French and Riviera News Thursday 11th January 2024

News

New Prime Minister sends strong message on law and order – On his first full day in office new Prime Minister Gabriel Attal has sent a strong message on law and order while visiting a police station in the Val-d’Oise. Attal promised to deliver security to “responsible working French people” who he said wanted calm. Attal is expected to appoint a new government by the end of the week, with Gérald Darmanin, who accompanied his police station visit, expected to remain interior minister.

Highly anticipated trial starts today between police commissioner and “yellow vest” demonstrator - The highly anticipated trial, which some would even consider historic, between a police commissioner and a “yellow vest” protestor is to begin today, Thursday 11th January 2024, and tomorrow, Friday 12th January 2024, in Lyon.

Police commissioner Rabah Souchi is to appear before the criminal court accused of having ordered a police charge during a yellow vest demonstration in March 2019 in Nice. A charge which resulted in the injury of ATTAC activist Geneviève Legay. 78-year-old Legay is still affected physically and psychologically by the incident, which took place on March 23rd, 2019 on Place Garibaldi, but she has not lost her determination to campaign and ahead of the trail has expressed her intention to make this trial a “political platform to speak out against police violence”.

At the time of the incident French President Emmanuel Macron in an interview with Nice Matin, had wished 73-year-old Legay "a speedy recovery, and perhaps some form of wisdom" adding that "when you are frail, and may be pushed around, you do not go to places that are defined as prohibited and you do not put yourself in situations like this”. Also at the time, both local prosecutors and France's justice minister pointed out that protests in some parts of Nice city centre had been banned. The investigation launched in 2019 was due to in Legay's case it was not clear whether she had been in the banned area, or on the edge of it, when police moved against the protesters.

Train strike continues – The train strike which started on Monday January 8th, 2024, is set to continue today and tomorrow according to the SNCF. Four TGVs out of five, two Intercités out of five and one TER out of two will be running. A gradual return to normal is expected by Monday 15th. Passengers are advised to check on the SCNF website before travelling.

New start up could be a new solution to avoid traffic jams - Could this be a new solution for motorists to avoid traffic jams? A start-up from Sophia-Antipolis has just developed a software to prevent the formation of traffic jams and allow traffic to flow more smoothly. Traffic jams are a nightmare for every motorist and the new software aims to streamline traffic and make it possible to see in real time what is happening on the roads and to react quickly in the event of a slowdown or an accident. The system is much more precise than video surveillance cameras or road traffic applications. A full-scale test has been carried out in Nice which resulted in complete satisfaction. 70% of CO2 emissions are linked to transport and poor traffic management.

Angry bikers in the Var plan to boycott new MOT obligation - Meanwhile, angry bikers in the Var region have announced their intention to boycott MOT’s which are to be introduced from April 15th, part of a new regulation published in France’s official journal last year. The French Federation of Angry Bikers say they are calling for a boycott of brands that make money on the backs of bikers. From April, category L vehicles (motorized two-wheelers of 50cm³ and more, three-wheelers with a power greater than 15kW, cars without a license, motorcycles, scooters, quads) put into circulation before April 15, 2017, will need to respect the new measure initiated by the European Union. Newer vehicles will gradually follow over time. Only vintage motorcycles and trail motorcycles owned by licensees with the French Motorcycling Federation will be exempt. The FFMC 83 plans to carry out peaceful actions in front of certain MOT centres in the region.

MAMAC closes for four years - The extension of Nice’s Promenade du Paillon continues and due to renovation work in and outside of the MAMAC building, the modern art museum has closed its doors for the next four years. Many of the museum’s pieces will be transferred to nearby establishments with the best loved pieces taking to the road on loan to other museums in France and abroad.  

A solution for childcare equipment - Childcare equipment comes at quite an expense for parents and a young mother from Menton may have the solution to help families. 33-year-old Marjorie Tallarida offers childcare equipment for rental, not only to help families on a low income, but also those families on holiday in the region.  “Baby loc 06” is available in Menton, Monaco and the surrounding area and offers a range of childcare equipment from highchairs, travel cots to car seats. Prices range from 7 euros per day for a travel cot, 15 euros per day for a car seat or pushchair. The list of prices and equipment is available on the “Baby loc 06” website or you can visit the FB page Baby Loc 06.

