Riviera Radio News - Friday, April 28th

Local News

Nice Owner Shortlisted To Buy Manchester United - Jim Ratcliffe, the owner of OGC Nice, has emerged as one of the two finalists for the acquisition of one of the world's biggest football clubs, Manchester United. The purchase could pose a problem for OGC Nice as UEFA regulations prohibit two clubs with the same owner from competing in the same European competition.

Mr Ratcliffe has stated that he would be willing to offer €6 billion and allow the Glazer family to keep almost 20% of the club. The other finalist is the president of Qatar Islamic Bank, Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani. Manchester United's new owner is expected to be announced in the coming days.

Marseille Residents Return Following Building Collapse - 138 out of the 302 residents who were evacuated from their apartments in Marseille following the collapse of buildings on Rue de Tivoli on April 9 will be able to return home today. The Marseille city authorities have ensured that the safety of the buildings is guaranteed after conducting three studies. The remaining residents will have to wait for further safety measures to be put in place, and the authorities estimate that it could take a few more weeks.

Luxury Real Estate Market Booming - Despite economic hardships and rising interest rates, the luxury real estate market in Nice is booming. In 2022, some exceptional properties were sold on the French Riviera, with several transactions exceeding 25 million euros. Nice Matin today reveals the top 10 most expensive villas sold in Nice last year, with three selling for more than 25 million euros each. The properties are located in various areas of Nice, including Mont-Boron and Fabron, with stunning sea and city views.

Iconic Hitchcock Villa Sold - Meanwhile, an iconic villa in St Jeannet that was used in Alfred Hitchcock’s 'To Catch A Thief' has been sold for €3.6M. The villa "Les Bolovens" in Saint-Jeannet was the setting for the famous final kissing scene between Grace Kelly and Cary Grant. The 400 sq. meter property with 5,000 sq. meters of land had retained its original decor and was previously owned by a real estate company since 1963.

Several other notable properties with connections to cinema, rock, and politics are on sale in the French Riviera, including le Domaine de Beaumont in Valbonne which was used during several summers by John & Jackie Kennedy before he became President.

Marseille Kidnapping - Four people have been charged in connection with an alleged kidnapping in Marseille. Last Saturday three men assaulted a man in the 5th arrondissement and attempted to bundle him into the boot of a car. It's believed the incident is related to drugs trafficking. The three men and one woman have been charged with offences including kidnapping and forcible confinement.

Forest Fire In The Var - A forest fire broke out yesterday in Saint-Paul-en-Forêt in the Var. The fire spread over an area of 5000m² and needed more than 60 firefighters to contain it. The road to Fayence has was closed yesterday afternoon.

Police Force Reorganisation - The city of Nice has announced a significant reorganization of its municipal police force, with new shift schedules being introduced for officers. The changes include longer shifts and the creation of a traffic patrol unit. Officers working the night shift will see an increase in their pay. This is the first major overhaul of the municipal police schedule in six years, and comes in response to the ongoing security threat facing the city.

Airbus/Air France Appeal - The Paris Public Prosecutor's Office has said that it's appealing against a court decision in which Airbus and Air France were exonerated in the case involving the crash of Air France flight 447. 228 people died in the crash of the flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris in 2009. In its decision, the court said that no "certain causal link" between any fault and the crash could be demonstrated.

Scooter Explosion - A teenager has been seriously injured and hospitalized after an electric scooter battery exploded in an apartment in the center of Nice, causing a fire that required the intervention of thirty firefighters and eight vehicles. The 14-year-old victim inhaled toxic fumes and had to be placed in a hyperbaric chamber at the Lenval Children's Hospital. The explosion caused significant damage to the apartment building and neighboring properties. Investigations are ongoing to determine the cause of the explosion.

Nice Tree Planting Initiative Mocked - The mayor of Nice has set a goal of planting one tree per inhabitant by 2026, but the city's Green Party has mocked the plan as a joke. Christian Estrosi announced the plan to plant 280,000 trees in addition to the 70,000 already present in the city. The Green party has praised the mayor's willingness to plant trees but criticized his lack of attention to the details. They argue the plan is unrealistic and suggested that the mayor should focus on more serious environmental issues.

