French and Riviera News Friday 24th May 2024

National News

Lively televised debate in France ahead of European elections - French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal and the president of the National Rally far right party in France Jordan Bardella have taken part in a live televised debate. The two clashed during the programme which lasted just over an hour and 20 minutes on France 2 on Thursday evening and comes 17 days ahead of the European elections.

The two discussed free trade, the environment, nuclear power, immigration as well as the war in Ukraine. While the far right called for a Europe which “guarantees economic patriotism (a term used to describe the practice of making economic decisions that prioritize certain groups, businesses, or industries based on their regional status), as well as protection from mass immigration”, the head of the government Gabriel Attal, accused the National Rally of “a vision to withdraw from Europe marking the end of the European Union”.

One of the liveliest exchanges during the debate focused on the links between the National Rally party and Moscow. The Prime Minister accused Bardella of having a "moral contract" with the Kremlin, pointing out that the RN had, in the past, taken out loans from Russian banks for financing of their party. In response Bardella attacked the Prime Minister saying that “his argument was below the belt, before adding that it was not Marine Le Pen who welcomed Vladimir Putin to Bréançon the French President’s holiday residency”.

Macron halts reform in New Caledonia following riots - French President Emmanuel Macron has said that he will not force through a controversial voting reform in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia following deadly rioting. Speaking during his visit to the main island the French head of state said that local leaders should engage in dialogue to find an alternative agreement for the island’s future. Six people including two police officers have been killed and hundreds more wounded in riots which started due to a planned reform in the voting system which would have seen more French residents - including any who have been in New Caledonia for at least 10 years - able to vote.

Arrest made in connection with planned attack in Bordeaux as the Olympic flame arrived in the city on Thursday - A 26-year-old man has been arrested in connection with planning an attack in Bordeaux during the arrival of the Olympic flame in the city. France’s Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin confirmed the news on Thursday just hours before the flame was due to be carried across Bordeaux between 4pm and 8pm where thousands of spectators had gathered.

The suspect had been arrested two days earlier referred to as Alex G., born in 1998, he has no criminal record and was reportedly interested in the Incel movement, single men who express their hatred of women online. The suspect made reference on social networks to a mass killing that occurred 10 years ago in California, the perpetrator of which was a member of the Incel community. It is not known whether the suspect had planned an attack on the torch relay. However French police are well aware that the torch relay is a potential target of militant groups or terrorists. Since the start of the relay more than twenty actions have been foiled by police.

Local

Popular young local from Antibes dies in fatal fall - Police have opened an investigation following the tragic death of a popular young man from Antibes. Micha a much loved local and bartender at the restaurant Les Filles du Micocoulier was taken to hospital in a circuital condition on Tuesday evening after falling four metres from the ramparts around the Picasso Museum. He later died from his injuries. Described as a “funny, sunny, and intelligent young man” many who knew him are still in shock. It is still not known if the fatal fall was accidental or intentional. Police are waiting for results from the Pasteur hospital in Nice.

Violent storm - Images of torrential rain, hail and very dark skies have been shared by many of you on social media following a violent storm which hit our region, the Alpes Maritimes, on Thursday. Located mainly in the Nice area, the storm came as somewhat of a surprise for many. Hailstones the size of a ping-pong balls fell in near Vence and Cagnes, but also along the coastline in Nice and there were more than 200 lightning strikes.  The Alpes-Maritimes has been placed on yellow alert today by Météo France with storms forecast, however the bad weather should move quickly towards the east of the department and Italy.  

Toulon Ferris wheel on the move - The Ferris wheel in Toulon is on the move. After two years in the town the wheel is now being dismantled after being sold to another fairground in Saint-Raphaël. The wheel blended perfectly into the landscape and was a popular attraction for many of the people of Toulon, becoming a landmark meeting point, with stunning views of the harbour for those that weren’t afraid of heights!

F1 and Film Festival - Finally, ahead the hustle and bustle as well as the glam of the Monaco Grand Prix, Monegasque F1 driver Charles Leclerc still managed to find the time to make a trip to the Cannes Film Festival. Leclerc and his partner, Alexandra Saint Mleux were seen on the Croisette attending an evening in honour of Monegasque jeweler APM Monaco.

And I had the chance to find out during Thursday’s press conference here in Monaco how Charles Leclerc felt ahead of this weekend’s race and of course his favourite film, but you’ll have to stay tuned to Riviera Radio Monaco Grand Prix weekend to find that out.

