Evening Update Wednesday 22 November 2023

Four schools in Nice were targeted by hoax bomb threats this morning. The schools concerned were the Masséna and Vauban high schools and the Jules Valéri and Ségurane colleges. A school in Menton also received a threat. Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi visited the Lycée Masséna this morning. In social media posts he called for "very severe justice" against the perpetrators of the hoaxes and "the greatest severity against those who joke with terrorism".

Over 300kg of cannabis has been seized by authorities in the Var. A truck registered in Spain was intercepted at a control on the A8 motorway. The contraband was discovered by special scanning equipment operated by customs officers. The couple in the truck were tried by a court in Draguignan, with the husband receiving a jail sentence.

Mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard, has been re-elected as president of the Mayors of France Association for a three year term. The Congress of Mayors is currently taking place in Paris. This evening about one thousand mayors from across France are attending a gathering at the Elysees.

Three people have received lengthy prison sentences for the murder of a homeless man in Digne-les-Bains. The body of the man was discovered in an abandoned house near the town in October 2020.

Several buildings in Aix-en-Provence have been evacuated amid concerns regarding their structural integrity. A security perimeter has been set up around the premises on Place Forum des Cardeurs in the centre of the town. However, the town hall has said that they are not in danger of collapse.

President Macron has been holding a meeting this afternoon with the foreign ministers of several Arab and Muslim countries to discuss the situation in the Middle East. Ministers attending included those from Turkey, Egypt and Jordan. 

Plans have been announced to lower the speed limit on the periphique ring road around Paris. Mayor Anne Hidalgo said that the limit would be set at 50 km per hour. It's currently planned that the change will be introduced in September next year after the Olympics. During the Games, a special lane reserved for athletes and officials will be created, which after the Games will be converted into a lane for public transport and carpooling.



UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has unveiled the government's tax and spending plans in his Autumn Statement. In figures released at the same time as the statement, the Office for Budget Responsibility said that it expects the UK economy to grow by 0.7% in 2024 and 1.4% in 2025, which is significantly less than it had previously forecast. In March it forecast growth of 1.8% and 2.5%.

OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman is set to return to the company less than a week after being let go by its board of directors. The company said that it had "reached an agreement in principle for Sam Altman to return to OpenAI as CEO with a new initial board". The company added that it is "collaborating to figure out the details".

The owners of the Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland have announced that it will close in 2025.  The refinery is a major supplier of petrol and diesel in Scotland and northern England as well as being the main supplier of aviation fuel to airports in Scotland.



Football... Manchester United and England player Luke Shaw has returned to training. He's only played twice in the last three months because of a muscle injury.

Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni says that he is considering resigning. He's been in the job for five years and led the side to victory in the World Cup last year.

Motorsports... It's been announced that Mick Schumacher will race in the World Endurance Championship for Alpine next season. However, he'll remain as back-up driver for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell at the Mercedes Formula 1 team in 2024.

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