French and Riviera News Monday 23rd January 2023

News

France and Germany pledge to drive Europe forward together - Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz and France's President Emmanuel Macron have pledged to drive Europe forward together, as the German leader visited Paris to celebrate 60 years of post-war cooperation despite recent strains. In a speech at the capital's Sorbonne University on Sunday morning, the Chancellor said upholding strong ties was key for the continent. His visit coincided with the anniversary of the 1963 Elysee Treaty. Macron said that "Germany and France, because they cleared the path to reconciliation, must become pioneers to relaunch Europe". He cited the need to "build a new energy model", encourage "innovation and the technologies of tomorrow", and ensure the European Union is "a geopolitical power in its own right, in defence, space and diplomacy".

60,000 train tickets between France and Germany - Meanwhile, it was also announced that France and Germany are to introduce a "binational train ticket" this summer for young people. With 60,000 free tickets. The idea is to "encourage train travel within the two countries". Details are still to be specified. In addition, Paris and Berlin say they "support" the development in 2024 of a direct high-speed rail link between Berlin and Paris as well as a night train connecting the two European capitals.

Government to present pension reform – In other news, the French government will present this Monday, to the Council of Ministers its pension reform, which leads with the change to the legal age of retirement from 62 to 64. Determined to roll out it out within its timetable, the government is presenting the reform without giving in to the main demands of unions, which intend to plan further demonstrations after a massive and successful start last week. The change in the legal retirement age, the flagship measure of the reform, is unanimously rejected by the unions, as well as by most of the opposition and, according to the polls, a very large majority the French.

It was on Sunday that the secretary general of the CGT union, Philippe Martinez, confirmed to French media that further strike days could be organized during the February school holidays. A new National Day of Strike action is already set for January 31st. Martinez also threatened to cut off the power to elected officials supporting the pension reform and suggested again this Sunday to carry out power cuts targeting the properties of French billionaires who do not know “fuel poverty”. Saying “Billionaires should be made to live for a few hours, a few days, what millions of households experience”.

Man dies from injuries after being shot at by police in Paris - A man has died from his injuries after being shot at by police in Paris. The incident occurred on Sunday evening on the Avenue de la République in the 11th arrondissement. Police were alerted after the armed individual expressed threatening behaviour. It was later reported that according to police sources that the weapon held by the man was a dummy. At this stage, no information on the profile and identity of the victim has been given. An investigation is currently underway.

TGV hits car at level crossing - A TGV train has hit a car at a level crossing near Bourg-en-Bresse, in Ain, eastern France. The collision occurred on Sunday evening in Péronnas. The circumstances of the accident are not known at this stage, however 450 passengers of the train were still stranded in the region at 1am this morning. The driver of the car has been taken to hospital. No injuries were deplored in the TGV. Departing from Bourg-Saint-Maurice, in Savoie, the TGV n°6442 was supposed to arrive in Paris shortly after midnight. But due to the accident, the delay at the Gare de Lyon arrival was estimated at four hours.

Chill in the air to continue - According to Meteo France the end of January will continue to see frosts and even snow across France as temperatures remain below normal for this time of year. In the morning, temperatures are expected to range between 0 to 2°C with peaks, generally located around the Côte d'Azur but also the Channel, of between 6 and 10°C.  However, a mild spell is expected for the beginning of February.

Local News

Fire in bakery - One person has been slightly injured after a fire broke out in the Liberation district of Nice. Firefighters intervened on Sunday lunchtime after the blaze broke out in a local bakery. The reason behind the blaze is not yet known. Traffic was heavily disrupted in the area and the tram was temporarily interrupted.

Work begins on the transformation of former Saint-Roch hospital in Nice - There will be diversions in place from today in the Wilson district of Nice as work begins on the former Saint-Roch hospital which is to become the new “Hôtel des polices”. The local garden will be closed to the public and a section of the street closed to traffic. The project launched today is expected to last three years. It was during the visit of Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin to Nice on December 9th that the Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi committed to a delivery in December 2025.

