French and Riviera News Friday 1st September 2023

Marseille shooting is city's 39th drugs-related killing this year - The shooting of a 26-year-old man in Marseille yesterday morning brings to 39 the number of drug and gang-related killings in France's second-biggest city so far this year. The victim is reported to be the latest in a turf war between rival drug traffickers. The figure of 39 drugs-related killings this year in the Bouches-du-Rhône already exceeds the total recorded in all of last year, which was 32. The man was shot dead in the impoverished 14th arrondissement of Marseille and died on the spot. France's national police squad have been put in charge of the investigation.

10-metre fall on to rocks in Nice - A man is in a critical condition in hospital after a 10-metre fall on to the rocks near Castel Plage in Nice in the early hours of Thursday morning. Paramedics specialising in mountain rescue were called out to abseil down to the 67-year-old victim, who was taken to Pasteur II hospital. The incident happened at about 1am on Thursday at the popular panoramic view overlooking the Baie des Anges, by the I Love Nice sign. The man had been reported missing from his home in Italy. A police investigation is under way.

Cannes jewellery theft arrest made in Paris - An arrest has been in Paris in connection with Wednesday's armed robbery of the Boucheron luxury jewellery store on the Croisette in Cannes. The Grasse prosecutor's office said the suspect was arrested while getting off a TGV from the Riviera at Paris's Gare de Lyon. Judicial police in Nice identified the suspect from CCTV and witness statements and were able to alert their colleagues in Paris in time.

Drugs truck driver jailed - A man who was arrested at La Turbie tolls with a tonne of cannabis resin in the back of his truck has been jailed for four years. Customs officers pulled the Spanish-registered truck over last month as it headed towards Italy. The drugs, with an estimated market value of €10 million, were wrapped up to look like packets of soap and were hidden among several boxes full of surgical masks.

TV Monaco launches - A new TV channel for Monaco launches this evening. His Serene Highness Prince Albert II will officially launch TV Monaco at 7.15pm. The principality's new television channel will be covering a wide range of topics including national and international news, sports events and cultural highlights. It also wants to become an international reference in terms of its coverage of environmental issues.

Property tax time - Homeowners on the Côte d'Azur could be in for a shock when they open their property tax bill over the coming days. Bills for the taxe foncière were sent out earlier this week to households that have opted to pay annually instead of in monthly instalments. Across France, property taxes will rise by 7.1% - but the rate at which the tax is calculated varies from one commune to the next. The tax applies to a hypothetical rental value for each property and is reassessed each year. In Nice, the tax rate is 29%, while in Toulon it's 39%.

Menton beach cafes appeal against closure - The owners of several private beach cafes in Menton are taking last-minute legal action to try to stop major renovation works on the seafront. The affected businesses had been ordered to close by yesterday at the latest to allow for six months of works on the Promenade de la Mer. An administrative court in Nice will decide whether to back their legal challenge in a hearing next Monday. The cafe owners are also worried that, under the new plans, the amount of space set aside for them on the beach will be reduced.

Jellyfish alert - Growing numbers of beachgoers along the Riviera have reported seeing jellyfish on the shore in recent days. The stinging creatures have been spotted in large numbers on the beaches of Sainte-Marguerite, parts of Antibes, Cros-de-Cagnes and all along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, as well as in Villefranche, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Cap d'Ail and Monaco's Larvotto beach. Meanwhile, in other "animals on beaches" news, a dolphin, who’s been named Parbatt, who's a familiar sighting around Nice, has been spotted in Marseille's old port for the first time this week. And wild boar are becoming an increasingly common site on the beaches of Pampelonne and Ramatuelle in the Var.

Busy summer for Monaco - The summer season's not fully over yet - but it's already been a positive one for tourism in Monaco according to figures released this week. Monaco's tourism and convention authority says visitor numbers are up 25% on last year, and up nearly 40% compared to 2019. Visitors from France are the most common, followed by Brits and Americans. There's also been more footfall at Monaco's five tourist information points, which have welcomed more than 60,000 visitors since mid-June. A final assessment of how the tourist season has been will be made at the end of September.

BUSINESS

Inflation in France rebounded in August, driven largely by increasing food prices. France's consumer price index rose from 4.3% in July to 4.8% last month, according to initial estimates by French statistics body Insee. It's the first time since April that inflation has been on the rise again. Growing energy prices, up 6.8%, were one of the contributing factors. As was the rising cost of food, which has jumped by 11% in a year, and tobacco, up almost 10%. Insee is due to publish a second estimate of inflation in August around the middle of this month.

Hundreds of job losses at British high street retailer Wilko have been confirmed after a bid to buy the entire business fell through. Administrators PwC said 269 roles at the chain's support centre in Nottinghamshire would be made redundant. It said further redundancies across two distribution centres would be announced from early next week, although the exact numbers are yet to be confirmed. The retail chain, which employs around 12,500 staff in total, collapsed in August after struggling from inflationary pressures, competition from rivals and supply chain challenges.

Swiss banking giant UBS has reported a record pre-tax profit of $29bn in the latest quarter following its takeover of Credit Suisse. The Zurich-based bank said its bumper earnings in the three months to June were largely down to the assets it acquired from its collapsed rival, which it bought for a discounted price of $3.2bn earlier this year. UBS confirmed it would fully absorb Credit Suisse's domestic bank and said full integration of the two was the "best outcome". But it also warned 3,000 job losses were planned in Switzerland over the next few years as a result of the merger as it seeks to cut costs by $10bn.

SPORT

F1 - Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will continue as Mercedes' driver line-up for at least the next two years. Hamilton has signed a new contract that will extend his period with the team to 13 years. Russell, who joined Mercedes in 2022, has also signed a two-year deal. For Hamilton, it allows him to continue a quest for a record eighth world drivers' title.

Football - Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has joined Italian side Roma on a season-long loan deal from Chelsea. The 30-year-old returns to the Italian top league having spent last season on loan with Inter Milan, helping them reach the Champions League final. He is reported to have turned down a lucrative move to the Saudi Pro League.

Meanwhile, Manchester City have reached a formal agreement with Wolves to sign midfielder Matheus Nunes for £53m. Nunes has now been cleared to have a medical in Manchester. City had a previous bid for the Portugal international rejected last week, as Wolves held out for a fee closer to their asking price of over £60m.

And the mother of Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales has been discharged from hospital. She was admitted on Wednesday after locking herself in a church on Monday and going on hunger strike in protest at the treatment of her son. Rubiales has been heavily criticised for kissing Spain's Jenni Hermoso on the lips after the World Cup final. Hermoso said the kiss during the presentation ceremony in Sydney on 20 August was not consensual.

WEATHER

Fine and sunny across the Riviera today, with just some light cloud after lunch, a gentle breeze and temperatures reaching 25 on the coast and 28 inland in the Var. 
Clear skies overnight tonight, with temperatures going down to 20 on the coast and 17 inland.
Saturday: a cloudy start, fine and sunny by the afternoon, 26 degrees on the coast and 28 inland in the Var.
Sunday should bring more of the same: fine and sunny throughout the region, temperatures up to 26 degrees celsius.

BEACH WEATHER

On the beach in Nice this afternoon, there'll be sunny spells with some occasional light cloud, light southerly winds - 15 kilometres per hour - and temperatures reaching 24 degrees celsius. The sea temperature is 23 degrees and the UV index is 7.
In Saint-Tropez, it'll be sunny with light winds, 26 degrees celsius. The sea temperature is 21 degrees and the UV index is 7.

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