French and Riviera News Thursday 21st March 2024

National News

Photo of French President causes a commotion - A photo of French President Emmanuel Macron boxing has raised eyebrows in France with public relation experts questioning the president’s self-promotion and some internet users in doubt about the accuracy of the photo which was posted on Wednesday on Instagram. Doubters pointed to the size of his biceps and re-posted the boxing picture alongside an image of Mr Macron, 46, with a skinnier arm. Others joked and tweeted the pictures saying that they showed Mr Macron, a keen boxer, getting ready to take on Russia and its 71-year-old president, Vladimir Putin. They were published less than a week after the French president suggested sending Western troops to Ukraine could not be ruled out. Gaspard Gantzer, a well-known public relations expert, told newspaper Nice-Matin that the president wanted the images to show "he is a Frenchman like any other ... that he is in great physical shape ... that he wants to fight." His wife, Brigitte Macron, said in November that the president did boxing training twice a week.

France’s largest cyberbullying case - In France's largest cyberbullying case to date twenty-eight people have been jailed for up to 18 months for the harassment of an influencer. Judges found the accused guilty of harassing Magali Berdah, spurred on by a campaign by the French rapper Booba against "thieving influencers". The court in Paris heard that the harassment had "real consequences" to Ms Berdah's mental health. Booba is facing a separate trail and denies aggravated harassment.

Angry farmers to return following failures from the government - Farmers are expected to take action in Avignon today blaming the French government for a lack clarity in the implementation of certain measures announced last month. Many farmers have already relaunched protests in the South-West with the movement moving to the South-East and in the Vaucluse. Demonstrations are are planned in front of certain administrative services located in Avignon. Other operations are likely to be carried out at the very last moment.

Motorist dies in road accident in Le Lavandou - A motorist has died following a road accident in Le Lavandou in the Var. The incident occurred on Wednesday morning on the main boulevard opposite the beach when the 70-year-old driver from nearby Saint Clair felt unwell and lost control of his vehicle hitting parked cars before continuing against the security barriers protecting the seafront businesses and then against the terrace of a restaurant. A man who worked in the restaurant was slightly injured and had to be taken to Hyères hospital.

Habitat auction in Monaco - An auction has been planned on March 27th following the liquidation of the Monaco Habitat store. The Habitat brand in the Principality is coming to an end and was placed in liquidation on January 12th by the Monaco court, after having closed its doors on November 30th. Ahead of the auction it will be possible for bargain hunters to visit the Saint-Charles store, where several dozen unliquidated products – such as bedding, sofas or interior decorations – will be on show on Monday March 25th and Tuesday March 26th from 10am to 5pm.

Book signing by tennis star Henri Leconte - Tennis legend Henri Leconte is to hold a special book signing event for his new autobiography, “Balles Neuves”. The event is taking place at 3pm at the Fnac Monaco on April the 6th. Alongside the book signing will also be the chance to win tickets to the upcoming Rolex Monte Carlo Masters tournament, that is of course if you don’t win them in the great giveaway on the Full English Breakfast show starting next week.

Business

French regulators have fined Google €250m (£213m) for breaching an agreement overpaying media companies for reproducing their content online. France’s competition watchdog said on Wednesday that it was fining the US tech company for breaches linked to intellectual property rules related to news media publishers. The regulator also cited concerns about Google’s AI service. The competition authority said Google’s AI-powered chatbot Bard – since rebranded as Gemini – was trained on content from publishers and news agencies without notifying them.

France's fast fashion bill approved last week has targeted fast fashion and ultra-fast fashion sold by online retail giants such as Shein and Temu. The measure is a move to offset the fast fashion industry's environmental impact by banning the advertising of certain ultra-fast-fashion companies and fine them with annually increasing supplements of up to 10 euros per article of clothing by 2030. The bill would also mandate that fast fashion retailers include an item's reuse, repair, recycling and environmental impact near the product's price.

The website Reddit which was founded almost 20 years ago and has now become one of the most popular websites in the world has priced its shares at the top of a marketed range, valuing the social media platform at $6.4bn (£5bn). It has raised $748m as it sells 22 million shares for $34 each, making it one of the biggest initial public offerings (IPO) by a social media firm. The shares will start trading on the New York stock exchange today. In an unusual move the company offered some of the shares to the platform's users, although it has not been disclosed how many took up the offer.

And - Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott is giving $640m (£504m) to non-profit organisations, more than double her previously planned donations for the year. Ms Scott announced this week she would give the money to 361 small groups, out of the more than 6,000 organisations that applied for funding. She had initially planned to make 250 awards of $1m each this year. Since her 2019 divorce from Amazon's Jeff Bezos, she has given away $16.5bn. According to Forbes Ms Scott has a net worth of $37.5bn, which rates her as the fourth richest woman in the world and has pledged to give away half of her wealth over the course of her life.

Sport

Football – It’s a big night for Wales who will be one win away from Euro 2024 if they beat Finland this evening in their home play-off semi-final. Kick-off is at 8.45pm French time. Victory will set up a one-leg play-off final at Cardiff City Stadium against Poland or Estonia on Tuesday. Having failed to qualify for a major tournament between 1958 and 2016, Wales are aiming to reach their fourth out of five - and a third successive Euros.

Formula One - Susie Wolff has taken legal action against motorsport's governing body the FIA following its controversial conflict of interest inquiry into her last year. Wolff is the director of the F1 Academy series for aspiring female drivers and wife of Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. Wolff said she had filed "a criminal complaint in the French courts in relation to the statements made about me by the FIA last December".

Rugby Union - Owen Farrell says he remains "happy" with his decision to step away from England and is focused on enjoying his rugby again. The former England captain made himself unavailable for this year's Six Nations "in order to prioritise his and his family's mental wellbeing". Next season Farrell will join Racing 92 which rules out a possible return.

Weather

Sunny with light winds and highs of 17 degrees in Monaco and Nice. 20 degrees in Saint Tropez. This evening going down to 10 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for Friday remaining much the same as today. The weekend sunny with highs of 20 degrees in Nice and 21 degrees in Cannes. Highs of 16-17 degrees in Saint-Tropez and the Var, feeling cooler due to strong winds.

Sunrise          06.31am

Sunset           06.44pm

Sea temperature

Nice                                   14.2°

Weather elsewhere

London 16° cloudy

Milan    20° sunny

Birmingham 14° cloudy

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