French and Riviera News Friday 3rd February 2023

News

Strike action planned - Further strike action is planned for next Tuesday 7th February, as transport, energy and public services in France are once again expected to be affected.  Opponents of the government’s pension reform are determined to “keep the pressure on” and in the wake of the successful mobilization of January 31st, the inter-union, made up of the main organizations representing employees and youth has called for two new days of action on Tuesday February 7th and Saturday February 11th.

Convicted Italian killer arrested in France - Interpol have said that a convicted Italian killer, believed to belong to one of Italy’s most powerful mafia organisations, has been discovered working as a pizza chef in France. 63-year-old Edgardo Greco suspected of belonging to a notorious and powerful mafia organisation in Calabria, southern Italy was arrested on Thursday in the French city of Saint-Etienne. Described as a “dangerous fugitive”, Greco was wanted in Italy to serve a life sentence for murder. He had been on the run for 16 years.

Search continues for floating body - After two days of searching police have still not been able to recover the body seen floating in the river Siagne earlier this week. Spotted by two joggers on Tuesday evening the body had sunk before rescue teams arrived at the scene. Despite efforts from a team of divers with the support of the Antibes nautical brigade, the SNSM and even the Dragon 06 helicopter the body has still not been found.

Fatal road accident - A 30-year-old motorcyclist has been killed in a road accident in Villefranche-sur-mer. The accident occurred on Thursday afternoon shortly before 3pm on the avenue Bella-Vista, just before the tunnel that leads to Eze. Another victim, the passenger, was slightly injured and taken to hospital in Nice. The motorcycle is believed to have exited the road falling into woodland below. The exact circumstances are not yet known an investigation is underway. Traffic was cut off while emergency services intervened.

Motorist escapes unhurt from 2nd road accident - Meanwhile, another accident in the Alpes Maritimes on Thursday saw a motorist miraculously escape unhurt after falling 40-metres after his vehicle fell into a ditch and rolled down a slope. The incident occurred on the road that leads from Tourrette-Levens to Châteauneuf-Villevieille (RM815).

Extension of the Paillon Promenade in Nice - New images of the extension of the Paillon promenade in Nice have been revealed, despite the decision from the court to suspend, for the time being, the demolition of the Acropolis conference centre. The project which will see 1,500 trees planted has come up against opposition since the beginning and has already led to the disappearance of the historic building of the National Theatre of Nice (TNN). With an audience of residents and representatives of neighbourhood committees this week, the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi presented the extension of the Paillon promenade. By 2025 and for 75 million euros, the first section should be complete.

Director of Avignon theatre festival takes over Châtelet in Paris - The long-time director of the Avignon theatre festival, Olivier Py, has been named the new artistic director of Paris’s historical Châtelet theatre. The historic theatre has been without an artistic director since British artistic director Ruth Mackenzie was fired in 2020 due to managerial and financial concerns. Speaking to French media Py said “I want to transform the Châtelet into an exceptional place”. The theatre was inaugurated in 1862 and became known at the turn of the 20th century for premiering ground-breaking works.

Business

As shoppers suffer from the rising cost of living Apple has seen its sales drop at the end of 2022.  Sales at the iPhone giant fell 5% in the three months to December compared with the same period in 2021. It was the biggest decline since 2019 and worse than expected.

The update came as many firms warn about a sharp economic slowdown, especially in the tech sector which boomed during the pandemic. Apple boss Tim Cook said the firm was navigating a "challenging environment".

A California utility giant is to face trial for manslaughter for its role in a 2020 wildfire that killed four people.  It is the latest legal trouble for Pacific Gas & Electric, which has been blamed for a series of deadly wildfires in the state in recent years. A judge found prosecutors had presented enough evidence during a preliminary hearing for the company to stand trial.

And – According to the Bank of England the UK is set to enter recession this year but it will be shorter and less severe than previously thought.  The slump is now expected to last just over a year rather than almost two as energy bills fall and price rises slow.

As a result, fewer people are likely to lose their jobs, but the economy remains fragile, warned the Bank. The forecast comes as interest rates were raised to 4% from 3.5%, their highest level in over 14 years. The Bank has been putting up interest rates in a bid to tackle the soaring cost of living. Inflation, the rate at which prices rise, remains close to its highest level for 40 years - more than five times what it should be.

Rugby report

Six Nations Championship – It all kicks off this weekend in Rugby. Tomorrow Wales play Ireland the game starts at 3.15pm French time and England play Scotland at 5.45pm French time.

For the England match on Saturday Ollie Hassell-Collins will make his England debut in the Six Nations opener against Scotland at Twickenham and it will be Steve Borthwick's first game as head coach of England. Speaking ahead of the tournament Borthwick said Twickenham fans, some of whom booed England when they lost to South Africa in November, would witness "the start of the next chapter of English rugby".

Meanwhile, Scotland of course are unbeaten in their last two visits to Twickenham, fighting back in an epic 38-38 draw in 2019 before finally ending their 38-year winless run at the home of English rugby in 2021.

Liam Williams will start at full-back for Wales in Saturday's Six Nations opener against Ireland in Cardiff after injury ruled out Leigh Halfpenny. Wales assistant coach Jonathan Humphreys said Williams is "good to go". And - Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong has been ruled out of Saturday's Six Nations opener against Wales in Cardiff and replaced by Finlay Bealham.

On Sunday, Italy play France kick off is at 4pm French time. France begin the defence of their Six Nations Grand Slam title with a trip to Italy. France swept all before them last year for the first time in 12 years and eased past England to clinch glory in Paris on the final day. Italy have only won three of their previous 46 meetings with France - in the 1995–1997 FIRA Trophy and then winning again twice in three years in the Six Nations in 2011 and 2013. France have won all of the last 12 matches, including a 50-10 win on their last trip to Rome in 2021 and last year’s 37-10 victory in Paris.

Sport

Tennis - Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has admitted assaulting an ex-girlfriend but avoided a criminal conviction. The 27-year-old's guilty plea came after his lawyers failed to have the charge dismissed on mental health grounds. The magistrate called the incident "a single act of stupidity or frustration”.

Football – In the Premier League this evneing Chelsea are at home to Fulham kick off is at 9pm French time. In tomorrow’s action Everton play Arsenal, Aston Villa are at home to Leicester, Brentford face Southampton, Bighton are at home to Bournemouth, Manchester United play Crystal palace, Wolverhampton play Liverpool and Newcastle are at home to West Ham.

Sunday’s matches see Nottingham Forest at home to Leeda and Tottenham are at home to Manchester City.

Weather

Sunny with highs of 13 degrees in Nice, 15 degrees in Cannes and 16 degrees in Puget-Theniers. In the Var light winds highs of 14 degrees in Saint Tropez and 15 degrees in Toulon. This evening going down to 6 degrees along the coast and -1 degree inland.

The outlook for tomorrow sunny intervals and temperatures remaining the same. Meteo France has warned of a cold spell from Sunday and heading into next week. In the region it’s forecast to be fine Sunday morning with drizzle forecast for the afternoon in the Var and the Alpes Maritimes highs of 12-13 degrees.

Sunrise                07.45hr

Sunset                 17.43hr

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