Evening Update Tuesday 6th December 2022

The City of Nice has started recommending that passengers wear a facemask on public transport again. It comes amid a triple whammy of growing cases of coronavirus, flu and bronchiolitis. The mask recommendation also applies to public buildings, such as the city hall and libraries. Nationwide, there was a 40% surge in Covid cases last week.

A homeless man has been found dead under his blanket on the streets of Nice. His body was found this morning on the Place Ile de Beauté, in front of the church on Nice port. Work is under way to identify the man, who is in his 50s.

It was a nightmare morning commute for drivers on the A8 motorway earlier today. An collision between two lorries near Saint-Laurent-du-Var paralysed traffic on the eastbound motorway and led to up to two hours of congestion stretching back over 12km. Vinci Autoroutes said the accident scene would take the whole morning to clear. The accident happened shortly after 7.30am after the junction for Cagnes-sur-Mer. One of the drivers was slightly injured.

The father of a teenage boy who was found guilty of attacking an elderly woman is suing Cannes city hall after it withdrew his licence to operate a market stall, because of his son's criminal actions. Last week, a court in Grasse convicted the boy, and another minor, for the attack on an 89-year-old in Cannes. Cannes town hall promptly withdrew the father's permit to sell at La Bocca street market. The man in question says he's received death threats after Cannes issued the statement on its social media channels, and some far-right activists had published his home address and photo online. Cannes said it would "not give in to any threats or pressure". It said it had chosen to withdraw the father's market permit as a "public order measure" and noted that "parents are responsible for their children's actions". The man plans to file a legal complaint, accusing Cannes town hall of endangering his life. His lawyer says it is unfair that he should be deprived of his only source of income.

The cost of public transport in Nice will increase by 10% next summer. A single ticket will go up from €1.50 to €1.70. The set of 10 tickets will be scrapped. Instead it'll be possible to buy a batch of 50 tickets for a discounted rate of €1 per ride. Bus fares to the Mercantour ski resorts will go from €12 to €14 return. The fare rise is the first since 2013 and will come into effect next July. Meanwhile, from January, some Lignes d'Azur bus routes will be reorganised. Some timetables will change and trams in Nice will finish earlier in the evening, at 12.30 instead of 1.30.

Meanwhile, commuters on the rail line from Nice to Breil-sur-Roya have begun a protest after it was announced that several rush-hour trains would be cancelled or rescheduled from January. Several local officials in the Roya valley are supporting the protest, after 700 residents signed a petition. Among the changes is the cancellation of a train from Nice back to the Roya valley just before 5pm. Commuters say this forces them to get the following train, which is already crowded. Meanwhile, a train into Nice in the morning rush hour has been rescheduled - meaning some students cannot arrive at school on time.

A camper-van driver has been handed a six-month suspended prison sentence for threatening another motorist with a weapon during an argument at a petrol station. The stand-off happened in La Roquette-sur-Siagne in early November, at a time when motorists were scrambling around to find petrol during the nationwide fuel shortages. As well as the suspended six-month sentence, the court banned the man from possessing a weapon for three years.

Major structural works are getting under way in Tourrettes-sur-Loup as a cliff on which the village is perched is at risk of collapse. Engineers are drilling holes into the cliff to put in reinforcements to stop parts of the cliff falling away. The huge project is costing the village almost €1.2 million.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Tourrettes-sur-Loup has outlined his plans to save energy this winter. All public buildings will be fitted with new thermostats, which will be set to 19°C in the week and 16°C at weekends. Electric convector heaters in some public offices will be replaced by more energy-efficient heating. The Pont-du-Loup and the municipal football stadium will be lit up for less time, and some other public lighting will be replaced by LEDs. The Christmas illuminations in the village will only be switched on between 5pm and 11pm, except on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

The City of Cannes has installed free tyre pumping facilities in several car parks. Drivers can check their vehicle's tyre pressure and have it corrected free of charge at five municipal car parks around the city. Cannes has also installed 21 new charging stations for electric cars.

And a former McDonald's in Marseille has been turned into a charitable restaurant and food bank that aims to help the city's most vulnerable. During the coronavirus lockdown in 2020, several McDonalds employees who were out of work decided to take over the premises of the restaurant and use it to feed those in need. Gradually the idea of a permanent food distribution centre took shape. This week it'll be formally inaugurated - it's called Après M, or After McDonalds. The initiative can be found in the Saint-Marthe district, in Marseille's 14th arrondissement.  It's received support from 50,000 supporters, each of whom invested €25 to get the project off the ground. As well as distributing food to the most needy, Après M will also be cooking up gourmet burgers for the general public, with all the proceeds going to the charity.

BUSINESS

The UK is already in a recession which is expected to last into next year, according to the UK's biggest business group.  The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) downgraded its economic growth outlook amid a stormy picture of declining business investment, higher price forecasts, continued high interest rates and worker shortages. The economy is to contract 0.4% next year, the CBI expects, a significant downwards revision from the 1% growth last forecast for 2023 by the group. By contrast, the economy is expected to grow 4.5% this year. As a result of the contraction, consumer spending is anticipated to decline over the year as economic pressures rise. The recession is to be a "relatively mild" one, fuelled by high inflation which the CBI said has already peaked and will even out next year.

A medical company set up by Elon Musk is under investigation for potential welfare violations - with a total of 1,500 animals dying in four years, according to a report. Staff at Neuralink have made internal complaints that animal testing is being rushed - causing needless suffering and deaths. Records seen by the Reuters news agency allege that 280 sheep, pigs and monkeys have died following experiments since 2018. Neuralink is developing a brain implant that it hopes will help paralysed people walk again - and cure other neurological issues. The complaints made by staff allege that Musk has increased pressure to accelerate development, leading to botched experiments that need to be repeated.

SPORT

Boxing - Conor Benn is likely to find out by the end of the year whether he will be reinstated to the WBC rankings, according to the organisation's president Mauricio Sulaiman. Benn has admitted to failing two drug tests - in July and September - before his bout vs Chris Eubank Jr, scheduled for October, was dramatically cancelled, but has vowed to prove his innocence. The WBC has removed Benn from the fifth place he held in its welterweight rankings, with the organisation's Clean Boxing Program entering the latter stages of its investigation into the situation. Benn revealed trace amounts of the female fertility drug clomifene were found in his urine from Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) tests given on July 25 and September 1. Benn, who said he and his team believe contamination was behind the positive tests, relinquished his British boxing licence in October after a hearing upheld "allegations of misconduct".

Cricket - James Anderson has heaped praise on England captain Ben Stokes after the side's sensational Test win over Pakistan yesterday. The 74-run victory gave England just their third-ever Test triumph in Pakistan, and has already been labelled as one of the greatest wins in their history. After the first Test, England's all-time leading wicket-taker said Stokes gives his side "so much confidence".

WORLD CUP

Ahead of Saturday's nail-biting quarter final between England and France, Gary Neville has said the decisive match could be the "game of a lifetime" and thinks Kyle Walker is the perfect man to match-up Kylian Mbappe. England set up a huge World Cup showdown with the defending champions after easing past Senegal with a 3-0 victory in the last 16 on Sunday night. Meanwhile, Gareth Southgate has admitted France pose the biggest test England could possibly face at the World Cup. France are the reigning champions.

This evening, the Last 16 round comes to a close with Portugal playing Switzerland. Kick-off is at 8pm French time. The next World Cup action comes on Friday, with the first two quarter-finals - Croatia vs Brazil and the Netherlands vs Argentina.

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