French and Riviera News Thursday 29th February 2024

National News

Abortion rights - France is on its way to become the first country to enshrine a woman’s right to an abortion in its constitution. Abortion has been legal in France since 1974 but pressure has grown to further cement it in law. The proposal, approved earlier by the lower house, the National Assembly, was backed by 267 votes to 50 in the upper house of parliament on Wednesday. French President Emmanuel Macron has called a special, repeat vote on Monday involving both houses meeting together away from Paris in the suburb of Versailles.

SNCF set to hike prices on TGV’s and Inoui’s - The SNCF has announced that TGV and Inoui prices will increase by 2.6% in 2024, except for “Advantage” card holders. TGV traffic increased by 6% between 2022 and 2023 for services in France and Europe. The turnover of the SNCF is up slightly, to 42 billion euros, with a profit of 1.3 billion euros, down compared to 2022. But according to the SNCF, this is satisfactory in view inflation and the impact of the strike against pension reform.

Local News 

Mayor of Nice calls for natural state of disaster - Following the Mediterranean episode at the beginning of the week in our region the mayor of Nice has requested a state of natural disaster. Christian Estrosi, has asked the Interior minister Gérald Darmanin to recognise a natural state of disaster following the bad weather. The heavy rainfall from Sunday February 25th to Monday February 26th led to a record of 110mm of rain falling in the region causing several landslides on several roads.

More rain forecast for the weekend - More rain is forecast this weekend in the Alpes-Maritimes according to Meteo France. Showers are forecast on Friday inland and across the region by Saturday afternoon lasting through into Sunday, with the possibility of thunderstorms in places. The sun isn’t expected to return until midday on Monday of next week.

Train traffic interrupted - Train traffic has been interrupted between Marseille and Toulon in both directions. The SNCF announced on Wednesday afternoon that the interruption was due to an accident at La Ciotat. Traffic did return to normal by late afternoon.

Accident on A8 motorway – Meanwhile, an accident on the A8 motorway during last night’s rush hour led to lond delays and the closure of the Nice Saint-Isidore exit.

Seven people injured in apartment fire in the Var - Seven people have been injured, including two seriously, in an apartment fire in Hyères in the Var on Wednesday morning. The blaze broke out shortly after 5.30am on the second floor of a residential building in Val des Rougières in Hyères. The fire was quickly brought under control and contained. The other residents of the building were evacuated during the intervention later returning to their homes. An investigation is underway to determine the cause.

Post office in Cap d’Ail set to close - Despite a petition, the Cap-d'Ail post office will close for good next September. To the great dismay of local residents who have launched an online petition the closure has been confirmed, but the city has promised an alternative to ensure the continuity of the public service. The gradual disappearance of public services in small towns and villages is becoming a sad familiar sight and Cap-d’Ail and its 4,700 inhabitants is no exception to the trend. Concerning the future of the employees of the Cap-d'Ail office, all will be relocated elsewhere. For postmen, it will be the Menton sorting centre. The city council has, for the moment, not wished to comment on the subject.

Apple branded vehicles in the Principality to update navigation apps You may spot an “Apple” branded vehicle in or around Monaco today. Why? Well, the vehicles equipped with sophisticated image capture equipment, will crisscross the Principality of Monaco to update the "Maps" application. The update, already implemented in France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, will allow better navigation for users.  The 360° view functionality will also be significantly improved. The images collected will be published with blurring, with strict respect for privacy.

New floating grandstand for the Monaco Grand Prix - A one-million-euro project is set to offer a breathtaking view of the Monaco Grand Prix. The floating grandstand with 400 seats will be installed on Port Hercule by the Monaco Ports Operating Company. 400 three-day passes will go on sale for its customers and yacht owners. The first infrastructures intended for the three Grands Prix 2024 - electric, historic and Formula 1 - are beginning to emerge. The floating grandstand will offer a breathtaking view of the exit from the Louis-II tunnel and the port chicane.

Surprise shopping trolleys - Following in the footsteps of supermarket chain Auchan, Carrefour is launching its “surprise shopping trolleys” operation this Friday March 1st, in Aix and Marseille. The trolleys contain at reduced prices, small household appliances, stationery, toys and even household linen, but no food and can be found after going through the checkout. The concept is that products on sale are covered with an opaque black plastic film. The customer can buy a selection of products without knowing what it contains, paying around -60% less of the initial price. The "surprise trolleys" are sold for €49.90 but are valued at €160. Ten trolleys are on offer per store every Friday from March 1st. The items can not be exchange or refunded.

