French and Riviera News Thursday 14th December 2023

News

PACA region on red alert due to flu epidemic - The Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region is on a red alert due to a flu epidemic. Public Health France announced on Wednesday, December 13th, that the seasonal flu epidemic has arrived in mainland France and that the Paca region is the most affected at the moment, entering an epidemic phase. Public Health France has called for “caution” as the flu epidemic coincides with an increase in the number of Covid 19 cases and advises people to pay particular attention when visiting elderly people during the Christmas holidays.

According to a Public Health France a survey carried out in September, showed that barely more than one in two French people consider it necessary to wear a mask if they have symptoms such as a cough or fever.

Cargo ship causes 28,000 litres of sulfuric acid to spill into the sea - 28,000 litres of sulfuric acid have ended up in the sea between Tuscany and Corsica after four lorries fell from a cargo ship.  The “Eurocargo Malta”, which belongs to the company Grimaldi Lines, lost four semi-trailers at sea on December 2nd while sailing between the Tuscany coastline and Corsica. Sulfuric acid is a highly toxic product for the environment and an investigation is currently being carried out by both Italian and Corsican coast guards to assess the pollution caused.

Bourges designated European Capital of Culture 2028 - The city of Bourges in central France has been designated European Capital of Culture 2028. Bourges was in the running with three other French cities Montpellier (Hérault), Rouen (Seine-Maritime) and Clermont-Ferrand (Puy-de-Dôme).  Four French cities have been designated in the past as European Capitals of Culture, Paris in 1989, Avignon in 2000, Lille in 2004 and Marseille in 2013. The title allows, for a period of one year, the host city to organize a program of cultural events and projects. In 2013, the city of Marseille took advantage of this event to inaugurate the Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean (Mucem), which has become an emblematic place in Marseille.

Public benches disappearing in Nice - The city council of Nice has faced criticism following the removal of public benches in the city. Recently, at the request of some residents, benches in several areas of Nice were removed due to complaints about homeless people monopolising them. However, others now find that their favourite meeting points to convene with others have all but disappeared. The mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi confirmed that following a petition from residents’ public benches had been removed and has since suggested replacing them with individual chairs.

Residents up in arms in Antibes – Meanwhile, in Antibes local residents have aired their exasperation from children playing ball on a square in the city, with one telling local media that they “will burst their ball” if it continues. The Place des Martyrs, in the heart of Antibes, sees children gather on a regular basis, especially in the summer months, playing and being noisy. Too noisy that is, for those who live around the square. Many complain that “parents are never there to watch over them” and that “the noise is unbearable”. The mayor of Antibes Jean Leonetti has attempted to address the problem, but stops short of violence, when one angry resident threatened to “punch them”. To which the mayor replied that when “he was little, he too played ball, until an old man snatched the ball from him and punctured it". “It was a bit radical”, he said adding that “he still remembers the incident”.

Petition against plans to name metro station after Serge Gainsbourg - Plans to name a new Métro station east of Paris after the French singer Serge Gainsbourg has faced strong critisn from campaigners. More than 4,000 people have signed a petition saying that the new line 11 Métro station, due to open in 2024, should not be named after Gainsbourg, who died in 1991 and whose career spanned more than 30 years, 25 albums, numerous soundtracks, films and hundreds of songs for other singers. The petition argues that, in the post Me-Too era, a station should not carry the name of a “notorious misogynist” and the decision to pay tribute to Gainsbourg “spits in the face” of all victims of sexism.

Monaco Telecom is completing transition to fiber are you ready? -The Monaco telecom network is completing its transition to fiber, with just a few days left before the total shutdown of the copper or ADSL network, which has been in service for nearly fifty years. Nearly 300 households have not yet made the switch and risk a network outage in January. If you have one of the old boxes and to avoid any unpleasant surprises, you must contact Monaco Telecom to have it changed. All you have to do is go to your nearest Monaco Telecom store or call 99.66.33.00. an appointment is given within five days and the intervention takes around 2 hours. However, you should definitely not wait until the end of December to contact Monaco Telecom.

Another deadline is for old SIM cards which will experience the same problem. More than 95% of the cards concerned have already been changed, but there remain nearly 2,000 users, residents or professionals, who have not made the change. Again, to find out if you are affected by the change Monaco Telecom has set up a dedicated online page which, in a few clicks, tells you whether your card is up to date or not. The good news is that to make the change free of charge, you can do it by phone or go to the store.

Switching to fiber involves a more modern, faster, more powerful, and less energy-consuming connection than the copper network.

“Monaco Christmas rendez-vous” - The first edition of the “Monaco Christmas rendez-vous” is taking place today Thursday 14th December, offering a special shopping experience at La Condamine, with attractive discounts and activities organized by the 45 retailers participating in the event. The initiative comes from Yannick Barrale, president of the Condamine economic group and owner of the ready-to-wear boutique “Maison noir”, located rue de Millo.

Greta Gerwig is next president of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival - Finally, American director Greta Gerwig, whose film "Barbie" exceeded $1 billion at the global box office, has been announced as the next president of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival. Greta Gerwig, director of Barbie and a leading figure in American cinema, is to chair the jury for its 77th edition. The 40-year-old director, also an actress and screenwriter, is “the first American filmmaker to take on the role and her presence will give a breath of youth to the Croisette” said the organisers. Cannes has not had such a young president since Sophia Loren at the age of 31 back in 1966.

Business

The US central bank has signalled it could start cutting interest rates next year if inflation continues to fall. Forecasts released by the Federal Reserve showed a majority of policymakers expect to cut its key interest rate in 2024. But on Wednesday the central bank decided to keep rates unchanged. Markets surged on signs borrowing costs could be reduced next year, with the Dow Jones closing at a new record high.

Etsy is cutting about 225 jobs, or 11% of its workforce, as part of a plan to bring down its costs. As part of the move several executives will leave the online marketplace, including its chief marketing officer.

Tesla is recalling more than two million vehicles in the US over concerns about its Autopilot advanced driver-assistance system. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the system's method of making sure drivers are paying attention can be inadequate and can lead to "foreseeable misuse of the system".

The UK has signed an international treaty with Japan and Italy to build the next generation of stealth fighter jet. The deal will see the headquarters for the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP), the defence partnership between the three nations, based in Britain. The Ministry of Defence said the signing of the treaty in Tokyo on Thursday marked a "key stage" in the development of the aircraft.

Sport

Football - Newcastle United's Champions League campaign ended in heartbreak on a night of emotion and drama on Tyneside, as AC Milan came from behind to win 2-1 at St James' Park.

Meanwhile, Manchester City were 3-2 winners against Red Star Belgrade and now reach the Champions League last 16.

Cricket – Men’s International Test Match series gets underway today between Australia and Pakistan.

Formula One - Team principal Christian Horner says he does not believe Red Bull's 2023 season will be repeated in his lifetime. Max Verstappen won his third world title in October and recorded 19 victories. Sergio Perez won twice as Red Bull clinched 21 wins from 22 races to claim back-to-back constructors' crowns. The Singapore Grand Prix was Red Bull's only defeat and Horner thinks the only way to improve next season is to win the "missing race".

Weather

Mainly fine with a gentle breeze. Highs of 16 degrees in Monaco, Nice and Cannes. 15 degrees in Saint-Tropez. Reaching highs of 17 in Menton and Théoule-sur-mer. This evening going down to 2 degrees inland and 7 degrees along the coast with clear skies.

Friday fine with highs of 18 degrees. The weekend is forecast to be fine and sunny.

Sunrise       07.56am

Sunset        04.53pm

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