Evening Update Tuesday 26th March 2024

More than 20 secondary schools on the Riviera have been targeted by bomb alerts today, forcing some of them to stay closed all day. Staff at thirteen schools in the Alpes-Maritimes and 10 in the Var have reported receiving threats of a terrorist attack via an online platform. It comes after the Don Bosco lycée in Nice was evacuated last week when an email from a student's hacked account threatened to blow the school up. Among the schools targeted today are the Lycée Carnot in Cannes, the Renoir high school in Cagnes-sur-Mer and the Lycée Massena in Nice. The president of the Paca regional council says the region will file a legal complaint. According to France's education ministry, more than 130 secondary schools around France have been targeted by threats of an attack in the past week.

A former mayor of Biot has been handed a one-year suspended prison sentence for "involuntary homicide" after three elderly people drowned when their retirement home was hit by torrential flooding in 2015. A court in Grasse found Guilaine Debras guilty of "serious misconduct", after prosecutors said the town hall was too slow to act on warnings of torrential rain. She has 10 days to decide whether to appeal. Three residents at the Clos Saint-Grégoire in Biot, aged 82, 91 and 94, died in their ground-floor bedrooms when a nearby river burst its banks during a severe storm in October 2015. The retirement home was not warned of the risk and had not evacuated the residents. The Biot municipal worker in charge of natural risks, the director of the retirement home and the managers of its parent company were acquitted.

It's been another night of tension in the Les Moulins housing estate in Nice. Gunshots were heard around 11.30pm yesterday evening amid reports of a mass brawl. One man in his 20s was taken to Pasteur 2 hospital with serious head injuries, after reportedly being struck with a baseball bat. Fireworks were thrown at police when they tried to intervene.

A drugs mule has been jailed for four years after he was caught with a suitcase full of cocaine on arrival at Nice airport. The passenger had travelled from Jamaica, via Frankfurt, and landed in Nice last Thursday. Customs officers found 3.4 kilos of cocaine in his luggage. As well as the four-year jail term, he's been ordered to pay a €220,000 customs fine.

New figures have confirmed that the Riviera remains a hugely popular location for shooting films and TV series. The number of productions filmed on the Côte d'Azur rose by 6% last year according to the Alpes Maritimes Côte d'Azur film commission. In total there were 551 productions recorded on the Riviera in 2023. That's a total of 1,600 days of filming. They include 10 feature films, more than a dozen major TV dramas, including productions commissioned for Apple TV, Netflix and Amazon Prime, and 145 TV adverts. According to the film commission, filming on the Riviera generates about €200 million a year in terms of direct and indirect benefits. They include accommodation and catering for the film crews, and the longer term benefits to the region's image and tourism.

And a couple in the Var are celebrating winning a €73 million jackpot in the Euromillions. It's the biggest lottery win ever recorded in the department. The couple, who wish to remain anonymous, bought the winning ticket at a shop in Ollioules on 20 February. This week they travelled to the Française des Jeux headquarters in Paris to claim their winnings. They plan to go on a gastronomic tour around Europe, try out plenty of restaurants and renovate their home.

BUSINESS

A US judge has thrown out a lawsuit brought by Elon Musk's social media firm X against a group that had claimed that hate speech had risen on the platform since the tech tycoon took over. X had accused the Center for Countering Digital Hate of taking "unlawful" steps to access its data. The US judge dismissed the case and said it was "evident" Mr Musk's X Corp did not like criticism. X said it planned to appeal. It had accused the non-profit group of carrying out a "scare campaign" to drive away advertisers.

The owner of theme parks including Alton Towers and Legoland in the UK is to introduce "dynamic pricing" - making it more expensive to visit at peak times and cheaper during quiet periods. Merlin Entertainments, which also runs the London Eye and Madame Tussauds, says it will adapt its prices to respond to weather and demand. Around 20 of its global venues will see the changes this year.

SPORT

Football - Brazil striker Gabriel Barbosa has been suspended for two years for attempted anti-doping fraud. Local media have reported that the 27-year-old made it difficult to carry out an anti-doping test the day before a game. Barbosa, who has played 18 times for his country, denies the allegations.

Declan Rice will captain England on his 50th appearance in tonight's friendly against Belgium at Wembley. The 25-year-old Arsenal midfielder has become a key figure for the Three Lions since making his debut in 2019. He takes the captain's armband, with Harry Kane and Kyle Walker out injured.

And Nottingham Forest have appealed against their four-point deduction in the Premier League. Forest were plunged into the relegation zone last week after an independent commission ruled that they had breached the league's Profitability and Sustainability Rules. Their appeal will be heard within the next three weeks.

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