Evening Update Wednesday 1st of May 2024

NEWS

Flour Contaminated By Datura - Authorities have recalled batches of organic flour in western France due to cases of poisoning caused by datura, a plant that can cause hallucinations by affecting the nervous system. The recall involves "all batches of JP Cloteau brand organic buckwheat flour with a 'best before' date between October 2024 and March 2025," according to the Ministries of Health and Agriculture. The flour was sold in organic shops, grocery stores, local markets, and direct from producers, mainly in western France, particularly Brittany. It was distributed in both sachets and bulk. Customers are urged to check their flour purchases and return any affected products. 

Bill to Mandate Car Companies to Purchase Electric Cars -French MP Damien Adam from the Renaissance party has proposed a bill in the National Assembly to consider mandating companies to purchase electric cars. Currently, companies with fleets of over 100 vehicles must include a certain quota of low-emission vehicles when renewing their fleets, as part of the preparation for the 2035 ban on new combustion-powered cars. However, only a third of these companies comply, due to the lack of penalties and the high cost of electric vehicles. MP Adam's bill aims to speed up the transition to electric vehicles, which are key in the second-hand car market. However, certain sectors, like short-term car hire companies, argue that shifting to electric vehicles would hurt their cash flow. The NGO Transport & Environment prefers stricter enforcement of the existing law instead of new mandates. Various organizations are urging the Prime Minister to support this reform.

One Man Died After Night Out in Toulon - One man was killed and another seriously injured on Tuesday night as he left a nightclub in Toulon. An altercation escalated and a motorist allegedly charged a group of people. An investigation has been opened for murder and attempted murder.

House Fire in La Trinité - House fire in La Trinité: search continues in the rubble. The fire broke out before 6am on Wednesday 1 May. A farmhouse at Lépine in La Trinité in southern Manche was completely engulfed in smoke. Three occupants were evacuated and the fire brigade is looking for any other people inside.  According to the senator and departmental councillor for La Manche, Philippe Bas, an 11-year-old child and his mother died, while his father is in intensive care.

Several changes are coming into effect on 1 May 2024, impacting gas prices, health contributions, and the MaPrimeRénov' energy renovation allowance.

  • Gas Prices: These will increase by 1.4% compared to April 2024, leading to higher utility bills.
  • Training Contributions: Access to the personal training account (CPF) will now require a flat-rate fee of 100 euros from employees, regardless of the cost of the training.
  • Medical Deductibles: Following a recent doubling of deductibles, from 15 May 2024, patient out-of-pocket expenses for some medical services will increase from 1 euro to 2 euros.
  • Work-Study Recruitment Aid: Recruitment aid for alternating work-study contracts has been abolished to reduce public spending.
  • MaPrimeRénov': From 15 May 2024 to 1 January 2025, an energy performance diagnosis (DPE) will not be required to qualify for MaPrimeRénov' under the "parcours par geste" scheme, simplifying the process.
    These changes reflect adjustments in public policy to address budgetary concerns and streamline administrative processes.

14 SNCF Stations Closed in the Alpes-Maritimes and Var - Starting today, SNCF ticket offices have permanently closed at six railway stations in the Alpes-Maritimes and Var, including Sospel, La Trinité, Cannes-la-Bocca, Mandelieu, Fréjus, and Saint-Raphaël. Passengers at these stations will now only be able to buy tickets from machines. In eight other stations, like Menton Garavan, Carnoles, Villefranche-sur-Mer, and Grasse, SNCF staff will be available during limited hours to help passengers use ticket machines or the SNCF app. These staff will not directly sell tickets. At Menton Garavan, an SNCF employee will be present only on Wednesdays and Saturdays, while Villefranche, which attracts cruise ship visitors, will have staff on site four mornings a week.

 

BUSINESS

Australian airline Qantas is investigating a privacy breach on its app, allowing customers to access other users' personal details. Some customers reported seeing boarding passes and flight information of strangers, including their names and frequent flyer information. Qantas fixed the problem three hours after it was discovered, apologizing for the breach. The airline stated that there is "no indication of a cyber security incident," suggesting it was caused by a technology issue potentially related to recent system changes. Some costumers even told ABC that they could cancel other passengers' flights when opening the app. Technology journalist Trevor Long mentioned that he could capture the details of 8-12 different people in just 15 minutes, including valid boarding passes. Social media was flooded with criticisms of Qantas, with people sharing screenshots of the glitch and alleged phishing attempts by accounts posing as Qantas customer care agents.

China's updated State Secrets Law, which imposes stricter controls on internet companies, takes effect today. It requires "network operators," such as Tencent, ByteDance, and Weibo, to monitor and remove sensitive information posted by users, keep records, and report to authorities. This first update in over a decade aligns with President Xi Jinping's focus on national security as China's tech industry faces increased government scrutiny. The new rules also broaden what qualifies as sensitive information to include "work secrets," or details about state agency decision-making, which could pose issues for journalists and foreign correspondents. Taiwan has voiced concerns, suggesting the broad and vague rules could endanger Taiwanese visitors to China. The new regulations come as TikTok and ByteDance face increased scrutiny in the US and other Western countries. However, these rules primarily target domestic Chinese internet companies, not their overseas operations.

 

SPORTS

Cricket - Former captain Steve Smith has been left out of Australia's squad for June's T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and USA. The 34-year-old's exclusion comes after a poor run of form against New Zealand in February, when he made scores of 11 and four. Promising batter Jake Fraser-McGurk has also been omitted, all-rounder Mitchell Marsh will captain the side / and veteran opening batter David Warner has been selected for what could be his final international tournament.

Rugby Union - England forward Maro Itoje could miss Saracens' Premiership run-in after being cited for a dangerous tackle. The 29-year-old British and Irish Lion is accused of making head contact with Bath’s Alfie Barbeary in their 15-12 win at the Recreation Ground on Friday. Itoje, who has won 81 caps for England and five Premiership titles with Sarries, was shown a yellow card for the challenge but the citing officer deemed it a red-card offence after reviewing it. He faces a tribunal on Tuesday and would likely receive a minimum two-game ban should he be found guilty - which would rule him out of league games against Bristol Bears and Sale Sharks.

Tennis - Rafael Nadal says it has been a "very emotional" week after he made his last-ever appearance at the Madrid Open. The former world number one, and five-time champion in the Spanish capital, waved an emotional farewell to the tournament after losing in straight sets to Jiri Lehecka. The 37-year-old has indicated he plans to retire after the 2024 season. In spite of this, Nadal claimed he was happy, after the 7-5 6-4 defeat.

 

WEATHER

Grey with light showers throughout the day, moderate winds with gusts of up to 55km/h. Highs of 17 degrees in Saint-tropez, 18 in Toulon and Cannes, 19 in Nice and 20 degrees in Marseille.
Much the same tonight, though the rain should come to a stop. Lows of 15 degrees.
Outlook for tomorrow, rainy morning and grey skies throughout the day on the riviera. Highs of 15 degrees.

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