French and Riviera News Monday 4th March 2024

National News France

Historical moment in French law - Both houses of the French parliament will meet in Versailles this afternoon to take part in what could be a historic vote in French law which would see a woman’s right to an abortion be part of the country’s constitution. Voting will be open for 45 minutes from 3.30pm. If the vote is successful, France will become the first country to explicitly authorise abortion in its Constitution, other countries have introduced it into their fundamental law indirectly or only in certain specific cases. The inclusion of abortion in the Constitution already passed its most delicate stage in Parliament last Wednesday with the favourable vote at the Senate, after three hours of agitated discussions.

Taxis drivers mobilised today - Taxis drivers in several cities across France are planning a day of mobilization today Monday 4th March. The move comes as drivers demand a renegotiation with the government on conditions of their remuneration concerning medical transport. Drivers are expected to carry out a snail operation on the Paris inner ring road, from 8am this Monday morning. Taxis from the Grand Est region, the West and the Loiret are also expected to take part. Drivers from Marseille and the south-east are expected to join a convoy to Nîmes.

Local News

VINCI to take legal action against motorist - France’s leading motorway concession holder VINCI Autoroutes has announced plans to take legal action against a motorist who is believed to have caused a fatal accident on the A8 on Sunday.  An Escota motorway agent was killed and six people were injured, including two police officers, one seriously. The fatal collision occurred when a tow truck accompanied by motorway police intervened for a vehicle which had lost control due to heavy rainfall. During the intervention a second motorist reportedly travelling at high speed, crashed into them. The accident occurred at La Turbie heading eastbound towards Italy.

Bad weather - The bad weather led to extremely dire conditions on the region’s roads with parts of the A8 waterlogged. Meteo France reported that one months’ worth of rain fell in the region on Sunday.  Several events were cancelled such as the Menton Lemon Festival and Nice Carnival. Several roads were closed to traffic and strong winds caused two trees to fall on the Promenade des Anglais, including one near Nice airport, causing significant delays. The town hall of Antibes opened an emergency accommodation centre after what was described as a “Mini-tornado" hit the old town causing significant damage, particularly on Avenue du 11 Novembre. Seven large trees also fell on the road at port Vauban.  Although nobody was injured the City still opened its emergency accommodation centre, at the Espaces du Fort Carré, as a preventive measure.

At altitude, snow fell in abundance with the RM97 which leads to Isola 2000 being cut off to traffic due to too much snow and a high risk of avalanches. According to reports it’s not due to reopen until midday today.

Blvd Carnot reopened to traffic – The good news for motorist on this morning’s commute to Monaco is that Boulevard Carnot which runs from Nice Port to Villefranche on the basse corniche has reopened to alternating traffic. Following the bad weather on Monday February 26, the City of Nice issued an urgent safety order due to the danger of retaining walls collapsing on the grounds of the Beau Site villa, at 174 of Boulevard Carnot in Nice. The owner of the site has finalized the temporary security work on the retaining walls and grounds. A security perimeter has been set up.

Mayor calls for state of natural disaster to be declared – Following the bad weather the mayor of Nice has called for a state of natural disaster to be recognised by the French state. Estrosi had already made this request to France’s interior minister at the beginning of the week following heavy rain. Nearly 80 interventions were made on Sunday due to landslides and falling trees. The mayor will today Monday 4th March, visit those areas which have suffered serious damage such the cemetery in Caucade, Chemin du Mont Gros and the Chemin des Jarres.

Hefty fine for failing social housing - The city of Nice is facing a hefty fine for not complying to the French States regulations concerning social housing. The prefect has reportedly ordered a fine for “noncompliance” with the SRU law” which amounts to more than 7 million euros.  The city is accused of failing to build enough social housing. Municipalities with more than 3,500 inhabitants which do not respect the 25% of social housing imposed by French law face fines and in the Alpes Maritimes thirty-three towns have been sanctioned. Nice is in the lead, as far as the highest fine is concerned, having only provided 14% of social housing in the fifth largest city in France and having produced only 13.5% of the objectives set for the period 2020-2022.

