French and Riviera News Friday 17th May 2024

National News

Tensions remain high in New Caledonia - The French government has said that areas of New Caledonia have “escaped” state control as tensions remain high adding that reinforcement will be arriving.  Hundreds of extra military and police have already arrived in the troubled territory after days of unrest that has left five people dead. The unrest comes in opposition to a French plan to impose new voting rules which have spiralled into deadly violence New Caledonia is one of several territories around the globe that remain part of France.

French newspaper reveals the French President’s payslip - The French newspaper Libération has published the payslip of French President Emmanuel Macron. Shared online on Thursday May 16th,  it revealed that in January 2024, Emmanuel Macron received 14,586.32 euros net before tax. The publication came from a journalist determined to show transparency be it the payslips of the President, public officials or even contracts between local council’s and private companies. The French State had however been rather reluctant to communicate the document to the public.

Local News

Fatal car accident in Marseille - Two people have died after their vehicle caught fire following a road accident on the Avenue du Prado in Marseille on Thursday. The accident involving several vehicles, occurred in the centre of the city at around 3.30pm. An investigation into the cause of the collision is underway.

Coluche - The driver of the truck which killed French stage comedian and cinema actor Coluche has died this Thursday in the Alpes-Maritimes. The heavy goods vehicle driver was responsible for the death of Coluche, in Opio, in 1986. 85-year-old Albert Ardisson nicknamed “Bébert” lived in Carros. On June 19th, while Coluche was riding a motorcycle on a secondary road, between Cannes and Opio he was hit head on by the heavy goods vehicle. France’s favourite comedian, who, according to the investigation, was driving at 60km/h and was not wearing a helmet, was killed instantly. Tried for manslaughter, Albert Ardisson was sentenced by the Grasse criminal court to a fine of 1,000 francs (150 euros) on March 10, 1988. In 2013, he nevertheless confided to journalist’s that he remained traumatized by the accident and had gone through a long period of depression.

Coluche was well known and loved in France it was in the late 1980s that he announced he would run in the French presidential elections the following year. Though some thought it to be another one of his gags, others took his candidacy seriously. Eventually, as his popularity among voters grew, pressure and criticism from his rivals caused him to withdraw.

Nature & Découvertes stores set to close - Three Nature & Découvertes stores are set to close in Nice threatening 74 jobs. Following a reorganization project the Fnac Darty group which is the brand’s parent company announced the closures on Thursday.  Nature & Découvertes has 113 points of sale in France, 7 stores in Switzerland, 4 in Belgium and 1 in Luxembourg.

Canua Island - The Canua Island project, a floating beach off the coast of the Riviera has been inaugurated. After years of legal battles, the Canua Island floating restaurant-bar was inaugurated on Thursday in the Gulf of La Napoule.  The inauguration took place in the middle of the Cannes Film Festival. However, Canua Island will only stay a few days in the Gulf of La Napoule before returning to its home port, La Seyne-sur-Mer in the Var. The island spans 1,700 m² with a restaurant, a bar, a freshwater swimming pool and a lounge area. Everything was made from natural, sustainable, recyclable materials and the ship is powered by biofuel.”

Nuns go into business to save their abbey – Nuns in the Ardèche have gone into business selling their own cleaning products and essential oils on the internet and in local shops. The sisters of the Notre Dame des Neiges in southeastern France are trying to save their mountain abbey and pay rising electricity bills. They moved into the abbey 18 months ago after the Trappist monks who had previously occupied it for 170 years left because of dwindling numbers and a lack of new recruits. The abbey’s most famous guest was the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson, who stopped there in September 1878 aged 28 as part of his 12-day 120-mile solo hiking journey through the Cévennes mountains recounted in Travels with a Donkey in the Cevénnes published the following year.

Monaco becomes the first European country to ratify United Nations High Seas Agreement - Monaco has become the first European country to ratify the United Nations High Seas Agreement which is a new United Nations convention for the protection of biodiversity in the high seas. Sixty ratifications must be obtained for the treaty to enter into force as quickly as possible. The objective is to protect 30% of the planet's oceans by 2030.

Monaco to host the start of La Vuelta - Monaco to host the start of the La Vuelta cycling race in 2026.  Already host to the start of the last stage of the 2024 Tour de France, the Principality will launch the grand start of the Spanish annual muti-stage bicycle race in 2026. The news was made official this Thursday at the Yacht Club in the presence of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and Minister of State Pierre Dartout.

