French and Riviera News Monday 20th February 2023

News

French President urges Western nations to increase military support for Ukraine - French President Emmanuel Macron has urged Western nations to increase military support for Ukraine and said he was prepared for a protracted war. Macron, speaking to French media, said that he did not want to see Russia crushed by a defeat in Ukraine. The President’s comments came amid accusations that he wanted to extend the war to Russia itself in a bid to "crush" the nation. The French President made the comments as world leaders gathered at the Munich Security Conference, which saw promises to speed up the supply of weapons to Ukraine and impose tougher sanctions on Moscow.

France’s Interior Minister calls for harsher fines for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol - France’s Minister of the Interior has announced plans to withdraw fines for speeding under 5km/h but wishes to increase them for those who drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Gérald Darmanin’s comments come a week after the much-publicised accident caused by French actor Pierre Palmade who was driving under the influence of cocaine. According to data from the Ministry of the Interior, in 2020, nearly 7.3 million motorists in France were flashed by speed cameras for speeding between 1 and 5 km/h above the authorized speed limit. These fines alone represent 58% of all speeding tickets reported by speed cameras. The Minister went on to say that road checks will be significantly increased this year to 1 million compared to 800,000 in 2022.

Child falls into well in the Var - A man and his 5-year-old nephew have been hospitalised after falling into a well in La Croix Valmer in the Var. The accident occurred on Sunday morning when the child who was playing with his ball at the time, fell into a submerged well. His uncle jumped in to save him. A witness who saw the scene called the emergency services and both were taken to hospital in Gassin.

10% drop in electricity consumption in the Principality - The Monegasque electricity board the SMEG has announced a 10% drop in electricity consumption this winter. SMEG reported a significant drop in consumption between October and January showing that the efforts made, following the government’s announcement of its energy sobriety plan last November, have paid off and no relief measures have yet been necessary.

Traffic comes to a standstill - Traffic has been paralysed in the Principality after six semi-trailers transporting equipment for the start of the Mélèzes elevation project became blocked at the Sainte-Devote interchange on Saturday. One of the trailers had reportedly broken down causing the others to come to a standstill.

Tour of the Alpes Maritimes and Var - Kévin Vauquelin has won the 55th Tour of the Alpes-Maritimes and Var. The 21-year-old who has lived in Cagnes-sur-Mer for a year won his first title on the professional circuit, which he joined just last year.

Business

France's state-controlled power company EDF has reported record annual losses for 2022 of €17.9bn (£16bn). A price cap on energy for French consumers hit EDF profits hard but so did the enforced closure of many of its of nuclear power stations for repairs. The losses are the third biggest in French corporate history and the worst for more than 20 years. EDF's debts have spiralled to €64.5bn.

Meta has announced that Instagram and Facebook users will now be able to pay for a blue tick verification. Meta Verified will cost $11.99 (£9.96) a month on web, or $14.99 for iPhone users. It will be available in Australia and New Zealand this week. Mark Zuckerberg, Meta chief executive, said the move will improve security and authenticity on the social media apps. The move comes after Elon Musk, owner of Twitter, implemented the premium Twitter Blue subscription in November 2022. Meta's paid subscription service is not yet available for businesses, but any individual can pay for verification.

And – From May 1st Amazon will require all office staff to work in-person at least three days a week, ending a policy that left remote work decisions up to team directors. The company is joining others such as Disney and Starbucks that have tightened remote work rules this year. Remote work shot up during the pandemic lockdowns in 2020.

Sport

Football – In the Premier League on Sunday Marcus Rashford scored twice to continue his hot streak and help Manchester United overcome Leicester 3-0. Meanwhile, it was a home win for Tottenham who beat West Ham 2-0.

And in the French league Neymar was carried off on a stretcher before Lionel Messi scored a 95th-minute winner as Paris St-Germain gained an incredible win over Lille 4-3.

Rugby Union - George Ford has been called up to a 36-man England training squad for Saturday's Six Nations showdown with Wales in Cardiff. Ford last played for England in March 2022. England’s head coach Steve Borthwick will be naming his 23-man matchday squad on Thursday lunchtime.

Tennis - British number one Cameron Norrie suffered a straight-set defeat by Carlos Alcaraz in the final of the Argentina Open on Sunday. The 27-year-old missed out on a fifth ATP title after losing 6-3 7-5 to the top seed in Buenos Aires.

Weather

Sunny intervals with a moderate breeze. Highs of 16 degrees in Nice and Cannes. 15 degrees in Monaco and 14 degrees in Saint Tropez. This evening going down to 9 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 6 degrees in the Var with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow and Wednesday, sunny intervals highs of 14-16 degrees.

Sunrise 07.22hr

Sunset  18.06hr

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