French and Riviera News Thursday 7th December 2023

News

France wants an exit date from fossil fuels - France’s minister of Ecological Transition has expressed his hopes for an “exit date from fossil fuels to be agreed”. Ahead of his visit to Dubai tomorrow Friday 8th December, attending the COP28 Christophe Béchu, says he plans to seek “the most ambitious agreement on the end of fossil fuels”. The question of the “exit from fossil fuels” looks set to animate the end of COP28. The 150 participating States have already agreed on a fund to compensate countries for their "losses and damages" due to climate disasters.

2023 will be the hottest year on record – Meanwhile, data has shown that 2023 will be the hottest year on record, according to the Copernicus observatory. The European Union program which collects data on the state of the planet says it has exceeded 2016 which was until now, the hottest. 2023 also saw the warmest Autumn on record from September to November, with an average temperature of 15.3 degrees.

Security around Christmas markets - Security measures have been put in place in and around this year’s Christmas markets which are popping up along the Riviera. Today Nice will open the doors to its annual Christmas market, inside the Jardin Albert 1ᵉʳ. Meanwhile, Cannes already opened its festive market on December 2nd.

School uniform - Schools in Nice have been testing out school uniforms. Four establishments in the city were selected by the city council to carry out a trial with wearing a uniform at school. This week France’s education minister Gabriel Attal announced several reforms planned for French schools including the possibility of school uniforms. However, he insisted that if they were to be introduced it would not be for the parents to pay.

Tour de France - The Monegasque government has formally signed the agreement to be the host of the start of the final stage of next summer's Tour de France. Prince Albert II attended the signing of the 30-page contract between Monaco and the Tour's organisers this week. The riders will set off from the principality on 21st July for a time trial crossing Beausoleil, La Turbie, Eze and Villefranche-sur-Mer towards the finish line on Place Masséna in Nice, instead of the traditional sprint finish on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, which will be busy hosting the Olympics. The Tour de France is another addition to an already busy programme of sporting events in Monaco next summer, including the Historic Grand Prix, Formula 1 Grand Prix and the e-Prix.

Golden Foot Awards - Meanwhile, details have emerged about the next edition of Monaco's famous Golden Foot Awards, which recognise the world's best footballers over the age of 28. Normally awarded at this time of year, the 21st edition of the Golden Foot will instead be held next summer. Diego Maradona was the first footballer to enter Monaco's football hall of fame in 2003. Each winner leaves a footprint in the cement along the Promenade des Champions on Monaco's seafront. New ideas being tested out for the next edition include a virtual reality element, where the players could appear as holograms.

Ski resorts - After Auron, Saint-Dalmas and Isola 2000, it's the turn of Valberg ski resort to confirm its winter opening date. While the Mercantour resorts will be open to the public from this coming Saturday, anyone wanting to head to Valberg can do so from the following Saturday, 16th December.

Nice Carnival - The City of Nice has announced that "pop culture" will be the theme for next year's carnival. The event runs from 17th February to 3rd March and the poster campaign has just been unveiled - a brightly coloured piece of pop art.

Christmas jumper - And the village of Biot is encouraging residents to dig out their most garish Christmas jumper for an evening of winter celebrations later this month. It’s organising a fashion parade of festive knitwear on Tuesday 19th December at 6.30pm on the Place de Gaulle. Judges will hand out awards to Mr and Miss Christmas Sweater, for whoever is wearing the most striking Christmas clothing.

Sport

Football – Manchester City’s manager Pep Guardiola has admitted that his team are “struggling” after their 1-0 loss at Aston Villa on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Manchester United secured a precious victory beating Chelsea 2-1.

In this evening’s Premier League Everton are at home to Newcastle kick off is at 8.30pm French time and Tottenham play West Ham kick off is at 9.15pm French time.

Rugby Union - England's most-capped men's player Ben Youngs says Owen Farrell is the best captain he played for during his 13 years with the national team. Youngs, featured at four World Cups, two of which were alongside Farrell as his skipper. Youngs retired from international rugby at the end of the latest tournament, while Farrell, has stepped away for the 2024 Six Nations to "prioritise his and his family's mental wellbeing".

Golf – Changes to rules could see golf's biggest hitters likely to have the distance at which they can propel tee shots shortened by around 15 yards. The move comes after the R&A and United States Golf Association announced changes to rules surrounding ball specifications.

Business

A study has shown that France ranks second among EU counties which work the least, behind Finland and ahead of Sweden, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Last year, in France, full-time employees worked 1,668 hours on average. Only Finland shows a lower number of hours. But in terms of freelance workers France is in the top 5 of the hardest-working countries as last year they worked, on average, 2,239 hours, or 63 hours more than the European average which stands at 2,176 hours.

McDonald's has announced the details of its new restaurant idea, CosMc's, which would operate in the same market segment as Starbucks. Its pilot will open this month in a part of Chicago, with a plan to be in about ten locations by the end of 2024. Meanwhile, the fast-food giant also plans to open about 10,000 McDonald's restaurants globally by 2027, with many of those in China.

A BBC investigation has revealed that a ChatGPT feature allowing users to easily build their own artificial-intelligence assistants can be used to create tools for cyber-crime.  OpenAI launched it last month, so users could build customised versions of ChatGPT "for almost anything". Now, BBC News has used it to create a generative pre-trained transformer that crafts convincing emails, texts and social-media posts for scams and hacks. OpenAI did not respond to multiple requests for comment or explanation.

Weather

Cloudy with some sunny intervals. Highs of 13 degrees in Monaco and Nice. 12 degrees in Saint-Tropez. A moderate wind across the region. This evening going down to 3 degrees in Nice with clear skies.

The outlook for Friday heavy rain is forecast with strong winds in the Var and highs of 12 degrees. The weekend, sunny intervals with highs of 13 degrees.

Sunrise       07.49am

Sunset        04.53pm

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