Evening Update Wednesday 8th of May 2024

NEWS

High Security in Marseille - Gérald Darmanin, the French Minister of the Interior, has announced that 6,000 members of the police force will be deployed to provide security for the arrival of the Olympic flame in Marseille on 8 May 2024. This number will even exceed that deployed in France's second-largest city in September 2023 for the visit of Pope Francis, which was described at the time as "out of the ordinary" and "exceptional".

Project HandiRoad - A mother from Bordeaux has launched project Handiroad, a GPS app for wheelchair users. The project has already won 17 awards (including the Let's Go France prize) and will be one of the favourites at Viva Tech, Europe's biggest trade fair for new technologies, to be held in Paris (22-25 May). The application is inspired by geolocation software for motorists and offers real-time mapping to indicate obstacles. The Handiroad project relies on a community that indicates obstacles and makes itself available in the event of an alert.

Animal Welfare in Cannes - David Lisnard, the Mayor of Cannes, has launched new initiatives to support animal welfare. These include a 400 m² dog park, allowing dogs on natural beaches during winter, hosting an annual conference on "Animals and Civic-mindedness," and updating the "Guide de l'animal citadin" (Guide for Urban Animals). These measures are part of a broader municipal effort that began in 2014 and accelerated with the creation of a municipal delegation in 2017. The goal is to ensure animals have a place in the city, address animal suffering, and protect public health from invasive species.

Saint-Laurent-Du-Var Still Closed - The port of Saint-Laurent remains closed, surrounded by anti-pollution buoys, following a fire that sank five boats around 11pm on Wednesday, 1 May. The wreckage of one of the sunken boats has been removed, but the port's closure continues. The fire, which began on one boat and spread to others, is under investigation by the Grasse public prosecutor's office, suggesting an act of malice. As of Tuesday morning, the prosecutor's office confirmed that no arrests have been made.

Moyenne Corniche Reopened - The Moyenne Corniche has reopened to traffic after a rock fall on Monday. The road was temporarily closed on 6 May in Villefranche-sur-Mer due to falling boulders.

Fire in Vallauris - A fire broke out in a flat in Vallauris (Alpes-Maritimes) late last night. A woman in her fifties was seriously burnt and taken to Toulon’s hospital. No information has yet been released about the cause of the fire.

Warmest April Yet - April 2024 was the warmest April on record worldwide, according to Copernicus, which published its latest report on Wednesday 8 May 2024. This is the eleventh consecutive record. The weakening of the El Niño phenomenon raises hopes of a respite later this year.

 

BUSINESS

Wayve, a UK-based AI company focused on self-driving cars, has secured $1.05bn (£840m) in funding, the largest known investment in a European AI firm. The funding round was led by investment firm SoftBank, with Microsoft and chip-maker Nvidia among the contributors. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated that this investment "anchors the UK’s position as an AI superpower." Wayve's technology, called "embodied AI," is designed for future autonomous vehicles, learning from real-world environments. The funding will help advance the development of self-driving technology. The UK government aims to have self-driving vehicles on roads by 2026, with an Automated Vehicles Bill in progress to establish a regulatory framework for their safe use. This new legislation is expected to clarify legal liability for companies and drivers, potentially unlocking a "transport revolution."

The US government has revoked some export licences that allowed American chip makers to sell certain products to Chinese tech giant Huawei. The Department of Commerce did not specify which permits were cancelled, but the move follows Huawei's release of an AI-enabled computer powered by an Intel chip. Intel declined to comment, while Huawei and Qualcomm have also been contacted for responses. Since 2019, the US has restricted technology exports to Huawei due to alleged ties to the Chinese military. These restrictions are part of broader US measures against Chinese technology firms as tensions between the two countries have escalated. Earlier this month, President Biden signed a law that could ban the video app TikTok unless its Chinese parent company sells it. TikTok has filed a lawsuit to block the legislation. Beijing has condemned the US's actions against its companies, calling them "economic bullying."

 

SPORTS

Cricket – Scotland will face England in this autumn’s Women’s T20 World Cup after losing against Sri Lanka in the final of the ICC qualifier in Abu Dhabi. The Scots had already secured their first appearance in the tournament by reaching the last two but could not land the silverware as they were defeated by 68 runs.

Rugby Union – Magnus Bradbury wants to play his way back into Scotland contention when he returns to Edinburgh next season - and admits he took his status as a Test player for granted earlier in his career. Bradbury, who won the last of his 19 Scotland caps against Argentina in July 2022, will rejoin the capital side from Bristol in the summer.

Tennis – A system designed to uncover cheats in tennis has come under sharpened scrutiny in the wake of former Wimbledon champion Simona Halep being banned for a doping offence. British doubles player Tara Moore losing two years of her career has also raised questions. She has recently returned after contaminated meat was deemed the source of her failed test.

 

WEATHER

Sunny all across the Riviera today. Highs of 20 degrees in Nice, 21 in Cannes and Toulon, and 22 degrees in Saint-Tropez and Marseille. 
Tonight, we are blessed with clear skies with lows of 13 degrees.
Outlook for tomorrow: much the same with bright clear skies all across the region with highs of 24 degrees. 

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