French and Riviera News Monday 13th March 2023

News

Pension reform - France's higher parliament, the senate, has voted to approve the unpopular pension reform. Senators passed the reform by 195 votes to 112, bringing it another step closer to becoming law. A committee will now hammer out a final draft, which will then be submitted to both the Senate and National Assembly for a final vote. Meanwhile, disruptions continue to affect certain sectors due to renewed strike action. In train transport, traffic will improve but remains disrupted today Monday 13th March, especially at a regional level with one out of two TER trains running. Unions have called for French people to take to the streets on Wednesday 15th March.

Blockages are also expected to continue at several refineries across the country. In Paris, according to the town hall, on the seventh day of the bin collectors' strike against the pension reform 5,400 tonnes of waste remained uncollected on Sunday. In education, the teachers' unions have already relayed the call for strike action on March 15th. However, it is too early to determine how this will affect schools.

Arms exports – In other national news in France, a recent analysis has revealed that France is challenging Russia’s position as the world’s second biggest arms exporter behind the US. France’s share of global defence exports stood at 11% in the period 2018-22, up from 7.1% in 2013-17 a 44% increase. India, Qatar and Egypt were the biggest clients. At the same time, Russia’s share of the world’s arms exports fell by 31% from nearly a quarter of all sales (22%) in the five years to 2017 down to 16% over the last five years. The collapse in Russian exports occurred in the last three years, with sales to China and Egypt, two of its biggest markets, coming under pressure, according to an analysis by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).

Forest fire – Locally, 80 firefighters have been mobilized on Sunday night in Briançonnet in the Alpes-Maritimes. Firefighters have been fighting the blaze all weekend after it broke out between Friday and Saturday. Due to strong winds the fire has destroyed 20 hectares of land above Grasse. It is now reported to have been brought under control. Firefighters, however, remain on site.

Man fatally stabbed in Antibes - A couple have been arrested and placed in police custody as part of an investigation into the fatal stabbing of man in Antibes on Sunday. The victim was found stabbed in the throat early on Sunday morning in an apartment in a downtown residence. The investigation continues.

Impressive road incident, luckily no one injured - A Citroën AMI, an electric car, for which you do not need a license, and which is restricted to 45 kilometres an hour, has overturned after negotiating the Fairmont hairpin corner too quickly. The famous corner here in Monaco which is considered to be the slowest in the F1 world championship was at the centre of the incident which occurred on Saturday shortly after 6pm and was widely shared on social media. Luckily the two young men aged 16 and 22 who were in the vehicle at the time escaped unhurt. Both French residents, according to the public prosecutor's office of Monaco, they were not under the influence of alcohol or narcotics at the time of accident.

Corsican language ban - A court in Corsica has prompted outrage by banning the use of the Corsican language in the island’s local parliament. Corsican has about 150,000 native speakers and is considered by Unesco to be in danger of becoming extinct. The verdict ruled that the Corsican assembly’s custom of allowing Corsican language for debates was unconstitutional and therefore banned.

Study - According to a study that marks the latest warning of the health dangers posed by greenhouse gases, ozone air pollution is linked to a higher rate of hospitalisations for heart diseases. Scientists have warned that a different kind of air pollution known as PM2.5, causes 8.8 million premature deaths every year, with the ozone's full impact on health now becoming clear.

Knitting champion - Catherine Bouënard from the Côtes-d’Armour has won her ninth title as knitting champion of France. Unbeatable since her first participation in 2013, it was on Sunday at Porte de Versailles in Paris that Catherine managed to knit a record number of stitches in three minutes with number 4 needles. 247 stitches in just three minutes.

Business

The US government has said that people and businesses who have money deposited with failed US bank Sillicon Valley Bank (SVB) will be able to access all their cash from today. A statement from the US Treasury, the Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) said depositors would be fully protected. SVB was shut down by regulators who seized its assets on Friday. It was the largest failure of a US bank since the financial crisis in 2008.

Saudi oil giant Aramco has announced a record profit of $161.1bn (£134bn) for 2022, helped by soaring energy prices and bigger volumes. It represents a 46.5% rise for the state-owned company, compared with last year. It is the latest energy firm to report record profits, after energy prices spiked following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Aramco also declared a dividend of $19.5bn for the October to December quarter of 2022, to be paid in the first quarter of this year. Most of that will go to the Saudi government, which owns nearly 95% of the shares in the company.

The UK’s chancellor has said that the budget will “break down the barriers” to getting people back into work in the face of more than a million vacancies and a sluggish economy. The chancellor is due to announce a shake-up of the benefits system and a rise in the maximum universal credit childcare allowance as well as plans to encourage over 50s to return to work through an expansion of skills training.

Rugby Report - Sponsored by Van Diemen's Australian Bar & Restaurant

In the Six Nations Ireland will now need a home win against England next week to complete a Grand Slam after a 22-7 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday.

Following England’s embarrassing record home loss to France on Saturday 10-53. Ireland are now the favourites for a repeat of 2018’s clean sweep.  

England’s Jamie George has apologised fans after their defeat by France saying he would be "gutted" to watch a performance like that at Twickenham. It was England's biggest home defeat of all time as the defending champions ran in seven tries to end an 18-year wait for a Twickenham win.

Meanwhile, Wales withstood a late Italy fightback to register their first win 17-29 of a troubled Six Nations in Rome.

As the table stands Ireland rank first with 19 points, France second with 15, Scotland third with 10, England fourth with 10 points. Wales fifth with 5 points and Italy sixth with 1 point.

Next Saturday final matches will see Scotland play Italy 1.30pm French time. France host Wales 3.45pm French time and Ireland play England 6pm start French time.

Sport

Football - Arsenal have restored their five-point advantage at the top of the Premier League with a ruthless 3-0 victory at Fulham. Meanwhile Manchester United drew 0-0 against Southampton and West Ham held Aston Villa to a 1-1 draw. Newcastle beat Wolves 2-1 reviving their bid to finish in the Premier League’s top four.

Saturday saw a surprise 1-0 win for Bournemouth who were at home to Liverpool. The Reds were brought back down to earth after last week's 7-0 thrashing of Manchester United. The result helps Bournemouth climb out of the relegation zone but has damaged Liverpool's chances of qualifying for next season's Champions League.

Tennis - British number one Cameron Norrie came from behind to beat Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel on Sunday and reach the last 16 at Indian Wells. The 10th seed was a set and 4-1 down in California but won the next five games before clinching the second set.

Weather

Mainly fine with a gentle breeze. Highs of 15 in Nice, 17 degrees in Cannes. 18 degrees in Tende, Toulon and Saint Tropez. Clouding over this evening with rain forecast overnight inland. Lows of 10 degrees.

The outlook for tomorrow - strong winds highs of 16 degrees in Nice and Saint-Tropez with mainly clear skies. Wednesday clear skies and sunshine, highs of 17 degrees in Nice and 20 degrees in Saint-Tropez.

Sunrise       06.46am

Sunset        06.33pm

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