Nvidia to bring down the upfront cost of expensive high-powered computer chips.

In crypto news, a bid by Binance to buy the defunct crypto lender Voyager is being opposed by the SEC, who are concerned about investigations into the crypto exchange. These include New York’s financial regulator accusing Voyager of illegally operating a virtual currency business within the state without a license, and a Justice Department investigation into Binance itself, for possible money laundering and sanctions violations.

SPORT

Football - AS Monaco’s Europa League play-off with Bayer Leverkusen promises to be an absolute cracker tonight!  After a dramatic 2-3 loss to Monaco at home in the first leg, the Germans really need to fire things up, to turn things around. But they have a battle on their hands, as Monaco is full of confidence after winning their last five games. The match will be an exciting one, and a home win for Monaco will make it a great night out for those of us who will be in Stade Louis II tonight.  Kick-off in Monaco is at 6.45 (in ten minutes)

Formula 1 - Pre-season testing has got underway with ten teams hitting the track today in Bahrain.  There was fresh optimism in new cars, but it was Red Bull and Ferrari who traded the fastest times before Verstappen cemented his advantage with a pace that was significantly faster than last year. This year’s season gets underway next week, with the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on March 5th.

Rugby - Now the threat of strike action is off Saturdays Six Nations clash in Cardiff, Wales has announced nine changes in their team to face England. They include Mason Grady making his international debut and Owen Williams who will start his first test at number 10, as part of a new-look Welsh midfield.

Tennis - Andy Murray has beaten Alexander Zverev to put him into the quarter-finals at the Qatar Open. After an absorbing three-hour match, the Scottish player beat Monaco based Zverev 7-6 2-6 7-5. In tomorrow's quarter-final, Murray will meet up-and-coming French star, 26-year-old Alexandre Muller.

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