French and Riviera News Thursday 23rd May 2024

News National

Macron makes urgent attempt to calm tensions in New Caledonia - French President Emmanuel Macron has said that French security forces will remain in New Caledonia as long as necessary. Macron made an urgent visit to the Pacific territory this week in an attempt to calm tensions after more than a week of riots that have left six dead. Today Thursday 23rd May, the French head of state is due to hold talks with local leaders who fear that the change to voting rights which has caused the backlash, undermines longstanding efforts to secure independence. Macron’s visit has provoked mixed reactions among local politicians.

Unemployment reform planned to be unveiled next week - Meanwhile at home the French government is banking on a new unemployment benefit reform to make a saving of 3.6 billion euros and see the creation of some 90,000 jobs. The objectives were set out by France’s Minister of Labour on Wednesday with plans to unveil the reform at the beginning of next week. French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal had announced on March 27th a new reform of unemployment benefits in order to fill a growing public deficit. The Prime Minister notably planned to reduce the duration of compensation for job seekers by several months. The announcement was at the time, strongly criticized by the opposition and the unions. In an interview with L'Express published on Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron praised the planned reform which according to him would “strengthen the effectiveness of France’s compensation system and the incentive to work".

Local

Shooting - Two people have been injured and an individual has been arrested following a shooting near Toulon in the Var. The incident occurred in Solliès-Pont at around 4am on Wednesday morning. Several shots were fired. An investigation has been opened to determine the motive behind the incident.

Eric Ciotti calls for the privatisation of the SNCF - The President of the Republican party Éric Ciotti plans to submit a bill to privatise the SNCF. Invited this Wednesday morning by BFM, Ciotti said that he considers the “blackmail of the unions before the Olympic Games” as “scandalous” and wants to pass the law to modify the status of the national transport company. Ciotti went on to say that he was “outraged” that they were “taking advantage of the Games to bring the country to a standstill”. In an interview with the newspaper L'Opinion on April 25, the Riviera MP has already declared: "We cannot continue with a company that costs so much and has such a culture of blockage." He recommended "a form of privatization" of the SNCF, so that it would be "managed like a private company".

Dive for charity - Quadruple world record holder in freediving, Pierre Frolla made a dive to a depth of 40 metres off the coast of Monaco to raise the checkered flag of the Monaco Formula 1 grand prix. The event was to promote public awareness of water safety at sea in collaboration with the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, which acts to prevent drowning and develop awareness through the values of sport. Every year, drowning affects many people, particularly young children under the age of five. The dive was also a symbolic act in the presence of HSH Prince Albert II Monaco and Princess Charlene as the famous checkered flag of the 81st Monaco Grand Prix will be signed by the drivers who participate in this weekend’s race, to then be auctioned afterwards raising money for the fight against drowning and the preservation of our oceans.

Former French athlete to light Olympic flame - Former French athlete Stéphane Diagana is to light the Olympic flame when it arrives on the Riviera on the 18th of June. The flame will return to France after being in Martinique on this date with the relay starting in Villefranche-sur-Mer, before heading to Grasse, Cannes, Antibes, Valberg, Antibes, Valdeblore-La Colmiane and ending in Nice. Diagana was the first French athlete to become a world athletics champion, in 2003. The 400-metre hurdles specialist is also a dedicated anti-doping activist, as a member of the athletes' committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Taylor Swift expected to attend the Monaco Grand Prix - Finally, according to local media reports Taylor Swift and her companion Travis Kelce are expected in the Principality for this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix. Like every year, there will be lots of people in Monaco for the F1 Grand Prix and amongst the stars expected this Sunday, May 26th, are the famous couple.

Business

The CEO of the SNCF (France’s train network) has announced that a draft agreement with unions has been written up to offer a bonus during this year’s Olympic Games. Up to 1,900 euros gross is on the table according to the proposal made by management on Wednesday. Unions appear to have clearly won their case following threats of strike action during the event and now have until June 4th to accept the offer. Meanwhile, the SNCF has said that the overall cost of the measure would not have any impact on the taxpayer of the price of tickets.

