French and Riviera News Monday 20th November 2023

News

French senator charged - A French senator has been charged with drugging a member of parliament with the intent to rape or sexually assault her. 66-year-old Joël Guerriau, a centre-right politician from western France, was arrested last Thursday at his home in Paris. The French prosecutor’s office told reporters that Guerriau, a senator for the Loire-Atlantique, had been questioned on Friday over “administering to a person, without their knowledge, a substance that could alter their judgment or self-control in order to commit a rape or sexual assault”. The alleged incident took place on Tuesday night. The woman who filed the police complaint was a member of the lower house of parliament, the Assemblée Nationale. Guerriau was placed under judicial supervision and was banned from visiting the home of the alleged victim, and from contacting her or any witnesses.

New regulations on advertising at sea - In a decree published on Sunday November 19th, in the Official Journal, the French government has set out new measures for advertising at sea, which was previously unregulated. Large digital advertising screens along certain busy beaches on the Mediterranean coast have concerned the State, with Several mayors of in the Alpes-Maritimes department requesting regulations to be introduced. It has now been decided to ban all illuminated advertising on ships in French maritime waters. Non-illuminated advertising is authorized on supports of up to 4 square meters, provided that the boats “are neither equipped nor operated for essentially advertising purposes”, specifies the decree which will come into force in March 2024.

Antibes pedestrianised - The heart of Antibes will be pedestrianized every weekend afternoon for the next few weeks. From now until January 1st several streets in the city centre will be closed to traffic from 3.30pm to 1am. The city has taken this measure to give a boost to businesses, by encouraging walking and therefore shopping in the run-up to the end-of-year holidays.

Var Book Festival - The Var Book Festival has broken records at the weekend with more than 42,000 visitors. The event in Toulon allowed visitors to meet up to 350 authors. 18 booksellers from throughout the department and three second-hand booksellers were present. An exception event which allows readers to rub shoulders with their favourite authors.

Napoleon’s hat sells for 1.9m euros - A hat belonging to Napoleon Bonaparte when he ruled the French empire in the 19th Century has been sold for €1.9m ($2.1m; £1.7m) at auction in Paris. The person who bought the hat has not made themselves known. Historians say the hat was part of his brand. Wearing it sideways made him recognisable in battle. He owned about 120 bicorne hats over the years. However only 20 are thought to remain - many in private collections.

Auction Paris - Meanwhile, 252 items of Chanel couture by the late designer Karl Lagerfeld are going up for auction today in Paris. Pieces up for auction include a “ribbon” dress with sequins from the spring/summer 1991 collection that took 150 hours to make and an evening coat, embroidered over the course of 800 hours.

Joan of Arc statue - Finally, it’s a bronze statue of Joan of Arc which has been ordered by the City of Nice for 170,000 euros to take prime position on the renovated square of the Sainte-Jeanne-d'Arc church.

Business

France is looking to improve the situation for passengers who have travel plans disrupted due to strike action with a new law being adopted to ensure less disruption during industrial action by French air traffic controllers. However, ironically the decision has prompted protests from air traffic controllers, who have planned a strike for today Monday 20th November. The industrial action will impact air travel at airports around France, as well as ‘overflights’ using French airspace.

At the moment, individual air traffic controllers planning on striking are not required to alert their superiors, although unions must issue industrial action notices in advance. Under the new law, which was approved at the Assemblée nationale last week, air traffic controllers intending to join a strike are required to inform their bosses at least 48 hours in advance. This rule is already in place for employees of the SNCF national railways and Paris public transport operator RATP.

France’s central geographical position means industrial action by French air traffic controllers also impacts a large number of European flights passing through the country’s airspace. The new legislation should therefore improve services throughout Europe.

Today the industrial action has resulted in the cancellation of 25 per cent of flights at Paris-Orly and Toulouse-Blagnac airports and 20 per cent at Bordeaux-Mérignac and Marseille-Provence.

The CEO of General Motors' robot-taxi unit Cruise, Kyle Vogt, has resigned. Vogt confirmed his resignation on Sunday evening in a social media post on X, formerly known as Twitter. He did not give a reason for the resignation, and said he plans “to spend time with his family and explore some new ideas.”

And - SpaceX's uncrewed spacecraft Starship, developed to carry astronauts to the moon and beyond, failed in space shortly after lifting off on Saturday, cutting short its second test but making it further than an earlier attempt that ended in an explosion. The two-stage Rocketship blasted off from the Elon Musk-owned company's Star base launch site in Texas, helping boost the Starship spacecraft as high as 90 miles (148 km) above ground on a planned 90-minute test mission to space and back.

Sport

Football - Scotland are heading for the Euros after a successful qualifying campaign ended with a thrilling three all draw against Norway.  Meanwhile, Portugal ended their Euro 2024 qualification campaign with 10 wins out of 10 as they beat Iceland 2-0.

This evening’s qualifying matches will include in Group C North Macedonia play England and Ukraine face Italy and in Group H Northern Ireland play Denmark.

Cricket - Australia have stunned hosts India to win the men's Cricket World Cup for a sixth time. Australia overcame an India side who had won all 10 of their previous World Cup games on home soil. Australia may have won it all before, but Sunday’s final ranks as one of their greatest.

Formula One - Max Verstappen fought back from a five-second penalty with a damaged car to win a gripping Las Vegas Grand Prix. Verstappen ahead of the match had complained that it was "99% show" but the show was all on track in one of the best races of the season. Verstappen moved into the lead with 16 laps to go and Leclerc passed Perez on the final lap to secure second position.

Tennis - Novak Djokovic has won a record seventh ATP Finals title with a dominant victory over Jannik Sinner that marked another milestone in his memorable season.

Weather

Mainly fine with a moderate wind. Highs of 17 degrees in Nice, Monaco, Cannes and Antibes, reaching 20 degrees in Saint-Tropez and the Var region. This evening going down to 9 degrees along the coast with clear skies.

The outlook for Tuesday and Wednesday. Tomorrow cloudy but remaining dry. Wednesday fine with highs of 17 degrees.

Sunrise       07.30am

Sunset        05.00pm

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