French and Riviera News Thursday 5th October 2023

News

Sniffer dogs to inspect public transport in Paris for bedbugs - The French capital is to dispatch sniffer dogs to inspect trains and the Paris Métro for bedbugs after dozens of reports of infestations. Transport minister Clément Beaune said that in recent weeks, there had been about 10 traveller reports about the bloodsucking pests to the Paris public transport operator, the RATP, and 37 to the national rail operator, the SNCF. All were checked but “none” were proved, said the minister said. A wave of disgust has spread across France as people have posted photos showing the insects on the Paris Métro, high-speed trains and at Charles de Gaulle airport. There have also been reports of the bugs attacking from cinema seats and even multiplying in schools.

Nice tramway to be disinfected - Meanwhile, locally and as a precaution, the Nice tramway is to be disinfected against bedbugs on a regular basis. The first fumigation was carried out last night at the Nice maintenance centre. It’s the first time that such a preventive measure has taken place in Nice. However, it’s not the first time that bedbugs have hit the headlines in the Riviera capital, with the first fight against them beginning back in 2021. Since 150 households have taken advantage of a local financial aid of 175 euros to help finance the rental, purchase of control equipment or even the intervention of a specialized company to eradicate them.  Another measure has been the establishment of a one-stop shop at the Maison de l'habitant, 6, allée Philippe-Séguin, and a telephone hotline 04.97.13.55.11 to lend a helping hand to residents concerned.

Missing - Police in the Var have launched a missing person’s appeal following the worrying disappearance of a 15-year-old girl living in Brignoles who failed to show up at her college on Wednesday morning. Théa Ternier, attends the Paul Cézanne college in Brignoles and according to police the young girl left the family home on the night of October 3rd to 4th. She is described as having light brown hair and is of normal build. At the time she was wearing a black tracksuit and white and sky-blue trainers. Anyone with information to help investigators is invited to call 04.94.69.03.90 or 17.

University to temporarily close - A French university is set to temporarily close one of its buildings in Marseille over drug-related dealings leading to insecurity at the site. Reports of drug trafficking has prompted the officials at Aix-Marseille University to announce that they are closing its Faculty of Economics and Management in France’s second largest city. The university announced that the decision to close the college will apply from October 6th and will last for at least one week, affecting 1,500 students. Classes will continue to be provided remotely during the temporary closure of the Marseille building located in the poor section of ​​the city centre. Aix-Marseille University, which boasts to be the 1st university in France, has branches in 4 French cities. Marseille has been affected by a drug trafficking hub for decades; however, the level of violence applied by drug gangs to maintain their control over drug sales is increasing. Drug-related gang violence in Marseille, has left more than forty people dead this year in turf wars between narcotics dealers, with the state prosecutor describing it as a "bloodbath".

Speed limit - The town of Peymeinade, in the Alpes-Maritimes, has announced plans to enforce a 30km/h speed limit on its entire road network in the coming weeks. The small town, located west of Grasse, has an area of around ten square kilometers. The city says that the limitation is to “improve citizen safety”, as the mayor acknowledges a significant number of complaints from local residents about excessive speeds in their neighbourhood.

New road to ease long queues into Monaco - Plans for a new underpass to be built on the Moyenne Corniche have been revealed in a meeting between the Nice Côte d'Azur Metropolis, residents of Cap-d'Ail and its mayor. 15,000 vehicles pass every day on this stretch of road on the Moyenne corniche to either enter or leave the Principality of Monaco. It’s reported that the Principality of Monaco will finance 80% of the project, which is estimated at 11 million euros and will hopefully change the everyday commute for many motorists in and out of Monaco.

Toulon -Paris - The SNCF subsidiary has announced that Toulon in the Var, will be connected by a new line to the French capital from December. From December 10th, Ouigo trains will connect Toulon station to Paris. The service from Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle airport near Paris will pass through Marne-la-Vallée-Chessy, Lyon Saint-Exupéry and Aix-en-Provence TGV. One round trip per day is currently planned for the line.

