French and Riviera News Thursday 22nd December 2022

News

Train strike - 200,000 train passengers will be affected by strike action announced for this Christmas weekend in France. From tomorrow Friday 23rd December, one out of two TGVs will circulate in the north, three out of five in the East and South-East and two out of three Ouigo’s will be running.

Passengers whose train has been cancelled as a result of the strike, will benefit from a voucher equivalent to twice the amount of the original ticket and valid for a year.

Since November and after a first strike weekend in early December, the SNCF is struggling to establish dialogue with a collective of controllers who have set up a Facebook page to demand better recognition, this comes independently from unions, whom they must still rely on to file strike notices.

SNCF management has proposed to increase the controllers "work bonus" by 600 euros per year, as well as an additional allowance of 600 euros gross per year. These proposals have been deemed satisfactory for the Unsa-Ferroviaire to withdraw its notice and for the CGT-Cheminots and SUD-rail not to call for strike action however, hundreds of controllers have decided otherwise.

In response to the strike action over the festive period the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has called it "unjustifiable" and requested France’s Minister of Transport Clément Beaune, the requisition of personnel to allow the French to join their families for the Christmas holidays. The strike will reportedly cost "several tens of millions of euros" to the SNCF.

GPs set to go on strike again - Meanwhile, following a first strike in early December, GPs in France could again close their surgeries from December 26th for at least seven days. The "Doctor for tomorrow" movement has called for action from December 26th for one week, renewable. On December 1st and 2nd, doctors had already gone on strike with 50 to 70% of surgeries closing their doors. According to "Doctors for tomorrow" the number could be just as high for this new call for strike action. The demands have not changed as GPs would like to see the revaluation of consultations from the current 25 euros to 50 euros.

Cash and credit card receipts - Cash and credit card receipts will no longer be printed automatically in businesses in Monaco from January 1st. However, customers can still request a receipt. The change is part of the government's "zero single-use plastic waste by 2030" policy. Also from 1st January, meals taken on site, within the confines of a catering establishment, must be served in reusable crockery. The new measures complement several other measures which came into force between 2021 and 2022.

Traffic disrupted due to bad parking - Traffic in Le Cannet came to a standstill for an hour on Wednesday morning after a rather selfish motorist parked sideways and very badly on a “short stop” strip of parking. The incident occurred on the Boulevard du Nord. Diversions were set up and upon returning to his vehicle the motorist was completely unaware of the inconvenience caused. The risk of being towed away was not possible either, as the tow truck was also stuck in traffic trying to get to the vehicle. The driver was fined 135 euros for overtime and traffic obstruction but could face further action from regional bus companies for service disruption.

Heavy traffic for Christmas weekend - Meanwhile, motorway operator VINCI Autoroutes have said that traffic is expected to be heavy this weekend in most areas served by its network. On the A8 motorway, traffic is expected to increase around major cities today and then on Christmas Day at the end of the afternoon and the beginning of the evening. The organization also advises motorists to be well prepared in case of a change in weather conditions.

Jet27 - Unable to find Jet27 in some French supermarkets? This is because the mint liqueur has reduced its alcohol content, without lowering the price of its bottles.  As the end of the year celebrations approach, Carrefour and Système U have started to remove mint liqueur from their shelves against the drop in alcohol content.

A few months ago, the change was made by the Bacardi-Martini group to cope with soaring production costs. The alcohol content of Get 27, fell from 21° to 17.9° but the price of the bottle remained the same. A move considered as “unacceptable” for Carrefour and Système U who believe that this change of formula should have been accompanied by a drop in price.

Tour de France - The organizers of the Tour de France have revealed the route of the first three stages of 2024, which will start on June 29th from Florence in Italy. The Tour has in the past, started from all the countries bordering France but never before has it started from Italy. In another first the race will finish in Nice.

Business

A new report has suggested that firms are "banging their head against the wall" two years after post-Brexit trading began. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said businesses were still grappling with EU trading arrangements and more red tape. It comes as a separate report from the Centre for European Reform suggests Brexit may have reduced UK trade by around 7%. But the government said Brexit "opens new opportunities for UK businesses". The Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which was struck late on Christmas Eve 2020, meant goods and services could still flow between the UK and EU without tariffs after Brexit. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) questioned 1,168 businesses and 514 said they traded overseas or were otherwise affected by the agreement. More than half of these firms said they were struggling with the new rules which mean they have to deal with new forms, checks or other processes.

The former boss of failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, is being extradited from the Bahamas to the US where he faces fraud charges. 30-year-old Sam Bankman-Fried is accused of committing "one of the biggest financial frauds in US history". Mr Bankman-Fried, who denies the allegations, may appear in court in New York on Thursday morning. Two of his former associates have pleaded guilty to related charges.

Records released on Tuesday after a four-year legal battle have shown that former US president Donald Trump reported steep business losses in his final year in the White House, allowing him to avoid paying income tax. He also did not face tax audits during his first two years in office, despite rules requiring the review of tax filings by sitting presidents. A spokesman for Mr Trump said the release was politically motivated.

And - H&M has removed a Justin Bieber-inspired collection after it was branded "trash" by the singer. The 28-year-old said he had not approved the collection, which included T-shirts, jumpers, bags and phone accessories. In a post on his Instagram Story, the singer urged people not to buy the items which he said were being sold without his permission or approval. The company said proper procedures were followed but have now pulled the line. It's not the first time a star has hit out at a brand for using their image without permission.

In 2015, Rihanna won a court case against Topshop - she successfully sued its parent company for £3.3m after it sold a sleeveless T-shirt with her photo on it. And in 2019, Ariana Grande brought action against Forever 21 after she claimed it published at least 30 "unauthorised" images and videos that suggested she had endorsed the brand.

Sport

Football – Brazilian great Pele will be spending Christmas in hospital after doctors announced that his cancer had advanced. The 82-year-old three-time World Cup winner has been in hospital for just over three weeks.

27-year-old Beth Mead has become the first female footballer to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2022. The England and Arsenal forward starred at this summer's Euro 2022, where she helped the Lionesses to glory at Wembley, England's first ever major women's football trophy.

And - Marcus Rashford wasted no time readjusting to club matters after his World Cup campaign with England as he scored a fine solo goal in Manchester United's EFL Cup win over Burnley at Old Trafford.

Tennis - Andy Murray has beaten England's Jack Draper on a deciding tie-break, to leave the Battle of the Brits level on day one. The 35-year-old claimed a 6-2 1-6 12-10 victory for Team Scotland in Aberdeen. The Battle of the Brits - between Team Scotland and Team England - involves four men's singles and two men's doubles matches spread over two days, from Wednesday to Thursday, 21-22 December.

Weather

Sunny intervals with a moderate breeze. Highs of 15 degrees in Nice, 16 in Cannes and 18 in Saint Tropez. 12 degrees inland in Tende. This evening going down to 8 degrees along the coast and 6 degrees inland, with clear skies.

Outlook for Friday, same as today with sunny intervals feeling mild with highs of 21 degrees expected in the Var and 18 in the Alpes Maritimes. Christmas Eve, sunshine, highs of 16 in Nice and 21 degrees in Toulon. Christmas day cloudy patches with highs of 17 degrees.

Sunrise       08.01hr

Sunset        16.56hr

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