Evening Update Thursday 20th October 2022

As winter approaches, towns and cities across the Riviera are busy figuring out how to get the right balance this Christmas between cheering people up with festive lights, and saving energy. In Antibes, work has already begun this week to install the illuminations for the end-of-year celebrations. The city council there has decided to substantially scale back this year's lights, focusing on two areas: the old town and the coast. In previous years, the festive illuminations in Antibes were kept on all night. This year, they'll only run from 6pm to 10pm. In Nice and Menton, the decorations and Christmas lights will be turned off at night, from 11pm. Villeneuve-Loubet's illuminations will also run on timers - and its spending on lights, including electricity consumption, is expected to be down by 60% this year. Saint-Raphaël in the Var is also reducing its end-of-year displays, also with an estimated saving of 60%. Many towns have made the switch to more energy-efficient LEDs to keep costs down.

Meanwhile, as Monaco’s autumn funfair gets under way tomorrow, the city of Cannes' seaside merry-go-round, duck pond and other fairground attractions have been dismantled and aren't due to return until summer 2025. The games and rides opposite the Palais des Festivals have long been popular with local children and visitors alike. They've had to make way for ongoing redevelopment works on the Croisette. In the wait until 2025, the city says it will set up a carousel on the Allées de la Liberté, just back from the port. There are also children's play areas at the other end of the Croisette.

In other local news, the parents of a schoolgirl in Menton have complained to police, claiming their daughter was humiliated in front of other pupils by the secondary school's director during assembly. During a presentation to pupils at the start of term, the director of the Villa Blanche private Catholic school reportedly called out a fifth-grade student yawning in the audience. It's claimed he ordered her to leave the assembly hall on all-fours. She briefly crawled away before getting up and running out of the room in tears. Several other pupils were also told to leave the assembly hall for yawning - but not on all-fours. The headteacher has reportedly apologised to the girl and her parents. He is currently on sick leave.

Two plots of land occupied by Roma travellers in Saint-Laurent-du-Var have been demolished. A few dozen people who had illegally lived on the sites for several years were evacuated earlier this week ahead of yesterday's demolition. Police described the makeshift camps as slum-like, with trashed cars, piles of scrap metal and other debris piling up. The occupants have been given short-term accommodation, but a local association representing them is worried for their long-term future.

More than 800 people have signed a petition to save the rail line from Nice to Breil-sur-Roya, which could soon be closed for two years for repair works. The petition urges the SNCF, the Alpes-Maritimes préfecture and the Paca region to keep trains running on the part of the line not affected by the works, to ensure some form of shuttle service. The SNCF plans to carry out two years of repair works in a tunnel between Touët-de-l'Escarène and Sospel, starting next year. Many of the signatories fear the closure will leave the Roya valley even more isolated than it already is. It's a part of the Riviera that suffered from multiple road closures after Storm Alex.

The operators of the Var's only permanent indoor ice rink have warned its future is in jeopardy amid soaring energy bills - and has asked local officials for urgent help. The rink in La Garde in the Var is used by 40,000 people each year, including the general public, school groups and local ice hockey and skating clubs. It's seen its annual energy bill more than double to almost €600,000 - and the costs are forecast to break the €1 million mark next year. The rink, which employs eight staff, has put its entry prices up significantly, but it's still not enough and without assistance from the neighbouring municipalities, owners warn they could have to close. This would be particularly bad timing, since the venue only reopened last October after five years of major upgrades and renovation. One option being considered is a partial closure for several months over the summer.

Journalists at the local branch of France 3 television channel are on strike today in protest against a planned move from Antibes to Nice. They say the move to a yet-to-be-built complex at La Victorine near Nice airport, at an estimated cost of more than €15 million, is a waste of public money at a time when ordinary households are having to make sacrifices.

If you enjoy giving people gifts - even to strangers - here's the job for you. La Poste needs to fill 250 seasonal jobs in the Paca region in the run-up to Christmas. The French post office has launched a recruitment campaign on the Riviera. It's expecting another busy festive season with the constant growth in online shopping. You'll need a regular driving licence. La Poste would also like you to be rigorous, punctual, a team player and have good interpersonal skills.

Finally, what makes a genuine salade niçoise? And how do you tell a real local pan bagnat from an imposter? Several chefs on the Riviera have given their backing to a bill, about to be discussed in the Senate, that aims to protect France's local culinary heritage. Much like the Appellations Contrôlées for French wines, the proposal would enshrine in law the recipes that define various French local specialities. Working with chefs and associations defending local cuisines, if approved the law would clearly state what does and doesn't go into a salade niçoise, for example. Other regional specialities, from Basque chicken stew to tartiflette, would also be protected.

