French and Riviera News Monday 27th June 2022

News

Swimmer missing - A swimmer has reportedly gone missing after being caught in a sea swell on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. The incident occurred at around 5pm on Sunday afternoon when witnesses spotted the swimmer get into difficulty near Magnan beach. A sea rescue operation was launched with several lifeboats and a helicopter however, after two hours the search was called off as emergency services were still unable to determine whether the individual had been the victim of the swell or not.

Passengers confined on board tram in Nice - Passengers on line 1 of the tram way in Nice were confined on board on Sunday evening after a Ukrainian refugee reported a gunman boarding a tram in Nice. The incident occurred shortly after 9pm and passengers were forced to remain on board while police verified the situation. The alert was finally lifted by police.

Strike action - Unions in the road transport sector have called for national strike action today Monday 27th June. 790,000 employees of the road transport branch, which includes lorry drivers but also ambulance drivers have been invited to take part in the strike action throughout France. Employees are demanding wage increases. In total, around twenty French sites are planned to be blocked from this morning across the country and others could be added over the course of the day.

Meanwhile, several railway unions have called for a national strike on Wednesday July 6. Trade unions are protesting at the cost of living, saying that the post-pandemic and international context is leading to a spike in prices "unmatched for nearly 40 years".

Popularity rating for French President and Prime Minister - According to an Ifop poll for the Journal de Dimanche the popularity rating of French President Emmanuel Macron and French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne is falling with just 38% of respondents saying they are satisfied with Emmanuel Macron's action. Macron and his Prime Minister are struggling to satisfy the French dropping 3 points since the last popularity poll was published.

Education minister promises rise in salaries for new teachers - France’s Minister of National Education Pap Ndiaye has announced that he wants to raise the salaries of new teachers to at least 2,000 euros net per month. A promise which should be effective from 2023. In an interview the minister said that "the pay increase will be made up of two parts. The first will be unconditional and will apply to all teachers. Which means raising the starting salary of young teachers to above 2000 euros net. The second part will be a salary depending on new tasks". The minister did not specify which tasks will be concerned. Last year, an OECD report showed that the salaries of French teachers are lower than the average in other countries. In fact, the salaries of teachers with 15 years of experience in France have stagnated or increased by only 1% between 2010 and 2020 in elementary and secondary education, compared to an increase of 6 to 7% on average in other countries.

Summer holidays parents can be fined for taking children out of school early - Meanwhile with the summer holidays fast approaching, next Thursday July 7th, some parents may want to go on holiday earlier and take their children out of school however, the National Education has warned of possible fines of up to 135 euros for doing so. School attendance in France is compulsory for all children from 3 to 16 years of age and from four half-days of absence, the school director must inform the academic director of the national education services. With parents then risking a fine of 135 euros. And if these absences compromise the education of the child, the sanction can even go up to 30,000 euros in fines and two years in prison.

Rise in covid contaminations - Since the beginning of June the number of covid contaminations has risen and according to a draft law published by the Atlantico site and confirmed to AFP by the Ministry of Health, the French government could soon set up a health pass at borders in France, Corsica and overseas territories. The number of new daily covid cases now greatly exceeds 50,000 on average over a week in France. Hospitalizations have also been on the rise for ten days. The situation is such that the government is considering the return of certain health measures to our daily lives. The preliminary draft law, which "has been sent to the Council of State in recent days", "will be the subject of discussions, before its presentation to the Council of Ministers. According to the government spokesperson, the text must allow the head of state to "be able to remain vigilant in the case of a possible rise of Covid-19" after the end of the state of health emergency on July 31st. But Olivia Grégoire promises that the vaccine pass is excluded from the measures envisaged”.

Access to the Gorges du Loup - Access to the popular natural beauty site here in the region the “Gorges du Loup” could soon be prohibited due to overcrowding. Three local councils have decided to unite in an attempt to regulate access before being forced to ban it completely. Faced with the overcrowding of the Gorges du Loup, which is taking on an unprecedented scale, local city councils have denounced a "complete anarchy".

