Evening Update Tuesday 28th of May 2024

NEWS
Gender Transition Bill in France - The French Senate will today, Tuesday 28th of May, discuss a new bill aimed at regulating gender transitions for minors in France. The bill targets the prescription of puberty blockers and hormone treatments for minors with gender dysphoria. Senate member Alain Milon reported the bill now allows these treatments within newly created multidisciplinary centers after two years of medical monitoring. While the bill was adopted by the Senate's Social Affairs Committee, it faces strong opposition from the left and LGBTQ+ associations, who label it "transphobic." Critics argue it treats transition as a problem and endangers vulnerable youth. Supporters believe it provides structured medical support for families.

Ceasefire Rally for Rafah in Avignon - Several groups and trade unions are calling for a rally after the deadly bombardments of Rafah in the Middle East. The rally is set to happen on Tuesday at 6.30pm on Place de l'Horloge in Avignon. They are demanding an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. On Monday evening, more than 10,000 people had already gathered in Paris, a few metres from the Israeli embassy, to demand a ceasefire there too.

Tighter Rules for Unemployment Benefits - The Prime Minister Gabriel Atal has confirmed tighter rules for claiming unemployment benefits, effective from 1 December. The changes aim to achieve full employment and reward work. While some Marseille restaurant owners support the move, believing it will reduce system abuse, trade unions like CGT and Force Ouvrière oppose it.

Commercial Area of La Valette - The commercial area of La Valette in the Var is set to receive a significant boost for its transformation. The city's public development company has been granted 1.2 million euros for upcoming projects in the Grand Sud Passion area. This funding, part of the government's commercial areas transformation plan, aims to support the conversion of commercial spaces into vibrant community hubs. While this state aid will cover some costs, local authorities and operators will also need to contribute financially to realize these projects.

Pharmacies on Stirke this Thursday 30th May - Pharmacies in the Var and Alpes-Maritimes regions are striking this Thursday to highlight the risks of permanent closures, which would worsen access to healthcare. Negotiations with the National Health Insurance Fund since December 2023 have been disappointing, with pharmacy owners citing government inaction and inadequate proposals. They're concerned about medicine shortages, online competition, supermarket rivalry, and financial groups entering the pharmacy sector. Owners are also demanding better compensation for their services.

Fire in Carrefour TNL in Nice - A fire has broken out at Carrefour TNL pharmacy and McDonald's in Nice, leading to their evacuation due to safety concerns. on Monday evening, two individuals suffered minor effects from the smoke. Six fire engines with 23 firefighters, along with national and municipal police and ERDF, responded to the incident.

Sulphuric Acid Truck Accident - A vehicle lost two tanks of sulphuric acid from its load this Tuesday morning on the departmental road 973C in the Canes roundabout area of Pertuis. Each tank contained 1,000 litres of Sulphuric acid and one of them opened, causing 200 litres of the toxic product to spill onto the road. The fire brigade intervened to plug the leak and dilute the 200 litres that spilled onto the road with water. There is no risk to the public and the road is no longer closed. The driver was not injured.

 

BUSINESS
Schools in the South-East of England are increasingly using AI. Cottesmore School in West Sussex has an Artificial Intelligence head teacher supporting human leader Tom Rogerson, and students can design their ideal tutor using AI. The UK government sees it as transformative for education. Some schools use AI for tasks like formatting worksheets, while Cottesmore’s AI advises on staff support and helping children with additional needs. Turner Schools in Folkestone, Kent, teach responsible AI usage. Dr. Chris Trace from the University of Surrey predicts its use will be crucial in future jobs and can track student progress. Rogerson stresses the importance of human teachers and educating students about AI's limitations and ethical use. The Department for Education highlights the need to understand both AI's opportunities and risks.

Daniel Kretinsky, a Czech billionaire businessman and lawyer, is improving his offer to the French multinational information technology Atos’ creditors to win their support for his bid. Initially, he planned to write off €4 billion of Atos' €5 billion debt, which was rejected by creditors. Now, he's proposing to write off €3.6 billion instead, easing the burden by €400 million. He also intends to sell Atos' digital transformation business for around €2.5 billion and increase the capital gains shared with creditors, offering more than the €500 million previously promised. Asked about debt reduction solutions for Atos, Bruno Le Maire reiterated that the control of highly strategic nuclear power stations must remain under state control.

 

SPORTS
Rugby Union - Leading figures in the club game have urged the Rugby Football Union to stick with their policy of not selecting players based overseas. A number of England stars will play in France next season, making them ineligible for the national side. But top directors of rugby agree the rule must stay if the Premiership is to catch the Top 14 and become the best in the world.

Golf - Nelly Korda is the favourite for her first US Open title, having won six of her last seven tournaments. She has dominated since January, beating 883 competitors and finishing 74 under par in six Strokeplay events. Her points average gap over her nearest rival, Lilia Vu, is greater than the margin between Vu and any other ranked golfer. Her dominance is compared to Tiger Woods and Scottie Scheffler. After her latest win at the Mizuho Americas Cup, PGA Tour player Michael Kim suggested she should join the men's circuit.

Cricket - England all-rounder Will Jacks, 25, says playing in the IPL has been "perfect preparation" for the T20 World Cup. Set for his first global tournament, Jacks played eight matches for Royal Challengers Bengaluru, including an unbeaten 41-ball century against Gujarat Titans, helping his team reach the play-offs.

 

WEATHER
Cloudy with sunny intervals this afternoon in the PACA region. Moderate winds with gusts of up to 55km/h near Marseille. Highs of 22 degrees in Nice, 24 in Cannes, 25 in Saint-Tropez and Marseille, and a blazing 28 degrees in Toulon.
Tonight, much the same with lows of 15 degrees.
Outlook for tomorrow, cloudy all across the region with sunny intervals on the riviera. Highs of 22 degrees.

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