French and Riviera News Friday 12th April 2024

National News

French foreign minister says dialogue with Russia no longer in France's 'interest' - France's foreign minister has said that it is no longer in Paris's "interest" to talk to Russia after differing accounts emerged from a rare phone call about last month's deadly attack on a Moscow concert hall. Stéphane Séjourné said that the 'long tradition with Russia of cooperation on terrorism' had come to a standstill. French President Emmanuel Macron last week slammed what he termed Russia's "bizarre and threatening" tone following a conversation between French Defence Minister Sébastien Lecornu and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu. France said Lecornu had aimed to pass on to Moscow "useful information" about the March 22 attack that killed more than 140 people near the Russian capital. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack. Séjourné concluded that before France can talk to the Russian again, "perhaps we must first establish trust and perhaps above all have the military situation develop on the ground in Ukraine to enable a renewal of relations. This is not currently the case”.  It was in back in February of this year that Macron infuriated Moscow by suggesting Western troops could be deployed in Ukraine, which Russia invaded two years ago.

Reforming France’s civil service - Meanwhile at home, France’s Minister of the Civil Service has taken on a challenge by launching a consultation with civil servants' unions in an attempt to reform the country’s Civil Service. Stanislas Guerini intends to present his proposal at the start of the 2024 school year. Announced in September 2023, the reform is causing concern among social partners and the 5.7 million public employees, especially after the minister's shocking statements to Le Parisien in which he accused the “current system of being too rigid, making it difficult to dismiss a civil servant” adding that he planned “to make it easier to enter the service, be promoted, but also easier to be dismissed”. Concluding that he wants to lift the taboo of dismissal in the civil service".  The current civil servants' statute "has never explained why you can't dismiss someone who doesn't do a good job”.

Product recall - If you have recently bought chicken wings in either Carrefour or Leclerc supermarkets the product has been subject to a government recall due to listeria contamination. The product was marketed between March 24th and April 4th. Anyone in possession of the product should not consume it and take it back to the point of sale for a refund. According to the government's website, the product was sold at the Leclerc hypermarket in Grasse.

The batches concerned are as follows:
- 3571320100628 0244091521 Best before date 02/04/2024
- 3571320100628 0244091521 use-by date 03/04/2024
- 3571320100628 0244091521 use-by date 04/04/2024

Women are the first victims of a burnout in France - According to France’s public health body, more women than men are affected by work-related mental distress and a burn out. In Bordeaux, a group of women are now celebrating their fifth anniversary after having set up an organisation to help women from all over France who are in distress. Women of all ages and professions, most of them single mothers suffering from a burnout are members of L'Burn and meet regularly over a cup of coffee. Marking their fifth anniversary the director of the organisation Anne-Sophie Vives, confirmed that today they are receiving “an ever-increasing number of membership applications” adding that “women are twice as affected than men, due to the inequalities within the family and at work, the mental burden and the difficulty of reconciling private and professional life. Concluding that “a burnout is an exhaustion with multiple factors, which requires specific support."

Peak in temperature - If the latest weather forecasts are correct temperatures in our region could reach record highs this weekend. Both the Var and the Alpes Maritimes are expected to experience high temperatures through until Sunday. The reason, according to Meteo France, is due to the presence of a lasting anticyclone over France. The hottest day is expected to be Sunday with peaks mainly recorded inland, with the coastline protected by a sea breeze. The forecast is for up to 30°C in the Var on Sunday and around 28, 29°C on Saturday. These high temperatures are expected to occur in the areas of Brignoles, Draguignan and Le Luc. On the coast, between 23 and 25°C is forecast. Meanwhile in the Alpes Maritimes Puget-Théniers may see up to 29°C.  The monthly record for the highest temperature for the month of April could well be broken. If so, it would be the first time since 1949, when a record 30.2°C was recorded.

Mamie Marathon - Dubbed “Mamie Marathon” grandmother, and even a great-grandmother 84-year-old Barbara Humbert is to take part in her 54th marathon. Born in 1939, Barbara has been running the marathon for forty years (she took part in her first by chance, at the age of 45) and she has no intention of stopping. In the spring of 2024, she will line up at the start of his favourite race, the Paris Marathon. Barabara says that running freed her from the fear – "of the future, of growing old, of dying" before adding "I'm not superhuman. There are a lot of people doing extraordinary things 'I'm just running”. This summer, Barbara will also go on to make a dream come true by running the Marathon for all Marathon’s at the 2024 Olympic Games. This will be her 60th marathon.

