French and Riviera News Wednesday 17th April 2024

Cannes hospital hit by cyberattack - A hospital in Cannes has had to postpone all non-urgent consultations and operations after falling victim to a cyberattack. Hackers targeted the IT system at Simone Veil hospital on Tuesday morning. Doctors, consultants, but also administrative and technical staff were all affected. Several patients reported receiving phone calls from panicked staff on Tuesday telling them not to go to the hospital for their planned surgery or consultation. It's not currently possible to reschedule any of the missed appointments. The hospital has set up a crisis unit, working with the Paca regional health agency, to restore its systems and ensure no data has been compromised. It's reported that Nice university hospital was also targeted by an attempted cyberattack at the same time, but it was thwarted by the hospital's firewall technology.

Nautipolis staff go on strike - Staff at the Nautipolis swimming complex in Sophia Antipolis are walking out on strike today. It's part of an ongoing dispute between the pool's 50 employees and management. The striking workers - including most of Nautipolis's lifeguards - have complained of an unpleasant work atmosphere for several months. They accuse management of harassment, communication problems, organisational problems and increased workload which they say has led to an increase in sick leave and staff departures.

Muslim school appeals against closure - A court in Nice will decide in the coming days whether a private Muslim secondary school in the city can stay open. Last month, the Alpes-Maritimes préfecture passed a decree ordering the permanent closure of the Avicenne college at the end of the academic year. It had been open since 2015. Alpes-Maritimes prefect Hugues Moutouh said the school had been under investigation for a lack of transparency in its financing. The school has begun a legal challenge against the order to close. Nice administrative court heard arguments from both sides earlier this week and the court will decide whether to overturn the ban later this week.

Sharp decline in new home builds - New figures reveal there's been a sharp slowdown in the number of new homes being built - and sold - on the Côte d'Azur. Sales of new properties fell by almost 40% last year. That's according to the Côte d'Azur Real Estate Observatory. The rising cost of raw materials, energy and labour mean fewer new-build projects are seeing the light of day. The ones that are built are taking longer to sell, typically staying on the market for four months before finding a buyer. The report also points to growing reluctance by local mayors to grant planning permission for big construction projects. The slowdown could put up to 2,000 construction jobs at risk, according to the Alpes-Maritimes Building and Public Works Federation. The Federation of Real Estate Developers says more needs to be done to support first-time buyers and encourage them to buy off-plan.

Record gusts of wind in the Var - You'll have noticed it's been particularly windy in the Var in recent days. At about 6am yesterday, two gusts of wind measuring 152 and 150 kilometres per hour were recorded at Le Dramont measuring station in Saint-Raphaël - reportedly the strongest winds recorded there since it opened in 1966. Meanwhile, a 15-year-old boy was injured after a tree blown over by the wind fell in front of him while he was riding his electric scooter near Brignoles yesterday morning. He was taken to hospital with shoulder injuries.

New park-and-ride opens in Monaco - Prince Albert II of Monaco has inaugurated a vast new multi-storey park-and-ride car park that's designed to encourage drivers to leave their cars on the outskirts of the principality and take public transport instead. The 15-storey car park at Salines, on the Boulevard du Jardin Exotique just off the Moyenne Corniche, has been under construction for seven years, at a cost of more than €200 million, and has space for 1,800 vehicles. It's hoped it'll prove attractive for the thousands of drivers who make their way into Monaco from the west, via the motorway tunnel. Two shuttle bus routes will link the new car park to the Condamine market and Monte-Carlo, on weekdays from 7am to 7pm. Work is also under way to build an underground pedestrian walkway and lift taking users to Fontvieille. Another lift is planned to connect the car park to Princess Grace hospital.

Canadair pilots prepare for forest fire season - And Canadair fire-fighting planes have been spotted off the Alpes-Maritimes coast in recent days. It's not because of an emergency - but a training exercise to prepare the pilots for the upcoming dry season. The planes are based at Cannes-Mandelieu airport and they're each capable of collecting 10,000 litres of sea water to drop over forest fires.

BUSINESS

The global economy is likely to slow further this year, the United Nations trade body has warned. UN Trade and Development predicts global growth will slow to 2.6% this year, down from 2.7% in 2023, as falling investment and subdued trade dynamics hit the world economy. In a new report, it warns that monetary policy alone cannot solve all pressing global challenges, even if higher interest rates do bring down inflation.

Airline easyJet has announced that it is to suspend all flights to and from Tel Aviv until 27 October, following the Iranian missile and drone strike on Israel over the weekend. Earlier this week, easyJet announced that it would look to resume flights to the Israeli city on Sunday after suspending flights after the attacks. It comes just after easyJet resumed flights to Israel on 25 March after cancelling all flights following the 7 October Hamas attacks on the country. The weekend saw a number of other major airlines suspend flights, including WizzAir, Air Canada, Delta, Iberia and Lufthansa.

And British retailer Superdry has launched a huge restructuring programme aimed at securing its survival. The fashion business, which runs 216 shops as well as franchised stores, has been looking at various ways to save money after a year of weakening sales and deepening losses. Plans to cut costs include the firm looking at reducing rents on 39 of its UK shops, as well as raising money through a sale of new shares. Superdry said it would be forced to enter into administration if it did not go ahead with the plans.

SPORT

Cricket - Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell has opted to take an indefinite mental and physical health break during the Indian Premier League. Maxwell, 35, only scored 32 runs in six games and asked his club's management to be left out of Monday's 25-run defeat by Sunrisers Hyderabad. He also took a break to protect his mental health in 2019.

Football - Dele Alli says he "can see the light at the end of the tunnel" and is targeting playing at the 2026 World Cup with England. The Everton midfielder, 28, last played in February 2023 and has since been out with hip and groin injuries. He spoke in an emotional interview in July about his childhood, mental health issues and time spent in rehab.

And Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino says he was "so upset" about the dispute over who would take the penalty in their 6-0 win over Everton and has warned his players not to do it again. Nicolas Jackson and Noni Madueke argued over who would take a spot-kick, before Cole Palmer - Chelsea's regular taker - scored his fourth goal. Palmer scored the 64th-minute penalty for the Blues - his ninth successful spot-kick of the season - following a bizarre 60-second confrontation involving five players.

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