Evening Update Monday 17th October 2022

French unions have called a pan-industry strike for tomorrow, with workers in sectors including transport, energy, schools and waste collection set to walk out. At present this is a one-day strike, but some unions are already talking about renewing strike calls. A substantial number of local TER services will not be running tomorrow. Half of TGVs are expected to be cancelled. There may also be disruption to other local public transport, although this will vary from one city to the next. Flights should be unaffected. Some teachers and crèche staff will also walk out. It is expected that the strike will be particularly well-supported among crèche staff- who are already involved in a pay dispute. Other municipal employees are likely to join the strike including road workers, civil servants in local government offices and librarians. Around 50,000 employees in the food industry, mostly employed at factories and processing plants, have indicated that they will join the strike.

A mother in the Var has been remanded in custody over the sudden death of her seven-year-old son. The boy, a pupil at Victor Hugo school in La Seyne sur Mer, died last Wednesday evening at his home. An autopsy carried out in Marseille suggests the boy was hit several times, the Toulon public prosecutor's office said. The woman's partner has also been arrested and questioned by police. Neighbours left flowers and soft toys at the entrance to the apartment block where the boy lived. A criminal investigation has been opened by judicial police in Toulon.

The killing of an 18-year-old man in Marseille this weekend brings to 30 the number of people shot dead in the city this year. Two men emerged from a white 4x4 in the northern 14th arrondissement of Marseille and shot the young man 15 times with a Kalashnikov, in an apparent settling of scores. Another man was hit by a stray bullet and taken to hospital. His condition is not said to be life-threatening. Judicial police are investigating.

A 45-year-old man was saved from drowning on Saturday afternoon in Nice. Lifeguards came to his rescue about 400 metres from the shore, near Castel beach. He was unconscious and had suffered a heart attack - and was taken to L'Archet hospital.

The city of Nice is continuing to run extra public transport this week as fuel shortages continue. Extra services will run on tram lines 2 and 3, and on bus lines 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Line 1 of the Nice tram is already running at full capacity. The city has also announced an increased police presence around petrol stations to avoid conflicts between motorists and to check drivers' eligibility for priority service.

Bakers on the Riviera have warned that many of them could face bankruptcy in the coming months if nothing is done to protect them from soaring energy prices. Some boulangeries have seen their annual energy bills multiply by four - in the case of one local bakery from €4,000 to €16,000 per year. Gilles Dutto, who's the president of the Alpes-Maritimes branch of the Federation of Boulangers, says bakeries could have to put prices up by as much as 30% to make ends meet. Bakeries consume a lot of energy and, with the average baguette priced at less than a euro, profit margins are low. The federation is having discussions with France's minister for small businesses to explore what support can be offered. Some bakeries are planning to stay closed on 25th October in what they're calling a "national day of mourning" for the sector.

More than 300 medicine students in Nice have demonstrated outside Pasteur hospital to protest about changes to their training. A bill due to be voted on in the French parliament later this month would require future GPs to undergo four years of internship, instead of the current three. They would be seconded to priority areas, so-called medical deserts, where there is a shortage of doctors, mainly due to retirement. Students say the extra year of internship will be unsupervised and is basically a form of cheap labour.

A British retiree in Monaco has been fined €1,000 for drink-driving after he was caught riding his scooter the wrong way up a busy one-way street. Police stopped the man on the Place d'Armes after he had taken the Avenue du Port, from the port of Monaco, in the wrong direction. He told the court that he thought the road's direction had been reversed in the run-up to the Monaco grand prix.

Five people who were arrested in a drugs raid in La Roquette-sur-Siagne last week have been charged and remanded in custody. Gendarmes had discovered nearly 400 kilos of cannabis resin at the property and €24,000 in cash. All five of those arrested are now in pre-trial detention. 

The American actress who started the #MeToo movement on Twitter five years ago is speaking in Cannes today. Alyssa Milano, who starred as Phoebe in the hit series Charmed, is appearing at the Mipcom conference, where she's giving a speech about diversity in the audiovisual sector. The #MeToo movement began on Twitter and spread worldwide, as women gave testimony of their experiences of sexual harassment and assault.

And finally, a retired doctor in Nice who gave shelter to a pregnant Ukrainian refugee is now the godfather of her baby boy. The boy's baptism ceremony was held in the Orthodox church in Nice. The host had helped to monitor the young mother's pregnancy. He and his wife had hosted three generations of the Ukrainian family: the pregnant woman, her daughter and her mother, for five months after they fled the war. They've since found their own accommodation in Nice. The baby boy's father was granted exceptional permission to leave Ukraine to visit his family and attend the baptism. He must now return to Ukraine, but the couple hope to get married in Nice in the near future.

BUSINESS

The new British chancellor Jeremy Hunt has fast-tracked many billions of pounds worth of tax and spending measures from his debt plan, announcing them a fortnight earlier than expected. It is the latest of a series of U-turns on policies announced in the mini-budget. The move is designed to help reassure markets. The announcement of the £18bn U-turn on corporation tax on Friday and the firing of Kwasi Kwarteng as chancellor did not calm rising UK government borrowing costs. On Sunday, Mr Hunt said nothing was off the table. Today's announcement will see many billions more in reversals of policy, to plug a hole in borrowing forecasts worth tens of billions. The pound rose following the news, having slumped to a record low of $1.03 in the wake of Kwasi Kwarteng's announcements on 23 September.

BMW has announced it is moving the manufacture of some of its Mini electric cars from the UK, to China. The first electric Mini was built in Oxford in 2020. All Minis will be electric by 2030. BMW said its hatchback and small SUV electric Minis will start being built in China. Its electric Countryman model will be built in Leipzig, Germany. However a spokesperson said there will be no impact on jobs in Oxford. It said workers in Oxford would still build the Mini Cooper three-door and five-door Hatch models. The Mini Convertible will also be built there from 2025.

SPORT

Tennis - Women's world number one Iga Swiatek claimed her eighth title of 2022 by beating Donna Vekic 6-3 3-6 6-0 in the San Diego Open final. The win was the 64th of the season for Poland's Swiatek, who has won the French Open and US Open this year.

Football - Pep Guardiola has confirmed coins were thrown towards him from the crowd during Manchester City's defeat at Liverpool on Sunday, while the Reds condemned "vile chants" from the away end. The instances occurred during the second half of a fiery Premier League contest at Anfield, soon after City had a Phil Foden goal controversially disallowed. It is not the first time there has been crowd trouble around games involving Liverpool and City at Anfield, with the rivalry between the two clubs having grown considerably in recent years. In 2018, City's team bus was pelted with bottles and other objects as it arrived at the Merseyside ground for a Champions League encounter.

In local sport, a racing driver from Grasse is set to make his Formula 1 debut this coming weekend in the American grand prix. 20-year-old Théo Pourchaire, who's currently in second place in the Formula 2 rankings, has been named one of Alfa Romeo's F1 reserve drivers for 2023. In the meantime, he'll be taking part in the first practice session in Austin on Friday at 9pm French time, in the place of Valtteri Bottas.

Meanwhile, local Moto GP rider Fabio Quartararo suffered a nightmare at Sunday's Australian race. Two costly mistakes ended with the Niçois crashing out and handing the 2022 title lead to Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia.

In local football, OGC Nice only managed a 1-1 draw against Auxerre, AS Monaco also drew 1-1 against Clermont and Marseille were defeated 1-0 by Paris Saint-Germain.
 

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