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco to appear of French cooking show - Finally, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco has been showing off his skills in the kitchen making a Monegasque dish with television presenter Laurent Mariotte for the culinary show on TF1 “Petits plats en équilibre". The French channel announced that Prince Albert II came to the recording of the show with radishes, peas and artichokes from his Roc Agel vegetable garden. The show is to be broadcast on June 3rd at 12.55pm.

Sport

Football - Leeds United will face off against Southampton or West Bromwich Albion in the championship play off after putting in a master class display against Norwich last night.

The whites put three past Norwich in the first half with player of the season Summerville adding a fourth in the 70th min. Leeds have never reached promotion via the play offs in five attempts, but in this scintillating form they will fancy their chances of ending that hoodoo in 10 days’ time.

Manchest City goalkeeper Ederson will miss Sunday’s title decider against west ham and also the FA cup final against Manchester United. Due to a fractured eye socket following a collision with Spurs player Christian Romero during Tuesday night’s 2-0 win against Tottenham.

World cup winner N’golo Kante has been recalled by France after being named as one of 25 players in French coach Dider Deschamps squad for Euro 2024. Kante played an influential role in Frances world cup win in 2018 but has not started for France since 2022

Tennis - Andy Murry was beaten 6-4 6-2 as he was knocked out of the ATP challenge in Bordeaux yesterday by Frenchman Gregoire Barrere

Murry went down 5-0 in the first set and despite recovering 5-4 the Frenchman then held his serve to take the opener. This is Murrays first tournament since rupturing his ankle ligaments back in March at the Miami open.

The three-time grand slam champion has previously stated he will not play much tennis after the summer, but he has not announced where his final tournament will be.

Kite Surfing - French Riveria Celine Snaidero sets the woman’s kite surfing world record. The almost 34-year-old Cannes resident covered 200km in 9 hours without a pause or assistance while completing a round trip.

Business

France’s central bank has said that the French economy is set to expand in the second quarter after growing 0.2% in the first quarter. The bank of France did not give a specific estimate for the second quarter saying that the outlook was particularly clouded by a number of public holidays in May and the introduction of a new base year for the national accounts.  

The Federation of Pharmaceutical Unions of France (FSPF) is calling for strike action on Thursday, May 30th to protest against the Health Insurance budget concerning pharmacies. The FSPF made the announcement on Thursday and said that the strike action had been called in order to “obtain more” in the financial proposals of Health Insurance. 46 pharmacies have closed in France since the beginning of the year and there were 330 closures last year.

Meanwhile, firefighters in France are demanding equal treatment to that of the police force and gendarmes. Several thousand firefighters marched through the streets of Paris on Thursday afternoon, notably to obtain a bonus for the Olympic Games. Leaving from the Place de la République, the demonstrators arrived under a cloud of firecrackers and smoke bombs at Place de la Nation. Police intervened to extract some demonstrators. Fire and rescue services (SDIS) are demanding more hiring, appropriate medical monitoring, and a bonus for their involvement in the Paris Olympics following reports that French police have obtained bonuses ranging from 1,500 to 1,900 euros.

Shares in the social network forum Reddit have jumped more than 10% after the firm said it had struck a partnership deal with artificial intelligence (AI) start-up OpenAI. Under the agreement, the company behind the ChatGPT chatbot will get access to Reddit content. The deal comes as a growing number of copyright owners mount legal challenges over the use of their material by AI firms. It was on Thursday that the largest music publisher in the world Sony sent letters to Microsoft, Google and OpenAI demanding to know if they had used its songs to develop AI systems.

Facebook and Instagram are suspected of being too addictive according to an investigation from the European Union. The investigation is looking into the “negative affects” on the “physical and mental health of children. Big Tech firms found to be in danger of potential breaches of the EU’s new Digital Services Act the DSA, could face fines of up to 6% of their annual global turnover. In response to the investigation the owner of both platforms Meta ahs said that it has spent a decade developing more than 50 tools and policies to protect children.

Weather

Sunny with clear skies. Highs of 21 degrees in Nice, Monaco and Cannes, 20 degrees in Toulon, 22 degrees in Saint-Tropez. A light to moderate wind. This evening going down to 13 degrees along the coast and 9 degrees inland.

The outlook for the weekend, remaining fine with highs of 22 degrees and a moderate wind.

Sunrise                 06.02am

Sunset                  08.51pm

Sea temperature

Toulon 17.5°

UV level 9

Weather elsewhere

Paris                      21 degrees light rain.

Rome                    26 degrees clear skies.  

Lisbon                   21 degrees sunny intervals.

Amsterdam         18 degrees light rain.

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