French and Riviera News Thursday 28th December 2023

News

Death of Jacques Delors - Tributes have been pouring in following the death of the former minister of French President François Mitterrand and president of the European Commission, Jacques Delors, at the age of 98. Politicians have paid tribute to what they described as “one of Europe's "giants" with "humanist values".  French President Emmanuel Macron praised Delors, as a "statesman with a French destiny" he added "I salute his commitment and his ideal ”. Former socialist president François Hollande said, “the disappearance of Jacques Delors will create strong emotion throughout Europe as he had contributed to shaping it”.

Jacques Delors helped create the single market allowing the free movement of people, goods and services within the bloc. Serving from 1985 to 1995, Delors also laid the groundwork for the single European currency, the euro. Delors served three terms as European Commission president, longer than anyone else.

Eiffel Tower closes due to strike action - The Eiffel Tower closed its doors to the public on Wednesday after staff went on strike on the 100th anniversary of the death of its creator, Gustave Eiffel. Many disappointed tourists who had booked tickets to access the 134-year-old monument were told it was shut and they would be contacted by email. The CGT union said the industrial action, which was taking place ahead of contract negotiations with Paris City Hall, which owns the tower, was in protest over “the current way it is managed”. The Eiffel Tower, one of the world’s most visited attractions, drew 5.9 million visitors in 2022.

Open letter defending French actor sparks outrage - An open letter signed by 56 famous figures defending French actor Gérard Depardieu, has sparked outrage. The letter suggests that the cinema giant, who has been accused of rape and sexual assault, is the victim of a “lynching”. Critics have accused signatories, including the British actor Charlotte Rampling, the former French first lady Carla Bruni and Depardieu’s former partner Carole Bouquet, of placing him above the law and attempting to drown out #MeToo voices. The letter, titled “Don’t erase Gérard Depardieu”, published in Le Figaro on Monday, claimed that the star, who turned 75 on Wednesday, was the victim of a “torrent of hatred”.
The Alpes Maritimes Prefecture carries out two deportations - The Alpes-Maritimes prefecture has announced the deportation of a radicalized Russian national and a Tunisian national. The announcement was made in a publication on the prefecture’s X account, formerly known as Twitter and marks the 27th and 28th deportation in the Alpes Maritimes department since 2021. Since the beginning of the year, 7 deportations of radicalized foreigners have been carried out in the Alpes Maritimes.

Laura Tenoudji Estrosi, wife of the mayor of Nice, defends herself following accusations from local opposition officials - The wife of the mayor of Nice Laura Tenoudji-Estrosi has defended herself following recently targeted reports suggesting a “conflict of interest”. Mme Estrosi says the accusations made by three local officials, from the opposition, are “ridiculous” and “totally unfounded”. Both cases concern being paid to host a round table at the Nice Climate Summit at the end of September, as well as the opening ceremony of the Junior Eurovision broadcast, on November 20th, live from the Négresco. For the first event the mayor’s wife denies having received any personal benefit saying that she did it “on a voluntary basis”. Concerning co-hosting Junior Eurovision on France 2, she points out that she “works for France Television” of which she has been “an employee for 23 years”. Christian Estrosi's lawyer has announced their intention to take legal action.

Hospitals under pressure in the Var region - A&E services in the Var region are saturated this winter. An all too familiar sight at this time of year, the union of the Samu-urgence has denounced an “unacceptable situation” with “long queues and not enough beds”. The union is calling for urgent action and an improvement, as previously promised by the French government. 

Man drowns on beach in Cagnes-sur-mer - A 65-year-old man has drowned on a beach in Cagnes-sur-mer. The incident occurred at around 5.30pm on Wednesday afternoon. Witnesses raised the alarm however emergency services were unable to save the victim. An investigation has been opened to determine the exact circumstances.

New helpline for victims of school bullying - The fight against school bullying in the Principality will continue in January with the launch of a new phone and online service for victims. The service will be available 24/7 and will work alongside the national education board and associations.  Although a precise date has not yet been definitively decided, the princely government assures that it will be done in January. 39 reports of school bullying were reported in the Principality during the 2022-2023 school year.

The Carabineers of HSH Prince give soft toys to sick children - Five Carabiniers of HSH Prince Albert the II of Monaco, accompanied by Captain Hervé Matu, have visited the paediatric department of the Princess Grace Hospital Centre to give hospitalized children teddy bears, dressed in uniform. The Prince's Carabinieri regularly participates in activities in support of various charities and this year, wanted to provide support to the professionals and volunteers of the CHPG who comfort sick children and their parents.

Mr Monaco in the running for Mr France 2024 – Finally, 24-year-old Baptiste Bruni, who is also referred to as Mr Monaco is to represent the Principality at the final of Mister France 2024 on the 17th of February. Bruni, who works in construction in Monaco is from Grenoble and has been living in Nice for a year. While the Mr France competition has existed since the 80s, it’s the first year that the Principality has been represented in the male beauty competition.

Business

The New York Times is suing ChatGPT-owner OpenAI over claims its copyright was infringed to train the system. The lawsuit, which also names Microsoft as a defendant, says the firms should be held responsible for "billions of dollars" in damages. ChatGPT and other large language models (LLMs) "learn" by analysing a massive amount of data often sourced online. The lawsuit claims "millions" of articles published by the US news organisation were used without its permission to make ChatGPT smarter, and claims the tool is now competing with the newspaper as a trustworthy information source.

The Austrian engineer Gaston Glock, who invented the Glock handgun, has died aged 94. The Glock company said in a statement that its founder's life's work would "continue in his spirit". The weapon has been used by armed forces, security personnel, gun owners and criminals around the world. Its rise was cemented by American pop culture and appearances in Hollywood blockbusters. Despite the popularity of his creation, Glock has been described as a reclusive billionaire who spent most of his time at a lakefront estate in Austria.

And – In the UK, people will soon be able to buy a "pint" of wine, with the new sized bottle set to appear on supermarket shelves and in pubs, clubs and restaurants. Pint bottles of champagne were sold in the UK before Britain joined the European Common Market and remained on shelves until 1973. However, their production ceased because they did not comply with EU weight and measure rules.

Sport

Football – Manchester City had to come from behind to beat Everton 3-1 as the champions kept pace with Premier League leaders Liverpool.

In the Premier league this evening, Brighton are at home to Tottenham. Kick-off is at 8.30pm French time and Arsenal face West Ham. Kick-off is at 9.15 French time.

Cricket – In the Men’s International Test Match Series Australia play Pakistan today in day 3 of 5.

Rugby Union - Wales captain Jac Morgan is likely to miss the 2024 Six Nations following knee surgery. Morgan is expected to be out of action for "months not weeks" and that it "would be difficult" for the 23-year-old to be fit for the tournament. Wales' opening game is against Scotland on 3 February in Cardiff with their finale against Italy on 16 March.

Weather

Fine and sunny. Highs of 15 degrees in Nice and Cannes. 13 degrees in Monaco. A gentle breeze. Sunny intervals with light winds with highs of 13 degrees in Saint-Tropez.

This evening going down to 6 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 9 degrees in the Var.

The outlook for Friday and Saturday sunny intervals highs of 14 degrees. Drizzle is forecast for New Year’s Eve in the Var with light rain in Nice and Saint-Tropez on New Year’s Day.

Sunrise       08.03am

Sunset        05.00pm

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