French and Riviera News Thursday 1st December 2022

News

Trains cancelled due to SNCF strike – The SNCF has announced last minute strike action this weekend with long distance train services in France set to be disrupted. The SNCF said that it will cancel 60% of TGV and inter-city trains from tomorrow Friday 2nd December to Sunday 4th December. No night trains will run. The exact number of trains which will operate will vary from region to region and by type of service. Tickets can be refunded or changed for another train where there's space until Thursday 8th December. The SNCF does however recommend customers to check timetables before going to stations and, where possible, postpone their journeys.

The SNCF expects normal traffic on Eurostar and Thalys services to the UK and Netherlands. However, TGVs to Switzerland and Italy will be cut by two-thirds, trains to Germany cut by half, while all trains to Spain have been cancelled. A "gradual resumption" to normal service is expected by Monday, with 3 out of 4 trains on all TGV routes likely to run on schedule.

The strike has been called by train controllers, as negotiations begin over wages, career development and better recognition, as they demand the same conditions as train drivers.

GPs on strike – Meanwhile, you may find your local doctor’s surgery closed today as GPs across France start a two-day strike as they demand an increase in consultation fees. General practitioners who are independent practitioners are asking for the price of a consultation to double, from 25 to 50 euros. The collective "Doctors for tomorrow", was started two months ago on social networks, and today brings together nearly 15,000 members. “Doctors for tomorrow” claim that "25 euros is the lowest on a European level, where the average price of a consultation is 46 euros” adding that “a consultation at 50 euros will not impact the patient if it remains within the convention”. They claim that in France, doctors considered as independents face difficult working conditions and are unable to hire a secretary or a medical assistant and that administrative tasks now represent 20% of their working day. They conclude that the aim is “not to enrich doctors, but to enrich the job market with doctors wanting to hire". In France health insurance currently covers 70% of the price of consultations, mutual and complementary reimbursing the rest. Meanwhile GPs are not alone, as biologists are also calling for the closure of laboratories today and tomorrow, following a first three-day strike in mid-November.

Flu epidemic – The strike action comes as Sante Publique France says that there has been an early increase in cases of flu. It moved Brittany and Normandy to the "epidemic phase". The agency said that the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region is one of several regions in the "pre-epidemic phase".

240 migrants rescued – In other national French news the French emergency services have reportedly rescued some 240 migrants heading in small boats across the Channel to the southern coast of England within a 24-hour period this week. According to a statement from the French Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea, the migrants were rescued in five different operations between Monday and Tuesday off Calais on France's northern coast.

Two homeless people found dead – In this morning’s local news, two homeless people have been found dead on the road from Colomars to Nice. Police made the discovery on Wednesday evening. The cause of death is not yet known however, police have reported traces of a stabbing. The investigation continues.

Crime figures in the region - The new departmental director of public security in the Alpes Maritimes has presented data regarding crime figures in the department. Frédéric Pizzini confirmed the significant drop in local crime, which he said was down by 28% in Nice and 30% in Cannes. As regards the whole department, foot patrols by police increased by 129%. Burglaries were down by 14%, violence on public transport by 50% and victims of domestic violence were down by 4%.

Region’s cycling community mourns the sudden death of David Rebellin - The region’s cycling community has been plunged into immense sadness following the sudden death of Italian cyclist Davide Rebellin. Rebellin aged 51, died on Wednesday after being hit by a truck while riding his bicycle in Veneto. Originally from San Bonifacio Rebellin had settled in the Principality in 1998, before acquiring a house in Sospel a little less than 10 years ago. His career spanned three decades before he retired earlier this year. The last race he took part in as a professional was the Beking Monaco, a charity race which was held here in the Principality last Sunday.

Tour de France 2024 to end in Nice - Meanwhile it’s been reported that the 2024 Tour de France will end in Nice. For the first time in its history Nice will host the final finish of the Grande Boucle on the Promenade des Anglais, as Paris will be hosting the Olympic Games. An official annoucnemnt is expected from the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi later today.

2022 hottest year ever – Finally, 2022 is set to be the hottest year ever recorded in France. Meteo France said that depending on whether December is warm or cold, the average temperature for the year will be somewhere between 14.2 and 14.6 degrees. That beats the previous record set in 2020 and will be the warmest since records began in 1900.

Business

The head of the US central bank has said authorities may start to ease up on interest rate hikes as soon as this month, after racing to raise borrowing costs earlier this year. Fed chairman Jerome Powell said "it makes sense" to slow down to assess the impact of the moves. Markets soared following the comments.