Town hall welcomes the people of Nice – Finally, Maty Diouf, Deputy delegate to the mayor of Nice in the fight against discrimination, women's rights and humanitarian actions will today Monday 4th March, welcome the people of Nice to the main town hall without an appointment. The meeting is being held to strengthen the link between the population of Nice and the services of the city council as well as with elected local officials. Those who wish to attend are invited to the town hall situated at 5 rue de l’Hotel de Ville from 4.30pm to 6.30pm.

Paris fashion week - Finally, Victoria Beckham’s show at Paris fashion week was interrupted by protesters from the animal right group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who invaded the runway to protest against her use of animal products.

Business

Elon Musk is suing artificial intelligence company OpenAI, accusing the firm of prioritising profit over developing AI for the public good. Mr Musk is bringing the suit against OpenAI, which he co-founded, and its chief executive, Sam Altman.  The court action is the latest in a series of challenges to Mr Altman who was ousted from his position at OpenAI by the company board and briefly went to work at Microsoft, OpenAI's biggest shareholder, before being returned to his post. The AI giant was originally founded as a not-for-profit company but has grown to have commercial interests, which has caused tension between board members and founders.

And - Bitcoin has scaled a two-year high this Monday, breaking $64,000. It touched $64,285 early in the Asian day, its highest since late 2021, and was last 2% firmer for the session at $63,850. Bitcoin's record high is $68,999.99 set in November 2021. The largest cryptocurrency by market value has gained 50% this year and most of the rise come in the last few weeks where trading volume has surged for U.S.-listed bitcoin funds.

Sport

Football - In the Premier League Manchester City came from behind to beat Manchester United 3-1 on Sunday and Bournemouth beat Burnley 2-0. In this evening’s action Sheffield are at home to Arsenal. Kick off is at 9pm French time.

Formula One – Looks like Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is the favourite after winning the season-opening Grand Prix in Bahrain on Saturday. Red Bull's Sergio Perez came in 2nd and Ferrari's Carlos Sainz 3rd. 

Rugby Union - Marcus Smith has returned to England's squad and looks set to play in the match against Ireland in the Six Nations. England take on Grand Slam chasing Ireland at Twickenham at 5.45pm French time on Saturday. Smith was in line to play a leading role in the Six Nations but picked up a calf injury in training.

Meanwhile, in the Rugby sevens Los Angeles tournament France won their first title since 2005. The French beat Great Britain and won Gold on Sunday. Antoine Dupont's team had been waiting for a World Series victory for 19 years. France’s rugby sevens team will now continue the world circuit without Dupont. Next stop is Hong Kong from April 5th to the 7th, hoping to be joined by the Toulouse superstar at the final tournament in Madrid from May 31st to June 2nd, two months before the Olympic Games.

Cycling – It was dutchman Olav Kooij who won the first stage of the Paris Nice on Sunday. Despite the grey skies in the Paris region, the race for the sun is now well underway.

Athletics - Great Britain's Jemma Reekie said she had learned "a good lesson" before the Paris Olympics after winning World Athletics Indoor Championship 800m silver in front of her home crowd to clinch her first major medal.

Weather

Some cloudy patches to begin with, giving way to sunshine with a gentle breeze. Highs of 15 degrees in Nice, and Toulon, 14 degrees in Monaco, Vence and Saint Tropez. This evening going down to 8 degrees along the coast in Nice and 4 degrees inland.

The outlook for tomorrow mainly fine with highs of 14-15 degrees.

Sunrise       07.01am

Sunset         06.23pm

Sea temperature

Nice            13.8°

Weather elsewhere

London      11° sunny intervals.

Dublin        8° heavy rain.

Brussels      11° sunny intervals.

Liverpool   10° sunny intervals.

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