Evening Update Thursday 28th March 2024

Seven people have been questioned by police in a fraud investigation relating to the loss of almost half a million euros by Nice university hospital. The group are accused of invoicing Nice CHU for services that were never carried out, between 2018 and 2022, to the tune of €440,000. The hospital alerted the Nice prosecutor's office in October 2022 after an internal audit of its accounts. The accused faces charges of fraud in an organized gang, embezzlement of public funds, corruption and money laundering. They'll appear in court in July.

A man carrying a knife was arrested by municipal police outside Nice-Ville railway station during this morning's rush hour. Nice town hall's head of security praised the quick response of CCTV operators, who spotted the man brandishing a weapon and making comments to passers-by. No one was injured and the man was taken into police custody.

More than 300 people have taken part in a large-scale simulation of a terror attack at Nice airport. The training exercise took place at Terminal 1 overnight, away from the view of passengers. The simulation aimed to test the response of airport staff and the emergency services. In the mock scenario, four attackers on motorbikes stormed into the terminal building, killing and insulting passengers and taking others hostage. Observers from the Alpes-Maritimes prefecture monitored the exercise and will draw up a report of what went well and what needs improving.

A toy shop in Nice has issued an urgent recall amid concerns that one of the dolls that it sells presents a shocking hazard for small children. @shop, on the Avenue de la République, says any customer who has bought a Luigi soft toy from its store should return it for a refund. Tests found two small buttons on the doll came off too easily and could cause a child to choke if swallowed.

The mayor of Nice has banned the Chinese fast-fashion retailer Shein from opening a pop-up store in the city. Shein was due to take over the Gare du Sud in Nice for three days in mid-April. Christian Estrosi said the brand did not respect the city's values ​​and represented a threat to local independent traders.

Meanwhile, the Japanese fashion retailer Uniqlo has confirmed it's ready to open a new store in Nice on 25th April. The 1,500-square-meter shop will be part of the new Iconic complex on Avenue Jean-Médecin near Nice-Ville railway station. 30 staff have been recruited for the store, which is Uniqlo's second in the region after Polygone Riviera in Cagnes-sur-Mer.

BUSINESS

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is set to launch its first electric vehicle and begin taking orders today. Its chief executive Lei Jun said this week that the Speed ​​Ultra 7 (SU7) would be priced below 500,000 yuan - that's about €65,000. The move will see the technology giant taking on rivals such as Tesla and BYD. Xiaomi's entry into the electric car market comes as sales growth has slowed globally, triggering a price war. The firm is hoping that the SU7's shared operating system with its phones, laptops and other devices will appeal to existing customers.

And the UK economy has been confirmed as in recession during the final quarter of 2023. Unrevised figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that GDP fell by 0.1% in the third quarter, followed by 0.3% in the fourth quarter. The figures confirm a previous reading which indicated the UK economy contracted just as prime minister Rishi Sunak considers when to call an election.

SPORT

Tennis - Victoria Azarenka continued her bid for a fourth Miami Open title with victory over Yulia Putintseva to set up a semi-final encounter with Elena Rybakina. The Belarusian 27th seed, who won her last title at the event in 2016, needed almost three hours to claim a 7-6 1-6 6-3 win against Putintseva. Fourth seed Rybakina beat Greek eighth seed Maria Sakkari 7-5 6-7 6-4. On the other side of the draw, American Danielle Collins beat French 23rd seed Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-2.

Football - Chelsea booked their place in the Women's Champions League semi-finals for a second season running with a comfortable aggregate victory over Ajax last night. The Blues were held to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday but won the tie 4-1 on aggregate after a 3-0 victory in Amsterdam. Chelsea were beaten in the semi-finals by champions Barcelona last season.

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