Evening Update Thursday 8th December 2022

An investigation has been launched into the suspicious death of a 47-year-old man at his care home in Nice. A technician who'd been called out to fix a broken lift discovered the man's body at the foot of the lift shaft one morning in early November. It's believed he suffered a 14-metre fall to his death. The lift door cannot be opened with a special security key. The victim had no clothes on - they were found, wet, in a pile on the 4th floor landing. The public prosecutor's office says it is investigating what happened. But the victim's sister claims the case was not taken seriously until she decided to go public and tell her story to local media.

The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, has publicly recommended the wearing of masks on the city's public transport - but has stopped short of making them compulsory again. Earlier this week, Nice city council's scientific committee suggested that masks should be worn again on buses and trams and in public buildings. Christian Estrosi said the measure was important to protect fragile people and avoid overloading hospitals in the run-up to Christmas. There's been a 40% increase in positive coronavirus cases nationwide in the past week. Meanwhile, an infectious disease expert at Nice University Hospital says making masks compulsory again is not necessary. Eric Cua said the situation in local hospitals was under control - but he appealed to people's common sense. Since this week, the Paca region is officially in a flu epidemic, along with either other French regions. Eric Cua says he expects this year's winter flu peak to come around Christmas time, which is much earlier than usual.

An audit is being carried out into alleged misappropriation of public funds by an employee at the Parc Impérial lycée in Nice. The school's principal has written to parents confirming that two concurrent investigations are being carried out - one by police, and one internally by school management. Further details of the alleged embezzlement are not yet clear. The national education ministry said the suspect has been suspended from their job pending the results of the investigation.

A special Christmas tree dedicated to the child victims of the 14th July terror attack in Nice has been unveiled on the Promenade des Anglais. It's the initiative of a local association, Une Voie des Enfants, which helps children who survived, and families who lost a child in the attack in 2016. Dozens of local schoolchildren came along to help decorate the tree, which can be found outside the Palais de la Méditérannée until the new year.

In other local news, construction work is well under way on what is planned to be a new luxury shopping street in Nice's Carré d'Or. A new boutique hotel is being built on the Avenue de Suède, replacing the former Boscolo Hotel. At the foot of the building will be 11 stores. The City of Nice is in talks with several luxury brands to occupy the new units. They should open in the spring of 2024 and complement the existing luxury stores that can be found on the neighbouring Rue Paradis.

In order to reduce their energy bill this winter, the Port-Marchand nautical stadium in Toulon will be closing its Olympic swimming pool. The large outdoor pool will be inaccessible to swimmers from December 18th to early March.

One of Grasse's oldest perfumeries, Galimard, is celebrating its 275th anniversary. Founded in 1747 and passed down through the generations, the Galimard workshop is a place where everything is still done by hand. Grasse's perfume history and know-how has been part of Unesco's list of intangible heritage since 2018.

And you can now visit the permanent collections of some of France's biggest national museums - without going any further than Beausoleil. The cultural centre in the border town with Monaco has just inaugurated a 100-square-metre "digital museum" space where visitors can access collections from museums including the Louvre, Quai Branly and Paris's Grand Palais. The €100,000 project has been part-financed by the Alpes-Maritimes departmental council and it's hoped it will be put to good use by regular visitors as well as school groups.

BUSINESS

British ministers have given the green light to the first new UK coal mine in 30 years, a move "condemned" by the government's official climate advisers. After years of dispute over planning, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove on Wednesday waved through plans for a new mine in Cumbria, which would provide coal for steel-making rather than power generation. The decision paves the way for 500 new regional jobs. But it has dismayed environmentalists, who say it will obliterate the UK's image as a climate leader and are preparing to keep fighting it. The approval comes one year after the UK hosted the COP26 climate talks, when it lobbied other countries to "consign coal to history".

Photos have emerged of Twitter office space that has been converted into bedrooms, which San Francisco authorities are probing as a possible building code violation. One image shows a room with a double bed, including a wardrobe and slippers. An ex-worker said new Twitter boss Elon Musk has been staying at the headquarters since he bought the firm. He last month emailed all Twitter staff saying they "will need to be extremely hardcore" to succeed. San Francisco's Department of Building Inspection has confirmed it is investigating potential violations following a complaint.

After more than half a century of production, the last Boeing 747 has rolled out of a US factory in Washington state. The final customer was the cargo carrier Atlas Air, which ordered four 747-8 freighters early this year. The final plane was rolled out of Boeing’s massive factory in Everett, Washington, on Tuesday night. The 747 jumbo jet has taken on numerous roles in its lifetime: a cargo plane, a commercial aircraft capable of carrying nearly 500 passengers, and even the Air Force One presidential aircraft. When it was first produced in 1969 it was the largest commercial aircraft in the world and the first with two aisles.

SPORT

Motorsport - Formula 1 will continue to race in the Netherlands until at least 2025 after the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort signed an extended contract. The deal adds races in 2024 and 2025 to the initial three years agreed with F1. The event has proved a hit with fans supporting Red Bull's Max Verstappen since it returned to the calendar in 2021. The Dutch driver has won both races at the historic track at a beach resort on the North Sea close to Amsterdam. In 2023, a second Dutch driver will be added to the grid with former Formula E champion Nyck de Vries joining Williams. The Dutch Grand Prix will be on 25-27 August next year, the first race after F1's summer break. The slot has traditionally been held by the Belgian Grand Prix, but the event at Spa-Francorchamps has moved to 28-30 July in 2023.

Cricket - Pace bowler Mark Wood will return to the England team for the second Test against Pakistan, starting on Friday. Wood replaces injured all-rounder Liam Livingstone in the only change from the side that won the first Test, meaning no place for Ben Foakes. Regular wicketkeeper Foakes missed the first Test through illness and his stand-in Ollie Pope keeps the gloves. England will seal their first series win against Pakistan outside of the UK for 22 years with victory in Multan. Wood has not played a Test since March because of an elbow injury that kept him out of the home summer.

WORLD CUP

England winger Raheem Sterling is to return to Qatar before Saturday's World Cup quarter-final against France. The Chelsea player flew back to England on Sunday following a break-in at his family home in Surrey. Sterling's spokesperson said he left the England camp to "prioritise the wellbeing" of his three young children. He missed England's 3-0 win over Senegal in the last 16, but is expected to rejoin the squad in Al Wakrah on Friday, 9 December. His representative had said Sterling's family was at home on Saturday when there were "armed intruders". The former Liverpool and Manchester City forward was said to be "shaken" and concerned for the wellbeing of his children.

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