Léotard Funeral - François Léotard, will be laid to rest on May 3 in Fréjus, where he served as a deputy and mayor for 20 years. The funeral will take place at Notre-Dame and Saint-Léonce Cathedral and will be followed by a private burial in the family vault at the Saint-Etienne cemetery. Léotard was a prominent figure in French politics during the 1980s and 1990s, serving as minister of Culture and later of Defense under different governments.

Grand Prix Preparations - As the 6th E-Prix and 80th Monaco Grand Prix approaches, the Automobile Club de Monaco held a safety briefing for their volunteer commissioners, who play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of the event. The ACM emphasized the importance of self-protection and the need for a military-like organization to guarantee the safety of all involved. The commissioner's duty also includes representing the ACM and the Principality in the public eye. The ACM and the government of Monaco thanked the commissioners for their hard work and recognized them as the best in the world championship.

Tram Collision - There was a collision between a car and a tram yesterday in Nice. The incident occured at the Ferber tram stop, and traffic was disrupted throughout the morning

Nice Jewel Thief Arrested - A man suspected of committing nearly ten violent jewelry thefts in Nice between April and June 2022 has been arrested in the Pyrénées-Orientales. The suspect is accused of stealing necklaces and other jewelry in the Mont-Boron area. He was identified by the departmental police and was arrested on Tuesday by Spanish authorities and later handed over to the French police.

Drone Warning - There are concerns about an increase in "wild" drone flights over Nice, with readers of Nice-Matin reporting drone sightings over crowds on the Promenade des Anglais and near rooftops in Nice-Nord. The use of drones is heavily regulated in France, and it is illegal for anyone to fly a drone over any built-up area without authorization from the prefecture and civil aviation authorities. Exceptions can be made for licensed pilots using drones for professional purposes, such as promotional photography or location scouting, but even then, flights are strictly controlled. The police in Nice are not currently authorized to use drones, and the local authorities are warning that unauthorized drone flights can be dangerous and could result in legal action.

Petanque Courses In St Paul de Vence - Saint-Paul-de-Vence is offering courses in playing pétanque. The training includes learning the rules of the game and improving throwing technique, with instructions given in English. The village's regular players comment that the playing surface is one of the region's most difficult, and that playing there is a challenge. However, the visitors quickly become comfortable playing the game, often displaying good technique and a strong competitive spirit.

New Local Island Resort - The Ricard family is partnering with luxury hospitality group Zannier Hotels to transform their 15-acre island, Île de Bendor, into a private island resort off the coast of Bandol. The new resort, named Zannier Bendor, is set to open in 2026 and will include a 93-room hotel, three restaurants, a beach club, a diving center, a wellness and spa area, and an artisan village. Room rates have not yet been established, but Zannier says they will be on the same level as five-star hotels along the French coast.

 

Business

US Economy Grows - The US economy grew 1.1% on an annualised basis in the first three months of this year, down from 2.6% in the prior quarter, as businesses cut investment in the face of higher borrowing costs. The slowdown follows a boom after the reopening from the pandemic, which US President Joe Biden has cast as a necessary adjustment. However, many forecasters still expect the US to fall into an economic recession this year, with most leading indicators of recession still flashing red and the drag from tighter credit conditions still to feed through.

Amazon - Amazon's e-commerce business has remained stagnant in the first quarter of 2023, but the company's cloud services and advertising units have offset this with better-than-expected sales, leading to a significant rise in profits. Amazon's CEO, Andy Jassy, stated that the company's teams are delivering for customers, particularly amidst an uncertain economy. The company has been affected by shoppers returning to in-store spending after the pandemic, rising living costs, and concerns about the path for the economy. However, Amazon's cost-cutting drive seems to be paying off, with the size of the workforce shrinking by 10% since March last year, shedding over 75,000 employees since the end of last year. Overall sales were up 9% to $127.4bn in the January-March period, and profits jumped to $3.2bn. Shares in the company gained more than 7% in after-hours trade.

