Evening Update Wednesday 6th July 2022

A private memorial service will take place on Thursday, a week after a five-year-old Ukrainian boy was killed by an electric scooter on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. The Ukrainian community of Nice will gather, with the boy's family, in a city centre church. The child had taken refuge in Nice with his mother after fleeing the war in Ukraine. His father has now been able to leave Ukraine to be with family here on the Riviera. The boy was on a marked pedestrian crossing when the scooter knocked him over. It was travelling at more than 50 kilometres per hour. The scooter rider has been charged with manslaughter.

Wearing a mask will become compulsory again from Monday on Lignes d'Azur public transport services throughout the Nice metropolitan area. Mayor Christian Estrosi said a joint decree had been signed with the mayors of other communes that make up the Nice region. It comes after the coronavirus incidence rate in the area grew by 50% in just a week - from 800 to more than 1,300 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The mask requirement applies to buses and trams on the entire Lignes d’Azur network - but not SNCF train services. However, the SNCF says wearing a mask on trains is "strongly recommended", even though it is not yet compulsory again.

Meanwhile the city of Cannes has opened up more vaccination slots for over 60s and people with underlying health conditions to get their second booster jab. The municipal vaccination centre will now be open for longer. It's only accessible by appointment, by calling the main town hall switchboard. It's also possible to get the second booster dose from a pharmacy, GP or nurse. Cannes has also temporarily relaxed the rules on occupying public space, so that pharmacies can put up marquees outside their premises to serve as vaccination centres.

A humanitarian association based in Marseille is urgently seeking a Mediterranean port to disembark more than 300 migrants who have been rescued off the coast of Libya in recent weeks. SOS Méditerranée says the 306 migrants have been saved from inflatable boats drifting in the central Mediterranean in eight separate rescue missions. Some of the migrants have been on board the charity's ambulance ship, the Ocean Viking, for 11 days in unbearable heat.

Tourism professionals on the Riviera are feeling confident about the summer season, with initial figures suggesting a near-return to pre-pandemic levels, despite rising inflation and the war in Ukraine. Hotel occupancy rates are averaging 80%, after two years of disappointing results due to the coronavirus pandemic. American tourists in particular are back on the Riviera at last. And some luxury hotels are also benefiting from the fact that many weddings had to be postponed over the past two years - and they're playing catch-up now.

Meanwhile, as we approach peak tourist season on the Riviera, the Gorges-du-Loup are swamped with day-trippers and three local mayors are trying to limit the number of visitors. On an average summer day, about 1,000 people come to see the area. The Pont du Loup has parking space for just 80 cars. The mayors of Tourrettes-sur-Loup, Courmes and Gourdon say littering by hikers and other visitors is also a major problem. They've asked the local prefect to help find a solution. Tourist offices are reportedly trying to steer curious visitors away from the area. The Waze traffic app also brings up a warning when the area is too busy.

The summer sales get under way today in the Alpes-Maritimes - two weeks later than the rest of mainland France. It’s one of only two periods in the year when shops are legally allowed to sell products at a loss to clear stock. Elsewhere in France, the sales have got off to a particularly bad start, according to an initial report from clothing retailers' federation the Alliance du Commerce. It found takings in physical stores were down by 19% in the first 10 days of the sales compared with pre-pandemic levels in 2019, with online sales failing to compensate for the decline. The federation said household concerns about soaring inflation were keeping shoppers away.

We mentioned yesterday about a campaign encouraging people to see their GP instead of clogging up emergency wards with non-urgent cases. Now, the Nice Côte d'Azur agglomeration has set up a number making it possible to have a phone consultation with a duty GP seven days a week. The service is primarily for those who do not have a regular doctor. The Nice region has several so-called "medical deserts" where there is no regular practising GP. It can also be used as a last resort outside of your regular GP's working hours, if SOS Médecins can't be reached. The number can be called any day between 9am and 5pm. It's 04 97 13 40 80 and we've put that number on the news page at rivieraradio.mc as well. It was tested out during the coronavirus wave in 2020, after Storm Alex left many remote communities in the hills above Nice cut off. It's been used 8,000 times since. There are no upfront costs to the patient. The cost of the consultation is paid by social security, under the "tiers payant" system. 

A mobile phone app that aims to encourage people to shop locally in Monaco has notched up its 400,000th transaction. The app, called Carlo, is like a digital wallet, linked to the user's bank card and it's used about 1,200 times each day. When a user buys something in a shop using the app, they earn 5% cashback which can only be spent in the 400 stores around Monaco that accept the app. Since it launched in late 2020, Carlo has attracted 32,000 users - and between them they've earnt more than €2 million in cashback, which is effectively subsidised by the Monegasque government.

