Evening Update Wednesday 24th of April

NEWS

French scientists have been developing technological tools for the past four years to help athletes optimize their training for the Paris 2024 Olympics. Virtual reality is being used as a complementary tool to enhance trainers' methods. France has been a pioneer in the use of virtual reality in sports for over twenty years, with experts from the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (Inria) and the Revea project working together to improve sports performance. However, the effectiveness of these virtual reality devices is yet to be proven. While virtual reality is still a small part of athletes' training methods, it is seen as a valuable addition to trainers' arsenals. The aim is to leverage the power of virtual reality to optimize the training of sprinters, boxers, and gymnasts for the upcoming Olympics.

A last-minute deal between France's civil aviation authority and the leading air traffic control union, SNCTA, lifted the planned major strike for Thursday, April 25. Despite this, up to 75% of flights at Paris Orly and 55% at Paris Charles de Gaulle might still be cancelled. Marseille-Provence and Nice airports could see up to 65% of flights affected, while other airports may have 45% of flights facing disruptions. SNCTA confirmed on Wednesday that an agreement was reached with the Direction générale de l'aviation civile (DGAC), but some smaller unions may still strike on April 25. DGAC has not yet clarified how much disruption is expected on Thursday.

The Clefs d'Or concierges on the Côte d'Azur and Monaco are preparing to celebrate their association's 72nd anniversary at Mamo in Antibes. With 120 members situated between Saint-Tropez and Monaco, these concierges are an integral part of the region's palaces. To become a member, one must have substantial experience in the profession and be sponsored by three individuals who can vouch for their merit and legitimacy. Nicolas Amelot, who joined the association five years after beginning work in palaces in 1997, explains that they also wear a golden key on their lapel, distinguishing them as individuals who can provide assistance and are attentive to guests' needs. The role of a concierge goes beyond basic guest reception; it also involves staying up to date with local news and providing recommendations for restaurants, itineraries, leisure activities, and more.

Roland de Rechniewski, Director of Operations at the Compagnie des Autobus de Monaco, died has died aged 63. A well-known figure in the Principality, he joined the Compagnie des Autobus de Monaco at the end of the 1980s as an engineer and was subsequently appointed Operations Manager. A religious ceremony will be held this Friday at 10am in the church of Saint-Charles in Monaco, followed by the cremation, which will take place in the privacy of the family.

The Simone Veil hospital in Cannes is gradually recovering from a cyber attack that caused operations to be postponed. After a week of technical investigations, the hospital's software has been relaunched, allowing some consultations to resume. The attack, which occurred on April 16th, paralyzed the hospital's activities, leading to the activation of an exceptional health situation plan and a preventive IT blackout. The hospital received assistance from other nearby hospitals in Grasse, Nice, and Antibes during this time. The investigations into the cyber attack are ongoing, and a complaint has been filed. The hospital did not provide specific details about the attack or the extent of the damage caused, but it mentioned that priority software applications have been restored. The IT department is still addressing the issues caused by the attack, emphasizing their commitment to resolving the situation promptly.

After a week-long strike, employees at the Monaco Carrefour in Fontvieille have reached an agreement with Carrefour France, leading to the end of the strike. The employees had gone on strike due to what they believed was a lack of consideration from the company. One of the main issues was the introduction of seniority bonuses, which the employees and their union representatives found to be too low. After two rejected proposals and a counter-proposal from the strikers, Carrefour France came back to the negotiating table with a fourth offer. This offer, which was approved by 95% of the employees, includes provisions for additional monthly bonuses based on years of seniority. The bonuses range from 38 euros gross per month for employees with 5 to 15 years of service, to 42 euros for employees with 10 to 15 years, and 46 euros for employees with more than 15 years of service.

 

BUSINESS

The US Senate has approved a controversial landmark bill that could see TikTok banned in America. It gives TikTok's Chinese owner, ByteDance, nine months to sell its stake or the app will be blocked in the United States. The bill will now be handed over to US President Joe Biden, who has said he will sign it into law as soon as it reaches his desk. ByteDance has told the BBC that it did not have an immediate response to the move. Previously the firm said it would oppose any attempt to force it to sell TikTok. If the US is successful in forcing ByteDance to sell TikTok any deal would still need approval from Chinese officials but Beijing has vowed to oppose any such move. Analysts say the process could take years.

China's rapid urbanization has led to a dramatic increase in the use of concrete, but it's also causing cities to sink. A recent study shows that major cities are subsiding at more than 3mm per year, with some areas, like parts of Beijing, sinking by more than 45mm annually. Researchers predict that by 2120, about a quarter of China's coastal land could be below sea level. The study points to the rapid rate of urban development as a key factor. The heavy weight of concrete and city infrastructure, combined with extensive groundwater abstraction to support urban populations, are identified as major contributors to subsidence. This research follows a similar study in New York City, where the estimated 762 million tonnes of concrete, glass, and steel in skyscrapers is contributing to the land subsiding.

Women-only business networking and co-working clubs like Chief in London and The Co-Working Space in Nottingham recently closed. These clubs gained popularity during the MeToo movement, offering women-exclusive spaces for networking and co-working. While some saw them as empowering, others found them divisive. Men-only clubs like White's and The Garrick Club in London have a long history, but women-only co-working spaces gained traction over the past decade, driven by the rise of remote work. The Wing in the US, founded by Audrey Gelman, became a symbol of female empowerment, raising millions in funding. However, it faced significant setbacks during the pandemic, with internal disputes, accusations of mistreatment and racism, and legal challenges over its women-only policy. The backlash ultimately led to its decline.

 

SPORTS

Rugby Union - Alex Matthews says England will "thrive" off the expected fierce atmosphere in their Women's Six Nations Grand Slam decider in France on Saturday. The Red Roses have not lost in 28 Six Nations games since they were beaten by France in Grenoble in 2018. England are chasing a third consecutive Grand Slam after four high-scoring bonus-point wins in this year's tournament but are expecting to face their biggest test against unbeaten France in Bordeaux.

Football - Arsenal moved three points clear at the top of the Premier League and made a potentially significant improvement to their goal difference with a crushing victory over Chelsea at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal suffered last week with a home Premier League defeat by Aston Villa and a Champions League quarter-final exit to Bayern Munich but the manner of this win demonstrated the title momentum is now back with Mikel Arteta's team.

NBA - Luka Doncic scored 32 points to help the Dallas Mavericks level their first-round play-off series against the Los Angeles Clippers. After a 109-97 defeat on Sunday, when they trailed by as many as 29 points, the Mavericks rallied to claim a 96-93 victory in game two. Doncic had nine assists, while Kyrie Irving added 23 points. The series moves to Dallas for the third game of the best-of-seven series on Friday.

 

TRAFFIC

An accident occurred this Wednesday morning shortly before 9am on the A8 motorway towards Aix at junction 54 Nice Quartier Nord. Journey time has been extended by 20 minutes.

 

WEATHER

Bright and clear this afternoon on the French riviera with moderate to strong winds, gusts of up to 65km/h near Marseille. Highs of 16 degrees in Nice, 17 in Cannes and Marseille, 18 in Toulon and 20 in Saint-Tropez.

Tonight, clear skies will allow us to enjoy the full moon. Lows of 6 degrees.

Outlook for tomorrow: fine and clear in the morning and afternoon with expected coverings at night. Highs of 16 degrees.

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