French and Riviera News Friday 5th January 2024

News

French Prime Minister not popular with the French according to recent polls - The popularity of French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne is on a downward trend with two thirds of French people calling for her to resign, according to a recent poll. Borne's confidence rating fell by three points in January, close to its lowest levels amid speculation about a possible government reshuffle. 66% of French people are calling for the departure of the Prime Minister, according to two polls published on Thursday January 4th. The polls showed that only 23% of respondents trust the head of government to “effectively confront important problems” and 66% of French people demanded her resignation.  36% of French people believe that the Minister of National Education, Gabriel Attal, would make "a good Prime Minister", followed by his colleague from the Economy, Bruno Le Maire (31%).  Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron's rating remains almost stable at 27% (-1 point), but the Head of State does "start the year with a deficit of five points compared to last year (32% in January 2023).

Weather warning - The Alpes-Maritimes has been placed on a yellow rain-flood alert today, Friday 5th January. The warning issued by Meteo France is in place until 6pm this evening with a Mediterranean episode forecast in the South-East of France mainly affecting the PACA region. Gusts of wind are also expected in the afternoon, this evening, reaching up to 60km/h, near Théoule-sur-Mer with peaks of 55km/h in Nice. Snow is expected in the mountains.

Fisherman reported missing - A former fisherman has been reported missing off the coast of Port-Cros in the Var. The alarm was raised after lifeguards found a 4-meter red boat, with no one on board, off the coast of Port Cros. Cross Med have since launched a significant sea and air rescue search in the area.

Carrefour stops selling PepsiCo - Supermarket chain Carrefour has said it will stop selling PepsiCo products in stores in four European countries because the global food company has put its prices up. Shelves at Carrefours in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium will from this week carry signs saying the store will no longer stock PepsiCo products such as fizzy drinks, Lay’s, Doritos crisps and Quaker cereals “due to unacceptable price hikes”. The US company said in October it planned “modest” price increases this year as demand held up despite rises, leading it to raise its 2023 profit forecast for a third consecutive time.

Closure of Habitat leaves customers and employees in limbo – Meanwhile, customers and employees have been left in complete limbo following the closure of the Habitat store in Monaco. Since November 30, the store in Saint-Charles has been closed similar to the twenty other stores in France. The closure came shortly before the brand was placed in receivership and then in liquidation in France.

Since its closure, contacting the Principality store seems to be an impossible mission for customers with emails no longer being delivered and the phone no longer rings despite many having pending orders. Many have given up on their items or a possible refund. Meanwhile nearly 400 employees, including 30 in the Alpes-Maritimes and Monaco are still waiting to be made redundant.

Fight against Pine tortoise scale - The fight against Pine tortoise scale, a parasite which is destroying the pine trees of Saint-Tropes, is intensifying in the Gulf. This year it’s been announced that 100,000 euros will be budgeted for the treatment of green spaces in Saint-Tropez, with 75% of the funds being dedicated to pine trees.

Due to repair work, businesses to close on the port of Sanary - Bars and restaurants on the port of Sanary in the Var, are to close until March. Due to repair work on the Quai De-Gaulle all establishments will close this Sunday evening. Concerning the market, stalls will be temporarily moved depending on the organisation of the work being carried out.

French actor Alain Delon to file a legal complaint - French actor Alain Delon is set to file a legal complaint against his son over “a media outburst” in France’s most prominent magazine”. In an interview published on Thursday, Anthony Delon told Paris Match that his father was finding it hard to accept his frail state of health, adding that there were “major risks” that the 88-year-old had celebrated “his last Christmas”. Within hours of the publication, however, Alain Delon issued a response through his lawyer. The actor was “extremely shocked by the media outburst orchestrated by his son Anthony” and intends to file a legal complaint against him.

Delon claims that “he cannot stand the aggressiveness of his son Anthony who keeps telling him that he is senile”. Alain Delon had a stroke in July 2019 and now rarely leaves his estate in France’s Loire region.

Wave of cold weather - A wave of cold weather is set to sweep across France. Coming from the northeast, in Sweden on Thursday, temperatures of -43 °C were recorded and snowfall paralyzed traffic, as the frozen air masses are set to hit France. In Lyon, where the temperature rose to 14°C on Thursday January 4th, the thermometer is expected to drop to -6°C next week. -5°C is expected in Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin) and -4°C in Paris. France has not experienced such a drop since a cold wave back in 2018.

Street in Paris named after David Bowie – Finally, a street in Paris is to be named after David Bowie. The local council of the 13th arrondissement is preparing the inauguration on Monday January 8th with an exceptional evening in tribute to the British star man, as well as an exhibition. The date of January 8th was not chosen at random, as it coincides with the singer’s date of birth. David Bowie died in January 2016 and would have celebrated his 77th birthday next Monday the 8th of January.

Business

According to a new report from Democrats in Congress Donald Trump's hotels and other businesses accepted more than $7.8m (£6.1m) from foreign governments during his presidency. The report found that China was responsible for more than $5.5m of those payments, which Mr Trump is accused of accepting in violation of the US constitution. The report is based on documents released by Mr Trump's former accounting firm after a court battle.

Character.ai, a popular platform where anyone can create chatbots based on fictional or real people allows you to talk to Harry Potter, Elon Musk or even Super Mario. The platform uses the same AI tech as the ChatGPT chatbot but, in terms of time spent, is proving much more popular with one bot called Psychologist being the most popular. A total of 78 million messages, including 18 million since November, have been shared with the bot since it was created by a user called Blazeman98 just over a year ago. Character.ai did not say how many individual users that is for the bot but says 3.5 million people visit the overall site daily. The bot has been described as "someone who helps with life difficulties".

And – In the UK Royal Mail is issuing a set of 15 stamps celebrating one of the world's most successful pop groups, the Spice Girls, as they mark their 30th anniversary. It is the first time Royal Mail has dedicated an entire stamp issue to a female pop group. The 10 main stamps feature images from their performances from 1997 to 2012, including at the Brit Awards in 1997, and at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Sport

Football – It was a 0-0 draw for Crystal Palace and Everton in the FA cup last night. Tonight, Brentford play Wolves and Tottenham are at home to Burnley.

Rugby Union – England’s coach has said that Owen Farrell will leave a "strong legacy" on the England team during the upcoming Six Nations.  Farrell, who led the side to a third-placed finish at the Rugby World Cup, has taken a break from international rugby.

Weather

Heavy rain is forecast across the region with moderate to strong wind and highs of 11 degrees. Heading into the weekend, cloudy with highs of 11-12 degrees, strong winds in Marseille and showers forecast for Monaco on Sunday.

The Alpes-Maritimes and the Var have  been placed on a yellow rain-flood alert today, Friday 5th January. The warning issued by Meteo France is in place until 6pm this evening with a Mediterranean episode forecast in the South-East of France mainly affecting the PACA region. Gusts of wind are also expected in the afternoon, this evening reaching up to 60km/h, near Théoule-sur-Mer with peaks of 55km/h in Nice. Snow is expected in the mountains.

Sunrise       08.04am

Sunset        05.07pm

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