French and Riviera News Thursday 15th February 2022

News

Young boy dies after being hit by a car - A young boy has died in Montpellier after being violently hit by a car following the France-Morocco match on Wednesday evening. According to reports the 14-year-old teenager was run over by a motorist, who is currently wanted by the police and is on the run. His vehicle was found by the authorities. The teenager was taken to hospital in a critical condition but died shortly afterwards. An investigation is underway.  

World Cup win - Meanwhile following France’s 2-0 victory over Morocco in the World Cup, 115 arrests were made in the Paris region as supporters gathered to celebrate on the Champs Elysée.

Locally, there were “scenes of urban guerrilla warfare on Avenue Jean-Médecin” according to the Nice Matin. Shortly after the final whistle, groups of young people converged from Old Nice towards Avenue Jean-Médecin. Some were shouting "Nissa, Nissa" and soon, groups of vandals challenged the officer present. Bins were overturned and set on fire.

French President Emmanuel Macron who attended the match hailed the victory of the Blues against Morocco and their qualification for the final of the World Cup in Qatar, telling reports that the blues had made him “very proud”. Macron also congratulated Morocco who had made an extraordinary journey during this World Cup and a great performance in the semi-final.

Four people who have been detained by police investigating an alleged bribery scandal involving World Cup host Qatar are to remain in custody. The four were detained last Friday after Belgian investigators found bags containing €1.5m (£1.3m) in a flat, a house and a suitcase at a hotel. As the hearing took place in Brussels, it emerged that Belgium's VSSE state security service had been working on the inquiry for more than a year, with the aid of other European countries. World Cup host Qatar has strenuously denied any claims of misconduct as unfair.

Disruptions to the trains - In other news, twenty TGVs out of a total of 700 in circulation will be cancelled tomorrow Friday 16th December. On the eve of the Christmas holidays, a strike movement by the SNCF signalmen will begin this this evening at 8pm and run until Monday, December 19 at 8am.  As a result, and according to a press release from the SNCF "train traffic will be slightly disrupted on Friday, December 16th on certain lines". There may also be some disruptions on the TER networks more details are expected by the end of today.

The strike action comes as unions denounce a staff shortage resulting in poor working conditions. The SNCF invites passengers to consult their usual information tools to check the circulation of their trains. For the rest of the holidays, controllers have also filed strike notices covering the Christmas and New Year weekends.

GRDF strike action - Following strike action within the main gas distributor in France, the GRDF, 1,000 households in France are without gas and 80% of them are in the Paris region. The strike movement began at the end of November and is expected to run until February 3rd. Worried residents affected by the strike have expressed their concern as in the run up to Christmas they have found themselves without any heating or hot water.

Public Health France warns of flu epidemic - Public Health France has warned of a “sharp increase in the number of hospitalizations” due to the current flu epidemic which is intensifying in France. The flu epidemic was officially declared in France by the health authorities on November 30th, first affecting Brittany and Normandy. It arrived early and added to two epidemics already underway: that of Covid and bronchiolitis, which affects very young children. Since the start of the flu season this year, three deaths have been reported, "all in patients aged 65 or over". Public Health France stressed the "urgency to be vaccinated against the flu for people at risk". Since the start of the vaccination campaign, the number of people getting vaccinated has been declining.

Mask campaign for transport in Toulon - Faced with the resurgence of Covid, the Toulon transport network has just launched an advertising campaign to encourage its customers to protect themselves. The Réseau mistral launched the campaign with the slogan "protect the end-of-year celebrations, wear a mask".

Business

Interest rates are expected to be increased again by the Bank of England as the cost of living soars. The benchmark rate stands at 3% and is widely forecast to go up to 3.5% following the latest meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee. It would be the ninth consecutive hike since December 2021. The rate is already at its highest level for 14 years. The impact of a rate rise would be felt by borrowers and savers across the UK. At its November meeting, the Bank increased its benchmark rate from 2.25% to 3%  - the biggest single increase since 1989.

The US central bank has hiked interest rates again and warned more rises will be necessary to rein in the rapid pace of price increases. Forecasts from the Federal Reserve showed the bank's key interest rate could stand above 5% a year from now. But policymakers are starting to move more cautiously, following signs that the most severe inflation in decades may be starting to ease.

Multi-billionaire Elon Musk has sold another 22 million shares, worth $3.58bn (£2.9bn), in the electric car maker Tesla. The shares were sold on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, according to a filing with a US financial regulator. It brings the total of Tesla stocks sold by Mr Musk over the past year to almost $40bn. Earlier this week Mr Musk lost his position as the world's richest person. The reason for the latest share sales has not been disclosed.

Meanwhile, Musk says he is taking legal action against the holder of a Twitter account that tracks his private jet, arguing it put his son at risk. The @ElonJet account, which has more than half a million followers, was suspended on Wednesday. Its owner Jack Sweeney, 20, used publicly available flight-tracking information to tweet every time Mr Musk's jet took off and landed. Mr Musk says legal action is now being taken against Mr Sweeney and others.

Strikes by security staff on Eurostar trains this week have been called off to let union members vote on a fresh pay offer. Talks are continuing, and further strikes planned for next week will go ahead if the dispute is not resolved.

World Cup

France have dismantled one World Cup dream as they moved a step closer to fulfilling their own after beating Morocco 2-0 in last night's semi-final. Morocco have lit up this World Cup with an unexpected run to the semi-finals, where their hopes of a shock triumph were crushed by defending champions France yet while the dream is over there was no sadness, just sheer pride.

On Saturday in the 3rd/4th play off Croatia will play Morocco kick off is at 4pm (French time) and France will face Lionel Messi's Argentina to try to win a third world title. Kick-off is on Sunday, at 4 p.m. (French time).

Weather

Cloudy with heavy rain expected by this afternoon. Highs of 13 degrees in Nice, Cannes and Antibes. 16 degrees in Marseille. Thundery showers are forecast for Saint Tropez and the Var. This evening going down to 7 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 10 degrees in the Var.

Outlook for tomorrow, light cloud highs of 14. Saturday, sunny in Saint Tropez with highs of 14 and a gentle breeze. Nice - sunny intervals, highs of 16 degrees.

Sunrise 07.56hr

Sunset 16.53hr

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