French and Regional News Wednesday 5th April 2023

News

France’s Prime Minister to meet with unions over pension reform - France’s Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne is to meet this morning at 10am with unions to discuss the pension reform. After more than two months of protest and ten days of national mobilization against the pension reform, the inter-union still says it is "determined" to see the reform dropped. An 11th day of strike action is planned for tomorrow Thursday 6th April.

Strike action Thursday 6th April – The strike will result in no trams running in Nice. Bus services will be heavily disrupted and in addition the parcazur for the parking and bicycle relay, will be closed. However, the city of Nice has announced that there will be free street parking. In the skies, the French air regulator has once again asked several airports to cancel 20% of flights. The airports concerned are Marseille-Provence, Nantes, Toulouse and Bordeaux. Train services are expected to be disrupted as the SNCF have said that nationally one out of two local TER services will operate. Three TGV Inoui and Ouigo out of four will run and one intercity service out of four.

Head teacher under investigation for sexual assault – In local news, the head teacher of the private Catholic high school Sasserno in Nice has been dismissed after an investigation was opened for "sexual assault". The management has specified that the decision was taken after the Nice prosecutor had received several complaints and reports of "sexual assault", "attempted sexual assault" and "sexist insults by a person in authority". Facts which, according to the accusations, occurred within the establishment. The investigation continues.

Warning lifted - The warning of strong winds in the Var has been lifted after gusts of over 100 km / h were recorded during the night of Monday to Tuesday. The strongest gusts were recorded in the East of the Var and the Gulf of Saint-Tropez, with 107km / h at Cap Dramont and 104km / h at Cap Camarat.

Meanwhile, as most of France has experienced a spell of ground frost since Tuesday, which is expected to last until Friday, the agricultural industry has raised their concern for the effects on crops in the region.

Heavy traffic for Easter weekend – Planning on getting away for the Easter weekend? Motorway operator VINCI Autoroutes has forecast particularly heavy traffic for this Easter weekend, from Friday to Monday. It said that in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, traffic will be very busy on Friday, especially when approaching major cities such as Nice, Toulon, Aix-en-Provence and Marseille on the A8, A50 and A57, in both directions of traffic, from mid-afternoon until early evening. Next Monday will also be marked by heavy traffic around major cities from midday and very dense or even saturated traffic in the afternoon, in both directions.

Arrests made in connection with theft of F1 driver’s watch - Three men and a woman have been arrested suspected of having stolen a luxury watch from the Monegasque F1 driver Charles Leclerc. According to Italian police the arrests were made on Tuesday following the robbery in Italy over a year ago. The precise circumstances of the theft have never been officially made public, but according to Italian media, the Ferrari driver had the watch snatched from his wrist by an alleged admirer who wanted to take a selfie with him. The watch estimated at 300,000 euros has never been found.

Louis Ducruet and his wife Marie announce birth of first child - Congratulations, to Marie and Louis Ducruet who have just become parents to a baby girl. The son of Princess Stéphanie, Louis Ducruet and his wife Marie who married in July, have welcome their first child, born in Monaco on Tuesday 4th April. During an evening for the Monegasque Red Cross at the Rainier III Auditorium HSH Prince Albert II announced the news saying "my nephew Louis Ducruet and his wife Marie have the joy of being parents of a baby girl". The arrival now means that Princess Stephanie of Monaco becomes a grandmother for the first time.

Business

Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson has proposed to pay almost $9bn to resolve tens of thousands of lawsuits it faces in North America which claim that its baby powder and other talc-based products cause cancer. The figure marks a big boost over the $2bn it had proposed previously. The company is facing more than 40,000 lawsuits from former customers who say using its talc-based baby powder caused cancer, including some who allege the product contained cancer-causing asbestos. It stopped US sales of its talc-based baby powder in 2020, citing "misinformation" that had killed demand for the product. Last year, it announced plans to end sales globally. Johnson and Johnson had sold the baby powder for almost 130 years.

Elon Musk has been dethroned from the top spot of Forbes' annual billionaire list following his decision to purchase Twitter for $44billion. Musk had earned the number one spot on Forbes World Billionaires list last year, when he had an estimated net worth of $216billion, overthrowing Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. But the 51 year old is now just the second richest billionaire in the world, with Bernard Arnault, the chairman of French luxury goods giant LVMH which owns brands like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Tiffany & Co taking first place. Despite Arnault's success, Forbes reports that it was a difficult year for many of the world's billionaires as the total number of billionaires on the list fell for a second straight year from 2,668 to 2,640.

And - According to data gathered by the BBC. Men still earn more than women. Despite a continued push for equality, the difference in wage has remained at 9.4%, the same level as in 2017/18, when figures were first published. Equality charity The Fawcett Society said employers needed to "do more" to close pay gaps. Banking and finance remain among the worst offenders, with women earning, on average, 22% less than their male colleagues. The industry has narrowed the gap by just 0.5 percentage points compared with five years ago.

Sport

Football - Chelsea and Liverpool played out a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League last night. In this evening Premier League action Manchester United are at home to Brentford and West Ham play Newcastle United kick of for both matches is at 9pm French time.

Tennis - Rafael Nadal has pulled out of next week’s Monte Carlo Masters and remains in doubt for the French Open. The defending champion is still battling with an ongoing hip injury. The Spanish world number 14 has won the tournament in Monaco 11 times but is not fit to return to action. World number two Carlos Alcaraz is also out of Monte Carlo through injury. The Spaniard, who is chasing Novak Djokovic for the number one ranking, has hand and back problems.

Rugby Union - Former England centre Luther Burrell says he is "proud" and has "a sense of closure" after a Rugby Football Union investigation found his claims of racism in the sport were true. The governing body says his revelations have prompted it to fast-track publication of a new strategy to promote inclusion in the elite game. The RFU has also published the findings of research which found that "in every area of elite rugby, players had experienced some form of racism".

Weather

Sunny with some cloud and scattered showers. Highs of 15 degrees in Nice and Monaco. 13 degrees in Saint-Tropez and Toulon with light rain. This evening going down to 7 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow and Friday. Sunny intervals tomorrow. Sunny on Friday. Highs of 15-16 degrees.

Sunrise       07.05am

Sunset        08.01pm

And Finally

Europe's horniest countries have now been revealed in a recent poll with Britain coming fourth and France third. More than 22,000 people from 15 different countries were quizzed on their sexual appetites.

Italy topped the European chart, Spain ranked second and rounding out the participating European countries were France 3rd, the UK 4th, Germany 5th, Switzerland 6th and Austria 7th. 

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