French and Riviera News Thursday 21st December 2023

News

Interview with French President Emmanuel Macron - Speaking on French television last night, French President Emmanuel Macron defended France’s position as “consistent” when questioned about the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, adding that France's position was in line with “the country's values and interests”.  Macron also spoke of the controversial immigration bill which has been adopted by the French government this week, after long hours of negotiations, describing it as a “much needed shield”. The Head of State also spoke of the opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics, telling viewers that there was “obviously a plan B” due to the terrorist threat, after several political leaders have called for the lavish opening ceremony to be postponed due to security. Macron ended the interview, which was exceptionally held at the Elysee Palace for France 5 and the current affairs programme “C à vous”, by reacting to the Gérard Depardieu affair and the recent call for his legion of honour to be withdrawn following accusations of rape and sexual assault against the French actor. The French President insisted that the “legion of honour was not there to preach morality” adding that he is a “great admirer of Gérard Depardieu” before concluding that “there is one thing you will never see me do is take part in a “manhunt”.

Health minister resigns over immigration bill - Meanwhile, it was on Wednesday that French government spokesperson Oliver Veran confirmed the resignation of Health Minister Aurelien Rousseau. The minister tendered his resignation as a result of disagreeing with the text of the immigration bill. Oliver Veran said that Agnes Firmin Le Bodo, who has been in charge of territorial organization and the health professions will become Health Minister on a temporary basis.

Backlash from new immigration law - The immigration law also saw dozens of actors, trade unionists and politicians sign today Thursday, December 21st a petition against the new laws launched by the newspaper L'Humanité. More than 150 people have signed the appeal published on the website of the newspaper founded by Jean-Jaurès. Amongst the signatures are ex-footballer and actor Éric Cantona, the César-winning filmmaker Alice Diop and the Nobel Prize winner for literature Annie Ernaux.  The revolt against the immigration law also saw 32 departments in France, led by the left announce that they “will not apply” the changes.

Woman dies in apartment fire - Locally, a woman has died in an apartment fire in Vence. Firefighters intervened on Wednesday evening at around 6pm in a first-floor apartment in the centre of Vence. The victim was found unresponsive after the fire ravaged her apartment, Place Frédéric-Mistral, a stone's throw from Place du Grand-Jardin. The building was evacuated and there were no other victims. An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the blaze.

Christmas village evacuated - The Christmas village in Cagnes-sur-Mer was evacuated on Wednesday evening after police officers intervened due to a suspicious package near the Civette Cagnoise, avenue Auguste-Renoir. The emergency services and police evacuated surrounding buildings. The area was later reopened.

Busy weekend on the roads - Motorway operator VINCI Autoroutes has said that traffic is expected to be heavy on Friday December 22 and Saturday December 23 in the Île-de-France region, in the Rhône valley and the Mediterranean coast, as well as around large cities. In our region, on the A8, A50 and A57 motorways, traffic is expected to increase around large towns on Friday at the end of the day, then on Saturday at midday, mainly around Aix-en-Provence.

Business

Ikea has warned its customers of possible delays for some products as a result of attacks on ships heading to the Suez Canal. The attacks have forced some companies to re-route cargo.  The Swedish flat-pack furniture giant said it's looking for other options to ensure its products will be available to customers. As well as delays to products, longer journeys will increase shipping costs which could have an impact on prices.

Airbnb has been fined A$15m and has agreed to pay compensation after it was found to have misled around 63,000 Australian customers. The prices of some lettings on the firm's website were in US dollars rather than the lower value Australian dollars - but this was not made clear initially. It meant some customers paid more than expected for their accommodation. Airbnb has apologised and said it is committed to "price transparency".

Sport

Football – Liverpool thrashed West Ham 5-1 in Wednesday evening's League Cup game. Next, they face in the Premier League on Saturday top of the table leaders Arsenal. Ahead of the game boss Jurgen Klopp told any supporters who are not in the right shape for Saturday’s game to give their ticket to someone else. His comments come after he criticised the atmosphere at Anfield last night describing it as “flat” inside the stadium.

This evening in the Premier League Crystal Palace are at home to Brighton.

Meanwhile in the French league Kylian Mbappe marked his 25th birthday with two goals as Paris St-Germain beat Metz - with his 16-year-old brother Ethan making his debut.

And – Nice triumphed over Lens 2-0 on Wednesday. Nice are 2nd in the table with 35 points, while Lens sit 7th place with 26 points.

Tennis - Jamie Murray, elder brother of former singles world No. 1, Andy Murray has been named tournament director of the Queen's Club Championships. Murray has experience as a tournament director, having organised the Battle of the Brits event between Scotland and England in Aberdeen in late 2023.

Weather

Fine and sunny with a gentle breeze in the Alpes Maritimes. Highs of 15 degrees in Monaco, Nice and Antibes. Highs of 14 degrees in Saint-Tropez with strong winds in the Var. This evening going down to 6 degrees along the coast with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow and heading into the weekend. Fine and sunny. Highs of 14-15 degrees. Strong winds in the Var are expected to last until Saturday dying down by Sunday.

Sunrise       08.00am

Sunset        04.55pm

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