French and Riviera News Thursday 19th January 2023

News

National strike action - Police along with the CRS will be deployed in Nice and Cannes today, as people take to the streets across France to demonstrate against the pension reform. The prefecture says it expects 5,000 demonstrators today in Nice, while the unions say the number will be “much higher”.

The National Day of Strike action is set to cause widespread disruption to schools and public transport with trains, local buses and trams, but also possibly some flights being affected. Only one in three TGVs is expected to run along the Riviera. Across France, no Intercités services are operating. Locally, there'll be considerable disruption to TER services. It’s forecast that just 1 in 10 TER trains will be operating. You can see which trains are running using the online journey planner at ter.sncf.com. In Nice, no trams will be running and several dozen bus lines will not be in service. Street parking in the city will be free today and the entire Envibus public transport network around Antibes and Sophia-Antipolis will not be running.

Ferry services between the Port of Dover and Calais face severe disruption as operators have been forced to cancel a number of crossings. The port of Dover said that 'due to national industrial action in France, services to and from Calais will be suspended from 7am'.

Macron meets with Spanish Prime Minister today - Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron will meet Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in Barcelona today Thursday January 19th, for a bilateral summit aimed at strengthening cooperation in the wake of a recent spat over a gas pipeline project that has since been shelved.  France and Spain, who have just "buried the hatchet" following a rare disagreement over an energy project, will celebrate the closeness of their relations in Barcelona.  

Davos summit - At the opening of the Davos summit on Monday Oxfam have said that “the number of billionaires should be halved by 2030 through higher taxes and other policies to make the world a fairer place”. In response to this call, more than 200 millionaires from 13 different countries have written an open letter to world leaders, saying they want tax increases. Over the past decade, according to Oxfam, the richest 10 percent of the world's population have seen their wealth increase by 50 percent.

Man found dead at foot of building in Nice - A 29-year-old man has been found dead at the foot of a building in Nice Nord. Police made on discovery on Wednesday morning and believe the victim deliberately jumped. An investigation is underway.

Gas cut off for residents in Golfe-Juan - 160 apartments in a residence in Golfe-Juan have found themselves without gas after the supplier Engie suddenly cut them off. The incident occurred on Tuesday at around 6pm when residents found themselves without any gas. Engie has since pointed to a computer bug when changing contracts to be the cause.

Looking for a job? - If you know anyone looking for a job, five-and-a-half thousand of them are currently up for grabs in the Alpes-Maritimes. Local branches of Pôle Emploi are organising a series of jobs fairs and 'job dating' events in the coming weeks. The usual sectors are affected - mainly hotels and catering. But according to Pôle Emploi there's also a good number of vacancies in the tech industry, mostly around Sophia-Antipolis. A digital jobs fair is being organised in Antibes next Thursday.

New device to stop bicycles and scooters riding along tram tracks - Nice is experimenting with a new device that aims to prevent bicycles and scooters riding along the tram tracks. A new coating is being applied to the tracks on line 1 this week. The aim is to improve safety and avoid delays to trams.

School uniform - A secondary school near Saint-Tropez has reignited the discussion about whether schoolchildren should wear a uniform. The lycée in Gassin, in the Var, is considering imposing a standard outfit - and it's put the idea out to consultation among pupils, parents and staff. It's even asked senior students to design the uniform themselves, which if approved, would be made by a local producer. The school's headteacher says he's been considering the idea for a few years - and he says the shared identity could reinforce the school's sense of community, like a football team. If the experiment goes ahead, it would be for one or two days per week.

Dolphin in port of Monaco - A dolphin has been spotted alongside the yachts moored in Monaco Yacht Club. A similar sighting was reported in Nice on Saturday morning, near the Opéra Plage. It's not the first time a dolphin has been found in Monaco - there were repeated sightings around the port last August.

Business

Germany’s Finance minister has said that the country no longer depends on Russian imports for its energy supply adding that Germany had completely diversified its energy infrastructure since Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year. Following the invasion, Russia turned off the gas taps to Europe, leading to fears of blackouts this winter. Germany previously imported around half of its gas from Russia and more than a third of its oil. But Russia cut off the country's gas supply in August, while Germany halted Russian oil imports at the start of the year.

Microsoft has announced that it will cut 10,000 jobs in the latest round of staff redundancies to hit the tech industry. The move will affect up to 5% of its global workforce and cost the business $1.2bn (£972m) in severance and reorganisation costs.

And - An auction for hundreds of items at Twitter's San Francisco HQ has just ended and a statue of the platform's famous bird logo was the most expensive item sold, coming in at $100,000 (£81,000). Viewers online noted that some of the used items were no bargain, as they were selling for more than retail. The sale comes as owner Elon Musk cuts costs at Twitter following his $44bn purchase of the company last year. Since taking over in late October, Mr Musk has laid off around half of the company's 7,500 staff. He has also ended many of Twitter's perks, such as free meals.

Sport

Football – In the FA Cup Third round replay last night Leeds beat Cardiff 5-2 and in the Premier League Crystal Palace drew 1-1 against Manchester United. Crystal Palace scored a stunning last minute free kick to deny Manchester United a victory that would have taken them second in the Premier League.  This evening in the Premier League Manchester City are at home to Tottenham kick off is at 9pm French time.

Rugby Union - Glasgow Warriors have suspended full-back Rufus McLean after he pleaded guilty to domestic abuse charges. McLean appeared in court on Wednesday, where sentencing was deferred after his guilty plea at a hearing on 22 December. The three-time Scotland cap, 22, is under investigation by the club and a disciplinary hearing will be held this week to determine what happens next. McLean, who scored two tries on his Scotland debut against Tonga in October 2021, last featured for Glasgow in the win over Perpignan on 16 December.

Tennis - Britain's Andy Murray will aim to reach the third round of the Australian Open for the first time in six years today but rain delays meant he had to wait to learn of his opponent.

Cycling - Great Britain's most successful female Olympic athlete Dame Laura Kenny and her husband Sir Jason Kenny are expecting their second child. Their son Albie was born in 2017, but Kenny suffered a miscarriage in November 2021 and an ectopic pregnancy in January 2022. She announced the pregnancy in a post on Instagram, saying: "Today I felt like I couldn't hide away any more”.

Weather

Sunny with a moderate breeze in the Alpes Maritimes. Gusty winds in Saint-Tropez and the Var. Highs of 11 degrees in Nice, Monaco, Antibes and Saint-Tropez. 10 degrees in Toulon. This evening going down to 2 degrees along the coast and -5 degrees in Mougins.

The outlook for Friday and heading into the weekend. Sunny with moderate breeze highs of 10-11 degrees.

Sunrise       07.58hr

Sunset        17.23hr

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