French and Riviera News Friday 14th October 2022

News

Agreement to settle strike action - Unions have until today Friday 14th October at midday, to sign an agreement which includes a 7% wage increase. The representative of the CFDT union at TotalEnergies announced that a compromise had been found overnight with the management for a 7% wage increase. The CFDT now will submit the proposal, which also includes a bonus ranging from 3,000 to 6,000 euros to its members, and it must be signed before noon today. The two unions represent more than 56% among the four representative unions of the group, the other two being the CGT and the CAT. Earlier on Thursday evening the CGT had left the negotiations, dissatisfied with the proposals made by the management. These were the first negotiations since the launch by the CGT on September 27th of the strike movement which has blocked refineries and fuel depots of TotalEnergies in France and created a fuel shortage in one out of three service stations.

Meanwhile according to French media there could be a possible spread of the strike action in other sectors as unions in France call for national strike action on Tuesday October 18th.

Air France and Airbus trial - The judge overseeing the trial against Air France and Airbus for involuntary homicide in the fatal 2009 crash of a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris has agreed to allow the recording from the black box flight recorder to be heard behind closed doors. The judge agreed to a request of the victims' families. The recording will be played for the court and those involved, but not for the public or the press, while those in the room will be required to shut off any mobile phones or recording devices. The Air France flight 447 stalled during a storm on its way to Paris from Rio on 1st June 2009 and crashed into the Atlantic. All 228 people on board were killed – 216 passengers and 12 crew, including 61 French citizens.

Boat catches fire - Two people have been airlifted to hospital after their boat caught fire off the coast of Bandol in the Var. Rescuers were called out after thick smoke could be seen emerging from the 10-metre boat. The boat's two occupants, a couple in their 70s, were taken by a Navy helicopter to Sainte-Anne hospital in Toulon where they were treated for smoke inhalation.

Port of Nice - Environmentalists have denounced the new project for the port of Nice. Nice port is one of the historical pillars of the city. It was in 1749 that King Charles Emmanuel II decided to build it in the Lympia swamps. Today’s redevelopment plan is divided into several points which include replacing the current car park with a huge garden and trees as well as new premises for a yacht club and maybe most importantly, the electrification of all the docks so that boats can plug into them rather than leaving their engines running. For the town hall, this change could generate many financial benefits while preserving the presence of the famous “pointus” or fishing boats, so dear to the people of Nice. However environmental opponents of the town hall denounce a "flashy" and excessive ambition. They fear that the port will lose its popular side and become a soulless postcard. The money generated by the yachts that dock in the port should finance the project, the cost of which will amount to around 70 million euros. Building permits are expected to be filed early next year.

Solidarity day - The SOS Breast Cancer association and the Société des Régates d'Antibes have joined forces to offer a solidarity day. Women who are ill or in remission will be able to form crews and race aboard sailboats this Saturday, October 15th in port Vauban. The "Rose" Regatta offers a real moment of escape as patients try and forget the illness and hospital. A friendly and joyful way to mobilize as many people as possible and to raise public awareness of the importance of breast cancer screening. To participate, simply register on the soscancerdusein.org website or on the email address contact@soscancerdusein.org. 12,000 women die of breast cancer every year in France and 58,500 are affected

Recording studio - The Miraval estate is in the news again after the reopening of its ultra-modern recording studio with the latest technology. Already renowned for its production of rosé wine and more recently Brad Pitts cosmetic brand the reopening took place this week at the 17th century chateau in Correns in the Var.

City of Nice honours Queen Elizabeth II - Nice city council has voted in favour of naming a street in honour of Elizabeth II, the former Queen of the United Kingdom. A tribute was paid this Thursday at the opening of the Nice city council to Queen Elizabeth II, who died on September 8th with the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, proposing that a street bear the name of Elizabeth II. The street is in the Cimiez district "a historic district where its history has been marked by the presence of the royal family, around the Regina hotel and very close to Prince-de-Galles avenue”.

Business

The Japanese yen touched a 32-year low against the US dollar after official figures showed that prices had risen faster than expected in America. Japan’s Finance Minister said the government will take "appropriate action".  In a rare move last month, Japan spent almost $20bn (£17.6bn) to prop up the country's struggling currency.

