French and Riviera News Thursday 15th June 2023

News

Passengers blocked on Paris metro – Passengers have remained blocked for more than 1h30 on line 4, of the Paris metro. Five Parisian metro trains on line 4 remained blocked underground on Wednesday, due to what was reported as an "exceptional technical incident" linked to "damage on a train". On Twitter, photos show passengers suffering from the heat in crowded trains. Many passengers were stranded between Porte d'Orléans and Montparnasse stations. The evacuation of the trains, stuck in tunnels since 7:20pm was finally completed at around 9:30pm. The CEO of the Paris metro and former Prime Minister under Emmanuel Macron Jean Castex has requested an internal investigation "to determine the exact causes" of this "exceptional" incident which occurred during rush hour.

500 million euros for the development of AI in France - French President Emmanuel Macron has announced an additional 500 million euros for the development of Artificial Intelligence in France. The Head of State made the announcement from the VivaTech show in Paris, dedicated to entrepreneurs, where he also denounced "those who hate those who make money" adding that he wants to "create champions". The VivaTech show is the largest European show dedicated to the sector. Macron also took advantage of the show dedicated to entrepreneurs to denounce "those who hate those who make money" saying that "hating people who make money doesn't work” adding that "I am for the success of those who invest in the economy. We must not restrain our entrepreneurs when they are ready to reinvest”.  Emmanuel Macron also called for European regulation of AI that does not curb innovation. He said that "The worst scenario would be a Europe which invests much less than the Americans and the Chinese and which would start by creating regulations”.  The European Parliament adopted its position on Wednesday on the "Artificial Intelligence Act", with a proposal for a regulation as MPs call for new bans, such as facial recognition in public places by dedicated systems.

Driving licence - Reports in French media say that the government is considering reducing the age at which a driving licence can be obtained to 17 years of age. The age limit is currently 18. It's thought that the government's plans may be announced as soon as next week.

Tributes pour in following the tragic death of 26-year-old Amber - The yachting industry on the Riviera has been paying tribute on social networks following the tragic accidental death of 26-year-old South African Amber Crouse. Amber died tragically on Saturday morning June 10th, aboard the yacht “Goose” moored in the port of Nice. A hostess onboard she reportedly slipped down the stairs of the boat, fatally hitting her head against the wall. The young lady was on board for the season working alongside her boyfriend Ashley. Following her sad and sudden death Ashley wrote on Facebook “she was the love of my life and I will miss her for everyday that I have left in mine”. Amber who was much loved was described as being a kind and happy soul with a real “joie de vivre”.  As soon as her death was announced messages of love poured in on social networks. Ashley, her companion, also launched a kitty to try to raise 10,000 dollars in order to repatriate Amber’s body to South Africa and organise her funeral. It only took a few hours for friends to raise the sum. Riviera Radio would like to express its sincere condolences to family, friends and colleagues.

Man, fatally hit by train in the Var - A man in his fifties has been fatally hit by a train in the Var. The incident occurred on Wednesday morning. The circulation of trains was interrupted by the SNCF between Toulon and Aubagne, while emergency services intervened. Police have opened an investigation to determine if it was suicide or an accident.

Migrants found in back of truck - Six migrants, including one minor, have been discovered in the back of a truck in Antibes. The driver of the truck alerted police. The adult migrants have been placed in administrative detention and the minor has been placed in a care home. No action is being taken against the driver.

Violent thunderstorms - Once again, violent thunderstorms hit the Var on Wednesday with more than 850 lightning strikes recorded in just a few hours. Some 859 lightning strikes were recorded. The peak was reached at 5pm, with 579 impacts.

Nice ranks first – Finally, Nice has been ranked in first place in a survey of local shops. The American Expess "Shop Small" survey gives recognition to those cities in France with the most dynamic local shops and which are the most appreciated by local residents. Paris was in second place, with Burgundy in third and Lyon in fourth. In a post on social media Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said he was proud to see Nice at the top of the ranking and thanked local merchants "for their tireless work and commitment to providing quality products and service for the people of Nice and visitors".

Business

For the first time in more than a year the US central bank has announced it will hold interest rates steady opting against a rise. The Federal Reserve kept the target for its benchmark rate at 5%-5.25% saying it wanted time to assess the impact of rate hikes so far. The bank has already raised rates 10 times since March 2022 as it battles to bring inflation under control.