Business

There has been a drop in inflation in France for the first time in 30 months. Although the monthly drop in mass retail was negative year on year in May (-0.1%) it remains barely visible to consumers. After more than two years of sharp increases in prices in supermarkets, the modest drop is a first since November 2021, according to figures.

One of the main air traffic controllers' unions in France has called on its members to strike this Saturday and Sunday at Paris-Orly airport. The move comes in a demand for "adequate staffing". The consequences of the strike action on the flight programs of the second biggest airport in France is not yet known. It was in April that similar strike action resulted in the cancellation of several thousand flights in France and Europe.

And - The boss of Tesla and multi-billionaire Elon Musk has opposed the recent US tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles (EVs). The news comes just days after US President Joe Biden quadrupled levies on EVs imported from China. Last week, the US government said new measures, including a 100% border tariff on EVs from China, were a response to unfair policies and were intended to protect jobs in the US. China said it was opposed to the tariff hikes and would take retaliatory measures. This week, China launched an anti-dumping investigation into imports of a widely used plastic from the US, EU, Taiwan and Japan.

Sport

Darts - Teenage Darts sensation Luke Littler continued his meteoric rise to fame by winning the 2024 premier darts league with a 11 – 7 win over world number 1 Luke Humphries at the O2 arena. It was a repeat of January's World Championship final, which saw two of darts’ brightest prospects cement themselves into stardom.

Littler the 17-year-old darts sensation was left in tears after winning 6 of the last 8 legs to see off world champion Humphries, as he ran off stage to hug his family. Littler picked up 40 points in the 16-week group stage, levelling 2022 winner Jonny Clayton for the record for most points acquired in a season.

His win sees him pocket £275,000 in prize money, on top of the £40,000 earned earlier in the campaign. The £315,000 total more than doubles his career prize money to date. Theres is no doubt we will be seeing more of this young man for years to come.

Football - As the summer gets under way the premier league manager merry go rounds have begun with Chelsea, Man united and Crystal palace all searching for new managers. Chelsea have drawn up an early shortlist of managerial options, which includes Ipswich Town’s Kieran McKenna, Leicester City’s Enzo Maresca and Brentford’s Thomas Frank. Manchester United are also considering McKenna, who would cost more than £4m in compensation.

As Eric ten Hags job seems to hang in the balance. Although Man United do have the FA cup final in Wembley tomorrow, knowing a loss to City will end their chance of European football next season and may be enough for the Dutch manager to be shown the door, with Sir Jim Radcliffs new era at United to be in full swing this summer.

Tennis - World number one Novak Djokovic beat Tallon Griekspoor on Thursday to seal his place in the semi-finals of the Geneva open. Djokovic was accepted as a wildcard to the ATP 250 tournament and is using it to build up some momentum for the French Open which starts on Sunday. The 37-year-old claimed a 7-5 6-1 victory against his Dutch opponent and will face Czech Tomas Machac in the last four.

Monaco Grand Prix Formula One Report 

Max Verstapen makes surpries Lando Norris admission as F1’s latest rivalry starts to simmer. Max Verstapen and Red Bull havent had a seriouse chalanger for a long time now, but with the emergance of Lando Norris and McLaren looks like it could be a long season for the Red Bull driver.

Charles Leclerc threatened to challenge in 2022 but the Ferrari fell away as the Red Bull inserted its dominace,and smashing records throughout the season. The Dutchman started this campaign well ahead again but McLaren have made a huge leaps to put Norris, 24, in contention. And Verstappen admits Formula 1 will be a lot more healthy if the Briton can sustain a title challenge against him.

Weather

A yellow weather warning is in place for Monaco and the Alpes Maritimes due to thundery showers forecast. The warning is in place from 2pm to 9pm this evening. Fine to start becoming rather unsettled with cloud, light rain and sunny intervals forecast. A gentle breeze. Highs of 22 degrees in Cannes, 19 degrees in Monaco 21 degrees in Nice and Toulon. This evening going down to 15 degrees along the coast with rain forecast.

The outlook for the weekend Saturday should start of fine with light rain by the afternoon in the Alpes Maritimes. Sunday hazy sunshine should remain dry for the Monaco GP and the closing of the Cannes Film Festival and Mother’s Day. Highs of 21 degrees.

Sunrise                05.56am

Sunset                 08.58pm

Sea temperature

Nice 18.5°

UV level 7

Weather elsewhere

London      19° sunny intervals

Paris           20° light rain

Cardiff                  16° sunny intervals

Brussels     17° thundery showers

 

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