Business

According to Bloomberg, Russia has defaulted on its overseas debt for the first time in more than a century after missing a Sunday deadline. Russia has the money to make a $100m payment and is willing to pay, but sanctions made it impossible to get the payments to international creditors. The Kremlin had been determined to avoid the default, which is a major blow to the nation's prestige. The Russian finance minister branded the situation "a farce". The last time Russia defaulted on its foreign debt was in 1918, during the Bolshevik Revolution when the new communist leader Vladimir Lenin refused to pay the debts of the Russian Empire.

France’s Ministry for Energy Transition has confirmed that the coal-fired power plant in Saint-Avold (Moselle) should restart next winter "as a precaution, given the situation in Ukraine”. Speaking to French media the ministry said that the government is keeping the possibility of being able to operate the Saint-Avold power station for longer should France need it next winter”. But that the commitment from the government to close all coal-fired power stations in France “remains unchanged”.  

Major companies including Disney, JP Morgan and Facebook owner Meta have told staff they will cover employee travel expenses for abortions, as millions of US women face restricted access. It follows a landmark ruling by the US Supreme Court that overturned the constitutional right to abortion. The judgement paves the way for individual states to ban the procedure. Other firms, such as Amazon, had already announced similar moves. But since the ruling a growing number of companies have confirmed they will cover travel costs through their health insurance plans for employees who leave their home state to get an abortion.

At the end of a weekend strike in several European countries, the low-cost airline Ryanair reported "minor disruptions" to its flight schedule and rejected the responsibility for the cancellations on external events, contradicting the version of the unions. In a statement the company wrote that "less than 2% of Ryanair's 9,000 flights operating this weekend (June 24/25/26) were affected by minor and unsustainable crew strikes”. Several unions of air hostesses and stewards had called to stop work from Friday and for several days, in Spain, Portugal and Belgium. In Italy and France, the strike began on Saturday. The Irish company attributed the cancellation of a number of flights "from Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom and France" to a strike at the Marseille air traffic control center (ATC) as well as thunderstorms in southern Europe. A reason which has been disputed by unions of cabin crew (PNC) such as the SNPNC in France. According to the union on Saturday, 36 out of 80 flights operated by Ryanair were cancelled due to the strike action. Another three-day strike is planned at Ryanair in Spain from June 30 to July 2.

Sport

Tennis - British women's number one Emma Raducanu and two-time champion Andy Murray are set for Centre Court when Wimbledon gets under way todayRaducanu makes her debut on the main show court against Belgian Alison van Uytvanck at about 5pm French time followed by Andy Murray who will play Australia’s James Duckworth.

Cycling – Congratulations to Mark Cavendish has won his second British National Road Championship title and first since 2013 after edging a three-way sprint to the line. Cavendish, 37, held off the challenge from under-23 rider Sam Watson and Alex Richardson over the 201km course.

Football – According to reports Manchester City and Brazil striker 25 year old Gabriel Jesus, has agreed a five-year deal with Arsenal. 

Rugby Union - Former England centre Luther Burrell has said he wants to "empower younger generations" after detailing his experiences of racism in rugby union. In an interview Burrell said racism is "rife" in the sport and racist "banter" has become "normalised" among team-mates. The former Northampton player said he has been on the receiving end of comments about slavery and bananas.

Weather

Mainly fine some cloudy patches. Highs of 29 degrees in Nice, Cannes and Saint Tropez with a moderate breeze. This evening going down to 19 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for the tomorrow and Wednesday - Thundery showers forecast for tomorrow in the Alpes Maritimes and the Var with highs of 26-27 degrees. Wednesday, sunny with highs of 28 degrees.

Sea Temperature     25 degrees       UV Level            9

Sunrise     05.50hr                                 Sunset                09.16hr

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