French and Riviera News Friday 24th June 2022

News

European Council grants Kyiv the status of EU candidate - The European Council has granted kyiv the status of EU candidate, but the process could take several years. Ukraine, accompanied by Moldova, was designated as an official candidate for membership of the European Union (EU) by the European Council on Thursday 23rd June. The granting of this status, demanded by kyiv since the start of the war with Russia in February, is highly symbolic making it possible to begin the process of discussion with the 27 member countries and the Commission. However French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that could "take decades".

Monkeypox - The World Health Organisation has called on countries to be vigilant and transparent in the face of a rare outbreak of more than 3,200 cases of monkeypox worldwide, while waiting to decide whether it triggers its highest level of alert. France to date has 330 confirmed cases of infection.

Eight men convicted of theft - A French court has convicted eight men for the theft and handling of a Banksy painting, "the sad girl", which paid tribute to the victims of the 2015 attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris. Three men in their 30s who admitted to the 2019 theft were given prison sentences, one of four years and two of three, although they will be able to serve them wearing electronic tracking bracelets rather than behind bars. Another man, a 41-year-old millionaire lottery winner and street art fan accused of being the mastermind of the theft, was given three years in jail for handling stolen goods after judges found the main allegation unproven. His sentence will also be served with a bracelet. British street artist Banksy painted "sad girl" on the metal door of the Bataclan in memory of the 90 people killed there on 13 November 2015.

Residents save woman - Residents of the Ariane district in Nice have saved the life of a woman as she attempted to jump from a seventh-floor window on an apartment block. The incident occurred on Wednesday afternoon as several neighbours intervened before police and emergency services arrived and took over the rescue operation.

Weather warning - The Var region has been placed on a yellow weather warning with storms forecast today Friday 24th June. The warning is in place until early evening. Meanwhile fifteen other departments in the northeast of France remain on an orange weather alert today with thunderstorms forecast and possible hailstorms and strong winds.

Two apartment fires in the centre of Nice - There have been two apartment fires in the centre of Nice. Firefighters were deployed on Thursday afternoon on the route de Turin after a fire broke out in an apartment block when a few minutes later a second apartment fire was declared in a residence located along the boulevard du Parc Impérial. Traffic on the voie rapide was disrupted with the closure of the Parc Impérial exit. Both apartments were completed destroyed. No injuries were reported.

SNCF announces a record demand - The SNCF has announced that it will add 500,000 additional seats this summer to meet a "record" demand. Eight million tickets for July and August have already been sold, that's 10% more than in 2019.

Strike action - Meanwhile train transport unions in the Paris region have called for strike action for today Friday 24th and Saturday 25th June. Disruptions are to be expected this Friday in Ile-de-France as workers demand a "salary increase" as well as "decent working conditions". Today’s strike will coincide with the final of the Top14 which will be played at the Stade de France, between Castres and Montpellier.

Lufthansa announces 2,200 flights cut this summer - Meanwhile, German airline company Lufthansa has announced that it would cut 2,200 flights this summer due to the lack of personnel in the airline sector, strikes and Covid-19. The flights affected mainly concern Frankfurt and Munich airports, for domestic and intra-European connections. This is the second wave of cancellations by the airline which had already announced the elimination of 900 connections planned for the summer period on Fridays and weekends, June 9.  Since the lifting of health restrictions across the world, airlines are facing significant labour shortages in the face of rising demand. British airports in particular have been severely disrupted for weeks, with long queues and cancellations from Easyjet, British Airways and Wizz Air.

Calanques National Park - The Calanques National Park in Marseilles has opened its reservation site. In an attempt to protect the site from erosion due to overcrowding in the summer months visitors will only be able to access two creeks. Visitors will be obliged to make a free booking on the internet to access the creeks which will be limited to 400 people daily. The booking does not apply to children under three and is limited to five people per group. Checkpoints will be set up, and visitors who do not have a ticket will be fined 68 euros. In 2020, three million people visited the National Park.

Business

Germany has taken a step closer to gas rationing after a drop in supplies from Russia. The country has triggered the "alarm" stage of an emergency gas plan to deal with shortages. It is the latest part of a standoff between the European Union and Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Meanwhile Nike has announced plans to leave Russia, becoming the latest Western brand to quit the country since the invasion of Ukraine in February. The US sportswear giant halted online orders and closed the stores it owned in the country in March. Shops run by local partners continued to operate, but the firm is winding down those agreements. Other companies that have finalised plans to leave in recent weeks include McDonald’s and Starbucks.

Chinese electric carmaker Nio says that two people were killed when one of its vehicles fell from the third floor of its headquarters in Shanghai. One member of staff and a person from a partner company died in the crash. The incident took place on Wednesday at around 17:20 local time, the firm said. The people that died were inside the vehicle as it fell from the building. Nio says it immediately started an investigation into the incident in co-operation with government officials.

The Motor industry giant Toyota is recalling 2,700 of its first mass-produced all-electric vehicles over concerns their wheels may fall off. The recall comes less than two months after the car was launched in Japan.

And - Brittany Ferries which operate on the Portsmouth/Saint-Malo line will soon introduce the largest hybrid boat ordered in the world. Named Le Saint-Malo, this new LNG/Electric-powered ship will enter service in 2025. It will mark an additional step in the renewal of the company's fleet, which has already launched its first LNG-powered ship this year.

Sport

Cricket - England's bowlers were once again held up by New Zealand's Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell on day one of the third Test at Headingley. Mitchell, who already has two centuries in the series, ended 78 not out as the Black Caps recovered from 123-5 to reach 225 without further loss. Blundell made 45 not out, combining for an unbroken stand of 102 with Mitchell to follow partnerships 195 in the first Test and 236 in the second.

Football - Newcastle United have signed England goalkeeper Nick Pope from relegated Burnley for an undisclosed fee. The 30-year-old moves to St James' Park on a four-year contract after spending six seasons at Turf Moor. Pope joined Burnley in 2016 when the club was newly promoted to the topflight and made 155 appearances, including playing 36 times last season.

And - Fifa has approved 26-man squads for this year's World Cup in Qatar. The move is in line with recent national competitions and is an expansion on the 23-man squads that had been used before the coronavirus pandemic. Fifa also said up to 15 substitutes can be named for a game, meaning no player misses out - something England head coach Gareth Southgate had called for.

Cycling - Ethan Hayter defended his time trial title on the opening day of the British National Road Championships. The elite men's category podium was the same as last year's event, with Daniel Bigham and James Shaw finishing second and third respectively.

Tennis - Britain's Jack Draper reached his first ATP Tour semi-final with victory over compatriot Ryan Peniston at Eastbourne. The world number 108 fought back from a break down in the second set to beat his good friend 6-3 6-3.

Weather

Mainly fine with clear skies and moderate winds. Highs of 26-27 degrees in Nice, Cannes and Antibes. This evening going down to 18 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for the weekend remaining fine, a gentle breeze and highs of 27 degrees.

Sea temperature     24 degrees                 UV Level 8

Sunrise                        05.49hr                       Sunset  21.16hr

 

 

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