French and Riviera News Thursday 12th October 2023

News

Massive power cut across the region - 250,000 homes have been plunged into darkness in our region following a power cut on Wednesday evening. The incident occurred a little before 8pm covering a large part of the Var and the Alpes Maritimes. Several districts of Nice, Cannes, Cannet, Cagnes, Saint-Laurent-du-Var and Villeneuve were affected along with entire streets in Brignoles, La Londe and Hyères in the Var, but also in Saint-André de La Roche, Tourrette-Levens and L'Escarène. Households were affected with reports of some people getting stuck in elevators and the Women's Volleyball League A match in Cannes had to be interrupted after it was plunged into darkness. According to the mayor of Nice 98,000 people in the city of Nice were affected, where the trams were able to continue to run with power returning to normal after 10pm. The breakdown was linked to a technical incident on the region’s network which led to an overload.

Court ruling - France’s highest administrative court has said that it “cannot change political policy on racial profiling in France”. The court recognised the existence of discriminatory police identity checks based on racial profiling in France, which are not isolated cases. The action had been made against the French state, by six French and international organisations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch which had asked for French authorities to be found at fault for failing to prevent the widespread use of racial profiling. They had asked the court to impose measures to make France end the practice, arguing that non-white people across France, notably young men perceived to be black or from north African backgrounds, are routinely singled out and stopped in the street, asked for identity papers without explanation, often several times a day and from as young as 10 or 11 years old.

Dengue fever – Recent figures from Public Health France have shown that between May 1st and October 6th, 2023, 1,167 imported cases of dengue fever have been detected. The figure marks a record number since the introduction in 2006, of a reinforced surveillance system. The seasonal infectious disease can cause high fevers, headaches, body aches, nausea and skin rashes and is transmitted by tiger mosquitoes, which are increasingly present in France.  Although the appearance in mainland France of the disease is mainly based on imported cases, there are cases where the virus has been contracted in France, without known travel overseas or abroad. This year, several outbreaks were detected in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and the Drôme.

Renew your Monaco car sticker online – Monaco’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office has sent out the car sticker invoices for 2024 to all owners of vehicles registered in the Principality. The Government recommends a quicker and easier process with users paying online at https://teleservice.gouv.mc/estampille/ and quoting the issue number shown on the invoice. The car sticker is free of charge for electric vehicles; however, owners are welcome to request a renewal from the Driver and Vehicle. Payment must be made before 31st December 2023.

Additional charges for each vehicle will apply from 1 January 2024. Vehicles that have not been paid for will be deregistered on 5th February 2024, after a letter of formal notice has been sent.

Please note: All changes of address, marital status and identity document renewals must be reported to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office. Depending on the case, you may need to change your driving licence or vehicle registration documents; the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office is open from Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5pm, and appointments can be booked online at http://documents.gouv.mc/stc-rdv/ For more information contact – The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office - 23, Avenue Albert II. Telephone 98.98.80.14 email circulation@gouv.mc

Traffic jams - Marseille has been named as the French city where drivers waste the most time in traffic jams to get to work. The city came top in a ranking of traffic jams by TomTom and Auto Plus magazine. During rush hours, the average car journey takes 81% longer than it does off-peak. The average Marseille driver spends 39 hours a month stuck in traffic - that's two hours more than in Paris.

Bed bugs - Nice university has called in fumigators to deal with an infestation of bedbugs at its Saint-Jean-d'Angely campus. It comes after one of the lecture halls was evacuated last Thursday after students spotted the blood-sucking creatures on the furniture. A specialist company was brought in over the weekend to disinfect the campus.

More specialist doctors for Monaco - The Monegasque government says it will provide financial support to encourage more specialist doctors to set up a practice in the principality. Monaco has a shortage of gynaecologists, paediatricians, rheumatologists and psychiatrists. It's mainly due to doctors reaching retirement age - and newly qualified specialists are often put off by the high price of rents. Monaco's government advisor on social affairs says the principality is looking at making available premises that belong to the state, and charging doctors a limited rent. It's also looking at other financial support, and encouraging existing doctors to share their premises with others.

