Evening Update Wednesday 12th October 2022

The Riviera's hotels and restaurants are feeling the squeeze from the current energy price crisis and rising inflation. The Côte d'Azur branch of UMIH, that's the federation that represents hotel and restaurant workers, says the sector will need to put prices up by 10% to cover soaring costs. But it says putting up the price of hotel rooms and restaurant meals won't be enough. The sector will increasingly have to look at cutting costs, using cheaper raw materials, and cutting out dishes from menus where the ingredients have become too expensive. Working hours and opening times may also have to be reduced over the winter to help make ends meet.

As fuel shortages continue across France, a growing number of departments are passing local decrees to limit the amount of fuel each customer can buy at the pump. In the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes, drivers are limited to filling up 30 litres at a time, until at least Friday. Heavy goods vehicles can buy up to 120 litres per visit to a petrol station. Several petrol stations in each department now have a priority lane for ambulances, police and gendarmes, healthcare workers, food distribution vehicles and taxis. The Hautes-Alpes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence have also imposed the same limits of 30 litres for individuals and 120 for road haulage. According to the Alpes-Maritimes prefecture, 50% of petrol stations in the department had no fuel today - and another 20% did not have the full range of petrol and diesel options. The problem is particularly bad around Nice. The president of the Nice taxi union says the petrol stations that are giving priority access to essential services should be made to stay open 24/7. Meanwhile, the mayor of Nice has announced that several Lignes d'Azur routes will operate an increased timetable during peak hours to encourage workers to take public transport instead of having to queue for petrol.As the Nice terror trial continues in Paris, a growing number of people are registering to be considered a civil claimant in the case. The National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor's Office says more than 2,300 people have filed a request to be considered a civil party in the case. The number has almost tripled since the trial opened six weeks ago, when only 860 civil claimants had come forward.

The Nice metropolitan region has agreed to pump an extra €43 million into the extension of the tram network from Nice to Saint-Laurent-du-Var and Cagnes-sur-Mer. The extension, which is due to be completed by 2026, is over-budget and is now expected to cost €328 million - that's up from €285 million.

One of the Riviera's hardest-working speed cameras can be found on the Moyenne Corniche in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. Located on a straight stretch of road in the hills above Monaco, the camera caught more than 65,000 speeding drivers last year. That's an average of one every eight minutes. Six speed cameras have been placed on the Moyenne Corniche between Beausoleil and Roquebrune in recent years. Between them they've gone off 120,000 times in the past year. 15% of the fines issued are for drivers of foreign-registered vehicles, of which the highest number are from Monaco. But, because of the workload generated by all these speeding incidents, at any given time only two of the six cameras are operational and result in fines being issued. According to the Alpes-Maritimes préfecture, it's working. This stretch of road recorded 10 accidents in 2019 - one of which was fatal. Last year, there were just two recorded accidents. As well as the Roquebrune speed camera, the top three locations on the Riviera for speed camera flashes includes the westbound A8 in Cagnes-sur-Mer and the Las Planas tunnel in Nice-North on the eastbound side of the motorway.

Meanwhile, an 18-year-old man has been ordered to pay €17,000 in damages for vandalising 14 CCTV cameras in Trans-en-Provence in the Var in the early hours of Sunday morning. Remote images from the CCTV cameras themselves made it possible for police to identify the man, who was arrested on the same day and appeared in court in Draguigan just a day later. If he can't repay the €17,000 in costs, the court ordered that he would have to spend eight months in jail.

And a trio of penguins at Marineland in Antibes have helped scientific researchers test out new technology that'll be used to better study penguins in the Antarctic. Researchers from France's Centre for Biological Studies wanted to check the micro-sonar technology worked before embarking overseas. Using a small black box attached to each penguin, they followed their movements at the marine park using the new technology and practised receiving and interpreting the results. The mission to Antarctica aims to better understand the habits of penguins while hunting. There's little data already available because they travel very far from the coast and dive to great depths.

BUSINESS

The boss of the Bank of England has said a bond-buying scheme to stabilise pension funds must end on Friday, despite pleas to extend it., The scheme must end for the sake of UK financial stability, Andrew Bailey said. He said that managers have got to make sure that their funds are resilient. Earlier the Bank of England made a fresh bond-buying move to try to calm markets. Bailey said pension funds have "an important task" to ensure they are resilient. The pound dropped sharply against the dollar to below $1.10 after his statement.

Shares in some of the world's largest "gig" economy companies have fallen after the US government outlined a plan to change the way workers are treated.
Under the US Labor Department's proposal, workers would be more likely to be classified as employees instead of independent contractors. Shares in firms including Uber and Lyft fell by more than 10% on the news. Tens of millions of people work in the global gig economy across services like food delivery and transport. US Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said the rule would aim to stop companies from misclassifying workers as independent contractors.

General Motors is expanding beyond car-making, with plans to offer energy storage and management services to residential and commercial customers through its new GM Energy unit in a move that puts it in even greater competition with Tesla. Tesla’s seven-year-old energy generation and storage business, which includes solar panels and stationary batteries, lost $129m last year on revenues of $2.8bn.

SPORT

Tennis - Novak Djokovic would be welcome to play at the Australian Open if he can obtain a visa, tournament director Craig Tiley has said, while Russian and Belarusian players will be able to compete at the opening Grand Slam of 2023 under a neutral flag. Novak Djokovic is a nine-time champion at the Australian Open but missed out on last year's tournament after being kicked out of the country for not being vaccinated against COVID-19. Nine-time winner Novak Djokovic would be welcome to compete at the Australian Open if he can obtain a visa, Tiley said. The Serbian former world No 1 was kicked out of the country for not being vaccinated against COVID-19 in a dramatic turn of events in January. Djokovic is barred from re-entering until 2025, though the Australian government can waive the ban at its discretion. Meanwhile, Tiley has said Russian and Belarusian players will be able to compete at the Australian Open under a neutral flag. Tennis authorities banned Russian and Belarusian players from international team competitions after Russia's invasion of Ukraine earlier this year but allowed them to compete at regular tour events. The French Open and US Open Grand Slams allowed them to compete as neutrals, though Wimbledon imposed an outright ban.

Football - Celtic's hopes of Champions League progress are over after a frustrating 2-0 home defeat by RB Leipzig. It leaves the Scottish champions bottom with one point from four games.

Hockey - The head of Hockey Canada and its entire board of directors have resigned amid a growing scandal over how the sport’s governing body failed to address allegations of sexual assault. On Tuesday morning, Hockey Canada announced its CEO, Scott Smith, was leaving the embattled organization. The resignation of the board is the latest development in an unfolding scandal that has further tarnished the reputation of the national organization. Last week, Nike dropped its support for Hockey Canada, and a number of provincial hockey associations said they would stop remitting fees to the national organization as pressure mounted on Hockey Canada to show it understood the scope of public outrage. Hockey Canada said it had paid C$7.6m in nine settlements related to sexual assault and abuse claims since 1989. 

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