French and Riviera News Thursday 11th May 2023

News

Purchasing power in France - According to a new survey "L'Opinion en direct" conducted by the Elabe Institute, due to inflation in France, 8 out of 10 French people have had to give up at least one category of expenditure in recent months be it food, shopping, or a holiday. To restrict their spending and safeguard purchasing power as much as possible the French have given up spending on shopping trips 53%, going to the cinema, restaurants, or bars 49% and weekend breaks 45%. Concerning the weekly food shop the French have also cut down on buying meat, fish, and organic products with a tendency to buy cheaper products than before or by buying smaller quantities. The survey showed that only one in five French people (19%) say, on the contrary, that they have not given up anything for financial reasons in recent months.

Council of State demands additional measure from French government – In other news, France’s Council of State has demanded that the government take "all useful additional measures" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within a year. In a decision published on Wednesday the Council of State orders new measures by June 30th, 2024, and for a progress report by December 31st detailing these measures and their effectiveness.

French government simplifies steps to obtaining a scholarship - The French government has announced that from the start of the 2024 school year, families of middle and high school students will not have to take any steps to claim a scholarship. School grants will be awarded to eligible families without formalities. The measure is among several government commitments aimed at simplifying administrative procedures and improving public services.

Birth rate in France reaches historic low - The number of births in France reached a historic low in March with 1,816 births on average each day, compared to 1,825 in January and 1,876 in February. The figure is 7% lower than in March 2020 and the lowest since 1994 with the exception of January 2021 when due to the first covid lockdown 1,741 births were recorded.

Residents in Sospel still facing challenges – Locally, five years after the collapse of a road in Sospel in the Alpes Maritimes hinterland, residents are still facing challenges. In April 2018, a major landslide resulted in the road being cut in two. The event changed the lives of about fifty families. Since, a new road has been created through the forest to allow residents to access their homes, however the road is in poor condition with potholes everywhere.  According to the town hall, the road could be completely paved within three years.

Brawl between two families in Draguignan – Police in Draguignan have opened an investigation following a brawl between two families which broke out overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday in the city centre. Several people were involved in the incident, which occurred on the Rue des Jardins and one person was slightly injured. According to witnesses, shots were heard ahead of police arriving at the scene. Several individuals are still to be questioned by police.

Road accident - A 30-year-old woman has been seriously injured following a road accident on Wednesday. Four cars were involved in the head on collision on the RD125 at Le Muy in the Var, at around 5pm. Six others were slightly injured. Traffic was cut off in both directions while emergency services intervened. An investigation into the collision is underway.

Picnicking outlawed in Saint-Laurent du Var - Picnicking has been outlawed in St-Laurent-du-Var as the Mayor is enforcing a ban on eating along the Promenade des Flots Bleus. He is also introducing a ban on electric scooters. The move has been welcomed by locals fed up with food waste, dog dropping and being run over by scooters.

French language music on the rise - French language music is on the rise globally with the number of French albums and titles certified abroad increasing by 14% last year. Rap music now dominates international sales, while video has become an essential tool for exporting French music. Live music is also increasing, with a large French presence at major international festivals. The report from the National Music Centre comes as French Canadian La Zarra is in the Top 5 to win this weekend’s Eurovision with the French language song ‘Envidiment’.

Business

The Bank of England is widely expected to raise interest rates today for a 12th consecutive time in an attempt to stop prices rising so quickly. The Bank rate is forecast to go up from 4.25% to 4.5%. The central bank has been increasing interest rates since December 2021 to try to control inflation, which currently stands above 10%. The decision would push up costs for borrowers but could benefit savers.

Meanwhile, official figures have shown that in the 12 months to April, inflation in the US stood at 4.9%. As prices for milk, airline tickets and new cars fell in the US last month inflation fell to its lowest rate in two years. The fall comes after the US central bank has sharply raised interest rates to try to control inflation. Inflation in the US peaked last June at 9.1% - the highest it has been since 1981.

Disney flagship streaming service has lost 4m subscribers in the first three months of the year. The home of Mickey Mouse, the Star Wars franchise and Marvel movies is under pressure to make its streaming business profitable as the traditional film and television market shrinks. Shares in the company fell by around 5% in after-hours trading in New York.

In the UK discount pub chain JD Wetherspoon has announced that it is on course for a record year, after its sales during Easter week were the highest they have ever been. Sales in the current financial year are likely to reach record levels, Wetherspoons said in its third-quarter trading update.

Google has announced it is rolling out artificial intelligence (AI) to its core search engine. The move comes after Microsoft incorporated ChatGPT into its Bing search engine earlier this year. Search Generative Experience - which will be part of Google - will craft responses to open-ended queries. However, the system will only be available to a limited number of users and is still in "experimental" phase.

Sport

Football - Inter Milan took a big step towards reaching the Champions League final as they beat their city rivals AC Milan 2-0 in a thrilling Milan derby last night.

Tennis - Andy Murray's recent revival on clay was halted by defeat in an eventful Italian Open first-round match against home favourite Fabio Fognini. Murray, who won a Challenger title in France last week, lost 6-4 4-6 6-4 in Rome.

Golf - Tiger Woods has been ruled out of the 2023 US PGA Championship as the 15-time major champion continues to recover from an ankle injury. It is the third time in seven years the American, will miss the tournament.

Rugby Union - Ireland's Joy Neville will be the first female to officiate at a men's rugby World Cup. The former Ireland captain has been named as a television match official for the 2023 tournament, which will take place in France from September. Neville refereed the women's World Cup final in 2017, and in 2020 became the first female TMO for a top-level men's Test match.

Cycling - Australia's Kaden Groves won a chaotic stage five of the Giro d'Italia featuring numerous crashes, including one caused by a dog. Britain's Mark Cavendish finished fourth after skidding across the line on his backside following a collision metres from the finish.

Basketball – Congratulations to Monaco who have beaten Maccabi Tel-Aviv to qualify for the Euroleague Final Four. Monaco have become the first French team to qualify for the Final Four of the Euroleague basketball since Villeurbanne back in 1997, winning 97-86 last night. The Roca Team joined for the first time in its history the Final Four of the Euroleague basketball.  

Weather

Mainly fine with highs of 20 degrees in Nice, 22 in Cannes. 18 degrees inland in Tende and 21 degrees in Puget Theniers. Possibility of showers along the coast by this afternoon and thundery showers inland. This evening going down to 13 degrees along the coast and 8 degrees inland.

Outlook for tomorrow and Saturday: Scattered showers on Friday, sunny intervals on Saturday. Highs of 18-20 degrees.

Sunrise       06.09am

Sunset        08.44pm

Sea temperature 17 degrees

UV level     7

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