Evening Update Tuesday 5th July 2022

For the first time since the 14 July terror attack in Nice six years ago, a major official ceremony will be held on the Promenade des Anglais to mark the anniversary. A final meeting was held at Nice city hall on Monday to decide on the final programme. The ceremony will take place opposite the Palais de la Méditerranée. A new memorial sculpture will be unveiled - the Angel of the Bay - a half-man half-angel with its wings spread, overlooking the sea, with the names of the 86 victims engraved on it. The Nice philharmonic orchestra will also put on a concert for the memorial ceremony. Eight people are due to go on trial for the attack. The trial begins in Paris on 5th September.

A motorcyclist was airlifted to hospital in a critical condition on Monday morning after a road accident in the Tinée valley. Paramedics were called out just before 9am to the village of Tournefort. The 35-year-old biker suffered a crash involving a car. The car's driver was also hospitalised. The exact circumstances of the accident are yet to be determined.

Prosecutors in Nice and Grasse have announced they will step up their spot checks on private beaches along the Côte d'Azur this summer. The spot checks will be carried out by inspectors from social security body Urssaf, the tax authorities and national police. The aim is to ensure businesses are operating legally in a broad range of areas, from declared work to licensing, data protection and food safety.

The Paca regional health agency is launching an awareness campaign about when you should - and shouldn't - go to a hospital's accident and emergency department. The campaign will remind people that their GP should be their first point of contact, or an out-of-hours doctor, unless there is a real emergency. France's newly appointed health minister, François Braun, says the A&E system in France is overwhelmed. One GP in Nice said she knew patients who had died last winter because the emergency ward could not see them in time. Nice university hospital has France's biggest emergency department, in terms of the number of patients treated - up to 120,000 people per year. That's about 300 patients every day. The head of the hospital's A&E department says reducing admissions by 10 to 15% would make a big difference to working conditions. The ward has 57 emergency doctors - but there are still 17 vacancies that are not filled.

Nice city council is looking at what action it can take to limit the growth of so-called "dark stores". These are usually big warehouses storing food products for online delivery services such as Deliveroo. There are two in the city centre - on Boulevard Risso and Avenue Jean-Médecin. Neighbours living near dark stores in big cities often complain about visual and noise pollution, with the constant comings and goings of delivery motorbikes. If they abide by the regulations, there's little the authorities can do - but Nice would like to see the government look into legislation.

Today marks one of the most anticipated moments of the year for all middle and high school students in France as they find out their results for 2022 exams. Several tens of thousands of young people from the Côte d'Azur and the Var have been awaiting this moment. The results of the general and professional baccalaureate have been published on the Nice Academy website. The results of the French baccalaureate will be published on Thursday at 3pm.

The village of Saint-Jeannet on the Côte d'Azur has announced an increase in the housing tax for second homes. The town hall has decided to increase the housing tax by 60%, on homes used during holidays and weekends. The goal is to meet the demand for housing and control rents. The objective is therefore to encourage landlords to put under-occupied housing back on the market, meet housing demand and control rents. The 60% increase should bring an additional 130,000 euros into the commune.

With the hot, dry weather, firefighters in the Alpes-Maritimes are on high alert for the risk of forest fires. Since the beginning of the year alone, there have been 73 fires, with 165 hectares of forest already gone up in smoke. That's already a higher number than in 2021, when there were 58 fires across the whole year. The Alpes-Maritimes has almost a quarter of a million hectares of woodland, so the risk is real. The department's firefighters have three water-bomber helicopters at their disposal. They've also begun using drones as a first response to assess the scene of a fire when it's difficult to access by vehicle. Firefighters say 90% of forest fires are caused by humans - mostly by accident. Throwing cigarette butts out of a car window or failing to clear excess vegetation from around your home contribute to the risk.

We mentioned rising coronavirus infection rates in the Alpes-Maritimes yesterday. The latest stats show the virus in the Var is growing just as fast. In the past 10 days, the number of confirmed Covid infections has more than doubled in the Var. The incidence rate is over the mark of 1,000 infections per 100,000 inhabitants. Every day, more than 1,600 people test positive for coronavirus in the department. The figure is slightly lower than the national average, partly because holidaymakers who test positive while staying on the Riviera are not included in the stats for that department. Only residents registered here are counted.

Construction work has begun on a reception centre for about 100 Ukrainian refugees in Draguignan in the Var. The town is refurbishing dozens of shipping containers on a plot of land, to provide accommodation for those who need it.

A new network of 700 secure bicycle locks has been inaugurated in Nice, at fixed points dotted around the city. For a monthly subscription, cyclists can securely attach their bike using a smartphone app called Sharelock.  The service costs €8 per month if you have a Lignes d'Azur public transport subscription, or €10 per month otherwise. Non-subscribers can also use the locks for 15 minutes free of charge.

