Evening Update Friday 17 February 2023

Heated debates in the controversial pension reform plan, which aims to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, continue to rage at the National Assembly this afternoon. However, there is little or no hope of those debates concluding before the debate deadline which is at midnight tonight.

If that happens, it will be the first time the reading of a text will be interrupted, because the constitutional deadline will have been reached.

After tonight’s deadline, the proposed legislation will automatically move up to the Senate, where senators will have 15 days to debate the text,  before a joint commission of the two chambers must agree on a final version of the bill by March 15th.

In the meantime, unions continue to protest the increase in retirement age and threaten to shut down the entire country, in a massive protest planned for Tuesday, March 7th.

Drought is already a concern for the prefecture in the Var. At a special press conference this morning, they said this winter's rainfall deficit has led to some water bans, including the closure of some town fountains, restrictions on car-washing and a ban on filling private swimming pools. They say indications are things will only get worse toward summer. Across the Var, 90 mayors have applied to classify their towns as ‘official drought areas’.

French actor Pierre Palmade could be facing charges of manslaughter after crashing his car last week, causing a pregnant woman to lose her baby. It was this day last week when the actor, who was under the influence of cocaine, hit another car carrying a man, his son and his sister-in-law. The 38-year-man has had six operations so far, with another due today, while his six-old-son sustained jaw damage which could affect his speech for the rest of his life.

Greenpeace was active in Villeneuve-Loubet last night, covering every illuminated advertising panel they could find, with a poster saying these displays were absurd, especially if they are lit after midnight when streets are deserted. The group say they carried out the act because there are plans to install even more panels in Villeneuve-Loubet.


Mixed fortunes for EDF today who posted a profit of over £1bn pounds on their UK operations, but a loss of €18 bn euro in France. While the electricity company has been able to raise prices in line with increased costs in the UK, in France government restrictions, designed to protect customers, means it’s just posted the third biggest loss in French corporate history.

Air France-KLM has said bookings were almost back to pre-pandemic levels, as it reported a better-than-expected fourth-quarter operating profit. The airline’s shares rose more than 6%, hitting their highest since June.

Wall Street futures are down today as investors fear accelerating inflation could prompt the Fed to keep its monetary policy restrictive through the year. Interest rates are expected to rise three more times, by a quarter of a percentage point each, while money markets are pricing in a terminal rate of 5.3% by July.  


Football - In League 1, Reims will be visiting the Allianz Riviera to face OGC Nice tomorrow. The teams are 7th and 10th in the league. It should be a good match for Nice, who remain undefeated in their last six games, including a cracking 3-1 win over Marseilles at the start of the month. Kick-off at Allianz is at 4pm.

On Sunday, Kylian Mbappe could return to the starting lineup for Paris Saint-Germain for a home game against Lille. He was expected to spend a little longer out with a thigh injury, which kept him on the bench for most of Tuesday's Champions League loss to Bayern Munich. Also on Sunday, Monaco is away at Brest.

The UK Premier League, highlights tomorrow include Aston Villa at home to Arsenal at 1.30 (French time). Everton plays Leeds at 4 and Newcastle are at home to Liverpool at 6.30. On Sunday, Manchester United play Leicester and Spurs host West Ham.

Cycling - The Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var road race is underway. The first stage took off this morning at St Raphael. Tomorrow's second stage leaves Mandelieu at 12.30 heading for Antibes, and the final stage will depart Sunday lunchtime from Villefranche to Vence.

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