French and Riviera News Thursday 16th February 2023

News

Depression high amongst 18–24-year-olds - In its latest bulletin Public Health France has said that “those aged between “18 and 24 have been the most affected by a depression in the last 12 months”.  The number of people who have experienced a characterized depressive episode (EDC) in the last 12 months has increased from 2017 to 2021 and the most significant increase was observed among young adults.  Young adults aged 18-24 appear to be the category the most affected by a depressive episode during the year with an increase observed over the period 2017-2021 of almost 80%. The survey was conducted by the Ipsos institute. In total, 24,514 people were interviewed.

Train traffic severely disrupted due to strike - Regional train traffic will be severely disrupted today Thursday 16th February, due to strike action. The SNCF has recommended passengers to cancel or postpone trips. The disruption is expected to last until tomorrow morning at 8am. On average one out of two TER trains will be running and two out of three Inoui, Ouigo and TGVs.

Demonstrations are planned throughout France, but the day is expected to be less disruptive than previous strikes this year, with schools largely unaffected and the Paris metro running normally, while air traffic will be hit at airports in Marseille, Toulouse, Lyon, Montpellier and Nantes. Thirty percent of flights are expected to be cancelled at Paris’s Orly airport.  

French news presenter suspended - The French news channel 24-hour BFMTV, has suspended one of its longest-serving presenters following the launch of an internal investigation into news packages linked to an Israeli disinformation unit calling itself “Team Jorge”. Rachid M’Barki is on leave and at the centre of the inquiry into multiple stories broadcast on his show, Le journal de la nuit. He was suspended last month, after a member of Team Jorge suggested to undercover reporters that the group was secretly behind a BFMTV news report about the Monaco yachting industry. The report, broadcast last year, suggested sanctions imposed against Russian oligarchs were damaging the yachting industry in the Mediterranean principality. When a reporter approached BFMTV to ask questions about the integrity of that package and several others broadcast by the channel, M’Barki was suspended.

Drugs seized in restaurant in Nice - Officers have seized 44 kilos of cannabis in a restaurant in La Madeleine district of Nice. The restaurant owner had already been prosecuted for drug trafficking in 2020 and was once again taken into police custody this week, after police seized 44 kg of cannabis and 11,000 euros in cash. An investigation is underway.

Pollen alert for the Var - The Var region has been placed on a red pollen alert. For those with allergies the risk is expected to remain high for several weeks. Experts say that the very mild start to the year has favoured the flowering of the trees.

Air pollution - Meanwhile, a level 2 air pollution alert has been extended today Thursday 16th February, for the Var, Bouches-du-Rhone and the Vaucluse region. The quality of air, which has been poor since Tuesday, continues to deteriorate. The Alpes-Maritimes remains on a level 1 warning.

Amateur pornographic video - Following reports this week that OGC Nice has filed a complaint with the AFP concerning an amateur pornographic video which was filmed inside the Allianz Riviera stadium during a league match. A second filming of an amateur pornographic video has been reported at Nice Côte d’Azur Airport. The airport has since filed a lawsuit against the pornographic actress who appeared in both videos. The video has reportedly been seen nearly 380,000 times on an adult-only platform.

The “Emily in Paris” effect - A recent survey has shown the “Emily in Paris effect” on Americans’ opinion of the French capital. Following the success of the hit Netflix show Americans are falling back in love with the French capital. The survey by Ifop for the Bonjour New York travel blog and Le Figaro found that in 2023, 73% of Americans have a ‘very good’ or ‘quite good’ image of Paris. Just 11% have ‘quite a bad image’ and 3% have a ‘very bad’ view. This is in contrast to a 2007 poll, which found that only 39% of Americans had a ‘good’ or ‘very good’ image of Paris.

Business

Dutch firm ASML says a former employee in China stole information about its technology. The major computer chip equipment maker says that it has since reported the breach to authorities in the Netherlands and the US. ASML is one of the most important firms in the global microchip supply chain. It makes machines that produce the world's most advanced chips. Chips, or semiconductors, which are used to power everything from mobile phones to military hardware, are at the centre of a bitter dispute between the US and China.

The president of the World Bank will step down from his post in June, leaving the organisation almost a year before his term was due to end. David Malpass announced his decision on social media, without providing a specific reason for his departure. The pick of former US President Donald Trump, he has been criticised as a climate change denier.

More than 200 flights were cancelled at Frankfurt airport after construction work damaged broadband cables and caused check-in and boarding problems for German airline Lufthansa. But the airline said all of its systems were now back up. Earlier on Wednesday, thousands of passengers were stranded as their flights were cancelled or delayed across the world. The airline expects flights at Frankfurt to return to normal today.  The company said engineering works on a railway line mistakenly cut a bundle of cables in Frankfurt on Tuesday. It has asked customers flying on domestic flights to book train tickets and said customers could ask for a refund on its website.

And - Fast food chain McDonald's is putting the price of five of its menu items up.  It said higher food and energy costs mean it will put up its prices from Wednesday. Last summer the fast food giant put up the price of a cheeseburger for the first time in more than 14 years. Soaring inflation around the world hasn't dented McDonald's sales, which grew last year by more than 10%.

Sport

Formula One - Lewis Hamilton says the ban on drivers' free speech will not prevent him from speaking out on key issues. Hamilton is the latest driver to voice concerns about a new rule prohibiting "personal, religious and political statements" without written consent. Governing body the FIA says it will clarify the meaning of the new rule it introduced this year. Hamilton said "nothing will stop me from speaking on the things I am passionate about”.

Tennis - British number one Cameron Norrie avoided a shock defeat by Facundo Diaz Acosta as he fought back to reach the quarter-finals at the Argentina Open. The Briton meets another Argentine, Tomas Martin Etcheverry, next.

Football – Manchester City’s 3-1-win last night over Arsenal in the Premier League has seen them swap places with the Gunners, returning to the top of the table for the first time since 5 November.

Athletics – Britain's Keely Hodgkinson set a world leading time as she stormed to a dominant 800m victory at the World Indoor Tour event in Lievin, France. The 20-year-old clocked one minute 57.71 seconds as she finished almost three seconds clear of the field.

Weather

Cloudy to begin with. Clearing by this afternoon. Highs of 14 degrees in Monaco, Nice, Saint-Tropez and Antibes. Moderate breeze. This evening going down to 6 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for Friday and heading into the weekend. Highs of 14-15 degrees. Sunny intervals remaining dry.

Sunrise       07.28hr

Sunset        18.01hr

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