Microsoft Anger At UK - Microsoft's President Brad Smith has criticised the UK's decision to block its proposed $68.7 billion deal to buy US gaming firm Activision, saying it was "bad for Britain" and marked Microsoft's "darkest day" in its four decades of working in the country. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked the deal because it could hurt innovation and give gamers less choice in the fast-growing cloud gaming market, where people buy subscriptions to access games online. Microsoft and Activision have said they will appeal against the CMA's decision. Both US and EU regulators have yet to decide on whether to approve the deal.

HMV - HMV is to reopen its historic Oxford Street store later this year after a four-year absence. The music retailer shut the flagship store in 2019 after tumbling into administration before a rescue takeover by Sunrise Records. The site, where HMV opened its first shop in 1921, has been operating as an American sweet shop since the closure. It is understood that HMV has signed a deal to replace the current occupant, whose lease is set to expire in around six months. HMV said the return to 363 Oxford Street was the “latest sign of a dramatic turnaround” after collapsing four years ago, with the firm bouncing back to profit last year.

 

Sport

Football - Tottenham fought back to draw 2-2 with Manchester United. Spurs were 2-0 down at half time but goals from Porro and Son Heung Min earnt them a draw which moves them up to 5th place. United remain in 4th place 2 points behind Newcastle who look to be heading to the Champions League next year. They beat Everton 4-1. Everton remain 2nd from bottom and are in danger of relegation to the championship.

Elsewhere, there was a huge win for Bournemouth that edges them towards safety. They earnt a 1-0 away win against their south coast rivals, Southampton, who are now 6 points a drift of safety.

Tennis - 15-year-old Russian tennis player Mirra Andreeva has continued her stunning run at the Madrid Open, beating world number 14 Beatriz Haddad Maia in straight sets. Andreeva has now won her past 15 matches at all levels and became the seventh-youngest player since 2000 to beat a top-20 ranked opponent before the age of 16.

American Coco Gauff also won her match against Spain's Irene Burillo Escorihuela and will face Paula Badosa in the third round. Germany's Jule Niemeier caused an upset by defeating three-time champion Petra Kvitova.

Cricket - After an impressive start, Ireland face a final-day battle to save the second Test against Sri Lanka in Galle after the hosts declared on a mammoth 704-3 in their first innings. That left them with a 212-run lead and the tourists then lost two wickets to stand at 54-2 - still 158 runs adrift.

NBA - The Miami Heat will face the New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference semi-finals after both teams progressed from the first round of the play-offs. The Heat clinched a 128-126 overtime win in game five to knock out the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. The Knicks eliminated the Cleveland Cavaliers with victory on Wednesday.

Monaco’s basketballers have won the second EuroLeague playoff game against Maccabi Tel Aviv 86-74. The 2 teams are now tied on 1 game each in the best of 5 playoff to reach the  semi finals. There are 2 more games in Tel Aviv on Tuesday and Thursday next week. La Roca has to win at least one of the two to keep their semi-final hopes alive.  

F1 - Monagasque driver Charles Leclerc has fuelled excitement among Mercedes fans by not ruling out a move to Mercedes when his contract with Ferrari expires. Charles Leclerc insists he has not held talks with Mercedes - but fuelled claims of a potential move by adding "not yet" to his denial.

Max Verstappen has stated that the new sprint-race format will make the Azerbaijan Grand Prix "a little more chaotic." The new format, confirmed only two days ago, separates out the sprint race on Saturday from the main grand prix. The idea behind the changes is to introduce more jeopardy into the sprint by encouraging drivers to take more risks.

Weather

Clear skies today with just some passing clouds in Alpes Maritimes, but more dense clouds along the coast in the Var. Light winds, and highs of 19° around Monaco. 21° in St Tropez and up to 25° inland around Draguignan. Clouds will return progressively overnight, as temperatures drop to lows of 10°.

Saturday will be cloudy just occasional short clear spells. Some rain is likely on Sunday, with storms expected for bank holiday Monday.

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