French and Riviera News Thursday 26th January 2023

News

Water consumption to be slashed in France under “daily sobriety plan” - France has announced what it calls a “daily sobriety plan” to slash water consumption following a severe drought last summer. The measure was presented by the Ecological Transition Minister on Wednesday Christophe Béchu. The minister spoke of measuring water in “Eco watts’ and overhauling France’s water treatment system adding that the average consumption of 150 litres of water per person per day was not sustainable.

With the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicting a 10 to 40 percent drop in river levels by 2050, Béchu concluded that “nature leaves us no choice" but to act. In 2022 "almost all French departments were affected by restrictions, and 700 municipalities experienced difficulties in drinking water supply”.

New online declaration for homeowners - Homeowners in France will have to complete a new online declaration in 2023 following a “new reporting obligation” introduced by the French government. 34 million homeowners are concerned and have until June the 30th to complete the new declaration.  All you have to do is go to the impots.gouv.fr website and click on the "Manage my real estate" section. You must then indicate in what capacity you occupy your accommodation(s). If a property is not occupied, the identity of the occupants and the period of occupation must be indicated (situation as of January 1, 2023).

Necessary to wave for the train to stop in some stations of southwestern France - We may be used to hailing a taxi or waving for the bus but, now in southwestern France train passengers will be required to wave for the train to stop. Since the beginning of January, the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region has been testing a new formula in the regions train stations of Jassoneix, Pérols-sur-Vézère and Montaignac-sur-Doustre, in Corrèze. The trains which do not reach high speeds, can stop at the request of passengers on the platform by them raising their arm and can similarly let people off by going to see the driver.

Meanwhile the SNCF has put on sale tickets for the May bank holidays and the spring break. For more information go to the SNCF website. The sale comes after January saw the average price of a train ticket in France increase by 5%.

Training exercise - Officers from the Toulon naval base have been carrying out a training exercise on the beach in Saint-Raphael on Wednesday. The French navy conducted the exercise which was aimed at evacuating civilians after a disaster on the Dramont beach in Saint-Raphaël. The soldiers of the foreign legion also took part in the life-size exercise

Mayor removes posters for the circus - The mayor of Six-Fours in the Var has ordered the removal of posters promoting the Zavatta circus which had been displayed throughout the city. Controversy around the animal circus has been brewing since last week. However unable to force the circus to leave the mayor had all the posters removed which were “illegally displayed”.

Measure to ease pressure at Frejus hospital - Management at Fréjus hospital have come up with a range of measures to try to ease the pressure on its over-stretched accident and emergency department. Staff at the Frejus A&E have been overwhelmed with work since early January, with long waiting times for patients and a severe shortage of beds. Several other departments in the hospital will be rearranged to free up several dozen extra beds, while a child psychiatric unit will be moved elsewhere to recover another 15 beds. Hospital management also plan to recruit four extra nurses and three emergency care assistants. The director of the Paca regional health authority is due to visit the hospital in early February to discuss the problems.

Special powers scam - A self-proclaimed psychic and witch doctor who manipulated his victims into paying him €400,000 has been jailed for six years. The 65-year-old claimed to have special powers. Police in Nice identified 12 victims, many of them vulnerable and elderly, although it's possible that others were conned by the man and haven't come forward. One victim believed that the psychic could cure her daughter's cancer - and he threatened her with bad luck if she didn't pay up €10,000. One man, in his 80s, was talked into parting with almost €300,000. Another paid more than €7,000 to try to save his marriage. Defence lawyers had pleaded for a lenient sentence due to ill health, as their client has diabetes, kidney problems and difficulty walking - but this wasn't accepted.

Lock of Napoleon’s hair eventually finds a buyer - An auction house in Monaco has sold a lock of Napoleon's hair for €5,200. The framed piece of the emperor's hair, which was cut after his death so that an imprint of his face could be made, had initially failed to find a buyer at auction. A French businessman who has been building up a collection of Napoleon-related items approached the auction house afterwards with an offer to buy it.