Meanwhile pressure is growing on the UK's Chancellor as urgent talks in Downing Street are set to take place, with a U-turn over the mini-budget on the table. Prime Minister Liz Truss is facing calls to change her economic plans to reassure markets and her party. The Chancellor is expected to arrive back today after cutting short a visit to the US for discussions with the prime minister and Conservative MPs. He had been in Washington DC for a meeting of global finance ministers.

France has sent gas to Germany for the first time in "European solidarity" amid increasing energy pressures. The gas, delivered via a pipeline, is part of a deal between the countries to ease energy shortfalls after Russian turned off the taps to Europe. Though the new flow is less than 2% of Germany's daily needs, it is welcome as Berlin battles to diversify its energy. Russia has been accused of using gas supplies as a weapon against the West since the invasion of Ukraine.

The streaming giant Netflix is set to launch its new - and cheaper - ad-backed subscription option 'Basic with Adverts' from November 3rd in France. Users looking to cut back on their monthly bills will be able to snap up the discount package at 5.99 euros per month. On Thursday Netflix formalized the arrival of a new cheaper subscription package, but now including advertising between the programs watched.

Sport

Football – Plenty of action in the Premier League this weekend. Tonight, Brentford are at home to Brighton. Kick off is at 9pm French time. Tomorrow lunchtime Leicester play Crystal Palace. In the afternoon Fulham are at home to Bournemouth and Wolverhampton play Nottingham Forest kick off is at 4pm French time for both matches. At 6.30pm French time Tottenham face Everton.

Sunday’s action will see Aston Villa play Chelsea, Leeds face Arsenal, Manchester United play Newcastle and Southampton are at home to West Ham (kick off for the afternoon matches is at 3pm French time). Finally, Liverpool are at home to Manchester City at 5.30pm French time.

Meanwhile locally, Marseille supporters have been issued with a travel ban prohibiting them from attending the away match at Paris Saint Germain this Sunday. Marseille football club said it was disappointed that an increasing number of travel bans were being issued, preventing fans going to see matches. The club said it intends to work with police to ensure that supervised and well-organised away visits can continue to be organised in the future.

Tennis - Andy Murray has reached the quarter-finals of the Gijon Open by coming from a set down to defeat Argentine Pedro Cachin. Murray, given a wildcard for the tournament in Spain, won 2-6 7-5 7-6 (7-3). The British number three will face American Sebastian Korda in the last eight.

Cycling - British Cycling's partnership with Shell is "controversial" but could help persuade the oil giant to look at its environmental policies, says Sir Chris Hoy. British Cycling announced the eight-year sponsorship deal on Monday but received widespread criticism. Hoy said it could allow British Cycling to "have a voice in an organisation". The deal with Shell comes after British Cycling's partnership with bank HSBC finished at the end of 2021 and includes initiatives to make cycling more accessible for disabled people and target a 'net-zero' status.

Locally cycling fans are in for a treat next year with the 2023 schedule of professional races on the Riviera now confirmed by the International Cycling Union. The department remains very present in the men's professional race calendar in France. In addition to the traditional Paris-Nice in early March, the region will host the 53rd edition of the Tour of the Var and Alpes-Maritimes in mid-February and the Mercan'tour, a one-day race around Valberg, will take place at the end of May. According to the Alpes-Maritimes departmental council, this year these events were followed by a TV audience of almost 10 million viewers, in more than 50 countries..

Weather

Sunny intervals gentle breeze. Highs of 23 degrees in Monaco, Nice, Saint Raphael and Saint Tropez. 24 degrees in Toulon and Marseille with a moderate wind. This evening doing down to 14 degrees with clear skies.

Outlook for Saturday, sunny with highs of 22 in the Alpes Maritimes and 24 in the Var with lows of 14 in Nice and 17 degrees in Toulon. Sunday cloudy in the Var highs of 23 degrees. Sunny intervals in Monaco and highs of 22 degrees.

Sunrise              07.43hr              Sunset      18.48hr

And Finally

Writing thank you letters may be becoming a thing of the past as almost three-quarters of adults, 73%, in the UK admit they no longer send one after receiving a gift, and 51% admit their children do not bother with them either. The practice dates back hundreds of years, and it used to be expected that children and adults would thank aunts, uncles, grannies and granddads for gifts.  But 25 % of modern Britons now claim they are simply too busy to express their gratitude in a card or letter and 84 % of 2,000 in a poll felt that saying 'thank you' was becoming redundant.

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