BUSINESS

More than 300 offshore oil workers in the North Sea have begun a 48-hour strike in a union dispute over pay. Unite union members rejected a pay offer, with 95% supporting strike action in a ballot turnout of 86%. The industrial action covers several North Sea installations today and tomorrow, with further strikes planned for later in the year. The pay dispute involves workers covered by the United Kingdom Drilling Contractors Association (UKDCA). Unite said the rejected offer was a substantial real-terms pay cut.

Shares in Hong Kong have slumped to the lowest level since the global financial crisis, after a major speech by the city's leader on Wednesday. The benchmark Hang Seng index fell by more than 3% to its lowest level since May 2009, before regaining some ground. Investors are also concerned about the threat of a global economic slowdown as central banks around the world raise interest rates to tackle rising prices. In his first policy address yesterday, Hong Kong's chief executive John Lee announced measures to boost security and plans to attract more overseas talent to the territory. However, he did not elaborate on economic targets for the city, which has lost ground to rival Asian financial centres like Singapore. Hong Kong's economy is currently in a technical recession, after seeing two three-month periods in a row of contraction this year.

People in the UK are planning for smaller Christmases this year as prices soar, with a BBC survey uncovering growing concern about the squeeze on finances. Three in five (62%) people polled said their Christmas and festive spending plans will be smaller than usual. Adults with a household income under £40,000 are more likely to say their plans will be much smaller this year. Prices rose at their fastest rate for 40 years again in September, with UK inflation expected to keep rising. The price of food went up along with energy bills and transport costs. The rising cost of food, fuel and energy dominate fears about rising costs, the survey of more than 4,000 people shows. Just 3% of those polled said their Christmases will be bigger than last year.

SPORT

Football - With a month to go until the opening match of the World Cup, human rights abuses “persist on a significant scale” in Qatar, according to Amnesty International. In a final pre-tournament report, Amnesty said that progress has been delivered by the Qatari state on the protections afforded migrant workers. But weak regulations and a lack of enforcement means there is “still a long way to go”, the organisation says. Amnesty calls for a number of actions, including support from Qatar and Fifa for financial compensation for workers. Among its observations, the report finds that workers in security and domestic labour remain particularly vulnerable to exploitation, with some expected to work up to 18 hours a day without a weekly day off. Furthermore, Amnesty argues, there has been insufficient research into the thousands of deaths of those working in construction in the country over the past decade, and the contribution played by extreme heat.

An Australian rugby league player has been found dead in Spain after going missing on a night out with friends. Liam Hampson's body was found on the floor of a Barcelona nightclub after an apparent fall, local media reported. He had been travelling in Europe with a group including National Rugby League (NRL) players, who reported him missing. The 24-year-old's family say they are "heartbroken" by his death, which they described as an accident. Hampson played in the Queensland Cup for the Redcliffe Dolphins, a team that will enter Australia's top-tier NRL next season. He had become separated from his friends when leaving a nightclub in the early hours of Tuesday local time, his family said on social media. Relatives had asked for help in searching for him, after he was not seen for more than 24 hours.

Rugby Union - Saracens are not able to safely admit 10,000 or more supporters to their stadium because they do not have the necessary certificate, an investigation by the British newspaper The Guardian has revealed. This raises questions over the stringent criteria that govern promotion to the Premiership. When Saracens won promotion back to the Premiership in June 2021 they had to be given special dispensation to compete in last season’s top flight because their ground was being developed and its capacity was below 10,000. This season, Saracens have opened their newly renovated west stand, taking the capacity back above that mark, but because they do not have the relevant safety certificate, they can only safely admit 9,999 supporters.

Last local news

Evening Update Tuesday 18th of June 2024

Jordan Bardella, president of the far-right National Rally, calls for an "absolute majority" in the National Assembly. He emphasizes the need for subs... Evening Update Tuesday 18th of June 2024 Read More

18/06/2024

Olympic flame arrives in the Principality

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Princess Charlene and Formula One winner Charles Leclerc will be amongst the famous figures given the honour of carryi... Olympic flame arrives in the Principality Read More

18/06/2024

French and Riviera News Tuesday 18th June 2024

It’s good luck this Tuesday morning to more than 540,000 final year students in France who will today Tuesday 18th June, sit their baccalaureate philo... French and Riviera News Tuesday 18th June 2024 Read More

18/06/2024

Evening Update Monday 17th of June 2024

Former French President François Hollande will run in the legislative elections with the new Front Populaire. Seven years after halting his political ... Evening Update Monday 17th of June 2024 Read More

17/06/2024

French and Riviera News Monday 17th June 2024

The weekend saw thousands march in Paris and cities across France to protest against the far-right National Rally (RN) ahead of the upcoming parliame... French and Riviera News Monday 17th June 2024 Read More

17/06/2024