Evening Update Tuesday 17th October 2023

A theme park in the Var has been fined €10,000 for an accident which almost cost the life of a teenage boy. The 14-year-old suffered severe head injuries and still needs ongoing regular treatment after he jumped eight metres from a platform at the "Free Jump" attraction at Kiddy Parc in Hyères in August 2021. A large inflatable crash mat was supposed to ensure a smooth landing. But the platform and the airbag weren't aligned correctly and the young boy landed on the hard ground instead. The court has also ordered the manager of the theme park to pay an additional €5,000 fine for negligence. A separate hearing next summer will decide how much compensation the victim should receive.

France and Monaco are carrying out a joint security training exercise in the Monaco railway tunnel tonight. The exercise aims to test the emergency procedures in place for evacuating the tunnel in the event of a fire or other technical incident. The drill will be carried out in the section of tunnel in Cap d'Ail, on French territory between 10.30pm and 4am. The Monegasque government says people living nearby may see a large number of fire and rescue and police vehicles. There's no cause for alarm - and residents shouldn't try to intervene.

France's winter flu vaccination campaign begins today. It'll run alongside the booster jab for coronavirus. Flu cases in France have been reported especially early this season, according to France's health authority. The target groups for both the Covid and flu boosters are the same: over-65s, people with underlying health conditions and pregnant women. Healthcare and retirement home workers are also being urged to get vaccinated.

Staff at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris have walked out today in a protest about working conditions, forcing the monument to close. Employees are protesting about a lack of resources to help them cope with the rising number of visitors. Staff have expressed frustration over a failure to replace those who leave at the end of short, fixed-term contracts. Visitor numbers are likely to be higher this year thanks to the Rugby World Cup, and they are bound to increase in 2024 as a result of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

Management at OGC Nice football club have summoned their player Youcef Atal in for a meeting after the controversy surrounding messages posted on Instagram relating to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Judicial police in Nice have opened a preliminary investigation amid claims that he condoned acts of terrorism when he reposted a video from a Palestinian preacher at the weekend. The public prosecutor took action after a complaint from the Alpes-Maritimes prefect Hugues Moutouh and the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi. OGC Nice have called Atal in for a talk when he returns from the United Arab Emirates after playing in a friendly for the Algerian national team last night against Egypt. The club said it was taking the matter seriously.

The CGT trade union has condemned La Poste's decision to cut the number of delivery rounds it makes in Nice by more than a third. From today, the Saint-Barthélemy sorting office will organise 50 postal rounds per day in the city centre and northern parts of Nice. That's down from 80. The CGT says postal deliveries will become less frequent as a result, and workers will have a greater workload.  Each round represents about 2,000 letters and several hundred registered letters.

A new project will see Nice's university hospital, or CHU, become an IHU - a university hospital institute where more specialist research will be carried out. The hospital aims to become a global leader in research into respiratory diseases, particularly the early detection of lung cancer. About 100 researchers from a dozen laboratories in the region will be brought together under one roof. The IHU will have new premises entirely dedicated to research, which will be built on the Pasteur site in 2025.

The mayor of Villefranche-sur-Mer says he wants to halve the number of AirBnB rental properties in the popular seaside town - and encourage more people to live there all year round. Christophe Trojani said too many properties in Villefranche were becoming second homes and seasonal rentals. Meanwhile, the town's official registered population has almost halved since 1990 and is now below 5,000.

If you've had enough of the Riviera's train services and traffic jams, how about commuting from Nice to Monaco by ferry?
Monaco floated the idea - excuse the pun - several years ago of having a hydrogen-powered shuttle service along the Med from Nice to Cap d'Ail. The principality's national council said in a recent meeting that it's still keen to see an environmentally-friendly ferry service launch - and it's in regular contact with the Nice metropolis about making it happen. But no progress is being made and there's no immediate solution in sight.

Meanwhile, a planned park-and-ride facility in Eze for commuters into the principality remains empty and unused. Monaco spent €20 million buying 20 hectares of land in France with the hope of reducing congestion. If it's built, it'd have capacity for 3,000 cars.

And a former security guard at a casino in Normandy has risen through the ranks and has now been appointed general manager of the Casino La Croisette in Cannes. Geoffrey D'Hier began his first job in the gambling industry at a casino in his home town of Le Tréport aged just 19. Sixteen years later, after multiple promotions and being headhunted by the Casino Barrière group, he's now responsible for 150 employees at the popular venue in Cannes and an annual turnover of nearly €30 million.

BUSINESS

Rolls-Royce has announced plans to axe up to 2,500 jobs globally to create a "more efficient and effective" company. The company, which makes engines for aircraft, is based in Derby. It employs 42,000 people around the world with about half based in the UK. It was hit hard by the pandemic when air travel was grounded for months. Rolls-Royce did not give details of where the job cuts will fall. The engineering giant said the planned changes would "remove duplication and deliver cost efficiencies".

Average pay growth in the UK rose above inflation for the first time in almost two years, in a sign that the squeeze on living costs may be starting to ease. Wages rose by 7.8% between June and August, according to official figures. It is higher than average inflation over the same three months. Revised figures showed pay overtook inflation in the three months to July, meaning wages are outpacing prices for the first time since October 2021. However, the rise in wages is an average and does not mean that cost of living pressures are subsiding for everyone. People employed in finance and business services saw the largest rise in annual pay, followed by those in the manufacturing sector.

SPORT

Rugby Union - Australia head coach Eddie Jones says he remains committed to the side despite their early exit from the World Cup. The Wallabies were knocked out at the group stage for the first time after defeats by Fiji and Wales. Former England coach Jones also denied speculation linking him with a return as Japan coach. Jones, who had previously coached Australia from 2001 to 2005, was sacked by England in December. It has been reported that he was interviewed by Japan, whom he coached from 2012 to 2015, days before Australia began their World Cup campaign.

Cricket - Australia finally secured their first win of the World Cup, but only after surviving some nervy moments against Sri Lanka. The five-time champions, who lost to India and South Africa in their opening two matches, were in another difficult situation when Sri Lanka reached 125-0. But Sri Lanka fell apart, losing all 10 wickets for 84 runs to be bundled out for 209. Faced with a modest target, Australia managed 215-5 from 35 overs, winning the game by five wickets.

Football - In tonight's Euro 2024 qualifiers, England play Italy with an 8.45pm kick-off French time. Also in group C, Malta face Ukraine. In group G, it's Lithuania vs Hungary and Serbia play their neighbours, Montenegro. And there are three group H matches - Finland play Kazakhstan in the early kick-off at 6pm French time, Northern Ireland face Slovenia and San Marino will play Denmark.
 

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