The last-remaining nightclub in Menton hopes to reopen in the autumn after a more than two-year closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Brummell Club, next to the casino, closed - like every other nightclub - in March 2020. It plans to reinvent itself as a multi-purpose venue: part nightclub, part theatre.

In other French news, a ban on buy-one-get-one-free offers, or 50% discounts, on food products in French supermarkets will remain in place, after rumours that it could be scrapped met with strong opposition from farmers' unions. Currently, shops selling food can only legally offer discounts of up to 34% - a rule that is meant to ensure that food producers always get a fair price for their produce. Economy minister Bruno Le Maire had reportedly been considering relaxing the rules, as household budgets get tighter. That prompted an outcry from farmers.

French police have warned of a surge in phishing attempts by text message during the summer sales. An increasing number of people are falling for SMS-es claiming that they have missed a delivery at their home. The link poses as an official postal website, and claims that a small fee needs to be paid. It aims to get people to hand over their bank card details.

Zookeepers at Marineland in Antibes are celebrating the birth of six very cute rockhopper penguins. The three pairs of eggs hatched in late June, with the babies weighing just 50 grams each. This week two of them were taken out of their incubators after reaching the crucial 100 gram mark, which they need to survive. Characterised by yellow tufts on the side of their head, the rockhopper penguin is a vulnerable species. Marineland is one of only two animal parks in Europe to have them - the other is Pairi Daiza in Belgium.

And a luxury hotel on Cap Ferrat is capitalising on the success of Emily in Paris, by offering visitors the chance to follow in Emily's footsteps. The Grand-Hotel Cap Ferrat featured in season 2 of the Netflix hit series - and the hotel says it's seen sharp growth in web searches ever since. So it's launched a "girls' getaway" package, including airport transfers in a Bentley, beauty treatments and a chance to stay in the same suite with a sea view that appeared in the show.

BUSINESS

The pound has fallen to a two-year low against the dollar reflecting traders' increasing concerns about recession around the world as energy prices continue to soar. But sterling is also weak because markets are worried about future UK economic growth. Sterling could fall even further after predictions of economic stagnation and as inflation rises. London shares regained some ground on Wednesday following Tuesday's falls. A weak pound means that imports such as food become more expensive, and it pushes up the price of petrol at the pumps.

Zimbabwe says it will introduce gold coins later this month as it tries to curb soaring inflation amid a slump in its currency. The country's central bank also outlined plans to make the US dollar legal tender for the next five years. The central bank's main interest rate was more than doubled this month to 200%, after the annual rate of inflation rose above 190%. Zimbabwe's dollar has slumped in value against major currencies this year.

Twitter has mounted a legal challenge in India against government orders to take down content. The social media giant has filed a petition with the high court in Karnataka state resisting "several" such orders. Twitter was reacting to a letter from the government in June warning of "serious consequences" of non-compliance of such orders. Twitter has more than 24 million users in India.

SPORT

Football - Paul Pogba is set to rejoin Juventus on a free transfer after his Manchester United contract expired. It is understood the 29-year-old France midfielder will have a medical at the weekend before completing the move. Pogba joined United from the Italian side in 2016. United and Pogba failed to agree on a new contract and the club confirmed at the start of June that he would leave as a free agent this summer. It is anticipated Pogba will begin training with Juventus next week prior to their trip to the United States, where they will face Barcelona and Real Madrid on 27 and 30 July respectively.

Meanwhile Leeds United are on the verge of a fourth major summer signing, with RB Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams set to complete his medical on Wednesday before sealing a deal thought to be worth £20m. It is hoped that the transfer is done in time for the USA international to be included in the Whites squad flying out to Australia for a three-match tour next week.

Triathlon has become the first British sport to establish a new 'open' category in which transgender athletes will compete. The British Triathlon Federation confirmed that for athletes over the age of 12, competitive women's events will be reserved "for those who are female sex at birth". The policy, which will begin from January, will see an 'open' category "for all individuals including male, [male and female] transgender and those non-binary who were male sex at birth." It will apply to all events where there are prizes, times or rankings at stake, including at the grassroots level of the sport.

OGC Nice football club has hired British football consultant Iain Moody to help it sign new players during the summer transfer period. The former director at Watford, Cardiff and Crystal Palace will work with the club as an external consultant. It comes after OGC Nice sporting director Julien Fournier left the club this week due to a disagreement over strategy. The French Ligue 1 transfer window is open until 1st September and OGC Nice is yet to complete any signings.

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