Exceptional auction – The McLaren P1 of double F1 world champion Mika Häkkinen is to be auctioned here in Monaco. Estimated at 1.5 to 2 million euros, it will be presented at auction on May 10th and is the first McLaren P1 Coupé Validation Prototype (VP03) to go under the hammer. Produced in seven customized units, the P1 has been designed to carry out durability tests. The buyer will also benefit from a private lesson at the location of their choice with the Finnish driver.

Rally - Finally, Monaco is preparing to give the official start for the first time, of the “Aïcha Rally of the Gazelles of Morocco” tomorrow Saturday April 13th. Teams are to meet at the Espace Fontvieille departure village. The public is welcome to discover the world of the Gazelles! With numerous activities and the start being given by H.S.H. Prince Albert II at 2:15 p.m. The rally is above all a human adventure which brings together women from all over the world in the heart of the Sahara. And for this 33rd edition setting off from the Principality, a 100% Monegasque crew made up of Céline Cottalorda and Sylvie Bertrand who will fly the Monegasque colours in the 4X4/truck category. Best of luck!

Business

The Banque de France has confirmed that it forecasts 0.2% growth for French economic activity in the first quarter of 2024, an estimate "not incompatible" according to its director general of statistics with the 1% annual growth on which the government is counting.  According to the Banque de France's forecasts for April, "activity would increase again in services, more slightly in industry and would deteriorate in the structural work ".

The US is to close a loophole that allows thousands of firearms to be sold at gun shows and on the internet without federal background checks. It will classify around 23,000 vendors as licensed firearms dealers, making their gun sales subject to the checks. The Biden administration said it expected a court challenge by pro-gun groups but was confident it would win. The National Rifle Association (NRA) said it was preparing to fight the new regulations, and Republican senators have also objected.

The Greek government has announced that holidaymakers who were evacuated from Rhodes last year due to wildfires will be offered vouchers for money off hotel stays. The scheme is for holidaymakers who were evacuated from hotels in July 2023, but will not cover those who stayed in AirBnBs. The vouchers will be worth up to €500 and the stay must be for seven nights. The value of the vouchers offered will depend on the original booking that was cut short.

Sport

Football – It was a terrible night for Liverpool after their hopes of giving Jurgen Klopp a dream send-off in the Europa League final in Dublin next month are now hanging by a thread after being beaten 3-0 by Atalanta.

Meanwhile in the Premier League tomorrow Saturday 13th April, Newcastle are at home to Tottenham, Brentford face Sheffield, Burnley play Brighton, Manchester City are at home to Luton Town, Nottingham Forest face Wolves and Bournemouth play Manchester United.

Formula One - Fernando Alonso has signed to stay with Aston Martin in Formula 1 for at least the next two seasons. Alonso who was out of contract at the end of this season, has a new deal that will extend until at least the end of 2026.

ROLEX MONTE CARLO TENNIS MASTER REPORT FROM BANQUE HAVILLAND

France’s Ugo Humbert battled through three sets against Italian Lorenzo Sonego to qualify for the quarterfinals of the Masters 1000 for the first time on Thursday. Humbert, who, trailing one set to nothing, turned the match around to win in three sets (5-7, 6-3, 6-1) after a tight duel of 2 hours and 53 minutes. In the quarter-finals today, the Frenchman will face Casper Ruud (8th), who defeated Hubert Hurkacz.

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic took revenge on Italy's Lorenzo Musetti with a straight-set win to move into the quarter-finals at the Monte Carlo Masters. Djokovic, beaten by Musetti at the last-16 stage in Monte Carlo last year, came back from a break of serve down in the first set to win 7-5 6-3. The world number one will play Australia's Alex de Minaur next.

Weather

Sunny with a gentle breeze. Highs of 20 degrees in Nice and Monaco. This evening going down to 12 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for the weekend. Fine and sunny with a peak in temperatures reaching 29 degrees in places. Light winds. 

Sunrise       06.52am

Sunset        08.10pm

Sea temperature

Toulon 15.01°

Weather elsewhere

London 20° sunny intervals

Paris 23° Sunny

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