French and Riviera News Friday 24th February 2023

News

NGOs to sue BNP Paribas - Three climate advocacy groups are filing a suit against BNP Paribas. Oxfam France, Friends of the Earth France and Notre Affaire à Tous are suing the eurozone’s largest bank on the grounds that it’s making a “significant contribution” to global warming by lending to fossil fuel companies.  A French law adopted in 2017 requires companies to draft environmental damage vigilance plans, but no court in France has yet to force any to change their practices based on the law. While BNP does not directly finance such projects, the groups say its general extension of credit allows it to continue supporting potentially damaging projects via its banking clients, while making climate-friendly claims. In a statement the French bank said it regretted that the groups chose litigation over dialogue adding that it could not stop all fossil fuel financing right away.

Legion of honour for Jeff Bezos - Left wing MPs have expressed their disbelieve after having learnt through French media on Thursday, that French President Emmanuel Macron presented the Legion of Honour to the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos on February 16th which was a day of mobilisation across France against the pension reform. Several elected officials reacted on Twitter with one tweeting "while we marched against his pension reform, Macron decorated Bezos in the name of France to flee tax by the billions, destroy the planet and spy on employees” and other accused Macron of “more than ever being the president of the rich”.

Holiday cross over - For some half term comes to an end this weekend, for others in France, it’s just the beginning and Bison Futé has classified today Friday 24th February, as orange on French roads for those leaving the French capital. Saturday is classed as orange in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes due to holidaymakers leaving alpine resorts.  

Traffic chaos in Nice - Meanwhile, the Mayor of Nice has said that he is considering legal action against the company which caused traffic chaos throughout the city on Thursday with a convoy of out-sized trucks. The six semi-trailers, which arrived in Nice on Thursday morning, had been delayed on their journey from Spain to Monaco. As they are restricted from travelling during daytime hours, the six parked, taking up an entire lane of the Promenade des Anglais at the airport. Mayor Christian Estrosi said a government rule from 1957 means the convoy must use the Promenade and not the A8 to traverse the city. A government rule that the mayor said, needs to change.

Elderly couple found dead - An elderly couple have been found dead at their home in Cabriès, south of Aix-en-Provence. It was the couple's housekeeper who raised the alarm on Wednesday. After the first findings police believe that the man killed the woman before turning the weapon against him. The investigation continues.

Members demonstrate to save local sports complex - Nearly 300 members of the Gazelec Côte-d'Azur sports association have demonstrated in front of town hall in Nice following the threat of the closure of their sports association. Members gathered on Thursday morning at 10am defending the essential link that the sports complex creates between local residents being the heart and soul of the Saint Roch district. The complex is under threat following a real estate project for the land which is owned by EDF. The city of Nice has proposed to mediate between EDF and the association to find a solution, as well as increase its financial support for the club but no figures were mentioned.

Football tickets - Meanwhile, Nice football fans have been on social media expressing anger over the cost of tickets for the derby match against AS Monaco this Sunday. They say the tickets are double what they have been in the past. The lowest-priced ticket is €55, up from €20 previously, with children's tickets at €40. Monaco, however, said it was simply following market rules, with the price of tickets against Nice set at the same level as those for a match against PSG or Marseille. AS Monaco has also doubled the number of tickets available to Nice supporters, from the 5% of capacity stipulated by Ligue 1 regulations to 2,000.

Business

The SNCF has presented a record profit in 2022, at 2.4 billion euros, driven by logistics and the return of train passengers. The company spectacularly recovered its accounts last year with a record net profit according to figures published on Thursday. The public group's turnover increased by 19.3% over one year to reach 41.449 billion euros, another record, greatly exceeding - by 18% - its 2019 level ahead of the health crisis.

The former boss of collapsed crypto exchange FTX has been hit with four new criminal charges accusing him of conspiring to make illegal political donations and to commit bank fraud. Sam Bankman-Fried has already pleaded not guilty to defrauding customers and investors. FTX filed for bankruptcy last year, leaving many users unable to withdraw their funds. Mr Bankman-Fried now faces a total of 12 criminal charges.

US President Joe Biden has named Indian-American businessman Ajay Banga as the US pick to lead the World Bank. The move comes as the US increases pressure on the bank to put more emphasis on tackling climate change. Mr Banga led credit card giant Mastercard for more than a decade and now works in private equity. It is up to the bank's board to officially appoint its next head.

A US billionaire investor who helped pioneer the debt-fuelled corporate acquisition known as a leveraged buyout has been found dead.  According to reports 78-year-old Thomas H Lee died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his Manhattan office. He is survived by his wife, Ann Tenenbaum, and his five children. According to Forbes, Mr Lee was worth $2bn (£1.6bn) at his time of death.

In an attempt to attract more subscribers Netflix has cut prices in more than 30 countries. In parts of Asia, Europe, Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East prices have been cut as Netflix faces increased competition from rival services.

Rugby Report - Sponsored by Van Diemen's Australian Bar & Restaurant

Plenty of action this weekend for the Six Nations. Tomorrow Anthony Watson will make his first England start for almost two years in their match in Wales. England have not won in Cardiff since 2017 and are third in the Six Nations table, while winless Wales are sixth. Head coach Borthwick said: "Wales v England in Cardiff is one of the iconic rugby fixtures, steeped in history and always full of passion. Match starts at 5.45pm French time.

Meanwhile Italy will play Ireland heading to Rome Ireland are the heavy favourites to secure their third bonus point. The match starts at 3.15pm French time.

On Sunday France face Scotland. Scotland will be looking to win back-to-back away clashes with France for the first time since 1928. Scotland are in excellent form, but they will have to take their game up another level against France. Match starts at 4pm French time on Sunday.

Sport

Football - Manchester United produced a memorable second-half comeback to reach the Europa League last 16 and knock out Barcelona in the process. Beating them 2-1.

Formula One - Red Bull's Max Verstappen set the pace on the first day of Formula 1 pre-season testing in Bahrain. The world champion, top of the timesheets for most of the day, ended it 0.029 seconds quicker than Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso.

Weather

Cloudy with a moderate breeze and highs of 15 in Nice, Cannes and Antibes. This evening going down to 9 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow Saturday, sunny intervals and highs of 15. Sunday light rain and winds highs of 14 degrees.

Sunrise       07.15am

Sunset        06.11pm

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