Gassin Hospital - The A&E department at Gassin Saint-Tropez hospital centre continues its restricted access at night. In a press release sent on Wednesday, the management confirmed the continuation of restricted access due to lack of staff. The service welcomes patients from 7:30am to 9pm only.

For non-emergencies, patients in the area are advised to go to their GP or to structures such as the CSNP in Sainte-Maxime, open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. (204, route du Plan-de-la Tour, tel: 04.28.70.17.00.09) and the Saint-Tropez medical center (1, avenue Charles De Gaulle, tel: 04.23.10.19.05, open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.).

French Burger Cup - Guillaume Redon a chef from Vaucluse is to represent the South-East region of France at the Coupe de France du burger in Paris on March 13th. The competition is part of the Sandwich and snack professional trade show at the Porte de Versailles in Paris.

Leap day - Finally, a reminder that today is a leap day with an extra day added to the end of February. The concept of an extra day every fourth calendar year goes back 2,000 years when Julias Ceasar introduced the 365-day Julian calendar. Traditions have grown up around the day where once every four years a woman could propose to a man. If he were to reject, the man would have to gift the lady several pairs of gloves to hide the lack of engagement ring!

La Bougie du Sapeur - And today in France the world’s only four yearly newspaper will hit the kiosks. A new issue of “La Bougie du Sapeur”, a unique 20-page tabloid as it only comes out on the 29th of February, so once every leap year.  The first edition was in 1980, it was conceived by a group of friends who "wanted to have a laugh", La Bougie du Sapeur (The Sapper's Candle) has a print run of 200,000. Styling itself as anti-politically correct, La Bougie is organised like a regular newspaper, with sections on politics, sport, international affairs, arts, puzzles and celebrity gossip.

Business

Bitcoin is on course for its biggest monthly gain in more than three years and it is within range of a record high. Its monthly gain is more than 44%, the largest since December 2020.

Meanwhile, Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini is to return at least $1.1 billion to customers of its defunct lending program and pay a fine of $37 million for unsafe and unsound practices as part of a settlement with the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). 

Chief Executive of Apple Tim Cook has said that the company plans to disclose more about its plans to put generative artificial intelligence to use later this year. Speaking at the company's annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday Cook said that the iPhone maker sees "incredible breakthrough potential” for generative AI, which is why they are currently investing significantly in this area.

And - burger chain Wendy’s has said that it has no plans to raise menu prices at times of peak demand, after comments by its CEO made earlier this month on social media, suggested the chain may start testing "dynamic pricing." CEO Kirk Tanner told investors on a call this month that starting as early as 2025, Wendy's would begin testing features including "dynamic pricing and daypart offerings".

Sport

Football - Liverpool beat Southampton to set up an FA Cup quarter-final tie with Manchester United and Conor Gallagher scored a last-minute winner as Chelsea snatched a dramatic victory over Leeds United to move into the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Formula One - Red Bull's team principal Christian Horner has been cleared following an internal investigation into his behaviour towards a female colleague. A spokesperson for the company said. "Red Bull is confident that the investigation has been fair, rigorous and impartial”. Horner, who has led Red Bull since 2005, denied the allegations. He will remain in his role as team principal and chief executive of Red Bull F1.

Rugby Union - Owen Farrell says the "time feels right" to leave Saracens but is aiming to finish on a high with the club. The 32-year-old England fly-half will join French Top 14 side Racing 92 on a two-year deal in July. He made his first-team debut for the north London club in 2008, aged 17, and became English professional rugby's then youngest ever player.

Weather

Sunny intervals with light winds. Highs of 18 degrees in Monaco, Nice and Cannes. 17 degrees in Saint-Tropez. This evening going down to 10 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow and heading into the weekend, light rain and highs of 15 degrees.

Sunrise                07.08am

Sunset                 06.18pm

Sea Temperature

Cannes                 13.8°

Weather elsewhere

Brussels                9° light rain.

Belfast                  8° showers.

Cardiff                 9° light rain.

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