An annual financial report by Deloitte has shown that the Premier League established itself as the leader in the European football market in the 2021-22 season. Its revenue of £5.5bn in 2021-22 was nearly double that of Spain's La Liga. The return of crowds to stadiums after the Covid-19 pandemic helped to grow revenues by 10% across Europe. Meanwhile, Ligue 1 clubs in France experienced the greatest percentage growth with a 26% rise from 412m euros to a record high of 2bn euros.

With the recent speculation in the media that AI could see an end to humanity, one of the three "godfathers of AI" has said it won't take over the world or permanently destroy jobs. Prof Yann LeCun said some experts' fears of AI posing a threat to humanity were "preposterously ridiculous". He said that computers would become more intelligent than humans but that was many years away and "if you realise it's not safe you just don't build it”. Prof LeCun works as the chief AI scientist at Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. He disagrees with his fellow godfathers that AI is a risk to humanity. The professor added that it would be a huge mistake to keep AI research "under lock and key”.

And – Sweden has blamed singer Beyoncé for surprise inflation. The start of the singer's world tour in Sweden last month sparked such a frenzy of demand for hotels and restaurant meals that it has shown up in the country's economic statistics. Sweden reported higher-than-expected inflation of 9.7% in May. Rising prices for hotels and restaurants were behind the surprise. There is little doubt that the singer's first solo tour in seven years marks a big economic moment. At least one estimate suggests the run could gross almost £2bn by the time it ends in September. In the UK, 60,000 people descended on Cardiff, including fans from Lebanon, the US and Australia. Demand for hotel rooms tied to her concert in London was so strong that in one case, some homeless families being housed in a hotel by the local council were reportedly booted out to make way for her fans.

Sport

Football - Croatia beat hosts the Netherlands in a dramatic Uefa Nations League semi-final on Wednesday night. The UEFA Nations League finals are taking place in the Netherlands from the 14th to the 18th of June.  This evening in the other semi-finals match Spain play Italy. Kick off is at 8.45pm.

Meanwhile the 2023-2024 Premier League fixtures are being released today at 10am French time. Luton Town are set to discover their opponents for their first top-flight match since 1992, while Burnley and Sheffield United will find out who they kick off against as both return to the division after short stints in the Championship. The Premier League starts on Saturday 12 August and finishes on Sunday 19 May. And the mid-season break returns, with no matches scheduled between 13-20 January.

Cricket - As England prepare for the first test of the ashes against Australia which kicks off tomorrow Friday 16th June. The team have preferred to take Stuart Broad over Mark Wood to join James Anderson and Ollie Robinson. England are looking to regain the Ashes they lost in 2017-18.

Tennis - Australian tennis player 28-year-old Nick Kyrgios has admitted that he "genuinely contemplated" suicide and spent time in a psychiatric hospital in London after losing at Wimbledon in 2019. Kyrgios was knocked out by Rafael Nadal in the second round. The player said that he later got a sleeve tattoo on his right arm to cover up evidence of self-harm. The self-confessions come in the documentary Break Point which covers his run to the 2022 final. Break Point Part 2 will be released exclusively on Netflix on June 21st and comes almost exactly six months after the first season was released.  

Weather

Sunny across the region with a gentle breeze. Highs of 27 degrees in Monaco and Nice, 28 degrees in Cannes and Puget Théniers. 25 degrees in Vence with risk of thundery showers. 29 in Saint-Tropez and 31 degrees in Marseille. This evening going down to 18 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 16 degrees in the Var.

The outlook for tomorrow and the weekend. Remaining fine with highs of between 25-27 degrees.

Sunrise       05.57am

Sunset        09.13pm

London      27 degrees and sunny.

Paris           29 degrees and sunny.

Berlin                   23 degrees and light rain.

Dublin                  22 degrees and sunny.

Liverpool   27 degrees and sunny.

Beach weather forecast

Hyeres – Sea temperature 22 degrees. Air temperature 25 degrees, sunny. UV level 9.

Saint-Tropez - Sea temperature 22 degrees. Air temperature 27 degrees, sunny. UV level 8.

Nice - Sea temperature 22 degrees. Air temperature 25 degrees, sunny. UV level 8.
 

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