French and Riviera News Thursday 25th August 2022

Local News

Missing man in Alpes-Maritimes - Gendarmes in the Alpes-Maritimes have launched an appeal after a man went missing while out hiking. Richard Guerois, who works as a freelance medic with clients including AS Monaco football club, was last seen on 17th August. He had returned home from a holiday in Corsica earlier than his wife and children, for work. His wife raised the alarm after she couldn't make contact with him. A search of the family home in Aspremont revealed he had left his phone and identity documents behind. The search is concentrating on the hiking trails around Aspremont and Allos.

Prosecuters investigating death of mother in Toulon - Prosecutors investigating the death of a mother in her apartment in Toulon on Monday say they no longer think she was murdered - although they have not completely ruled it out. The 37-year-old woman died of a stab wound at her home in the centre of Toulon, in a case that was initially treated as a murder investigation. Forensics experts have now carried out a post-mortem which suggests a third party was not involved and the death remains unexplained. The victim's partner is serving time in La Farlède prison for an earlier case of domestic violence.

Member of parliament suggests banning private swimming pools - A French member of parliament who made headlines this week with his proposed ban on private jets now has private swimming pools in his sight. Julien Bayou, from France's green party, wants the use of swimming pools on private properties to be banned if we experience more frequent and longer periods of drought in the future. Three million homes in France have a swimming pool. We know the figure because they have to be declared for property tax reasons. The Var has 106,000 private swimming pools - that's the second-highest number after the Vaucluse. In the Alpes-Maritimes there are 54,000. Roquefort-les-Pins has the highest number per inhabitant - six out of 10 homes in the municipality have a private swimming pool.

Private jets making flights between Nice and Cannes - Meanwhile, a campaign group against aircraft noise at Cannes-Mandelieu airport has discovered that private jets frequently make flights between Nice and Cannes - a distance of just 35 kilometres. This happened more than 60 times last month. Most of the flights are empty - generally they've dropped a passenger off in Nice before flying to their parking slot at Cannes airport. 

Thousands of teaching positions remain unfilled in France - In other news, with just one week until pupils and teachers return to school across France, thousands of teaching positions remain unfilled - and the Riviera is not spared. According to the education ministry, 4,000 teaching jobs in primary and secondary education remain vacant nationwide. 83% of posts are filled, compared with 94% this time last year. Low morale and low salaries in the teaching profession are in part to blame for the exodus of talent. Stricter rules, which came into force this year, on who can take teaching exams are also limiting the number of new recruits.

Landlords forbidden from increasing rent on non energy-efficient homes - Landlords who rent out homes that aren't energy efficient are banned from putting up their rents from today. A new law imposes a rent freeze on properties with an energy efficiency rating of F or G. 17% of housing in France falls within these categories. Rents cannot be increased when a new rental contract is signed, or a current one is renewed. The aim is to encourage owners to carry out works to better insulate their properties. From January next year, homes with the worst rating - G - which consume more than 450 kilowatt hours per square metre per year cannot be rented out at all.

Vineyards in the Var start early harvest - After Bellet last week, it's the turn of several vineyards in the east of the Var to start an early grape harvest. The vendange has already started in Fréjus, Roquebrune-sur-Argens and Puget-Thénier. The drought and hot weather mean grapes have matured much earlier than usual. The Clos des Roses in Fréjus is inviting the public to open days tomorrow and Saturday to find out more about the wine-making process and see the grape-pickers at work.

OGC Nice - Fans of OGC Nice are trying to drum up support for the local side ahead of a crucial Europa League qualifier against Maccabi Tel Aviv this evening. Ticket sales have reportedly been sluggish, with fewer than 20,000 spectators expected to attend tonight's match at the Allianz Riviera. Supporters have been sticking up posters around Nice urging people to come along and support their local team. OGC Nice is offering cut-price tickets starting as low as €5. Students from an association at Sciences-Po in Menton had planned a peaceful demonstration in support of Palestine outside the Allianz Riviera ahead of OGC Nice's match against the Israeli club - but it has now been cancelled.

Gambler won €154,000 in the Var - And a gambler has won €154,000 at a PMU betting shop in the Var. It's the department's fourth big win so far this year. The man played the Quinté+ game at Chez Tino in Saint-Tropez. The biggest win on the Riviera so far this year was €329,000 at a shop in Grasse in March.

Business

The UK imported no fuel from Russia in June for the first time on record, according to official figures. Imports of goods from Russia also fell to £33m in June, the lowest level since records began in January 1997, the Office for National Statics (ONS) said. Western nations have imposed strict sanctions on Russia since it invaded Ukraine in February. The UK has pledged to phase out Russian oil imports by the end of the year and gas imports as soon as possible. Fuel imports from Russia fell by £499m - or 100% - compared with the average for the previous 12 months to February. In 2021, the UK imported around 4% of its gas from Russia, and 11% of its oil, according to the International Energy Agency.

A former security chief for Twitter has turned whistleblower and testified that the company misled users and US regulators about gaps in its security. Peiter Zatko also claimed that Twitter underestimated how many fake and spam accounts are on its platform. The accusations could affect a legal battle between Twitter and billionaire Elon Musk, who is trying to cancel his $44bn (£37bn) deal to buy the company. Twitter says Mr Zatko's allegations are inaccurate and inconsistent. It says he was sacked in January for ineffective leadership and poor performance.

Sport

Motorsport - Formula 1 reconvenes at the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend - the end of its summer break marking the start of a hectic run of nine races in 12 weeks that will decide the 2022 World Championship, and much more besides. Red Bull's Max Verstappen appears to be heading towards a second world title. Verstappen heads into what are effectively two home races on consecutive weekends in Belgium and the Netherlands with an impregnable-looking 80-point lead over his only realistic rival - Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

Cricket - England have made one change to their team for the second Test against South Africa, with Ollie Robinson replacing Matthew Potts. Sussex pace bowler Robinson last played for England in the final Test of the Ashes series against Australia in January. South Africa beat England by an innings and 12 runs inside three days at Lord's in the first Test. The second Test starts at Manchester's Old Trafford ground today.

Football - Chloe Kelly, who scored the winner against Germany in the final of Euro 2022, has been ruled out of England's first squad since their historic Wembley triumph with injury. Chelsea's Fran Kirby is also injured. Goalkeeper Hannah Hampton, a Euro 2022 squad member, has been left out. England take on Austria and Luxembourg in their final qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup on 3 and 6 September.

Weather

More fine sunny weather for the Riviera today - temperatures up to 30 degrees celsius, and up to 34 inland in the Var. Light, southerly winds. Clear skies overnight, temperatures around 22-24 on the coast, going down to 19 further inland.

Friday starts with some light cloud, clearing after lunch on the coast. There's a risk of thunderstorms inland in the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var tomorrow afternoon. Temperatures around 28-30 degrees celsius on the coast, 32 further inland in the Var.

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