Evening Update Wednesday 15th of May 2024

NEWS
Blocked Prisons - Several prisons were blocked today, following the attack on a van in the Eure region on Tuesday, in which two prison officers died and three others were seriously injured. The unions are calling for a nationwide "blockade". The Nice prison was blocked this morning by around fifty prison guards. Eric Dupond-Moretti has met with the prison union this afternoon at 2pm. A minute's silence has been observed by all Ministry of Justice staff at 11am.

Energy Suppliers - The French national energy ombudsman's annual report highlights four suppliers—Engie, ENI, OHM Energie, and Wekiwi—for deceptive practices, including misleading price information and underestimating payments. It also notes a rise in disputes over price changes due to the 2023 energy crisis. Last year, the ombudsman issued 8,500+ recommendations, nearly all implemented by suppliers and operators, resulting in 10 million euros paid out to customers.

Fire in Nice - A fire broke out in the middle of the night on Avenue de Fabron. The occupant of the burning flat was rescued by the fire brigade from his balcony. Two water hoses had to be set up, as the flames were so intense.

Wheelie Accident - A man was sentenced to four years' imprisonment, one of which was unsuspended, for losing control of his motorbike during a wheelie on 22 March in the Promenade Des Anglais, in Nice. His passenger and friend was killed.

Vehicles on Fire - Three vehicles and a caravan were set on fire in the centre of Trans-en-Provence on the night of Friday 10 to Saturday 11 May 2024. A suspect was arrested today in Draguignan.

Council Chamber Inauguration - The council chamber, costing over €1 million and 10 months of work, was inaugurated by Mayor Georges Marsan. Half the budget went to technological equipment. Serving as the heart of Monaco's governance, it's a space for debates, discussions, and decisions to enhance quality of life through various projects.

 

BUSINESS

The US Department of Justice is mulling over prosecuting Boeing for two deadly crashes involving its 737 Max aircraft. Boeing may have breached an agreement made in 2021 shielding it from criminal charges related to the crashes. Boeing denies violating the agreement and awaits the opportunity to respond. The crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people. Boeing paid a $2.5bn settlement under the deal. The DOJ gave Boeing until June 13 to respond, and victim's relatives are calling for criminal action.

Timber smuggling from Mozambique to China, valued at $23m yearly, allegedly funds an Islamist insurgency and criminal network. Rosewood, protected under international law, is linked to militant financing in Cabo Delgado. Poor management, illegal logging, and corruption facilitate the trade. This coincides with increased fighting in Northern Mozambique. Insurgents profit from wildlife and forest exploitation, generating an estimated $1.9m monthly. Firms reportedly pay a 10% fee to insurgents for illegal logging protection. Mozambique surpassed Senegal, Nigeria, and Madagascar as China's top hongmu wood supplier, valued at $11.7m last year.

The Scottish government will declare a national housing emergency today. Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville will make the announcement during a Labour-led debate at Holyrood. She is expected to attribute the decision to UK government austerity and Brexit. However, UK ministers argue that Scotland receives about 25% more funding per person than other parts of the UK. Scottish Labour has criticized the government for imposing "brutal" cuts to the housing budget. Last year, several councils including Argyll and Bute, City of Edinburgh, and Glasgow City declared housing emergencies.

 

SPORTS
Cricket - England Test captain Ben Stokes is set to play his first County Championship match for two years when Durham play Lancashire on Friday (11:00 BST). Stokes last featured in a Championship game for Durham in May 2022.

Rugby Union - Exeter Chiefs winger Rory O’Loughlin has been forced to retire because of a serious shoulder injury at the start of the season.

Golf - Justin Thomas will switch his attention from trying to win a third US PGA Championship title to watching Leeds United's play-off semi-final when he finishes his opening round on Thursday. The American is a minority investor in the English Football League club, who host Norwich City at Elland Road in the second leg of the Championship play-off.
Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy has filed for divorce from his wife Erica in the week of the US PGA Championship in Kentucky.

 

WEATHER
Cloudy afternoon on the riviera with thunderstorms occurring higher in the region. Highs of 19 degrees in Nice and Cannes, 20 in Saint-Tropez and Marseille and 22 degrees in Toulon.
Tonight, light clouds all across the region, lows of 14 degrees.
Outlook for tomorrow, indecisive weather with clear mornings, risks of thunderous afternoons and back to clear skies in the evening. Highs of 20 degrees.

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