French and Riviera News Wednesday 1st May 2024

Students hold pro-Palestinian sit-in at Menton uni - The Menton campus of Sciences-Po university has been closed until further notice after students occupied the site in a pro-Palestinian protest against Israel's actions in Gaza. About 30 students took over part of the university premises and staged a sit-in on Monday evening, staying there overnight. They hung Palestinian flags from several windows and put up signs reading: "Gaza, Sciences-Po is with you." The mayor of Menton was reportedly furious about the unauthorised demonstration and asked police to intervene.

Camille autopsy comes back inconclusive - The post-mortem for a 33-year-old man whose body was found in the Var recently, after being missing for more than a month, has come back inconclusive. Camille Marchetti disappeared from his home in Fréjus in the middle of a violent storm on 9th March. A couple discovered his body on the terrace of their holiday home in the Saint-Aygulf district five weeks later, on 15th April. An autopsy carried out this week by a forensic medical institute in Nice found that while his death is generally not being treated as suspicious, further examinations are needed before the involvement of another person can be completely ruled out.

Biker seriously injured in crash - A 17-year-old motorcyclist is in a serious condition after a collision with a car in Tourrettes, in the Var. The incident happened around 8am yesterday morning. The biker was taken to hospital with multiple injuries. The car's driver was unharmed.

Fisherman accidentally collects explosive device in net - Mine-clearing experts from Hyères have been called out to Corsica after a fishing boat accidentally swept up an explosive device in one of its nets. A team of divers were taken by helicopter from Hyères to the trawler, off the coast of Porto-Vecchio, and the device was safely removed and disposed of without any incident.

La Colle water safety update - Residents in La-Colle-sur-Loup will have to wait a while longer before it's safe for them to drink their tap water again. Since last weekend, local authorities have been handing out free bottles of mineral water, after routine analysis of the mains water supply found it was contaminated by a parasite that can cause severe diarrhoea and vomiting. The Paca Regional Health Agency is currently drawing up a set of Q&As for affected residents. The mayor of La-Colle-sur-Loup says there's ample supplies of bottled water for everyone. It’s distributed daily from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, including on weekends and public holidays such as today. Investigations are ongoing to try to determine the cause of the water contamination.

14 SNCF ticket offices close - Starting today, the SNCF will not have manned ticket offices at 14 railway stations in the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var. The ticket offices in Sospel, La Trinité, Cannes-la-Bocca, Mandelieu, Fréjus and Saint-Raphaël have closed permanently, with passengers only able to buy tickets at a machine from 1st May. At eight other stations, there will still be SNCF staff during limited hours. But their job will not be to sell tickets directly, but to help show passengers how to buy their own ticket at a machine or on the SNCF app. Those stations are Menton Garavan, Carnoles, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Cros-de-Cagnes, Villeneuve-Loubet, Biot, Golfe-Juan and Grasse. At Menton Garavan, for example, an SNCF employee will only be there on Wednesdays and Saturdays, for two hours in the mid-afternoon. Villefranche, with its many cruise ship daytrippers, will have someone four mornings a week.

Monaco pool back open for summer - The Rainier III open-air swimming pool on the port in Monaco has reopened to the public for a new summer season. It'll be open until mid-October, except during the Historic and Formula 1 Grand Prix races in May.

Animal parade in Nice - Dogs, cats, a ferret, guinea pigs and two llamas were among the creatures that took part in the third edition of the Animal March through Nice. About 1,000 humans joined the procession as well, along the Promenade des Anglais from the I Love Nice sign to the Negresco. The event aims to promote animal wellbeing in the city, which has regularly been voted the best place in France to own a dog, according to the magazine for pet-lovers, 30 Millions d'Amis.

BUSINESS

HSBC's group chief executive Noel Quinn is unexpectedly retiring after nearly five years in the role. Europe's largest bank says it is in the process of finding a successor for 62-year-old Quinn, who will stay in the role until a new chief executive is named. HSBC is considering candidates from both inside and outside the firm. It comes as the UK-based lender reported a 1.8% drop in profit for the first three months of 2024, compared to the same time last year. The company said that its pre-tax profit for the period came in at $12.7bn, which was a little better than expected by market analysts.

Chinese car giant BYD has seen profits fall as it is hit by slowing demand for electric vehicles (EV) and a price war in the world's largest car market. The firm said it made $630m in the first three months of the year, more than 47% lower than the previous quarter. BYD has been competing with Elon Musk's Tesla to be the world's biggest seller of electric vehicles. The US giant reclaimed the title earlier this month after losing out to its Chinese rival at the end of last year. BYD says it sold just over 300,000 battery-only cars in the first three months of the year, down from a record 526,000 in the final quarter of 2023.

And France’s economic growth has accelerated in the first quarter of this year, beating expectations. French GDP expanded by 0.2% in January-March, a pick-up on the 0.1% growth recorded in October-December. Household spending helped drive the French economy, with domestic demand bouncing back.

SPORT

Football - Manchester United are willing to listen to offers for virtually all their first-team squad this summer as Sir Jim Ratcliffe looks to turn the club back into challengers for major honours. Marcus Rashford is reportedly on the list, although club sources are adamant their preference is to keep the England striker and work with him to restore the form that brought him 30 goals for the first time last season.

Football - The United States and Mexico have withdrawn their joint bid to host the 2027 Women's World Cup and will instead focus on bidding for the tournament in 2031. It comes less than three weeks before the hosts were to be chosen, at a Fifa congress in Bangkok on 17 May. The remaining bids are from Brazil and a joint one from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. The US Soccer and Mexican Football Federations said their 2031 bid will call for equal investment as the men's tournament in a "historic first".

Cricket - Jofra Archer has been recalled to the England squad for their defence of the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and United States in June. Fast bowler Archer, 29, will make his latest comeback from a long-standing elbow injury that has prevented him from playing for England since March 2023. Fellow fast bowler Chris Jordan also earns a recall, but there is no place for Chris Woakes, a World Cup winner in both limited-overs formats. Uncapped left-arm spinner Tom Hartley is included in a 15-man provisional squad, captained by Jos Buttler.

WEATHER

Wet and windy today with gusts up to 65 kilometres per hour along the coast. Temperatures not getting above 16 degrees celsius this afternoon.
The winds should die down this evening but the rain continues overnight, with temperatures going down to 12 degrees celsius.
The outlook for Thursday: more rain, some occasional sunny spells after lunch, staying cool with temperatures reaching just 16 degrees celsius.

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