Holidaymaker stopped for smoking a joint on the port in Monaco - A holidaymaker stopped by police on the port of Monaco for smoking a joint and found to have more than 2 grams of weed in his pocket has been handed a five-day prison sentence. The 31-year-old from Brittany was strolling on Port Hercule with a child by his side, when police officers were alerted by an unusual smell.

Zenbus application - A new application is being tested which would allow parents to track their child's bus in Antibes in real time. The Zenbus application is currently being tested on the 9S school line of the Envibus network. Parents can measure bus travel time, waiting at stops, etc. on a map. The application allows you to follow the route of buses between the Saint-Phalle college and Val Martin in Valbonne-Sophia Antipolis. To take part you can scan a QR Code and access the Zenbus application on your smartphone or go to the following link https://bit.ly/3jX1EFp.

Business

The Unite union say that the UK steel industry, which supports thousands of jobs, is "a whisker away from collapse”. In a letter to Business Secretary Grant Shapps the union has called for an urgent meeting to push for more support. Unite has accused the government of taking "little meaningful action" to help the industry, leaving the sector "at breaking point".

The chairman of Covid vaccine giant AstraZeneca has said that investment in technology can help the NHS cut costs. Leif Johansson said more spending on areas such as artificial intelligence and screening could prevent illness and stop people going to hospital. The comments come as the NHS is under severe pressure, with A&E waits at record levels and strike action increasing ambulance delays.

Thailand says tourist numbers jumped last year, as coronavirus restrictions were eased, but remains way below pre-pandemic levels. The South East Asia holiday destination saw 11.81m tourists in 2022 - up from just 400,000 the previous year. The Tourism Authority of Thailand also forecast that figure will more than double to 25m this year. However, those figures are still much lower than the record 39.8m tourists Thailand saw in 2019. The country is set to start charging overseas visitors 300 baht ($9.20; £7.40) each from the start of June. Thailand now has a target to increase tourist numbers to 80m a year by 2027.

A new study has suggested that chefs working in elite kitchens face "extreme suffering" to produce award-winning food. Researchers heard that Michelin Star chefs are sterilising their wounds on hot stoves and plunging their hands into deep-fat fryers to prove themselves at work. One of them said going on shift felt like "going to war". However, the study also found that many chefs still see the pain as "a medal of honour".

Sport

Monte-Carlo Rally - Sébastien Ogier and Vincent Landais toasted a first career victory together. Ogier made history this weekend, winning a record ninth Monte Carlo Rally as the winner of the 91st Monte-Carlo Rally. Meanwhile Sébastien Loeb has already promised a "revenge". The drivers celebrated their win on the Place du Casino in Monte-Carlo this Sunday.

Football – Arsenal continues to pursue a first Premier League title in almost two decades after beating Manchester United last night 3-2. Leeds drew against Brentford 0-0 and Manchester City beat Wolves 3-0. This evening Fulham are at home to Tottenham. Kick off is at 9pm French time.

Rugby Union - A former boss at Welsh women's rugby said she considered suicide because of what she claimed was a "toxic culture" of sexism at the Welsh Rugby Union. Charlotte Wathan also said a male colleague said in front of others in an office that he wanted to "rape" her. Another former female WRU employee, a mum of one, said she wrote a manual for her husband in case she killed herself. The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) said that both cases were investigated, and proper procedures were followed. One MP, also a former Wales player, warned the allegations against a major UK sporting organisation were "on a level" with the racism scandal that rocked Yorkshire Cricket Club.

Golf - Victor Perez survived a nervous finale to win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship by one shot on 18 under par. The Frenchman, who started the day a shot behind the joint leaders shot a six-under 66 to take the win.

Weather

Light rain with highs of 9 degrees in Monaco, 10 degrees in Nice and Saint Tropez and 11 degrees in Cannes. Should remain dry in the var with light cloud and a gentle breeze. This evening going down to 7 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow and Wednesday. Gusty winds and showers are forecast for the Var region with highs of 13 degrees for tomorrow. Nice and the Alpes Maritimes, sunny intervals and a moderate breeze with highs of 14 degrees. Wednesday sunny across the region with highs of 13-14 degrees.

Sunrise       07.55hr

Sunset        17.28hr

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