French and Riviera News Thursday 2nd February 2023

News

Two out of three French people approve of the mobilisation against the pension reform - A new Elabe poll published on Wednesday has shown that two out of three French people approve of the mobilisation against the pension reform and want it to continue. Following a second day of national strike action on Tuesday, 64% of French people approve of the mobilization, among which 40% support it and 24% feel sympathy. 60% of French people say they understand the strikers need to block the country as it’s the only way for the government to withdraw or modify its reform. 74% of French people consider it unfair and 60% consider it ineffective in ensuring the sustainability of the pension system. New strike calls are scheduled for February 7th and 11th.

Paris court orders partial release of Corsican nationalist convicted of murder - A Paris court has ordered the partial release of Pierre Alessandri, who has served 24 years in prison for the 1998 assassination of Corsica's top regional official Claude Erignac. 64-year-old Alessandri has spent almost twenty-four years in prison. He was sentenced in July 2003 to life behind bars for his part in the assassination of Claude Erignac on 6th February 1998 in Ajaccio. The relaxation of the Corsican nationalist's conditions of detention came amid tensions between Corsica’s pro-autonomy leaders and the French state, after Yvan Colonna, a fellow Corsican detained in the same case, was murdered in a French prison in March. France's Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin is due to visit Corsica on 6th February, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the death of the prefect Erignac in Ajaccio.

French university bans ChatGPT - French university Sciences Po has banned the use of the artificial intelligence text generator ChatGPT. The decision is a first for a French university and Sciences Po said the penalty for using the tools would be “expulsion from the institution" or even a ban from French higher education as a whole, though it did not specify how the use of the tools would be detected. Universities and schools around the world have been debating the use of ChatGPT, which was released in November and can be used to generate text in response to simple prompts that can be taken for human writing. 

Property owners’ tax. Are you exempt from property tax in 2023? - The finance law for 2023 has introduced some changes concerning the property tax in France. The conditions for exemption and aid in favour of the elderly or disabled are notably extended. It is now easier for certain groups of homeowners to get an exemption or deduction on their taxe foncière (property owner’s tax). The conditions for receiving an exemption have been relaxed for older or disabled people as well as those receiving certain benefits in 2023.

60% of French people are homeowners and therefore liable for property tax. This local tax is payable annually by owners on January 1st of the tax year. It concerns apartments, a house, a garage or land and must be paid each October. For more information to the government’s website, service-public.fr

Dead body found floating in river - A dead body has been found floating in the river Siagne in Mandelieu. The discovery was made by two joggers running along the bank of the river shortly after 7pm on Tuesday evening. An investigation has been opened to identify the corpse and determine the causes of death.

Teenager stabbed in Toulon - Meanwhile an investigation has been opened in Toulon after a teenager was stabbed during a brawl on Monday. The 16-year-old was taken to hospital after being stabbed in the arm and back, his condition was reported to be stable on Wednesday. A first suspect was arrested near the scene and a second was apprehended later, thanks to information given by the victim. The two alleged perpetrators, born in 2007 and 2008, have been placed in police custody as part of an investigation initially opened for "aggravated violence".

Irregularities in spending costs of French F1 - In a confidential letter addressed to the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi, the president of the Var departmental council has denounced certain “suspicious costs incurred during the organisation of the French Grand Prix” over the last six years. With more than 27 million euros at stake. As president of the GIP Grand Prix de France, Christian Estrosi is at the forefront of a controversial issue. The president of the Var department says, “there are still unanswered questions”. In the meantime, it is still expected that the Var department will still pay 4.5 million to fill in the gaps.

LVMH to acquire vineyard - According to local media Bernard Arnault (LVMH), already owner of the Château d'Esclans in La Motte, is about to acquire 55 hectares of Jas d'Esclans vineyard in the Var. The transaction is believed to also include the Vaucouleurs estate in the town of Puget-sur-Argens and its 23 hectares. By buying these two new properties, Bernard Arnault is getting ready to strengthen his positions on the very buoyant rosé market three years after the acquisition of Château d'Esclans (in which he owns 55% of the shares), famous for its cuvée Whispering Angel.

International University of Monaco’s Open Day - Founded in 1986 the International University of Monaco is holding its Open Day this Saturday 4th February. Located in the Principality of Monaco the University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in business specialized in finance, marketing, sport business management and international management. If you are interested in attending, you can register online at https://www.monaco.edu/inseecu/open-house-day/5543 and choose your slot either Saturday morning from 10am to midday or 2pm to 4pm. The Open Day is an opportunity to speak with programme directors and find out all there is to know about the courses on offer and meet current students.

National Elections - Due to the National Elections here in Monaco which are currently taking place in the Salle des Princes of the Grimaldi Forum, today Thursday February 2nd, 2023 at 8pm free parking will be granted in the Grimaldi Forum car park. In addition, for people wishing to use the lines of the Compagnie des Autobus de Monaco, the free network will be granted on presentation of a Monegasque identity document.

Business

As the Bank of England and the European Central Bank are expected to announce rate increases today, the US central bank has raised interest rates again as it continues its fight to stabilise prices in the world's largest economy. The Federal Reserve said it was raising its key rate by 0.25 percentage points. That marks the smallest increase since last March, after a series of aggressive rate hikes last year. But officials warned that they did not think they were finished raising rates, despite signs that price increases in the US are slowing. The bank's moves are closely watched around the world as the US drives a global shift after years of low interest rates that followed the financial crisis.

The number of people using Facebook daily grew to an average of two billion in December - about a quarter of the world's population. The bigger-than-expected growth helped drive new optimism about the company, which has been under pressure as its costs rise and advertising sales slump. Shares in parent company Meta surged more than 15% in after-hours trade as boss Mark Zuckerberg declared 2023 the "year of efficiency". He said he was focused on cost cuts.

And - King Charles III will not feature on Australia's new five dollar note. The new design will pay tribute to "the culture and history of the First Australians", said the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). A portrait of the late Queen Elizabeth II appears on the current design of five dollar note. The Queen's death last year reignited debates about Australia's future as a constitutional monarchy. In a 1999 referendum Australian voters chose to keep the British monarch as the country's head of state. In 2021, Australia officially changed its national anthem to remove reference to the country being "young and free".

Sport

Football - Manchester United have eased through to their EFL Cup semi-final second leg beating Nottingham Forest 2-0 to book a 1999 Wembley rematch with Newcastle.

Meanwhile, Kylian Mbappe had a night to forget as he missed two penalty attempts and an open goal rebound on the second before being forced off with injury after just 20 minutes. PSG did manage to get the job done without him though as Lionel Messi took over and scored in a 3-1 victory against Montpellier, seeing PSG move five points clear. 

Weather

Sunny with a moderate breeze. Highs of 15 degrees in Nice, Monaco and Menton. 16 degrees and sunshine in Cannes, Antibes and Mougins. Sunny with light winds and 16 degrees in Saint Tropez. 14 degrees in Marseille. This evening going down to 5 degrees along the coast and 3 degrees inland with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow and heading into the weekend. Fine with clear skies highs of 15-16 degrees.

Sunrise       07.46hr

Sunset        17.42hr

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