French and Riviera News Friday 1st March 2024

National News France

Overcrowding in France’s prisons - Overcrowding in France’s prisons has reached a new record high. Latest figures published show a sharp increase with 76,258 people detained in France as of February 1st marking an increase of 5.5% in just one year. Faced with chronic prison overcrowding France received in July strong criticism from the European Court of Human Rights. The French government is now counting on the creation of 15,000 new prison places by 2027.

French President promises to swim in the Seine - It seems that the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, will not be alone when she takes a dip in the river Seine this summer, as announced on national television at the beginning of January, as French President Emmanuel Macron has made the same pledge. The Olympic Games will inaugurate the swimming events in the Seine as part of the Paris Olympics this year. Speaking to journalists on Thursday, Macron confirmed that he wanted to take the plunge joking that he “was not going to give journalists a date” adding “you may be there”. The president's promise is similar to the unfulfilled commitment made by former French President Jacques Chirac in 1990. Since 2016, the French State and local authorities in the Ile-de-France have invested around 1.4 billion euros to make the Seine and the Marne swimmable.

Changes for 1st March - It’s all change for the 1st of March, as with every first of the month in France certain changes are introduced and March 2024 is no exception, with an increase in the price of tobacco, an end of the energy check and changes to the minimum income, the RSA. Tobacco will increase as the French government plans for the minimum price of a packet of cigarettes to reach 13 euros by 2026 with certain brands increasing this month. It is also the last month for the energy check, which expires on March the 31st. The check has helped nearly 5.6 million households’ electricity or gas bills. Finally, already tested in 18 departments of France the minimum income, the RSA will be conditional on 15 hours of activity. Today Friday 1st March, the French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal will be promoting the new France Travail system in the Vosges as the government plans for the new measure to be extended to 47 departments before being generalised in 2025.

And - Don't forget the change to summertime! The days are getting longer and the nights shorter, a sign that summertime is approaching! On the night of Saturday March 30th to Sunday March 31, 2024, we lose an hour of sleep, and we turn the clocks forward by an hour.

Local 

Mayor of Nice under fire for expenses at the French Grand Prix - The Mayor of Nice Chrisitan Estorsi has come under fire from Republican MP Christelle d’Intorni, concerning certain cost for the French F1 Grand Prix. The MP has questioned the expenses of the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Le Castellet in the Var, implying that the mayor of Nice, who chairs it, had treated himself with personal perks leading to “serious questions, on certain amounts, in certain places, on certain dates, such as a birthday celebration tagged with a 850 euro bill” or "a Montblanc invoice for 10,800 euros", and also "an invoice for almost 500 euros at a hotel on the same date as the mayors wedding anniversary”. Estrosi has denied the accusations calling it an “obvious personal attack on his family” before adding that on his “birthday he was cycling in Eze in the morning and then visited Italy” and that he spent is wedding anniversary at Lake Como”. The mayor plans to file a complaint.  

Blue March – March is the month of mobilization against colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is a detectable and therefore preventable cancer. As with every year, the month of March is dedicated to raising public awareness for the prevention and screening of colorectal cancer. Supported by the Department of Social Affairs and Health, the Principality's health professionals along with the Princess Grace Hospital Centre as well as the Monegasque Screening Centre, the Blue Mars campaign mobilizes numerous organisations.

As part of the Blue Mars campaign, the Prince's Palace will be illuminated in blue on Friday March 1 to support this public health action. For any questions regarding colon cancer screening, please contact the Monegasque Screening Center at (+377) 97 98 83 02.

Monaco mobile phone service – Finally, in Monaco, the terrible mobile phone service experienced by people from France will soon be thing of the past. From next Tuesday March 5th, Monaco Telecom will implement a roaming agreement with French networks, so its users can roam in the principality as they do in other European countries.

Business

India has retained its title of the world's fastest growing major economy as it expanded by 8.4% in the last three months of last year.  The data comes as the country is set to hold a general election this year. India is forecast to overtake Japan and Germany as the world's third biggest economy in the next few years.

Meanwhile, America's Nasdaq index, has hit a new high, which analysts attributed to optimism over artificial intelligence (AI). The Nasdaq rose 0.9% on Thursday and Investors expect AI to unleash a new wave of growth and have been snapping up shares of companies set to benefit.  They are also increasingly optimistic about the path for the US economy.

The Body Shop is to close 75 shops in the UK over the coming weeks and cut 489 jobs. Combined with cost-cutting at the company's head office, between 750 and 800 people will be made redundant. However, The Body Shop will keep 116 UK stores open. The UK arm of the global beauty chain was put into administration earlier this month.

Sport

Formula One - Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has again denied allegations of inappropriate behaviour after a series of alleged messages were leaked. Following an internal investigation into his behaviour towards a female colleague Horner was cleared on Wednesday, however an anonymous email with a link to messages was sent to Formula One personnel and media on Thursday.

The leak comes ahead of this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix with third practice taking place today at lunchtime and the race at 4pm French time on Saturday . On Thursday it was Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes scored the fastest lap in the second practice.

Football - Footballer Marcus Rashford has said that people questioning his commitment to Manchester United need to show "more humanity". Rashford, 26, has scored five goals for United this season and faced criticism about perceived attitude issues. He missed United's FA Cup win over Newport, days after he was reportedly seen in nightspots in Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba says he is "sad, shocked and heartbroken" after being banned from football for four years for a doping offence. In a statement he said, "everything I have built in my professional career has been taken away from me”. The former Manchester United player added he would appeal. Pogba was randomly tested after Juventus' first match of the season on 20 August.

In this weekend’s Premier League action tomorrow with a 4pm kick off French time, Brentford are at home to Chelsea, Everton play West Ham, Fulham face Brighton, Newcastle are at home to Wolves, Nottingham Forest play Liverpool and Tottenham face Crystal Palace. The last match of the day with a 6.30pm kick off will see Luton at home to Aston Villa.

On Sunday in the lunchtime game Burnley are at home to Bournemouth and Manchester City play Manchester United, kick off is at 4.30pm French time.

Tennis - Britain's Emma Raducanu has been given a wildcard to play at the Miami Open next month. Raducanu is ranked 252nd in the world as she continues her comeback from an eight-month injury lay-off.

Darts - Nathan Aspinall has thrashed Rob Cross to claim a maximum five points from night five of Premier League Darts in Exeter. Aspinall defeated his fellow Englishman 6-2. The eight Premier League competitors will next be in action in Minehead at the UK Open, which starts today.

Basketball – AS Monaco leader Mike James is 29 points away from becoming the Euro league’s all-time leading scorer. Magic Mike is capable of reaching this milestone this evening in Barcelona or next Thursday in Belgrade.

Weather

Sunny intervals with scattered showers and light winds. Highs of 16 degrees in Nice, 15 degrees in Monaco, Saint-Tropez and Mougins, 17 degrees in Saint-Raphael, 14 degrees in Marseille. This evening going down to 10 degrees along the coast in the Alpes Maritimes and 4 degrees inland in the Var.

The outlook for the weekend. Saturday, light rain and highs of 15 in Nice, thundery showers in Saint- Tropez. Sunday rain with highs of 13 degrees.

Sunrise                07.06am

Sunset                 06.19pm

Sea temperature

Monaco     13.8°

 

Weather elsewhere

London                9° heavy rain.

Liverpool    6° heavy rain.

Cardiff                  7° rain.

Madrid                13° sunny.

Copenhagen       7° rain.

 

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