French and Riviera News Friday 4th November 2022

News

French parliament suspended - The French parliament has been suspended after a black MP was told to 'Go back to Africa!' by a far-Right opponent. Carlos Martens Bilongo, a 31-year-old from a Congolese background, was asking a question about climate change when he was verbally attacked on Thursday afternoon in the National Assembly. The speaker, immediately asked: 'Who is the MP who said that phrase? It's not possible.'

The culprit was identified as Grégoire de Fournas, the 31-year-old National Rally MP for the Gironde department in southwest France. He immediately tried to explain himself by saying he had been referring to 'an African boat' which had difficulty 'getting back into port'. Mr Bilongo accused the National Rally of targeting him because of the colour of his skin. Parliamentary authorities meanwhile said there would be a full investigation into Mr De Fournas’s words. The National Rally celebrated its 50th birthday earlier this month, with Marine Le Pen saying it was 'ready to govern'. Her party won 89 seats in the National Assembly – its largest number ever, since Jean Marie Le Pen founded the party in 1972.

Former French justice minister to appear in court - A former French justice minister Michel Mercier is due to appear in a Paris court accused of embezzling public funds by allegedly creating fake jobs, including one for a phantom part-time parliamentary assistant. Mercier is also said to have employed his wife as his assistant in the senate for four years, and then one of his daughters who was reportedly living in London at the time. The allegations came to light in August 2017, six months after the then prime minister, François Fillon, was knocked out of the presidential race after he paid his wife for non-existent work. The Fillons were found guilty of embezzling public funds in 2020, a conviction upheld on appeal in May this year.

Hospital staff demonstrate - Hospital staff in Avignon have demonstrated during a visit on Thursday from France’s Health Minister. Caregivers gathered arguing that the aid of 400 million euros announced by the French government on Wednesday was "insufficient". The aid, which supplements the 500 million euros granted in October, will be used to pay for the doubling of salaries for those working night shifts until March 31st, in order to "recognize the commitment and the hardship of night work,” said the minister. But the additional aid is considered as "not enough" by trade unionists who expect a “global health policy”. Unions are expected to gather again on Thursday November 10th as part of a national day of action.

Traffic disrupted on A8 motorway - Traffic has been severely disrupted after a truck skidded into the safety barrier on the A8 motorway on Thursday. The incident occurred at Villeneuve Loubet heading eastbound shortly after 5pm and led to a road closure. No one was injured but traffic was disrupted with motorists taking an extra 40 minutes to travel between Antibes and Nice.

Funeral service for pets - A resident from Cannes has created a funeral service for pets. Nicolas Requier created ‘Animal Eden’ to help pet owners in the region and beyond, transport their deceased pet and help with the burial.

Coast road pedestrianised - The coast road between Villeneuve-Loubet and Antibes will be pedestrianised this Sunday. Cars will be prohibited on the RD 6098 between 8am and midnight. The move to invite the public to walk, cycle or roller-skate on this stretch of road, which runs alongside the beach, will be renewed on the first Sunday of every month.

Business

The Bank of England has warned the UK is facing its longest recession since records began, as it raised interest rates by the most in 33 years. It warned the UK would face a "very challenging" two-year slump with unemployment nearly doubling by 2025. The bank lifted interest rates to 3% from 2.25%, the biggest jump since 1989. By raising rates, the Bank is trying to bring down soaring prices as the cost of living rises at its fastest rate in 40 years.

Twitter says it will inform its staff today about whether they will be laid off following the firm's takeover by Elon Musk. In an internal email, the social media company said the cuts are "an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path". The firm added that its offices would be temporarily closed and badge access would be suspended.

Meanwhile, following a tweet from Elon Musk 169 cryptocurrencies were created but, only a few hours later, most of them were already worth nothing. The recent tweet did not go unnoticed by the crypto community. On Tuesday, in a nod to Halloween (and to the Dogecoin cryptocurrency), the new boss of Twitter posted a photo of a dog wearing a T-shirt bearing the image of the social network. In the aftermath, the cryptocurrency dogecoin jumped 12%, its price having increased in value by 100% in the space of a week. But the photo was also an opportunity for many to launch new cryptocurrencies.

A total of 169 Twitter-themed cryptocurrencies have appeared on two blockchains.  According to the site specializing in blockchain security PeckShieldAlert, 67 of these cryptocurrency projects have already lost more than 90% of their value, 45 are already worth nothing and 42 were actually "honeypot", which is none other than a fraudulent cryptocurrency that a user can buy but cannot sell.

Sport

Football - Fifa has written to all 32 teams competing at the World Cup to tell them the time has come to "focus on the football". The tournament, which starts in Qatar on 20th November, has been surrounded by controversy. Qatar has been criticised for its stance on same-sex relationships, its human rights record and its treatment of migrant workers. Peaceful protests have been planned by some players. England's Harry Kane and nine other captains of European teams will be wearing 'One Love' armbands. Denmark will wear "toned-down" shirts for the World Cup to protest against Qatar and Paris, and other French cities, are refusing to screen World Cup matches in public areas, despite France being the defending champions.

In the Premier League this weekend Leeds play Bournemouth, Manchester City are at home to Fulham, Nottingham Forest face Brentford and Wolverhampton play Brighton. Kick off for all matches is at 4pm French time. At 6.30pm French time on Saturday Everton are at home to Leicester.

On Sunday the lunchtime match will see Chelsea at home to Arsenal. 3pm kick off Aston Villa face Manchester United, Southampton face Newcastle and West Ham play Crystal Palace. 5.30pm Tottenham are at home to Liverpool.

Cricket - Pakistan have boosted their slim hopes of progressing in the Men's T20 World Cup by beating South Africa at the Sydney Cricket Ground. This morning Ireland have been playing New Zealand and later today Australia face Afghanistan.

Tennis - Novak Djokovic has reached the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters with a straight-set win over Karen Khachanov. Serbia's former world number one, the sixth seed, beat the Russian 6-4 6-1.

Weather

Sunny with a fresh breeze. Highs of 21 degrees in Cannes, 20 degrees in Nice, 19 degrees in Antibes and Saint Paul de Vence. Saint Tropez, sunny with gusty winds and highs of 18 degrees. This evening going down to 11 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for the weekend. Fine with a moderate breeze and highs of 20 degrees.

Sunrise                        Sunset

07.09hr                       17.17hr

And Finally

In a closely fought contest, the cheese toastie has been named Britain’s top sandwich, knocking the traditional bacon butty off the top spot. A plain cheese filling rounded off the top three, while tuna proved the most unpopular. The study, conducted by the online food ordering app Foodhub, asked 2,000 individuals to pick their favourite lunchtime treat. Eight per cent backed the cheese toastie against 7 per cent who picked the bacon butty.

The sausage sandwich proved best of the rest, coming in fourth with 5 per cent, beating prawn mayonnaise and egg mayonnaise. The national survey investigated the UK’s sandwich habits for National Sandwich Day on Thursday.

 

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