Evening Update Tuesday 26 April

Hundreds of people have attended a mass at Saint-Pierre d'Arène church in Nice, to show support for a local priest and a nun who were savagely attacked with a knife there on Sunday morning. The priest is believed to have been stabbed up to 20 times but miraculously is making a recovery in hospital. His attacker, known to have been treated for several years for schizophrenia, has been detained in a psychiatric unit. It’s not known if his condition will allow him to be charged with attempted murder.

The French State has authorized food manufacturers of crisps or biscuits, to produce with rapeseed oil rather than sunflower, without having to change their packaging. The change is due to supply issues as Ukraine accounts for almost half of the world’s production of sunflower oil. The measure will remain in place for six months. If manufacturers continue to use rapeseed oil after that, they will be required to change their packaging.  

The administrative court has ordered the State to pay for damages caused by the public during the gillets jaunes protests. The court ruled the State is liable for damages resulting from force or violence used by crowds, armed or unarmed, against persons or property. The case was taken by the city of Toulouse who were claiming €2.5 million in damages to street furniture following protests in 2018 and 2019.

The president of Martine Le Pen’s National Rally, Jordan Bardella is to visit Fréjus on Thursday to present the party candidates for the legislative elections coming in June. The 26-year-old leader welcomed the very good presidential result achieved by the party in the Var, where Marine Le Pen came first in 7 of the 8 constituencies.

The Automobile Club of Monaco has been forced to issue a statement after they were overwhelmed with calls from motorists blaming them for recent horrendous traffic conditions in the Principality. While they take responsibility for disruptions connected to the Grand Prix season, they said it is tunnel works, the partial closure of Avenue Princesse Grace for building works, and a one-lane system at the Dorsale Tunnel near Fontvieille which has tipped traffic into the red. The ACM host the first of three major Grand Prix events this weekend, with the electric ePrix on Saturday afternoon at 3.30pm. Over 90% of tickets have already been sold for the event, with the remaining adult tickets at €30 on sale now. Children under 15 can attend for free.

Larvotto Beach in Monaco will see some closures while works are carried out to prepare it for summer. During the works, which run until May 13th, the beach will be closed from 9am to 12pm on weekdays, with swimming and sun-bathing banned until the works are completed.

The oldest person in the world is now a French woman living in the Var. Sister André, who was born in the South of France in February 1904 as Lucile Randon, is not only the oldest living person, she is also the oldest person to survive Covid-19. Commenting on her long life, Sister André noted that people say ‘work kills’. However for her, it was work that made her live and she only stopped ten years ago when she was 108.  

Two people have been seriously injured on the Castellet circuit in the Var. The incident occurred yesterday when a man and a woman, each on a motorcycle and travelling in the same direction, collided, suffering a severe fall. Both were taken to hospital in serious condition.

And finally, tension is rising amongst volunteer firefighters in the Var as they denounce a lack of consideration and poor working conditions. The 4,400 voluntary firefighters represent approximately 80% of the entire emergency workforce, making them an essential contribution to the rescue and firefighting service in the area.

BUSINESS

European markets are up today with London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris all gaining around 1%. American markets, which posted similar increases yesterday, are waiting for big tech earnings this week including Alphabet and Microsoft after the bell today, while Meta, Amazon and Apple report later in the week.

UBS has beaten expectations for the first quarter reporting a net profit of $2.1 billion, above forecasts of $1.79 billion. It marks a 17% rise from the same period last year. The bank also said it has reduced its limited risk exposure to Russia, that is has no material exposure to Ukraine or Belarus, and that it is not conducting any new business in Russia or with Russia-based clients.

SPORT

Football - In the Champions League, it’s the UK ‘Premier League’ against Spain‘ La Liga’ as the competition begins a blockbuster semi-final stage tonight. In England's corner are title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City, who face Spain's Villarreal and Real Madrid respectively. 

First up tonight, Manchester City welcomes Real Madrid for the first leg of their semi-final. While City is favourites to progress, they won’t rest on their laurels, as the Spaniards have seen off both PSG and Chelsea in the knockout stages, so there will be a lot of respect for the La Liga leaders. The kick-off for the game is at 9pm tonight, with Liverpool hosting Villareal at the same time tomorrow.

And in other football news, Real Madrid has agreed on a deal to sign Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger when his contract expires at the end of the season. Rudiger, who joined the Blues for an initial £29m from Roma in 2017, has played almost 200 games, scoring 12 times. He has also won the Champions League, Europa League and the FA Cup while at Stamford Bridge.

Tennis - Wimbledon confirmed today that unvaccinated players will be allowed to play in this year’s tournament. The announcement clears the way for World No.1 Novak Djokovic to compete.

Roger Federer has announced a return to tennis, playing his home tournament in Switzerland in October. Federer is a record 10-time winner at the event in Basel, having not lost a match there since 2013. The 20-time Grand Slam champion has not played since Wimbledon in July last year after undergoing knee surgery.

Torben Beltz has become the third coach in a year to part ways with British No.1 Emma Raducanu. The 19-year-old US Open Champion said today that she felt the best direction for her development is to transition to a new training model. German Beltz previously coached former world number one Angelique Kerber when she won the Australian and US Open titles in 2016.

Formula 1 - Lewis Hamilton says being lapped by Max Verstappen at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix just shows how wrong Mercedes have got it with their new 2022 car.

Mercedes' dismal start to the season took a further turn for the worse at the weekend, as the seven-time champion scored zero points. Team boss Toto Wolff says the team still don't know the fix but is open to the possibility that the new concept simply doesn't work.

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