French and Riviera News Monday 20th May 2024

National News

Defence and security council to be held today due to unrest in New Caledonia - French president Emmanuel Macron has called a meeting of his defence and security council today Monday 20th May, to discuss the deadly unrest in the Pacific territory of New Caledonia. It is the third such meeting in less than week, the previous two having resulted first in the decision to declare a state of emergency and then to send reinforcements to help government forces on the ground restore order. On Sunday, French forces smashed through dozens of barricades in a bid to retake the main road to the airport. The French territory off northeastern Australia has long been riven by pro-independence tensions, but this is the worst violence in decades.

Local News

Pharmacist warns of closure - Pharmacists in France have warned that many of their outlets will close if no action is taken against the shortages in certain medicines and the online sale of medicines, on platforms such as Amazon. Major strike action has been called for Thursday 30th May. Valérie de Lecluse, the president of the general union of pharmacists of the Bouches-du-Rhône, explains that "last year 200 pharmacies closed in France, some without being able to find buyers and others to avoid filing for bankruptcy. Since January of this year 30 have already closed their doors”.

Super Gran - 82-year-old grandmother Annes Jones from south London has taken on one of the Tour de France's most famous mountains to raise funds for aid to Gaza. Jones rode 20km up Mont Ventoux in southern France to raise funds. She battled hail, rain and fog as she cycled for six hours to the climb's summit at 1,910m (6,270ft) above sea level raising £13,000 for the appeal. The grandmother-of-six said she was "delighted" to have completed the feat and hoped it would change the "assumptions" people make when they see "an old face".

Cyclist is serious condition after accident on Moyenne corniche -A cyclist is in a serious condition after a fall between Villefranche and Èze. The accident occurred on Sunday afternoon when the forty-year-old woman fell while cycling on the Moyenne corniche between Villefranche-sur-Mer and Èze. She was taken to the Pasteur II hospital in Nice. The circumstances of the accident are still unknown.

Reminder, deadline for tax returns – The income tax paper declaration must be submitted by tomorrow midnight May 21st. For all online declarations the deadline depends on the department; for the Alpes Maritimes the online deadline is May 23rd and for the Var region June 6th.  For more information and to complete your online declarations go to impots.gouv.fr.

Cannes Film Festival – France’s Minister of Culture Rachida Dati has given American actor Kevin Costner a medal of the order of Arts and Letters, an order of France established on May 2nd, 1957, by the Minister of Culture to recognise significant contribution to the arts. During the occasion on Sunday at the Film Festival the minister made a rather surprising declaration to the 69-year-old American actor saying “I will always love you,”.  A reference to the legendary song by Whitney Houston, from the film The Bodyguard starring Kevin Costner. Costner is at the Festival with his latest film Horizon: An American Saga. A western in which he stars and has directed. The first four parts will be released in France on July 3rd and September 11th.

Meanwhile, French professional footballer Kylian Mbappé has been spotted on the Croisette during the Cannes Film Festival.  He was seen arriving in Cannes at one of the luxury hotels and was greeted by fans who shared videos on social media.

Baguette stamp - It was once described by French President Emmanuel Macron as “250 grams of magic and perfection” and now La Poste has released a scratch-and-sniff postage stamp to celebrate the baguette. The stamp, which costs €1.96, depicts a baguette decorated with a red, white and blue ribbon. It was released for sale on Friday and has a “bakery scent”. The French baguette was given Unesco heritage.

Business

An anti-dumping investigation has been launched by China into imports of a widely used plastic from the US, EU, Taiwan and Japan. The announcement which concerns plastic used in electronics and cars is a sign that China will hit back in its trade disputes with the US and Europe. In recent days the US has sharply increased tariffs on Chinese goods including electric vehicles (EVs), solar panels and computer chips. Meanwhile, Europe has launched a series of probes into Chinese imports.

Despite being under pressure over recent safety concerns the shareholders of airline manufacturer Boeing have signed off on the company’s plan to grant outgoing boss Dave Calhoun a 2023 pay package worth nearly $33m (£25m). A majority voted in favour of the plan, which had drawn criticism. Such pay votes, held at the company's annual meetings, are not binding.

And – Professor Geoffrey Hinton the computer scientist regarded as the “godfather of artificial intelligence” has said that the UK government will have to establish a universal basic income to deal with the impact of AI on inequality. He said that while he felt AI would increase productivity and wealth, the money would go to the rich “and not the people whose jobs get lost and that’s going to be very bad for society”. The concept of a universal basic income amounts to the government paying all individuals a set salary regardless of their means. Critics say it would be extremely costly and divert funding away from public services, while not necessarily helping to alleviate poverty. A government spokesman said there were "no plans to introduce a universal basic income".

Sport 

Golf  - Xander Schauffele holed a nervy six-foot birdie putt at the 18th to win his first major with a record score on a gripping final day at the US PGA Championship. The American held off the charging Bryson DeChambeau and Viktor Hovland to triumph on 21 under at Valhalla, Kentucky. Having led the tournament since equalling the best round at a major when he shot 62 in round one, the 30-year-old Californian finished with a six-under 65 to claim the Wanamaker Trophy by one shot.