INSEE report – The Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region is among one of the hardest hit by poverty in France, according to an INSEE report published on Wednesday. In partnership with the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur prefecture, INSEE gave an overview of poverty in each region of France with the South Region ranking third in mainland France. While the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes are doing well, it’s the Vaucluse and the Bouches-du-Rhône which have plunged the PACA Region into the red, with 850,000 poor people representing 17% of the population, compared to 14% nationally. This is barely less than in Corsica (18.3%) and in Hauts-de-France (17.3%). On the other hand, the Pays de la Loire has the best score (10.5%), ahead of Brittany with (11.2%).

The Vaucluse has the most people living below the poverty line (19.5%), followed by the Bouches-du-Rhône (17.9%). While the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (16.6%), the Alpes-Maritimes (16.2%), the Var (15.3%) and especially the Hautes-Alpes (13.9%) are lower the regional average.

INSEE also looked at the profile of people in poverty. In the South Region, 30.2% of single-parent families are affected, compared to 8.1% of childless couples. Among the targeted population, 30.4% are households with small pensions, or 932 euros on average.  INSEE also shows that the South Region is the second region in France where there is the most inequality, with pockets of wealth and pockets of poverty.

Business

Wednesday saw the beginning of what has been described as a “blockbuster trial, expected to last about six weeks”, for former crypto CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. Bankman-Fried is to answer charges that his bankrupted financial empire was “built on lies”. He appeared in court in New York where prosecutors told the court that the former FTX boss had stolen billions from clients and investors to “commit fraud on a massive scale”. His lawyers deny all charges, saying the so-called "crypto king" is a "math nerd" who was acting in "good faith".

A US securities filing has shown that the CEO of Apple Tim Cook, has made 41.5 million dollars after taxes, in his biggest share sale in two years. According to the filing this week, Cook sold 511,000 shares, which were worth about $87.8 million before accounting for taxes. It was back in August 2021 that he made $355 million from a stock sale. The filing showed that Cook owns about 3.3 million shares, valued at about $565 million, following the sale.

And - In the UK the Prime Minister has pledged billions for transport projects across the country after scrapping the northern leg of the HS2 high speed rail link. In a speech at the Conservative party conference, he said that £36bn would be spent on alternative rail, road and bus schemes instead. It came after he confirmed that the Birmingham-Manchester leg of HS2 would be ditched after weeks of speculation. Sunak also pledged to raise the legal age for buying cigarettes in English by one year every year in a crackdown on smoking. The proposed legislation would mean that a 14-year-old today will never legally be sold a cigarette and that they and their generation can grow up smoke-free.

Sport

Football – It was worth the twenty year wait for Newcastle United after they thrashed Paris Saint Germain 4-1, in an electrifying night on Tyneside in the Champions League on Wednesday.

And in other football news Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool manager, wants the Premier League game against Tottenham to be replayed after a goal was wrongly disallowed by the video assistant referee.

Rugby World Cup - In the Rugby World Cup this evening in Pool A New Zealand play Uruguay. Kick off is at 9pm French time.

Formula One - While Australian Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo continues his recovery from injury New Zealander Liam Lawson is set to stand in for him at this weekend’s Qatar Grand Prix. It’s the second time that Lawson has stepped in to replace Ricciardo, who broke his left hand at the Dutch Grand Prix.

Weather

Mainly fine, some cloudy patches this afternoon, with a gentle breeze. Highs of 25 degrees in Nice, Monaco and Menton. 24 degrees in Saint Tropez. 26 degrees in Cannes and Antibes and reaching 28 degrees inland in the Var in Draguignan. This evening going down to 11 degrees inland and 17 degrees along the coast.

The outlook for tomorrow. Sunny intervals. The weekend clear skies. Highs of 25-26 degrees across the region.

Sunrise       07.32am

Sunset        07.04pm

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