French and Riviera News Monday 30th January 2023

News

National strike - France is bracing itself for another day of national strike action against the pension reform tomorrow Tuesday 31st January. Unions have announced more industrial action from tomorrow and through into February. However, France’s Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has stood firm, saying that the raising of the retirement age to 64 in France is “no longer negotiable”.  Meanwhile, unions are hoping for a massive wave against the proposals of the "unfair reform" and its key measure: the postponement of the legal retirement age from 62 to 64 years. 

The strike will be marked by major disruptions in public transport and the closings of classrooms.  According to SNCF, on average one in three trains for the TGV and Ouigo will be running. As for regional TER traffic, two trains out of ten are to be expected in all regions. International traffic will also be "severely disrupted". At airports the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) has asked airlines to cancel one in five flights at Paris Orly airport. Adding that “despite this preventive measure, disruptions and delays are nevertheless to be expected”.  From this morning students in the French capital have announced plans to block access to their high schools in protest against the reform and ahead of tomorrow’s action.  

Doctor’s call for strike action on February 14th – Meanwhile, the main doctor’s union in France has called for the closure of “GP surgeries on February 14th”. General Practitioners in France had already been mobilised at the end of the December and the beginning of January, requesting an increase to the consultation rate from 25 euros to 50. Now however, they fear that being on call in the evening’s, weekends as well as public holiday’s, which is currently voluntary, is once again to become compulsory. According to plans from the French government. This obligation was abolished back in 2000 but has been demanded for several months by representatives of the Hospital Federation to avoid overcrowding in the emergency room.

Covid test for travellers from China to be extended - France has extended until the 15th of February Covid tests for travellers arriving from China due to what has been called an "evolving situation." The requirement for travellers coming to France from China to test for Covid had initially been put in place until 31st January. However, since the start of the year, travellers aged over 11 arriving from China have had to present a negative test taken 48 hours before the flight to board the plane. According to the French authorities, random testing will be carried out and anyone testing positive will have to self-isolate, adding that everyone above six years old would have to wear face masks on the plane.

Missing person - Police in the Gard have launched an appeal following the worrying disappearance of 18-year-old Sihem Belouahmia. The young woman was last seen on Wednesday January 26th in Grand Combe, a small town north of Alès. Since, the region’s public prosecutor has confirmed that “kidnapping and being held against her will” is most probable. Sihem has “straight brown hair and brown eyes and was last seen wearing a brown woollen sweater, black trousers and white trainers”. Anyone with information that could help the police is asked to call 17.

Cable car plan postponed - A plan to build a cable car over the Var River, linking Saint-Laurent-du-Var with the Centre Administrative in Nice, has been postponed until at least 2028. Nice mayor Christian Estrosi said extending the city's tram network had to take priority. Some opposition councillors in Saint-Laurent-du-Var - on both sides of the political spectrum - describe the cable car as an unnecessary project that shouldn't be going ahead in the first place.

Rental payments - France's national lottery operator has branched out into a new role - collecting people's rent payments. Tenants in social housing run by Côte d'Azur Habitat can pay their monthly rent in instalments, when it suits them, by going to their local tabac. The Riviera is one of four regions in France experimenting with the new means of payment.

France celebrates 150th anniversary of Colette - France has celebrated the 150th anniversary of French author and a woman before her time Colette. Colette threw herself into a life of free love that she fictionalised in her ground-breaking novels about the lives of woman after managing to dump her husband who had been taking credit for her work. She wrote about taboo subjects at the time such as domestic violence or anorexia. Shen then became a music hall dancer, mime artist and weightlifter. Colette was also among the first women to wear trousers and have a facelift in a life that included three marriages and a multitude of affairs with both men and women. All this a century before the #metoo movement. Born in a Burgundy village on 28 January 1873 and was swept off to Paris at 20 when she married the womanising music critic Henry Gauthier-Villars. Her best-known work abroad was Gigi in 1944.

Colette's second marriage was to a newspaper editor and in 1913 she gave birth to her only daughter, also named Colette, whom she promptly entrusted to a nanny. Nearing her 50s, she seduced her 17-year-old stepson, with whom she had a five-year affair that ended her marriage. Despite yearning for the freedom enjoyed by men, she was also scathing about feminists, declaring once: "You know what the suffragettes deserve? The whip and the harem." Bedridden in later years by arthritis, she was the first French woman to be given a state funeral when she died aged 81 in 1954.

Business

Budget airlines EasyJet and Ryanair have said that staff who have lost their jobs due to the collapse of regional airline Flybe should apply for roles with them. Flybe went into administration on Saturday, putting 277 staff out of work. The British Airline Pilots' Association (Balpa) said it had received phone calls in the early hours of Saturday morning from worried Flybe staff. EasyJet said it had 250 vacancies for cabin crew. Ryanair posted a message on the careers section of its website saying that it had vacancies in all categories, including pilots, engineers, and ground staff.

The world's biggest luxury group has reported strong sales driven by the holiday shopping season. LVMH said they experienced a second straight record year with revenue and profits despite geopolitical tensions and high cost of living. Sales reached almost $25bn (£19.9), a 9% increase in the final three months of the year. The company saw strong growth in Europe, US and Japan which made up for losses in China due to Covid lockdowns.

And - New research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) in the UK has suggested that firms are much less open to hiring older workers than they are to bringing in younger talent. The CMI, a professional body focusing on management and leadership, warns that to bring more older workers back into the workforce, employers will also need to "shift their attitudes" towards hiring. The CMI surveyed more than 1,000 managers working in UK businesses and public services. It found that just four out of 10 (42%) were open "to a large extent" to hiring people aged between 50 and 64.

Sport

Tennis – Novak Djokovic has said that winning a 10th Australian Open to equal Rafael Nadal's record 22 Grand Slam men's titles is "the biggest victory" of his life. Djokovic was overcome with emotion and after climbing into the box to celebrate with his team and family, he broke into tears and laid down in the middle of them as the magnitude of his achievement hit home. The win sees him return to world number one for a record-extending 374th week from today.

Football - Newcastle United have completed the signing of Everton forward Anthony Gordon in a deal that could eventually be worth £45m. The 21-year-old, who has been at Everton since he was 11, was a target for Chelsea in the summer. The initial fee is understood to be £40m, rising to £45m with add-ons.

Meanwhile, in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday Brighton beat Liverpool 2-1, Stoke City beat Stevenage 3-1 and Wrexham drew 3-3 against Sheffield United. This evening Derby County are at home to West Ham kick off is at 8.45pm French time.

Golf - World number one Rory McIlroy carded a seven-under-par third round of 65 to take a three-shot lead in the rain-delayed Dubai Desert Classic. The Northern Irishman made eight birdies and a bogey to get to 15 under.

Cricket - South Africa’s victory in the second one-day international against England has led them to clinch the series 2-0 with one to play.

Rugby Union - Henry Slade is the latest key player to be ruled out of England's Six Nations opener against Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday. Slade, has not recovered from the hip injury he picked up playing for Exeter earlier this month.

Weather

Partly cloudy to begin with. Clear skies by this afternoon. Moderate winds with highs of 10 degrees in Monaco, 11 in Nice, 12 degrees in Saint Tropez and 13 degrees in Cannes. Mistral is forecast for the Var region. This evening going down to -1 degree inland and 3 degrees along the coast.

Outlook for tomorrow fine with high of 13-14 degrees and a moderate breeze.

Sunrise       07.49hr

Sunset        17.37hr

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