Evening Update Wednesday 7th December 2022

A man has been remanded in custody over the deaths of two homeless people on the outskirts of Nice last week. The man, an Iranian national, is suspected of killing two men who were squatting a disused property on the road from Colomars to Nice on 30 November. The suspect was spotted on CCTV later in the week, around the Christmas village in Nice. Police arresting him were threatened with a machete. He'll undergo psychiatric assessment before trial.

A woman has been jailed for five years for posing as a Riviera real estate agent and pocketing tens of thousands of euros in money for properties she hadn't been given permission to rent out. 36-year-old Emmanuelle Cadet, from the greater Paris region, was not present in court in Grasse for sentencing. Prosecutors said she concluded rental agreements with several tenants for properties around Théoule-sur-Mer without the owners' approval, between February and May this year. In one case, prosecutors say an elderly couple entrusted the so-called estate agent with renting out their property for short-term stays. Instead, she concluded a year-long rental contract with a family, let them move in, changed the locks and kept their deposit and first month's rent for herself. Many of the defendants say they were left homeless, having already terminated the lease on their previous home, and were substantially out of pocket. Her five-year jail term, one year of which is suspended, is for fraud, illegal work and violating a person's right to property. She will have to pay her victims compensation and is banned from working in the real estate industry for 15 years. A warrant has been issued for her arrest.

The funeral for local ex-Formula 1 driver Patrick Tambay will be held in Le Cannet, at the Saint-Philomène church, next Thursday morning, it's been announced. Tambay was a Le Cannet resident and former deputy mayor of the town. He died on Sunday at the age of 73. He started out in F1 in 1977 with the Theodore team before joining McLaren and then Ferrari.

The number of patients in intensive care with coronavirus in the Alpes-Maritimes has doubled in the past fortnight from 18 to 36. That's the highest level since March this year. The ninth wave of the virus is well under way on the Riviera, with the number of detected new cases growing rapidly since mid-November, and experts say the peak has not yet been reached. Public Health France is urging the most fragile in society, who have not had a booster vaccine any time in the past six months, to have one now.

La Farlède in the Var has called in an external supplier of school meals as an emergency measure, after several children fell ill eating the municipal school lunches. Several parents alerted the town hall over the weekend to suspected cases of gastroenteritis. A lab is carrying out tests on food and water samples and the Regional Health Agency has been informed.

France's highest appeals court, the Council of State, has granted a reprieve to beach restaurant owners in Ramatuelle in the Var, in a long-running dispute over their right to occupy the seafront. An earlier ruling by an administrative court in Marseille in May this year had annulled 10 contracts awarded by Ramatuelle town hall to operate catering businesses on Pampelonne beach. Ramatuelle appealed against the ban, arguing that it would lead to the town having to pay severe financial penalties to the affected businesses. While this latest decision means the venues can temporarily continue to operate, the Council of State will rule again in the coming year if this should be permanent.

In other French news, 10 million low-income workers will receive a €100 fuel bonus in the new year, prime minister Elisabeth Borne has announced. The allowance is intended to help households on modest incomes meet the costs of driving to work. It's part of a €1 billion package to help France's most vulnerable cope with the energy crisis.

And the Association of Monegasque Hotel Industries has set out plans to try to attract more people to come and work in the principality's numerous hotels. Faced with a labour shortage after the coronavirus shutdowns, the hotel industry in the principality has been working to make the job more attractive. A recent agreement between hotels and unions has seen an improvement to salary scales - the first of its kind in more than 20 years. The association says that someone choosing to work in a hotel in Monaco can expect to take home about 25% more than in a hotel over the border in France, and benefit from more generous social security coverage.

BUSINESS

Donald Trump's real estate company has been found guilty of running a criminal scheme to defraud tax authorities for 15 years. The scheme operated by The Trump Organization included avoiding paying personal income taxes on perks such as rent-free apartments and luxury cars. The firm, which operates hotels, golf courses and other real estate around the world had pleaded not guilty. The former US president was not personally charged in the case. The Trump Organization had argued that chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, 75, ran the scheme to benefit himself. He is on paid leave and testified that he received more than $1m in salary and bonus payments this year. The firm will be sentenced on 13 January. Trump Organization intends to appeal. While the firm now faces paying a fine, it is considered unlikely that it would cause serious damage to a company of its size. The group comprises about 500 business entities. However, the conviction could make lenders and partners think twice.

The proportion of people in the UK who say they can easily afford Christmas this year has nearly halved, according to a debt charity which is warning that more people are turning to credit. StepChange said fewer than a quarter (24%) of people were in a comfortable financial position heading in to the festive season, compared with nearly half (45%) in 2021. The findings of its survey reflected, the report stated, the surge in the cost of living during 2022. Inflation is currently running at a 41-year high of 11.1% and earnings growth is failing to keep pace. The main drivers across the economy have been energy-related - as the cost of producing goods including food and services has soared while household power and gas bills are at record levels amid Russia's war in Ukraine.

SPORT

Tennis - Novak Djokovic will play in January's Adelaide International, a year after being deported from Australia because of his Covid-19 vaccination status. The Serb, who has won a record nine Australian Open titles, is also set to compete at the first Grand Slam of the year after his visa ban was overturned. Britain's Andy Murray, Kyle Edmund and Jack Draper will also play in Adelaide, with the event beginning on 1 January. The Australian Open starts 15 days later in Melbourne.

Football - Michael O'Neill has agreed to return for a second spell as Northern Ireland manager after successfully concluding talks with the Irish FA. The 53-year-old will take charge for the forthcoming Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, succeeding Ian Baraclough who was sacked from the post on 21 October. O'Neill became Stoke City manager in November 2019 but stayed on as NI boss too until resigning in April 2020. O'Neill was sacked from his job at Championship side Stoke in August 2022.

WORLD CUP

The city centre of Nice was completely cordoned off by police after Moroccan supporters celebrated their victory in the World Cup on Tuesday. The scenes of joy gradually gave way to moments of tension with the police.

Meanwhile in Paris, it was on the Champs Elysées that Moroccan supporters came to celebrate the historic qualification. Several thousand people gathered on the Parisian Avenue. One supporter told reporters "it brings everyone together, Moroccans, French, everyone. We are all together. It makes us proud”. Another expressed his "joy" saying "we are French, we are children of immigrants, but we are Moroccans too." The supporters "dream" of a France-Morocco semi-final. "It doesn't matter who wins, it would be a dream", for the supporters.

Morocco eliminated Spain and qualified for the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar. A historic qualification for a team which had never reached this stage of the competition.

Meanwhile the England team are keeping their body clocks on UK time to combat the heat and help adapt to the unusually late 10pm kick-off times at the World Cup. From the four matches Gareth Southgate’s side have played in Qatar, three of them have kicked off at the later time of 10pm. Sunday’s quarter-final against France is also scheduled to start at 10pm - as are the semi-finals.

French President Emmanuel Macron predicted on Tuesday that des Bleus will beat the Three Lions in their World Cup quarter final. The French President was supremely confident of France's chances on Saturday, telling national radio: 'I don't doubt that we're going to win.'   Macron, an avid supporter of Marseille, correctly predicted France's victory over Poland last week including guessing the final score and goal-scorers. But he refused to be drawn on the result against England, saying he would give a prediction closer to the match. 

The next World Cup action comes on Friday, with the first two quarter-finals - Croatia vs Brazil and the Netherlands vs Argentina.

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