Electric car – Finally, if you're looking to buy an electric car, and live in the Alpes-Maritimes, the departmental council is offering a special one-off grant to help fund it. Depending on your household income, the Alpes-Maritimes is offering residents between €1,000 and €5,000 to make the switch to electric driving. The grants apply to new electric cars only. The authorities are also offering subsidies of up to €400 to install a charging point for an electric car. You'll find all the details on the official website www.greendeal06.fr

Business

Meta has announced that it is to end its two-year suspension of Donald Trump’s accounts, meaning that he will now be allowed back on to Facebook and Instagram. The social media giant said that the suspension will end "in the coming weeks". The then-US president was indefinitely suspended from Facebook and Instagram after the Capitol riot in 2021.

Aircraft giant Boeing is to answer a fraud charge in court over two plane crashes which killed 346 people. Both accidents were down to flaws in the flight control systems on the 737 Max aircraft which caused nosedives. Boeing was found to have failed to disclose information about the system but avoided a trial by agreeing to pay $2.5bn (£1.8bn) in fines and compensation. Relatives of those who died are trying to reopen the settlement. It means that for the first time, the company will be formally charged in court in relation to the two crashes and will have to plead guilty or not guilty.

After cutting prices to increase demand Tesla is gearing up for a challenging 2023. The electric car company, led by billionaire Elon Musk, reported record revenue and profits in the three months to December, beating expectations. Mr Musk acknowledged "questions" about how the firm will be affected by higher borrowing costs and a weaker economy. But he said the price cuts are working to bring in buyers, with orders this month so far outpacing production.

Meanwhile, the number of new cars made in the UK fell again sharply last year plummeting to its lowest level since 1956. The drop marks a 10% fall from the year before which itself was a historic low.

Sport

Football - Manchester United have beaten Nottingham Forest 3-0 as Marcus Rashford's sensational scoring streak continued in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final last night. Manchester United are that much closer to an EFL Cup final appearance at Wembley next month.

Meanwhile, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has blasted Argentina's post-World Cup celebrations as 'disrespectful'. The South American side triumphed in the tournament’s showpiece in late December, beating France 4-2 on penalties after the game finished 3-3 following extra time. Speaking to France Inter AC Milan veteran Ibrahimovic said that the nature of Argentina's celebrations, which he felt were over the top, meant they would not win another global title.

Tennis - Noval Djokovic has once again complained of fan behaviour at the Australian Open  after his opponent was urged to 'send him home', 12 months on from his deportation saga. Aiming to win his 10th slam Down Under, Djokovic beat Russian opponent Andrey Rublev in the first set of their quarter final on Wednesday night, taking it 6-1. But Djokovic was clearly upset by heckling from the crowd and was heard urging the umpire to take action. 

Historic Car Rally honours legend – Tomorrow Friday January 27th, 281 teams driving from Norway, Germany, Italy, France and the U.K. will arrive in the Monaco as part of the Monte Carlo Historic Rally. The Classification Leg will then begin Saturday morning with all teams competing in four days of Stage Racing until they reach the Finish Line in Port Hercules in Monaco just after midnight on Tuesday. To celebrate this 25th edition, legendary French rally driver Jean Claude Andruet is at the wheel of an Alpine Renault A110, the car he won the Monte Carlo rally in 50 years ago in 1973. Andruet, who won a total of five Le Mans 24 hours class wins and 20 podiums, is teaming up with Valerie Closier, Director of the Prince’s Car Collection in Monaco. Closier is one of some 50 women participating.

Weather

Sunny with highs of 14 degrees in Nice, Cannes and Antibes. 12 degrees and a moderate breeze in Monaco. Highs of 13 in Saint Tropez with light winds and just 11 degrees in Marseille. This evening going down to 6 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow Friday, sunny intervals in the Alpes Maritimes. Light cloud in the Var. Highs of 8 degrees in Marseille and 11 degrees in Nice. Saturday and Sunday remaining fine moderate breeze highs of 11-13 degrees.

Sunrise       07.53hr

Sunset        17.32hr

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