French and Riviera News Thursday 18th May 2023

News

Flooding in northern Italy - At least nine people have been killed and several are missing after heavy rains caused flooding in Italy's northern Emilia-Romagna region. About 10,000 people have been evacuated, and some had to be rescued from roofs by helicopter. The authorities say 14 rivers have broken their banks, flooding 23 towns. The city has been described as "unrecognisable".  Further rain is expected in the region over the coming days.

Drought risk in France this summer - The French government has warned that 26 departments in France present a “very probable” drought risk for this summer. Despite the recent rainfall, the drought situation is not improving in France. A very large majority of the country's groundwater tables (68%) remain at worrying levels according to figures released by the Geological and Mining Research Bureau (BRGM). Many of the departments are in the South of France including the Var, the Alpes Maritimes, the entire Mediterranean coast and northern Corsica. Areas in red are also found further north in France, particularly in the Île-de-France where several departments are concerned.

Former French President loses appeal - Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has lost his appeal against a prison sentence for corruption. However, the Paris appeals court ruled that he could serve his time at home wearing a tag instead of going to jail. In 2021 Sarkozy was sentenced to three years in prison - including two suspended - for trying to influence a judge in a separate case. He was convicted of attempting to secure information about a case in 2014 - after he had left office - by suggesting he could secure a prestigious job for the judge. He has been banned from holding public office for three years. It is one of a number of corruption cases involving the former president, who denies the allegations.

New report - A new report suggests that anti-LGBT sentiment remains "anchored" in French society, with activists claiming there has been an increase in gay and trans people reporting physical attacks in France. SOS Homophobia said in a report that it received just over 1,500 reports of homophobic or other discriminatory behaviour in 2022 via its website and hotline - around the same number as the previous year. But there was a 28% increase in reports of physical attacks, to 184, or roughly one every two days. In its report, the group said violent acts against gay and trans people included "ambushes set up using dating apps". Reports of discrimination included estate agents refusing to sell or rent to LGBTQ couples or families, and public spaces such as shops and libraries refusing entry to non-binary or trans individuals.

Crack down on nuisance in Nice - The City of Nice is planning to crack down on nuisance caused by street performers. With the tourist season well under way, the city's streets are often used as performance spaces for singers, dancers and acrobats. The city has drawn up a charter with stricter regulations on the use of public spaces for performance arts. Amplifiers and sound systems will be banned and performers who are found to be causing a nuisance could have their permits withdrawn.

Reckless driving - A new report claims that the Paca region is one of the worst in France for reckless behaviour by drivers. The 13th annual report by Vinci Autoroutes, which is based on a public poll, found the most common complaints from fellow drivers on the Riviera were tail-gating, unnecessary use of horns and the use of mobile phones. In the poll, only four in 10 of the drivers questioned said they considered themselves to be calm behind the wheel. A large majority also admitted to driving while tired and not taking necessary breaks.

Heavy traffic due to long weekend – Meanwhile, Bison Futé has classified France’s roads as "red" this Thursday, due to the long bank holiday weekend.  Every year, the weekend of the Ascension is busy on the roads, throughout France. No disruption is to be expected for Friday and Saturday, however, Sunday is announced as “black” which is the highest level.

Cannes Film Festival - The world premiere of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, will be taking place today at the festival today. Starring Harrison Ford, the 80-year-old action hero will be reunited with his trusty leather jacket for a fifth and final time. His co-stars include Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge.  Fans will be keen to see the results of the "de-aging" special effects on Ford in the opening scenes, and the work of director James Mangold will also come under scrutiny. Dial of Destiny is the first Indiana Jones film not to be directed by Steven Spielberg - though he does have an executive producer credit.

Business

Banking giant Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay $75m (£60m) to settle a lawsuit that claimed the lender had enabled Jeffrey Epstein's alleged sex trafficking ring. The case was filed by an unnamed woman who alleged that the bank continued to do business with Epstein, despite knowing that his accounts were used to facilitate the abuses. She also claimed that she was abused by Epstein and trafficked to his friends. Deutsche Bank have declined to comment on the case.

Montana is set to become the first US state to ban Chinese-owned media giant TikTok from personal devices. The ban was signed into law on Wednesday and is due to take effect on 1 January. The video-sharing platform says the ban "infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana". TikTok has come under scrutiny from authorities around the world over concerns that data could be passed to the Chinese government.

And - The latest series of the Nintendo game Zelda has sold more than 10 million copies in just three days. The company announced that The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom had become the fastest-selling Zelda game so far. Tears of the Kingdom was released as a Nintendo Switch exclusive on Friday. 

Sport

Football – Manchester City appeared to be unstoppable as they reached the Champions League final on Wednesday evening beating Real Madrid 4-0. They delivered a relentless performance with outstanding quality and will now face Inter Milan in the Champions League final in Istanbul.

In the Premier League this evening Newcastle play Brighton kick off is at 8.30pm French time.

Formula One - This weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix has been called off due to major flooding in the region. Discussions on Wednesday between local authorities and organisers of the race at Imola in Italy concluded that the event could not proceed safely. At least eight people have died and 5,000 people have had to be evacuated following widespread flooding across the region. F1 said calling off the race was "the right and responsible thing to do". F1 will look at options for rescheduling the race but it is considered unlikely to make a return because of the crowded schedule.

Tennis - Novak Djokovic suffered his earliest exit at the Italian Open since 2013 when he was beaten by rising Danish star Holger Rune in the quarter-finals. Djokovic was bidding for his seventh title in the Italian capital as he prepares for the French Open on 28 May.

Rugby Union - Leicester Tigers' Jasper Wiese has been named the Rugby Players' Association players' player of the year. The South Africa number eight, 27, helped Tigers to the Premiership semi-finals and the quarter-finals of the Heineken Champions Cup.

Weather

Scattered showers, sunny intervals, and moderate winds. Highs of 21 degrees in Nice, Monaco and Cannes. Light showers and highs of 19 degrees in Saint Tropez in the Var. This evening going down to 12 degrees.

The outlook for Friday and the weekend. Light rain with sunny intervals. Highs of 20-21 degrees.

Sunrise 06.02am

Sunset  08.52pm

Beach weather forecast

Nice – Sea temperature is 17 degrees. Cloudy, air temperature 20 degrees. UV level is 7.

Porto Vecchio – Sea temperature is 17 degrees. Cloudy, air temperature 21 degrees and UV level is 6.

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