French and Riviera News Thursday 7th April 2022

News

Traffic officer killed on motorway during intervention - The Association of French Motorway Companies, the Asfa, has appealed to motorists to respect the safety distance on French motorways following the death of 39-year-old traffic officer on Tuesday. The fatal accident occurred on the A9 motorway when the Vinci Autoroute patrol van was hit by a truck in the town of Roquemaure north of Avignon. In 2021, 126 material and bodily accidents were recorded in France resulting in 13 injuries. This is the sixth accident affecting a traffic officer on the A9 since the start of the year, and the first death on the motorways of France in 2022. On average, there are around forty accidents each year affecting traffic officers on this stretch of motorway. On average, one intervention van is hit every week on the Vinci Autoroutes network in France, as traffic officers risk their lives every day. According to a report from VINCI Autoroutes published in May 2021, 70% of French drivers do not respect safety distances and 53% forget to slow down when approaching a work zone.

Menton suspends pairing with Russian city - Menton and the German city of Baden-Baden have suspended their pairing with a city in Russia. In a letter addressed to the mayor of Sochi the city in the Alpes Maritimes announced the suspension with the Russian town until full sovereignty is restored in Ukraine. Both cities condemn in the strongest terms the war of aggression waged by Russia against Ukraine. In the PACA region, other cities are twinned with Russian cities including La Valette-du-Var (Var) with Novocherkassk, since 1992.

Homeless man enters town hall brandishing knife - A 41-year-old homeless man has been placed in police custody in Fréjus in the Var after entering the town hall with a knife. The incident occurred on Wednesday afternoon, at around 5pm. The individual was brandishing the knife but reportedly did not threaten staff. Police were quickly alerted and the man was arrested.

Canadair pilots announce strike action - Pilots of civil security planes such as canadairs (or tanker planes) have announced strike action for July 1st due to a “lack of recognition of the profession” and “pay problems”. The news comes three months from the summer season and at a time when the region has been placed on a drought alert due to the extremely dry conditions.  

Recall - Six cheeses sold in French supermarkets, including a brie have been recalled due to the risk of listeriosis a rare but particularly deadly infection. After Buitoni pizzas and Kinder chocolates, a new recall campaign has hit the food industry. According to the government website Rappel Conso, the cheeses concerned have been marketed throughout France since mid-March. The government’s site recommends returning the products for reimbursement or destroying them. People who have consumed the products and have a fever, isolated or accompanied by headaches, and body aches should consult their doctor.

Details - Supermarkets of the Auchan, Leclerc, Casino, Carrefour, Intermarché, Cora, Système U brands, but also Schiever and the "NOUS Anti Gaspi" grocery stores.  Product concerns a Brie, three Coulommiers and two Normanvilles, some of which are produced in the Fromagerie de Livarot, which belongs to Graindorge. The identification number of the recalled batches is 250222LI9 and the health mark or stamp is FR 14.371.001 CE, according to the rappel.conso.gouv.fr website.

Clashes between supporters in Marseille - There have been clashes in Marseille between Greek supporters of the PAOK football club and the police, ahead of tonight’s game. Wednesday evening saw the CRS intervene in order to avoid a confrontation between Marseille supporters and Greek supporters. A statement issued by the prefecture explained that “Greek supporters arrived on Wednesday evening in Marseille in an identifiable group, therefore not respecting the banning order issued by the prefect of police which had been agreed with the club".

Parcoursup deadline extended - Due to a technical problem the deadline for students to submit their Parcoursup applications has been extended by 24 hours. High school students across France had until midnight tonight but following a computer bug on Wednesday the platform announced that the deadline for completing applications will be extended to midnight on Friday April 8th. For assistance or the platform's toll-free number is available until 8pm this evening on 0800 400 070.

Business

According to the minutes of the meeting, released on Wednesday the U.S. central bank, the Federal Reserve, is expected to step up rate hikes in the coming months, with several of its officials in favour in order to combat high inflation in the US. The rates, which had been in a range of 0 to 0.25% since March 2020, are therefore now between 0.25% and 0.50%. But according to members of the Fed's monetary committee it could be "appropriate" to return "quickly" to so-called "neutral" rates, that is to say around 2 or 2.50%. Inflation in the United States is at its highest in 40 years, at 6.4% in February according to the PCE index.

The bosses of some of the world's biggest energy firms have vowed to increase production this year as they defended themselves from accusations of profiteering from the war in Ukraine. Prices remain more than 15% higher than they were at the end of January as the increase has raised energy costs for households around the world.

Meanwhile as part of the UK's new energy strategy up to eight more nuclear reactors could be built on existing sites. The plan, which aims to boost UK energy independence and tackle rising prices, also includes plans to increase wind, hydrogen and solar production. But experts have called for a bigger focus on energy efficiency and improving home insulation.

After shutting its stores in Russia, the French luxury giant Chanel has stopped selling its products to people who intend to take them to Russia. Moscow and some customers have accused the firm of being anti-Russian and threatened to boycott the brand. Chanel says it is just complying with European Union (EU) sanctions, which ban the sale to Russia of luxury goods priced at more than €300.

Sport

Rugby - Former Scotland and British and Irish Lions prop Tom Smith has died aged 50. Recognised as one of the nation's finest players, Smith was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in 2019. He won 67 caps and was instrumental in both Scotland's 1999 Five Nations title and the Lions' 1997 series win against world champions South Africa.

Football – 34-year-old French striker Karim Benzema scored a new hat-trick for Real Madrid on Wednesday, in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals against Chelsea winning 3-1. Almost a month after overthrowing Paris Saint-Germain in the knockout stages of the Champions League (3-1), Karim Benzema again led Real Madrid to victory last night.

Meanwhile Villarreal stunned Bayern Munich in the Champions League winning 1-0.

In the Premier League, Burnley got a vital win over Everton in their bid to remain in the Premier League winning 3 – 2 on Wednesday.

Tennis - French tennis player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has announced that he will retire after Roland-Garros. 37 year old Tsonga announced his retirement from the sport in a video published on Wednesday. Tsonga won 18 singles titles and four doubles, in addition to a silver medal at the London Games in 2012. Rising to 5th place in the world ranking in February 2012.

Cycling - UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he does not believe transgender women should compete in female sporting events - a view he conceded may be "controversial". The issue of transgender athletes has recently focused on the case of transgender cyclist Emily Bridges. Bridges was recently ruled ineligible to compete in her first elite women's race by cycling's world governing body.

Weather

Cloudy with some sunny intervals along the coast, possibility of scattered showers inland. Highs of 21 in the Var with strong winds. 21 in Nice, Antibes and Monaco. This evening going down to 7 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for Friday and heading into the weekend - Fine tomorrow with highs of 22 degrees.

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