Elon Musk has said that the feud with Apple boss Tim Cook has been "resolved”. On Monday, Mr Musk accused Apple of threatening to cut the platform from its app store and said it had halted most of its advertising on the site. But the Twitter boss tweeted on Wednesday that: "Tim was clear that Apple never considered doing so." He did not say if Apple's advertising was discussed at the meeting.

The former chief executive officer of crypto exchange FTX Sam Bankman-Fried, has denied committing fraud. The man once hailed as a legendary figure in the crypto industry told The New York Times he had had a "bad month" and had almost no money left. The global crypto exchange, that was at one point valued at $32bn (£26.5bn), collapsed earlier this month. Many investors have not been able to withdraw their funds from the now bankrupt platform.

Security staff who work on the Eurostar train service are to strike for four days in the run-up to Christmas in a dispute over pay. The walkouts are planned to take place on 16, 18, 22 and 23 December. Eurostar said it would update customers as soon as possible if there was any impact on services. However, the union said the strike would "severely affect" passengers.

A dedicated unit has been set up by the French government unveiling the first elements of its “crisis plan” in the event of power cuts this winter in France. The plan of action will be sent to prefects in France, with the exception of Corsica, which will not be affected by possible power cuts.

A few days ago, RTE (Electricity transmission network) announced that cuts are to be expected from January. It will therefore be necessary to expect power cuts at certain times and in certain regions. According to RTE, they should take place at peak times, in the morning between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. and in the evening between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The cuts will last for a maximum of 2 hours at a time. The crisis situation managed by the unit aims to advise how to make energy savings. According to a government source “power cuts will only be made in the event of a cold snap and if the energy saving devices are not working”. The RTE points out that the cuts “will not necessary be linked to the coldest departments”. According to reports, the French population will be warned 3 days before the "red" days and warned the day before if a power cut will affect them such as in a public infrastructure, such as schools and public lighting.

Finally, the French authorities are relying on the “Ecowatt” alert system to inform the French. A red alert signal will warn of unavoidable power cuts if consumption does not drop after an alert has been issued. A website has been created to provide real-time warnings of the situation. After registering your telephone number or email address, “EcoWatt” will prevent the risk of cuts and will indicate the most effective eco-gestures and the time to apply them. To date, 350,000 French people have registered for this electricity "weather service". The EcoWatt application is available on the Apple Store and on the Google Play Store. By downloading it, notifications will be sent directly to your smartphone.

World Cup

Australia have reached the knockout stage of the World Cup for the first time in 16 years after shocking Denmark for a 1-0 win. Australia finish in second place in Group D on six points, only behind world champions France on goal difference.

Argentina completed the turnaround from the shock opening World Cup loss to Saudi Arabia by qualifying for the last 16 beating Poland 2-0. Poland went through on goal difference having finished level on points with Mexico.

And France had a goal ruled out by VAR for offside in the final minute of stoppage-time as Tunisia held on to register a shock 1-0 victory. However, despite victory Tunisia have failed to qualify for the last 16 of the World Cup.

Meanwhile, defender Ben White has left England's World Cup squad in Qatar to return home for personal reasons. In a statement England said that the Arsenal player is not expected to return for the rest of the tournament. The 25-year-old has four caps for England but did not make an appearance for the Three Lions as they finished top of Group B. He was not selected for the first two group games against Iran and the United States and missed the win against Wales on Tuesday night because of illness.

This afternoon at 4pm French time Canada play Morocco and Croatia face Belgium. This evening with an 8pm kick off Costa Rica play Germany and Japan play Spain.

Sport

Cricket – England win toss and are batting first this morning in the first day of the test match series against Pakistan.

Athletics - World Athletics president Lord Coe has said that Kenya evaded a ban from competition but has a "long journey" ahead to rebuild trust following a string of doping violations. A total of 55 athletes are serving suspensions issued by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), with a further eight provisionally suspended and awaiting the outcomes of their cases.

Lord Coe, speaking after World Athletics' council meeting in Rome on Wednesday, said the Kenyan government had committed to spend $5m a year for the next five years to combat doping in the sport by funding more personnel, doping tests and investigations as well as bolster educational programmes.

Weather

Cloudy patches along the coast in the Var. Sunny in the Alpes Maritimes. Highs of 14 degrees in Nice, Cannes and Saint Tropez with a gentle breeze from the north. This evening going down to 7 degrees with clear skies.

Outlook for tomorrow and heading into the weekend - sunny intervals on Friday highs of 14 degrees. Saturday light rain highs of 13 degrees and a fresh breeze. Heavy rain is forecast for Sunday with a gentle breeze and highs of 15 degrees.

Sunrise 07.43hr

Sunset 16.54hr

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