Evening Update Tuesday 10th October 2023

Three people have been taken to hospital after a fire broke out early this morning at an apartment block in the Cimiez district of Nice. 40 firefighters and 14 fire trucks were called out to the major fire on the Avenue des Arènes just after 1am. Fifteen adults and five children were evacuated from their homes.

A bomb alert forced the evacuation of a secondary school in Antibes this morning. A security perimeter was set up around the Lycée Jacques Dolle. Bomb disposal specialists were called to the site shortly after 8am. Nearby roads were closed for several hours.

Trade unions in France have called another day of nationwide strike action for this Friday, 13th October. They're protesting for what they call an end to austerity and for wage and gender equality. Several sectors are taking part, including transport, healthcare, education and other public services. Disruption is very likely on public transport here on the Riviera, including on the SNCF train network, with possible cancellations at Nice airport as well. We should know more sometime between 24 and 48 hours before the strike begins.

A silent rally was held in front of the préfecture in Marseille yesterday evening in solidarity for the victims of the Hamas terror attack on Israel. About 900 people have been killed in Israel since Hamas launched its attack on Saturday, with a further 700 having died in Gaza in retaliatory air strikes. Marseille has the second largest Jewish community in France, after Paris, with nearly 80,000 Jews. A 25-year-old Franco-Israeli man from Marseille is reported to be among several hundred people kidnapped by Hamas at a music festival. A rally in Nice, outside the town hall, attracted about 1,000 people. Nice mayor Christian Estrosi expressed his support for the Jewish community and said the Israeli flag would fly outside the city hall until the conflict is over. Other demonstrations were held yesterday in Cannes, Cagnes-sur-Mer, Fréjus, Toulon and Théoule-sur-Mer. His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco has written to Israeli president Isaac Herzog expressing his "horror" at what he called "barbaric acts". He said his thoughts were with the families of people missing, injured or taken hostage and he hoped that "peace, justice and respect" could be restored. 

The new prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes has taken up office, with a speech setting out his priorities for the region. Tackling crime, gang-related violence, radicalisation and illegal migration across the Italian border all feature on his to-do list. Hugues Moutouh said the Alpes-Maritimes was a demanding patch. He comes to the Riviera from the préfecture of the Hérault department. 

A woman in her 20s is being treated in hospital with serious injuries after falling from the second floor of a building in the centre of Nice. The exact circumstances are not yet clear. The incident happened yesterday morning and police have been collecting witness statements. Firefighters took the victim to Pasteur 2 hospital.

Discussions are under way for French president Emmanuel Macron to organise an official visit to Monaco. France's new ambassador to Monaco, Jean d'Haussonville, said in an interview with Monaco Matin that Macron wants to come to the principality and has made contact with His Serene Highness Prince Albert II. A first visit by Macron to the principality in 2020 was postponed indefinitely because of the pandemic. Meanwhile, Prince Albert II has been invited to a dinner at the Elysée with Macron next month.

And the boss of the Côte d'Azur hotel and restaurant union has complained about the impact that TripAdvisor is having on local restaurants' reputations. Noël Ajoury says people researching where to eat on the Riviera too often take reviews at face value - and that some TripAdvisor reviewers are maliciously leaving bad reviews that can harm business. He wants TripAdvisor to take a tougher stance on negative reviews - and he wants restaurant-owners to do more to defend themselves, including filing official complaints where necessary.

BUSINESS

Major airlines around the world have cancelled flights to Israel or warned of travel disruption as the security situation deteriorates. Three US carriers, as well as Air France, Lufthansa and Emirates, have suspended services to Tel Aviv. Virgin Atlantic warned of cancellations and delays from Heathrow, and British Airways has altered its schedule.

A music technology company which helps artists to receive fairer royalty payments is adding Sir Elton John to its repertoire of famous industry backers. Sir Elton and his husband, David Furnish, are among the investors in a new funding round for the firm, called Audoo. The capital-raising adds Sir Elton's name to those of ABBA's Bjorn Ulvaeus and Sir Paul McCartney's investment company, as backers of the business. Audoo, which was established by former musician Ryan Edwards, aims to address the perennial issue of public performance royalties, in order to ensure musicians are rewarded when their work is played in public venues.

SPORT

Football - The UK and Republic of Ireland have been confirmed as hosts of the 2028 European Championships at a Uefa meeting in Switzerland today. The bid was unopposed after Turkey withdrew from the process last week. Turkey merged their Euro 2032 bid with Italy in July. Both bids are unopposed but they still needed official approval by Uefa. Matches at the 2028 tournament are set to be held at 10 different grounds, including Glasgow's Hampden Park, Cardiff's Principality Stadium, Dublin's Aviva Stadium and Wembley in London.

Rugby Union - France captain Antoine Dupont has been cleared to return to training before his side's Rugby World Cup quarter-final against South Africa on Sunday. Dupont has not played since suffering a broken cheekbone during the hosts' 96-0 victory over Namibia on 21 September. The 26-year-old had surgery after the injury, which was caused by a head-on tackle. The French rugby federation confirmed he will resume training this week.

Formula 1 - The FIA says it will look into calendar changes and other measures in Formula 1 to deal with extreme weather following the Qatar Grand Prix. Some drivers needed medical attention after a race run in temperatures of more than 30C and high humidity. Mercedes driver George Russell called the Qatar Grand Prix "brutal" and said he "felt close to fainting", while Williams driver Logan Sargeant retired because he could not cope with conditions any longer. The FIA said it had begun an analysis into the situation in Qatar to provide recommendations for future situations of extreme weather conditions.

Olympics - Tickets for next summer's Paralympics in Paris have gone on sale this week. Some 2.8 million tickets are up for grabs on a first-come first-served basis, with prices ranging from €15 to €100 per seat - with the exception of the opening and closing ceremonies. 60,000 of the tickets are for seating positions that are easy to access for people with reduced mobility - and another 12,000 spaces are reserved for wheelchair users. Some 300,000 tickets will be distributed free to school pupils.

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