Evening Update Tuesday 11th October 2022

The city of Nice is discussing plans to build a new luxury port to compete for super-yacht moorings with the likes of Antibes, Cannes and Monaco. The municipality has the luxury yachting market in its sights, with the city council hoping to file for the necessary building permits early next year. It also hopes the project will generate jobs linked to the yachting industry, everything from mechanics to cleaners. If approved, the facility would be jointly run by the Nice metropolitan region and the chamber of commerce. The move has met some opposition from some councillors, notably from the green party, who say now is not the time to be developing further super-yacht facilities given the environmental context.

23 far-right activists have gone on trial this week over a raid on the headquarters of a humanitarian association in Marseille. They're accused of storming into the premises of SOS Méditerrannée in October 2018 to protest against the organisation's work saving migrants trying to cross the Med in makeshift boats. Giving evidence at the trial yesterday, one of the seven staff present at the time said she thought she was in the midst of a terror attack. Another said she feared for her life. One of the workers, who was pregnant at the time of the raid, suffered a miscarriage two weeks later. Several of the NGO's workers were treated for shock. The accused are part of the Génération Identitaire group. The trial continues.

It was a busy morning on the A8 motorway today, with Vinci Autoroutes warning of 12 kilometres of jams on the eastbound motorway around 8am, between the Antibes tolls and Nice airport. While jams of up to 10km are not a rare occurrence, this morning's was particularly unusual because it wasn't caused by any particular incident - just sheer volume of vehicles.

A forklift operator has been ordered to pay damages for seriously injuring a moped rider while he was dismantling the grandstands for the Monaco Formula 1 grand prix. The driver was found to be under the influence of cannabis when his machine hit the two-wheeler on the Port Hercule, near the swimming pool, in June last year. ,The rider was taken to Princess Grace hospital in a critical condition, underwent four operations, and was signed off work for three months. The forklift operator said he had misjudged his distances. A court in Monaco ordered him to pay €2,000 in damages to the victim. It also handed down a €1,000 fine, but this was suspended.

Several residents of the Marina Baie des Anges in Villeneuve-Loubet are urging the building's management to turn down the lights. The vast apartment complex is extensively lit up at night. The issue was brought up at a recent meeting of landlords with the property management firm. The mayor of Villeneuve-Loubet says he does not have any control over the issue. But he did say it was important that building owners did not excessively light up their facades. The Marina Baie des Anges switched to more energy efficient LED lighting two years ago. The syndic that runs the building says the discussions on how to reduce electricity consumption are ongoing. It proposes following the same rules as the Nice metropolitan region itself. It will dim the lights at 10pm, the same time as municipal buildings in the city.

A legal claim against several former local officials in Menton has been thrown out - with prosecutors ruling that there was no case to answer. The town's current mayor had accused the previous administration of stealing and destroying half a tonne of official documents. Yves Juhel was elected mayor of Menton after Jean-Claude Guibal died last October. He had claimed that cupboards normally full of important documents in the town hall were empty by the time he took up office. The town's former deputy mayor says the legal action had led to her party losing the latest municipal elections to the opposition. The case has now been dropped for lack of evidence.

Several town councils around the Riviera are reassuring residents that ongoing fuel shortages will not affect public services such as transport and rubbish collection. In Menton, officials say the Zestbus network has a full tank of fuel for its vehicles, ensuring at least two weeks of normal operations. It also hasn't ruled out refuelling in Italy if the situation worsens. In Antibes, officials say the Envibus network has its own guaranteed fuel supply and services should not be affected.

French hypermarket chain Leclerc has chosen the Var for its first experiment into convenience stores. The firm, usually known for its vast sprawling superstores, is taking a bet on small-scale local retail. Its first superette has just opened on Rue Cisson in Draguignan - and Leclerc says it aims to match hypermarket prices as much as possible. To save space and staff costs, there are no manned tills at the exit. Instead, shoppers take a scanner around the store with them and pay at an automatic checkout.

And a man from Normandy has been crowned champion at a mussel-eating contest at Le Pradet in the Var. The winner managed to consume a kilo of mussels in 2 minutes, 30 seconds. He leaves with a trophy and a year of free mussels - 500 grams per day - offered by a local fishmonger. Some 45,000 people attended the mussel festival in the Var seaside town this weekend.

BUSINESS

The unemployment rate in the UK fell to its lowest level in nearly 50 years, latest official figures show. The jobless rate fell to 3.5% in the three months to August, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the lowest since early 1974. However, the squeeze on pay remains, with rises in regular wages failing to keep up with the rising cost of living. When taking the rise in prices into account, the value of regular pay fell by 2.9%, the ONS said. The ONS said that regular pay - which excludes bonuses - grew at an annual rate of 5.4% in the June to August period. This is the strongest growth in regular pay seen outside of the coronavirus pandemic period, the UK statistics body said. However, pay rises are still lagging behind inflation - the rate at which prices rise - which currently stands at 9.9%.

Hong Kong has said it will not seize the superyacht of a Russian oligarch who is under Western sanctions. Chief executive John Lee said Hong Kong would be accountable to United Nations sanctions but not "unilateral" ones imposed by "individual jurisdictions". The $521m boat belongs to Alexei Mordashov, an ally of Russia's President Vladimir Putin and one of the country's richest men. His yacht arrived in Hong Kong last week after sailing from Russia. But Mr Mordashov is not believed to be on it. The billionaire was sanctioned by the US, the UK and the EU after Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year. But Hong Kong's government said it was not bound by those sanctions. 

Two Australian men have been charged with bribing Sri Lankan officials to secure infrastructure contracts worth millions of dollars. Australian police arrested the pair last month after a decade-long investigation spanning several countries. The men, aged 67 and 71, worked for a company which has been accused of misconduct in South Asian countries. They are yet to respond to the charges and will face court on Tuesday.

SPORT

Football - Liverpool’s Luis Diaz is expected to be out until after the World Cup following the knee injury he sustained in the 3-2 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday. However, the 25-year-old underwent a scan after the match, which has revealed no surgery will be necessary. Diaz had offered a real threat throughout the first half at the Emirates and he assisted Darwin Nunez, who scored Liverpool's first equaliser. He lasted just 42 minutes, though, before being substituted for Roberto Firmino, who went on to score the second equaliser, with Jurgen Klopp admitting the injury was "not good" after the full-time whistle.

Harry Kane will wear a OneLove armband at the World Cup in Qatar, even if it is prohibited by FIFA.  The FA announced in September England will wear a rainbow captain's armband during the tournament as part of an anti-discrimination initiative, and in support of the LGBTQ+ community. The governing body is determined the England captain will wear the armband even if it risks FIFA fines. Captains from nine European countries, including England and Wales, are planning on wearing the armbands at the World Cup. FIFA permission is required to wear the armbands. The UEFA Working Group on Qatar asked FIFA for permission three weeks ago and is waiting for a response. A delegation from the group are meeting FIFA in Zurich on Wednesday and will ask for an update. The delegation will also discuss the setting up of a compensation fund for migrant workers and their families and the establishment of a welfare centre in Doha for migrant workers.

Cycling - British Cycling is facing a backlash from environmental groups and its members after announcing a major new partnership with the oil giant Shell. The governing body claimed it would “help our organisation and sport take important steps towards net zero”. Critics used social media to ask whether it was an April Fool’s prank. The decision to enter a long-term partnership with Shell was condemned by Greenpeace. A similar message was sent by Friends of the Earth. British Cycling said the partnership would help support Great Britain’s cyclists and para-cyclists through the sharing of world-class innovation and expertise and help more people ride.

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