Possible end to nightmare of returning items of clothing which don’t fit? – Finally, an experiment is being launched in France to help shoppers return items of clothing in a less complicated way by introducing changing rooms in French post offices. The in-store changing rooms plan to cater to people who want to quickly return purchases they do not want. France’s La Poste said the idea came about after seeing customers pick up their packages only to return shortly after because the items did not fit. France, like many countries, has reported a boom in online commerce, with clients buying items including clothes and shoes that are often returned.

Business

It’s good news for fans of cryptocurrency after the US announced the long-awaited decision allowing Bitcoin to be part of mainstream investing funds. The US Financial watchdog had in the past repeatedly refused earlier requests for approvals, due to concerns about potential for fraud and manipulation. The approval will now allow for, what are known as spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds, to be purchased by anyone from pension funds to ordinary investors. The announcement from the head of Securities and Exchange Commission did however, come with a stern warning about the risks associated with the asset.

The Horizon IT system which is at the centre of the Post Office scandal in the UK, is reportedly still in use in some post offices. Nearly 28 years later, the system which has led to one of the most widespread miscarriages of justice in British history, is said to be “still unreliable and causes money to disappear”.  Thousands of sub-postmasters who used Horizon to manage their businesses were held accountable for losses which were not their fault, with 983 receiving criminal convictions. Their plight received new public attention this year when ITV broadcast a drama series about their fight for justice. Costs and delays are still dogging the Horizon project more than two decades after the contracts were first signed. The Post Office said it plans to start trialling a new system in branches this year.

Meanwhile, The British Prime Minister has said a new law will be introduced so people wrongly convicted in the Horizon scandal are "swiftly exonerated and compensated". In the first Prime Minister's Questions of the year, Rishi Sunak said he plans to make sure those convicted as part of the Post Office scandal get exonerated through an act of parliament.

And - According to a survey conducted by Ifop for Spartoo, the number of shoppers planning not to take advantage of the winter sales in France which started on Wednesday, is higher than in 2021 but close to last year’s figures. The survey showed that while more than half of those surveyed have not set themselves a precise budget, those that have budgeted plan to spend on average 165 euros, which is around 40 euros more than for the summer sales. The winter sales last until February 6th.

Sport

Football – In the EFL Cup semi-final tie last night, Liverpool fought back to beat Fulham 2-1 at Anfield. Fulham had taken the lead in the first half only for Liverpool to stage a second-half turnaround.

Rugby Union – In an attempt to stop more match officials leaving the game in England the Rugby Football Union has announced that players and coaches abusing referees will face longer suspension. The move comes after a recent survey showed that 49% of referees had been “abused or disrespected last season”.

Tennis – After eight months out of the game due to injury 21-year-old Emma Raducanu is to make her Grand Slam return playing American Shelby Rogers, at the Australian Open.

Golf – After nine years as one of golf’s leading administrators R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers is to step down from his role at the end of the year. Slumbers succeeded Peter Dawson as the boss of the R&A and secretary of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club after joining the St Andrews-based organisations in 2015.

Cycling - Great Britain have won two silver medals on day one of the European Track Cycling Championships in the Netherlands.

Paris Olympics 2024 – The former basketball player Emilie Gomis has left her position as ambassador for the 2024 Paris Olympics after being criticized for an Instagram post about Israel. On Wednesday the Paris-2024 general assembly, "considered that the publication no longer allowed the player to be part of Paris 2024 committee". Emilie Gomis has since shared her regret at the publication and apologized.

Weather

Light rain clearing by this afternoon. Moderate breeze in the Alpes Maritimes. Highs of 14 degrees in Nice, 12 degrees in Monaco and Saint-Tropez. Strong winds in the Var with heavy rain. This evening going down to 5 degrees along the coast with clear skies.

The outlook for Friday and heading into the weekend. Fine and sunny with highs of 14-15 degrees

Sunrise       08.02am

Sunset        05.13pm

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