Football - Imperious Manchester City beat West Ham 3-1 at Etihad Stadium to become the first team to win the English league title four seasons in a row. With City needing a win to be sure of holding off Arsenal, who started the final day two points behind but with a better goal difference, Phil Foden put Pep Guardiola’s side ahead after just two minutes.

The England star added another before the break and although Mohammed Kudus pulled one back, midfielder Rodri restored the home side's two-goal cushion with a shot from the edge of the area after 59 minutes. City survived a late scare when West Ham had a second goal ruled out by VAR for handball.

However, their victory was never seriously in doubt. The win completed a staggering run of 19 wins and four draws since their last defeat in the league, at Aston Villa on 6 December. City have now won six out of the past seven Premier League titles. Last term, they joined Huddersfield, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, twice, in winning the top flight three years in a row.

Guardiola’s team have achieved something no other men's side has managed since the English league was formed in 1888, 136 years ago.

On 25 May they will aim to become the first side to complete the domestic Double in successive seasons when they face Manchester United in the FA Cup final at Wembley

Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp saw out his final day as Liverpool manager with a 2- 0 win against wolves. As a beaming Klopp disappeared down the tunnel for the final time as Liverpool manager in front of packed stands on a glorious Merseyside Sunday night, the German was in no doubt about Anfield's feelings. Klopp, clad in a red T-shirt with 'I'll Never Walk Alone Again' on the rear and 'Thank You Luv' - the phrase he closely associates with the city of Liverpool - on the front, was accompanied by roars of appreciation, smiles and plenty of tears.

It was the finale of a nine-year thrill ride summed up by a banner stretching across the full length of The Kop before kick-off that provided a neat three-word summary of Klopp's reign from first day to last. "Doubters. Believers. Conquerors." Liverpool ended the season third place in the league and Carabao Cup winners. Feyenoord coach Arne Slot will take over the hot seat from Klopp as the new era begins at Liverpool.

Else where in the league Arsenal missed out on a first Premier League title since 2004 despite beating Everton 2-1. Arsenal finished on 89 points, their second most in a Premier League campaign.But while Arsenal have ended the season without a trophy, Arteta has built a side which looks capable of pushing City again next year.

Rasmus Hojlund and Diogo Dalot helped Manchester United finish their worst Premier League season with a 2-0 victory at Brighton. Despite the win, Erik ten Hag's side end the campaign eighth - their lowest top-flight finish since 1989-altough United still have a chance to win some silver wear this season when they face off against Man city in a repeat of last years FA cup final. A win for UNITED will see them pick up a Europa league spot.

Aston Villa finished off their fine season with a 5-0 drubbing at the hands Crystal palace but still maintain their fourth-place finish. And will look forward to Champions league football next season,  Villa manager Unai Emery has overseen an impressive turnaround at the Premier League club, who were in danger of being relegated when he took charge last season.

Tottenham beat relegated Shefield united 3 – 0,Chelsea beat Bournemouth 2-1, Newcastle beat Brentford 4-2, Nott forest beat Burnley 2-1, Luton lost to Fulham 4-2. 

Formula 1 - McLaren driver Lando Norris says he is "excited" about the rest of the Formula 1 season after challenging Max Verstappen’s Red Bull hard for victory at the Imola Italian Grand Prix. The Briton finished just 0.7 seconds behind Verstappen, two weeks after taking his maiden F1 victory in the Miami Grand Prix. Norris believes his performance at Imola demonstrates that he and McLaren have now established themselves as consistent challengers. Lando Norris is fourth in the drivers' championship, 12 points behind second-placed Charles Leclerc

Boxing - Boxing had its first undisputed heavyweight champion of the world in the four belt era. Oleksandr Usyk was crowned Undisputed heavy weight champion of the world after beating Tyson Furry on points in Saudi Arabia at the weekend , a 20,000-strong crowd and the millions watching around the world soaked in the moment.

Lennox Lewis was the last undisputed champion in 1999,  – when there were only three recognised world titles -.Afterwards Furry insisted he won the fight even though he was rocked in the 9th round with the ref stepping in to give Furry a 10 count only to be saved by the bell seconds later. After the fight Furry stated he will be invoking his rematch clause.

Weather

Cloudy with thunderstorms forecast for the Var. Light rain showers for the Alpes Maritimes with a moderate wind. Highs of 21 degrees in Nice, 20 degrees in Monaco and Cannes and 19 degrees in Saint Tropez.This evening going down to 15 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow and Wednesday sunny with highs of 24 degrees.

Sunrise 05.49am

Sunset  08.54 pm

Sea temperature

Saint Tropez 18.7 degrees.

UV level 7

Weather elsewhere

London      21° light rain.

Paris           23° thundery showers.

New York   24° sunny.

Dublin        19° sunny intervals.

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