Largest private chateau in Provence up for sale - The largest private château in Provence has gone up for sale at auction. The Château de La Verdière, in the Haut-Var, has 120 rooms spread over four floors - that's 3,000 square metres of living space - not to mention 10 hectares of vineyards. The historic monument has been listed since the mid-80s and fell into disrepair over several decades until its current owner bought and restored it in 2003. Bids are being invited in excess of €9 million.

Business

The EU has warned Mark Zuckerberg over the spread of "disinformation" on Meta's social media platforms after Hamas' attack on Israel. It told Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, it "has 24 hours" to respond and comply with European law. It was on Tuesday that the EU warned X, about such content. The EU Digital Services Act (DSA) is designed to protect users of big tech platforms. Failure to comply with the DSA can result in EU fines of as much as 6% of a company's global turnover, or potentially suspension of the service.

The globe's top anti-poverty institution, the World Bank, has said that recent cuts to the UK foreign aid budget "caused real pain". The Bank added it wanted the UK "back at higher levels" of funding. The UK government was until recently the biggest single donor to the Bank's fund for the poorest countries in the world. Since 2020 ministers have cut back on aid, temporarily, until Britain's public finances are back in shape.

The luxury goods multinational LVMH, owner of Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Moët & Chandon has witnessed a slowdown in growth with the finger being pointed at rising inflation, growing global instability and falling demand for high-end drinks. The group reported revenue of €20bn (£17.25bn) between July and September – a 9% rise. That compares with a 17% increase in the previous quarter. Shares in the multinational, were down by about 6% in early trading, set for their worst day since March 2020. One of the worst hit parts of LVMH’s business was its wines and spirits division, which includes Hennessy cognac, which fell 14% in the quarter. The results released on Tuesday suggest the post-pandemic boom in luxury goods, which helped LVMH become Europe’s first company to reach a $500bn valuation earlier this year, is starting to ebb.

And - The United Auto Workers (UAW) union has expanded its ongoing strike by shutting down Ford's biggest plant. The UAW said 8,700 workers walked out of the truck plant in Kentucky, in response to Ford refusing to move further in contract bargaining.

Sport

Football – In the UK the Football Association is unlikely to light the Wembley arch in the colours of the Israel flag because of fears of a backlash from some communities. The UK government has written a letter encouraging governing bodies in sport to "appropriately" mark the attacks in Israel this week with shows of support for the victims. Rather than lighting the arch, it’s understood that a message of peace and unity will be conveyed before England face Australia in an international friendly on Friday.

The death toll in Israel from Hamas' attacks has reached 1,200, while more than 1,100 people have been killed by Israeli air strikes on Gaza. The FA, Premier League and individual clubs have not yet commented about the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. An FA meeting took place on Wednesday and a decision on how to mark the attacks is expected to be made this morning.

Rugby World Cup – Ireland’s Mack Hansen has won his race to be fit for Saturday's World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand. Hansen hurt his calf win in last week's win over Scotland but has recovered in time to start against the All Blacks, while James Ryan is ruled out. Ireland head coach Andy Farrell's starting line-up is unchanged from last weekend's Pool B win over Scotland.

Tennis - Top seed Carlos Alcaraz has been defeated in the last 16 of the Shanghai Masters by Grigor Dimitrov. World number two Alcaraz, won three games in a row to take the first set, but Dimitrov fought back to win 5-7 6-2 6-4.

Weather

Cloudy in the Alpes Maritimes, giving way to clear skies by this afternoon. Highs of 23 in Monaco and Nice. Reaching 29 degrees in Puget Theniers and Saint-Tropez. Clear skies in the Var with 26 degrees in Toulon and 30 degrees inland in Draguignan. This evening going down to 16 degrees along the coast and 13 degrees inland with clear skies.

The outlook for Friday and heading into the weekend. Clear skies and sunshine tomorrow, highs of 27 degrees. Cloudy on Saturday with some sunny intervals by the afternoon and highs of 26 degrees.  

Sunrise       07.40am

Sunset        06.52pm

 

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