From predicting standby crew requirements to arranging aircraft maintenance AI has been praised by EasyJet’s chief executive. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) at the airlines new control centre has allowed its operations teams to better manage flights, helping to solve issues for pilots and crews on the ground more quickly. It was claimed that AI would predict standby crew requirements and recommend the best crew options for each operation. More than 250 staff work in the control centre, managing easyJet's daily programme of about 2,000 flights.

It’s been reported that Live Nation Entertainment, which was created by the merger in 2010 of US-based events promoter Live Nation and ticket sales and distribution company Ticketmaster, is to be sued by the US Justice Department (DOJ). The move comes after an investigation by DOJ's anti-trust division. The entertainment giant has faced growing criticism from fans, lawmakers, artists and competitors. The company has been accused of having too much influence over live entertainment events in the US and around the world.

Sport 

Football Europa league final - Atlanta won the Europa league last night with a  3-0 over Byaern Laverkusen in Dublin. Xabi Alonso praised his side for their exceptional unbeaten run this season, but stated it was unfortunate the fairytale must end at the Europa final. The German side have gone 51 games unbeaten with their last taste of defeat going back as far as May 27th last year. While proud of his sides achievements over the last year winning the Budesliga unbeaten and for the first time in their 119 year history, Alonso said its a tough one to take loosing the Europa final, Atlanta were by far the better team and deserved the trophy said the former Liverpool midfielder.

Atlanta’s Ademola Lookman conjured one of the great individual European final performances to wreck Bayer Leverkusen’s bid for an ‘invincible treble’. The Charlton Athletic academy graduate, who magaged only one goal in three seasons at Everton, smashed a stunning individual hat-trick last night to put Laverkusen to the sword. This was Atalanta’s first ever European trophy. It was a masterclass from coach Gian Piero Gasperini. The game was won with aggression and determination from Atlanta without giving their oppoents a chance.

Laverkausen have another chance at the weekend to complete the domestic double when they take on Kaiserslautern in the German Cup final at the weekend.

Tennis - Novak Djokovic made it a 37th birthday to remember as he beat Germanys Yannisck Hanfmann in a rain interupted match 6-3 6-3 to secure his place in the quater finals in the Geneva open. Djokovic a 24 time grandslam winner is playing the ATP tournament in switzerland for the first time as he prepares for the french open. He is only the third player to win 1,100 matches on the ATP tour after Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer.

Formula One - Lando Norris has not ruled out a 2024 title run or a Monaco GP win as he aims to keep pressure on Max Verstappen. Lando Norris says "it’s was about time Max Verstappen felt a bit of nerves again" at the top of F1, the young McLaren driver will not be underestimating the team's prospects any longer ahead of a Monaco Grand Prix which could yet open up F1's title fight.

The Mclaren driver hinted at a repeat of last weekends result, when he made a late charge in Imola to finish the race within 1 second of the world champion.  Verstappen who is good friends with Norris, could be heard on his radio complaining about the cars lack of grip and lapped traffic. This weekend's Grand Prix kicks off tomorrow, Friday 24th May, with the first practice session at 13.30hr to 14.30hr and a second practice session at 17.00hr to 18.00hr.

On Saturday the third practice session is at 12.30hr with Qualifers at 16.00hr to 17.00hr.  And finally to race day the drivers parade is a 13.00 with the race starting at 15.00

Weather

Fine and sunny with clear skies. Thundery storms are forecast for this afternoon in Nice and the Alpes Maritimes. Remaining dry in Saint-Tropez and the Var region.  Light to moderate winds. Highs of 21 degrees in Nice, Monaco and Marseille. 22 degrees in Cannes. Reaching 26 degrees in Saint-Tropez. This evening going down to 15 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for Friday, temperatures remaining the same. Fine and sunny with cloudy patches in the afternoon and light showers inland by late evening. Saturday, fine with highs of 20 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 22 degrees in the Var. Sunday which is race day here in the Principality for the Monaco Grand Prix the forecast is sunny with some cloud by late afternoon but remaining dry. Highs of 22 degrees.

Sunrise                 05.57am

Sunset                  08.57pm

Beach weather

Sea temperature Monaco 18.8°

UV level 7

Weather elsewhere

London                 18° light cloud.

New York             27° heavy rain.

Dublin                   14° light cloud.

Sydney                  18° sunny.

 

 

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