French and Riviera News Friday 10th January 2020


Pension reform - Following Thursday’s fourth day of industrial action in France against the government pension reform and ahead of another day of strike action announced for tomorrow Saturday 11th January a "financing conference" is to take place today between the government and union officials.

Today will still see some disruption on the rail network as the country enters the 37th day of strikes. There will be a clear improvement compared with Thursday with  four out of five TGV operating and three out of five regional trains running.

Thursday saw several marches take place in Nice. The unions and the Prefecture have disagreed as to the number of people present. Unions put the figure at about 20,000 while the prefect said there were only about 3,500 protestors. Other demonstrations were held around our region, including in Draguignan, where about a thousand people took to the streets.

After severe disruptions on public transport because of industrial action last month, the SNCF has announced that it will reimburse monthly and weekly TER pass holders for the month of December. Details of how to claim will be provided on the SNCF TER website from the 15th of January.

Man arrested after barricading himself in his home - Police in the Var have arrested a man in the early hours of this morning after he barricaded himself in his home with his 3-year-old daughter and armed with a hunting rifle. Police in Esparron de Pallières in the Var were alerted early Wednesday afternoon after reports that the man was behaving irrationally. After more than thirty hours of negotiation the man surrounded to the police.

It’s the second incident of this kind in the last couple of days on Thursday morning an armed man barricaded himself in his home in Vence. Police there negotiated for several hours before he handed himself in. The two incidents are not connected.

Police intervene to clear customers from a supermarket - Police have cleared a supermarket in France after customers refused to leave when they were denied a deal on televisions. The Géant Casino in Montpellier accidentally priced TVs at €30.99 instead of €399 on Wednesday. However the supermarket refused to honour the bargain price. The customers then blocked the checkout demanding that they be allowed to purchase the television sets. Dozens of police officers were called in to help clear the store.

Under the consumer code, any seller is required to sell the product at the price displayed even if it is due to a labelling error. However if the price is clearly an obvious mistake, then the vendors can refuse to sell.  

Corsica Ferries to run on lower sulfhur fuel - The mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has announced that as of January 18th Corsica Ferries which dock in the port of Nice will use low sulphur fuel. The move follows in the footsteps of Cannes which implemented a similar restriction on cruise ships. Ferries approaching Nice will be required to use fuel containing 0.1% of sulpher.

One of the mildest winters on record - According to Météo France, December 2019 ranks 4th nationally for the mildest December on record. The average temperature for the Var in December was 9.6 degrees 2.8 degrees above normal temperatures for this time of year and in the Alpes Maritimes 6 degrees which is 2.4 degrees above normal.

Some cities even had their mildest December ever, with record average temperatures for example Hyères in the Var saw a record high of 12.6 degrees, Cannes 11.7 degrees and Nice 12.5 degrees.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is to visit Nice on Monday to inaugurate the “Parc du Ray”, in the north of the city. He’ll be joined by the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi in a visit to the park followed by a visit to the “Villa Massena” in the afternoon.

World Premiere of the new James Bond film in Monaco– The world premiere of the new James Bond will take place in Monaco this year. Under the High Patronage of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco Princess Grace Foundation-USA will present the screening of the new James Bond film “No time to die” on April 7th at the Grimaldi Forum. The screening will be part of a charity evening raising funds for the Princess Grace USA Foundation and honouring the late Sir Roger Moore.


Global stock markets have hit record highs over the past 24 hours as relief over the de-escalation of tensions between Iran and the United States prompted investors to bet on faster global growth particularly in the tech sector.

Investors have also welcomed the news that the Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He is to travel to Washington next week as a prelude to the signing of a phase 1 trade agreement which should help to ease tensions between the world’s two largest economies and provide a spurt to global growth.

Optimism on US corporate earnings are also fuelling sentiment with analysts predicting a solid recovery this year after slight declines for S&P 500 firms in the last quarter.

Gold has eased back from 7 year highs and crude oil prices are sharply lower this morning after spiking in the wake of Iran’s missile attacks on US bases in Iraq.


The chief executive of International Airlines Group IAG is to step down.

Willie Walsh became British Airways boss in 2005 and will end a 15 year career with the IAG group which also controls Iberia ,Aer Lingus and Vueling on the 30th of June.

Mr Walsh first joined Aer Lingus in the 1970’s as a cadet pilot and has worked his way up through the industry to become the airline’s chief executive in 2001.

He joined BA in 2005 and then tied up a deal with Iberia and then Aer Lingus to create the multi-airline group IAG.

Recently ,he’s had problems as a result of a series of embarrassing IT glitches at British Airways as well as a damaging strike which has seen the airline slip down the consumer rankings.

Mr Walsh will be replaced by the current head of Iberia Luis Gallego.


And-Marks and Spencer has admitted that it “overestimated” demand for tight-fitting men’s clothing in the run-up to Christmas.

The retailer says that as a result ,it’s ordered more regular and “relaxed” fit clothing for the spring.

M&S said that disappointing issues such as the surplus of skinny menswear had held the firm back from a stronger performance over Christmas.

Weak sales in clothing and homeware were offset by higher food sales.


Cricket-Shane Warne’s “baggy green” Australia cap has sold for 1 million Australian dollars at auction with the proceeds going to the Bushfire Appeal.

The legendary leg-spinner wore the cap throughout his 145-Test career during which he took 708 wickets.

The cap was bought by a bidder from Sydney in the final minute of the auction and is to go on display at the Bradman Museum in New South Wales.

All the funds raised from the sale are going to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.

Warne is just one of a number of high profile stars to donate items or cash to the disaster fund.On Thursday ,Lewis Hamilton pledged 380,000 pounds to the fund and there have been high profile donations from a host of household names from Roger Federer to Nicole Kidman.

Football-in the English Premier League this weekend.

Tonight-Sheffield United play West Ham and then on Saturday Crystal Palace play Arsenal.Chelsea host Burnley.Everton play Brighton.Leicester face Southampton.Manchester United play Norwich.Wolves play Newcastle and Spurs play Liverpool.

On Sunday Bournemouth play Watford and Aston Villa host Manchester City.

Rugby Union-There are two games in the European Champions Cup tonight.La Rochelle play Sale in Pool 2 and Bath play Harlequins in Pool 3.


Sunshine and showers with light variable winds.

Top temperature 15 degrees.

Overnight lows of 8 degrees on the coast and 3 degrees inland with clear skies and a touch of ground frost in places.

The weekend-Clear skies.Highs of 14-16 degrees.


















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