Evening Update Thursday 7th December 2023

Fairground operators are threatening to bring traffic to a standstill in Nice tomorrow in protest about the arrangements for this winter's Nice funfair. The funfair is due to open this weekend in the centre of Nice. But due to ongoing works on the Promenade Verte, there isn't enough room for all the 130 ride operators who want to take part. About half of them have been granted a space, while the others are  parked along the Plaine du Var, near the Nikaïa concert hall, waiting for confirmation of where they'll be allowed to operate. The City of Nice had offered some land by the MIN market for those without a space in the centre of town, but fairground operators say it's not acceptable. The affected fairground operators intend to stage a go-slow protest with their trucks through Nice tomorrow. Exact details of the route they plan to take have not been made clear - but the Promenade des Anglais, Voie Mathis and the Route de Grenoble are likely to be affected.

The Var has been placed on a yellow weather alert by Météo France, with the risk of heavy rain and strong winds tonight and tomorrow. The forecaster is warning that up to three weeks of rain could fall in the Var in the next 24 hours, accompanied by winds gusting up to 90 kilometres per hour.

The mayor of Saint-Maximin in the Var has been questioned by police investigating the death of a father at a water park this summer. The victim, a 35-year-old ambulance driver from Marseille, was with his three-year-old daughter on an inflatable water slide when strong winds caused the attraction to be blown into the air, crashing back to the ground some 50 metres away. The father died and his daughter suffered serious head injuries, underwent several operations and will need long-term rehabilitation. Saint-Maximin mayor Alain Decanis has confirmed that he has answered police questions about the circumstances surrounding the accident, which happened at the Wonderland water games park at the end of July. The tragic accident prompted questions from local residents at the time as to why the park had stayed open in such dangerous weather conditions.

A man's being treated in hospital after another stabbing in Nice last night. The attack happened on the Route de Canta Galet at about 11pm. Paramedics took him to Pasteur 2 hospital with stab wounds on his arm. The attacker could not be found and a police investigation has begun.

Two men have been jailed for two years and eight months respectively for a spate of luxury watch thefts in Nice. The pair, both Romanian nationals, mainly targeted tourists in bars in the old town earlier this summer.

A woman has been arrested on suspicion of vandalising a church in Nice old town. Passers-by alerted municipal police after they saw the woman acting suspiciously. She was taken into custody and questioned about damage caused to the Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur church on Rue Droite.

The City of Nice will activate its winter plan for the homeless next Monday - a week earlier than initially planned. An extra night shelter with room for 38 people will be opened up. That's in addition to the 45 places available in the Fondation de Nice shelter near the port and nearly 100 beds in the Abbé Pierre emergency accommodation on Rue Trachel, near Nice railway station. The opening of another shelter comes after the death of a homeless person sleeping rough on Rue Joseph Brès in the city centre on Sunday evening. Various charities and associations had urged the City of Nice to take action as the nights become colder. If you see anyone sleeping rough this winter, the number to call is 115. It handles requests for accommodation and can dispatch a mobile assistance team to provide support.

BUSINESS

Italy will pull out of China's flagship Belt and Road Initiative, the government has confirmed. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's administration notified Beijing that it would cease participating in the scheme ahead of a deadline at the year's end. Italy was the only major Western nation to sign up to the Belt and Road, one of China's most ambitious trade and infrastructure projects, in 2019. The move was heavily criticised by the US and others at the time. Launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, it aims to invest an estimated $1tn across Asia and Europe. Projects including new and upgraded railways and ports aim to connect China with Europe and other parts of Asia.

The maker of Lucky Strike and Pall Mall cigarettes says its smoking business in the US is dying out. British American Tobacco wrote off $31.5bn in value due to the changed outlook for brands such as Newport and Camel. The write-off cut the brands' worth by more than a third, and sent the company's share price down more than 8%. British American Tobacco cigarette sales have struggled as US smoking rates fall and buyers turn to vapes and other alternatives Demand for its brands has also dropped as buyers squeezed by higher prices prioritise other purchases or opt for cheaper packs. The firm has been trying to re-ignite growth with vaping products. It hopes to have 50% of its revenue from "non-combustible" products by 2035.

And cash usage in the UK has grown for the first time in a decade as households look to balance their budgets amid the cost-of-living squeeze. Across the UK, coins and banknotes accounted for nearly a fifth of transactions in 2022, according to the British Retail Consortium's annual Payments Survey. It's the first increase in the use of cash in 10 years, up from 15% in 2021. The report said: "Faced with rising living costs, cash was a useful tool for some people to manage their finances and track their day-to-day spending."

SPORT

Tennis - Two-time champion Rafael Nadal has been included on the entry list for the Australian Open after nearly a year out with injury, while Nick Kyrgios will miss the tournament in January. Nadal has been out of action since injuring his hip at the last Australian Open. The former world number one recently confirmed he would make his return at January's Brisbane International. Australian Nick Kyrgios has had an injury-blighted 2023, missing all four majors. Defending champion and world number one Novak Djokovic will return as he bids for a record-extending 11th men's Australian Open title and a 25th Grand Slam win overall. Long-time rival Nadal, who has won 22 majors, said in May that 2024 would "probably" be his last year on tour.

Cricket - Will Jacks made 73 as England beat West Indies by six wickets in the second one-day international in Antigua to level the three-match series. After the West Indies were dismissed for 202, Will Jacks led England's response, getting England over the line on 206-4 with more than 17 overs to spare. The third and deciding one day international will be played in Bridgetown, Barbados on Saturday.

Football - Tottenham have rejected an approach from Swansea for their assistant manager Chris Davies to succeed Michael Duff. Davies joined Spurs in the summer as senior assistant coach, having spent much of his career as number two to Brendan Rodgers. He had been close to taking over at Championship side Swansea before Duff was appointed head coach in June.

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