Vinci Autoroutes has appealed to drivers to be extra-vigilant when driving on the motorway network as the big summer getaway approaches this weekend. During the inauguration of a new service station at Les Adrets in the Var, the president of Vinci Autoroutes said 28 motorway patrol trucks had been hit by drivers so far this year. Back in April, a motorway worker died after being hit by a heavy goods vehicle in the Vaucluse department. A radio ad campaign is running, urging drivers to look out for people working on the motorway.

In other French news, parts of the Eiffel Tower are falling into disrepair according to an investigation by Marianne magazine. The magazine says the monument's 6,300 tonnes of iron are suffering from a major problem with rust. Marianne claims to have seen several confidential reports raising alarm about the deteriorating condition and maintenance defects. It says management at the site are managing the problem in the short-term by painting over it, instead of addressing the long-term issue. The magazine concludes that if Gustave Eiffel visited the tower today, he would have fainted in shock.

Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco has paid her traditional annual visit to the maternity ward at Princess Grace hospital. The visit normally takes place around Mother's Day, but it had to be postponed this year after Princess Charlene tested positive for Covid. She offered gifts to new mums including flowers, chocolates and newborn baby clothes made by local embroiderers. The visit is organised each year with the assistance of the Monegasque Red Cross, of which Princess Charlene is vice-president.

And visitors to Monaco this summer will be handed pocket ashtrays as part of a campaign called Operation Zero Cigarette Butt. Representatives from the waste collection agency SMA will be handing them out during routine patrols along the coastline. The ashtrays can also be picked up from several public sites including the library, La Condamine market and tourist information kiosks.

BUSINESS

The economic outlook for the UK and the rest of the world has "deteriorated materially", the Bank of England has warned. Energy and fuel costs are rising rapidly around the world, pushing up prices in general more quickly. However, UK banks are in a position to weather even a severe economic downturn, the Bank said. It told banks to keep more money in rainy day funds to ensure they can weather any storm. The Bank's comments came in its latest Financial Stability Report. International forecasters such as the IMF and OECD have said Britain is more susceptible to recession and persistently high inflation than other Western countries, all of which are grappling with energy and commodity market shocks.

Scandinavian airline SAS has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US as a strike by its pilots added to its financial problems. The move will allow the carrier to continue operating, although the strike has grounded about half its flights. SAS said the industrial action meant the airline had brought forward plans to restructure its finances. The aviation sector was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic as demand for travel collapsed. However, in recent months airlines and airports - which shed thousands of jobs during the pandemic - have struggled to cope with the rebound in air travel. Some of the disruption in the sector has been caused by staff shortages, but several airlines are facing the threat of strike action over summer as workers push for higher pay. SAS pilots are striking in a row over plans to cut their salaries as part of the airline's restructuring plan.

And the French music streaming platform Deezer has made its debut on the Paris Stock Exchange, seven years after its first failed attempt to float. Launched in 2007, Deezer is a French rival to the likes of Spotify. It has a nearly 30% market share in France, but its 9.6 million subscribers only represent 2% of the global music streaming market, far behind Spotify which had 31%. Deezer wants to double its income by 2025 and is putting music at the centre of its offering - whereas Spotify sees more growth potential in podcasts.

SPORT

Cricket - England completed a record chase of 378 to beat India in rapid time on the final morning of the fifth Test at Edgbaston. Centuries from Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow took England to their highest successful pursuit in Test cricket and the ninth-largest in the history of the game. Needing another 119 from their overnight 259-3, Root and Bairstow coasted with incredible ease, taking England to a memorable seven-wicket win, one of their all-time greatest victories. Bairstow's 114 not out was his second century of the match, while Root ended unbeaten on 142 in an unbroken partnership of 269. They carried England to a new height in what is turning into a spectacular summer under new captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum. The win ensures the series that was postponed last summer is drawn 2-2. Their next series is with South Africa in August.

Football - Paris St-Germain have confirmed the departure of head coach Mauricio Pochettino after 18 months in charge. The exit of former Tottenham boss Pochettino has been expected for almost a month now - but has only just been confirmed. Former Nice manager Christophe Galtier is expected to replace him. Pochettino leaves PSG after guiding them to a record-equalling 10th French title, his first league success as a manager.

Rugby Union - England wing Jonny May is set to miss the second Test against Australia on Saturday as he recovers from Covid. The 32-year-old tested positive in June before the first Test, which England lost 30-28. May spent seven days in isolation and has yet to resume full training. His likely absence is a further selection challenge for head coach Eddie Jones, who is already without Tom Curry after the flanker withdrew from the squad because of concussion on Monday.
 

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