French and Riviera News Friday 13th January 2023

News

New measures in French schools - France's National Education Ministry has announced new measures in French schools to get basic French and maths skills up to scratch, including two extra hours of reading and writing, and daily dictation exercises. According to recent figures, 27 percent of students cannot read on entering high school. Figures from the ministry show that in 1987, students made 10.7 mistakes and today they make an average of 19.7 mistakes in a set test.

In its latest recommendations to teachers nationwide, the ministry wants at least two hours a day of reading and writing in the last two levels of primary school (CM1 and CM2), as well as a short daily dictation. Similarly, in the first year of high school, an extra hour of French and maths will be added to the programme. This hour will be integrated into the 26 hours of lessons for students and will replace technology class.

School uniforms - On a separate school topic, France’s First Lady Brigitte Macron has said she is in favour of school uniforms. She hailed them as a way to mask social differences, and to save time and money. This subject is controversial in French politics and has resulted in the creation of a working group in the parliament to look at the issue. A bill from the far-right National Rally that aims to make uniforms compulsory in public schools and colleges was rejected in mid-December by a parliamentary committee, despite support from the right. The text is expected to be addressed again next Thursday.

French hunter gets two year suspended sentence - A French hunter who shot dead a Franco-British man he mistook for a wild boar has been handed a two-year suspended sentence just days after the French government outlined tighter rules for the sport. As well as banning the shooter from hunting for life, the court in southwestern town of Cahors gave the hunt leader an 18-month suspended sentence and a five-year ban. The death of 25-year-old Morgan Keane caused outrage in 2020 when he was shot while cutting wood near his house in the village of Calvignac.

Body of old lady - The body of an old lady who has been dead for 3 years has been discovered in her apartment in Gironde. The mummified body was discovered on December 31st in her apartment in Libourne. The first analyses suggest that she died three years ago. Called for a water leak which concerned the business on the ground floor of the building in the city centre, firefighters had to force the door of an apartment on the first floor. It was inside that they discovered the mummified body of an old lady lying in a bed.

Teenager attacked in Cimiez - A teenager has been imprisoned in Nice after beating another teenager. A 15-year-old German was seriously injured in an attack on in Cimiez. A mobile phone theft is believed to be the cause. His alleged attacker is an undocumented Tunisian one year his senior. He is officially only 16 and was placed in pre-trial detention last Saturday following the violent attack on the young German two days earlier.

Police operation carried out in the Moulins district - An extensive police operation has been carried out in the Moulins district of Nice resulting in 19 arrests. The operation took place on Thursday afternoon, January 12th with the objective to fight against drug trafficking and illegal immigration. Nearly 150 officers were mobilized.

Census campaign - The municipality of Antibes Juan-les-Pins has reminded locals that the census campaign will take place from January 19 until February 25. In all municipalities with 10,000 inhabitants or more, including Antibes Juan-les-Pins, data collection takes place each year with a sample of 8% of dwellings spread over the municipal territory. If your accommodation is part of the sample identified in 2023, you will have been informed in advance by a letter from the Mayor. The municipality has reminded local residents that the census is free of charge and not to respond to sites that ask for money.

World AI Cannes Festival - Cannes is set to host the 2nd edition of the "World AI Cannes Festival", the international exhibition dedicated to artificial intelligence. 10,000 people attended the first edition last year. It's at the Palais des Festivals and is open to business visitors on the 9 and 10 February and to the general public on February 11. International professionals in the sector, start-ups and researchers will present the major innovations of AI and make visitors aware of the economic, human and ethical challenges of the technology.

Business

Apple chief executive Tim Cook will see his annual pay package slashed by more than 40% this year. The technology giant says Mr Cook requested the cut after criticism from shareholders. Apple's compensation committee awarded him a total "target compensation" of $49m (£45.1m) for 2023. Last year the iPhone maker's shares fell sharply in the face of supply chain issues and a global economic slowdown. The move will see Mr Cook's annual basic salary unchanged at $3m, as well as a bonus of up to $6m. The biggest difference to his pay package is how he will be awarded shares in the firm.

A sharp drop in energy prices, in particular petrol, is helping to ease cost-of-living pressures in the US. US inflation was 6.5% over the 12 months to the end of December, down from 7.1% in November, the US Labor Department said. That was the smallest increase in more than a year and marked the sixth month in a row that the pace dropped.

And - According to the BBC severe disruption to Royal Mail's overseas deliveries has been caused by ransomware linked to Russian criminals.  The cyber-attack has affected the computer systems Royal Mail uses to despatch deliveries abroad. Royal Mail has been warning customers since Wednesday of disruption due to a "cyber-incident". Its latest advice is for people not to try to send international letters and parcels until the issue is resolved. Ransomware is malicious computer software that encrypts data and locks up systems.

Sport

Football – In the Premier League last night Fulham manager Marco Silva hailed "a great night for the club and the fans" as his side beat 10-man Chelsea 2-1 in a fiery west London derby.

This evening in the Premier League Aston Villa are at home to Leeds kick off is at 9pm French time. Tomorrow’s lunch time match will see Manchester United play Manchester City. At 4pm French time Brighton are at home to Liverpool, Everton play Southampton, Nottingham Forest play Leicester and Wolverhampton are at home to West Ham. Last match of the day is Brentford against Bournemouth 6.30pm kick off French time. In Sunday’s Premier League action Chelsea are at home to Crystal Palace (kick off is at 3pm French time), Newcastle play Fulham and Tottenham play Arsenal.

And - England trio Leah Williamson, Beth Mead and Keira Walsh join Argentina's World Cup-winning captain Lionel Messi as nominees for the 2022 Fifa Best Awards. Voting closes on February 3rd, with the three finalists in each category to be announced later that month.

Cycling - In an interview with L'Equipe, cyclist Thibaut Pinot has announced that the 2023 season will be the last of his career as the 32-year-old plans to retire. The decision was taken last autumn and reportedly came following his injury in 2021, following a fall on the 2020 Tour in Nice.

Weather

Sunny intervals. Highs of 15 degrees in Nice and Monaco with a gentle breeze. 16 degrees in Marseille. 17 degrees in Saint Tropez and Cannes. This evening going down to 7 degrees in Nice and 2 degrees in Cannes with clear skies.

Outlook for Saturday – Clear skies highs of 15-16 degrees. Sunday – sunny intervals possibility of some scattered showers inland temperatures remaining the same.

Sunrise       08.02hr

Sunset        17.15hr

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