Evening Update Tuesday 6th February 2024

A group of travellers who have been seeking a place to park their caravans around Cannes and Mandelieu since last weekend have settled in a municipal car park in La Bocca. Police had stopped the procession of caravans as they left the A8 motorway on Sunday afternoon. They were turned away from parking at La Roubine in Cannes on Sunday and were also prevented from settling in Mandelieu. Now about a dozen vehicles have set up next to the Abadie cemetery in La Bocca. Cannes town hall says the municipal car park is not intended to accommodate travellers and it will appeal to the préfecture to have them moved. Cannes is required by law to have a designated area that travellers can use, with electricity, drinking water and toilets. It's to the north of the city, near the A8 motorway interchange, and is already saturated, with 30 caravans occupying a plot of land intended for just 22.

The Var has been placed on an air pollution warning today, with the préfecture warning of a notable deterioration in air quality. The increased concentration of PM10 fine particles in the air is partly due to the use of domestic heating and a lack of wind.

A man has been taken into custody on suspicion of attempting to kidnap a 10-year-old girl in La Garde in the Var. The girl was reportedly approached while sitting on a wall in front of her school on Monday morning. A member of school staff chased the man away and he hid in a neighbouring garden. The suspect was arrested a few moments later by a passing police patrol car.

It's been another day of strike action in schools around the country today. Teaching unions called for another 24-hour walkout to call for better salaries and working conditions. Striking teachers gathered for a demonstration in Marseille this morning. Another demonstration was held on the Place Garibaldi in Nice.

A man has been arrested after police discovered 250 kilos of cannabis resin in the back of his truck in Nice. The Alpes-Maritimes narcotics brigade pulled over the vehicle for a routine inspection in the north of the city early on Monday morning. The cannabis resin was found in a hidden compartment. An investigation's been opened.

One of Monaco's three biggest property developers is attempting to sue the principality after a vast real estate project fell through. Caroli Immo has gone to the European Court of Human Rights to seek €164 million in compensation. It won the contract in 2014 to build a vast complex on the Esplanade des Pêcheurs, including a maritime museum, shops, offices and housing. The project was then dropped and a legal battle has since ensued. The Monegasque government said it acknowledged this latest legal development but declined to comment further.

We mentioned yesterday a supermarket in Nice that had begun displaying photos of shoplifters at the store entrance to dissuade others. Now, a bill is set to be tabled in France's National Assembly that could make the practice legal. The case at Super U on Boulevard de la Madeleine isn't isolated. One supermarket boss in Ollioules in the Var recently posted CCTV images on local social media groups of three women suspected of stealing their cash register. Displaying the face of a person suspected of committing a theft, who hasn't been charged or convicted, is punishable with a fine of up to €45,000 and a year in prison.Romain Daubié, an MP from Modem party, has tabled a draft law stating that anyone entering a store with CCTV who has the intention to steal should lose their right to privacy. The bill has been put forward but has yet to be discussed in parliament.

And bakers in the Alpes-Maritimes have worked together to smash the record for the biggest pan bagnat in the world. 80 kilos of dough, 20 kilos of tomatoes, 450 eggs and 40 kilos of tuna were needed to make the massive Niçois speciality - not to mention 160 peppers, eight cans of anchovies and eight litres of olive oil. Measuring in at 2.03 metres in diameter, it beats the previous record set at 1.29 metres. The record-breaking pan bagnat took several hours to prepare. It was made at a culinary industry trade show in Nice yesterday. The finished product was then cut up into individual portions and offered to local charities that feed the city's homeless.

BUSINESS

Energy giant BP has reported a sharp drop in profits after oil prices fell last year. Profits were $13.8bn in 2023, down from a record $27.7bn in the previous year. Energy firms reported huge gains when oil and gas prices soared in the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine because of fears over supplies. The fall in BP's profits echo the results from rival Shell, which last week posted profits of $28.2bn, down from $39.9bn in 2022.

Retailers in the UK suffered a "lacklustre" January as bad weather and cost of living pressures discouraged shoppers from opening their wallets after Christmas, according to new research. Total retail sales across the UK increased by only 1.2% year-on-year in January - down sharply from growth of 4.2% during the same period last year, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG.

SPORT

Football - Lionel Messi has defended himself after local fans booed Inter Milan because he missed a pre-season friendly in Hong Kong. Inter beat a Hong Kong select XI 4-1 in front of almost 40,000 fans on Sunday, with Argentina captain Messi left on the bench because of a hamstring problem. The Hong Kong government said Messi was contracted to play at least 45 minutes and that he owed fans an explanation after the match. Supporters in a near-capacity crowd chanted "We want Messi" in the second half as the World Cup winner remained sat among the substitutes. Messi, who has won the Ballon d'Or eight times, said his injury is improving and he could feature against Japanese champions Vissel Kobe in Tokyo on Wednesday.

Tennis - Saudi Arabia will host a new elite tennis exhibition featuring Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal and three other Grand Slam winners in October. The Six Kings Slam event will form part of the Saudi cultural and entertainment festival Riyadh Season. Major winners Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev and Jannik Sinner will also line up. The event will take place during the ATP season, which already has a full schedule that month. Exhibition events are usually played during breaks in the ATP season or after it has finished.

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