French and Riviera News Tuesday 11th April 2023

News

French President’s state visit to the Netherlands - French President Emmanuel Macron has begun a state visit to the Netherlands today where he plans to give a speech on Europe that will be keenly watched after his controversial remarks on its ties with the US and China. Macron, freshly returned from a visit to China last week, sparked criticism after saying in an interview published Sunday that Europe must not be a "follower" of either Washington or Beijing on Taiwan. Macron's is the first state visit by a French leader to the Netherlands since 2000. The Dutch royals paid a state visit to France in 2016. The French president's domestic political troubles also threaten to intrude on the visit, with a new day of strikes against his pension reform plans planned for this Thursday April 13th.

Two people still missing following collapse of four-storey building - In Marseille, two people are still reported missing following the collapse of a four-storey building. The bodies of six victims have been found by firefighters. Nearly two days after the incident the search continues to find the victims. The identification of the bodies is in progress by the police unit and a "long-term support" and the "rehousing" of those evacuated has been put in place. The investigation continues to determine the exact cause.

Police reinforcements at Italian border - Local MP Eric Ciotti has announced police reinforcements at the Italian border in our region, in order to contain what he describes as "a tidal wave of migration". Ciotti confirmed that France’s Minister of the Interior had responded to his urgent request made on the 7th of April warning of the “alarming situation” on the French-Italian border where the “number of unaccompanied minors has broken a new record” adding, that controls at the border are “non-existent”.

Cases of domestic violence on the rise in the region - Latest figures have revealed a worrying increase in the figures for domestic violence in both the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var. Over the last 12 months there has been an increase of 16.9% nationally in France with an 18.6% increase in the Alpes Maritimes and a 23.4% increase in the Var. Across France domestic violence has soared with an increase in marital rape and violence towards children.

Price rise to leisure activities in Monaco – Monaco’s city council has announced a rise in priced for those coming from outside of the Principality to use certain leisure facilities. From September the price of the services of the Music and Theatre academy, as well as the cost of admission to the Saint-Charles swimming pool and the Rainier-III nautical stadium will increase.

Permits in Villeneuve-Loubet - Villeneuve-Loubet has decided not to renew the permits for several seaside cafes and restaurants to occupy parts of the beach - because of worries about erosion. Five cafes and restaurants are affected along three stretches of beach between the border with Antibes and the Marina Baie des Anges. The current permits expire at the end of this year. Restaurants had hoped for a 12-year renewal, but none will be granted. Other beach cafes further along the coast, around the port of Villeneuve-Loubet, will still be allowed to occupy the beach, as the situation there is more stable.

Ski resorts - It's closing time for the Riviera's ski resorts, with just a few still open and time running out for anyone looking for a last-minute trip to the pistes. Gréolières, La Colmiane and Valberg have already closed. Isola 2000 expects to stay open for another two weeks, with several dozen pistes open and currently between 50 and 75 centimetres of snow. Meanwhile, Auron ski resort has announced a record winter season, with turnover up 30% at more than €6 million. The figure beats the previous record set in 2014.

Mayor awarded for handling of coronavirus crisis – Finally, a mayor in the Var has been awarded an honour by the French state for his handling of the coronavirus crisis. Didier Brémond, the mayor of Brignoles, was made a Knight of the National Order of Merit at a low-key ceremony in the town last week. During the height of the pandemic, Brignoles created a Covid resistance fund for struggling businesses and set up a regular newsletter to keep residents informed. The town also organised concerts in nursing homes with local musicians and supplied tablets to care-home residents to stay in touch with their family. It was quick to supply protective visors to schoolteachers and caregivers. Brignoles also ran a publicity campaign to encourage people to support their local cafes and restaurants once they were allowed to reopen. The mayor, who lost his mother to Covid in October 2020, dedicated his award to all the municipal workers who helped along the way.

Business

Vodafone says that a problem that knocked out UK broadband services for around 11,000 customers has been resolved. The firm said it was "incredibly sorry" for the inconvenience caused after some people were unable to access the internet for much of the day. Vodafone said that the breakdown had impacted "just over 1%" of its 1.1 million home broadband customers. Some users had expressed their frustration at the problems, which come at a time of significant price rises, with one calling it "shameful".

Wizz Air was the worst major airline for flight delays from UK airports for the second year in a row, new figures show. The Hungarian carrier's UK departures were an average of 46 minutes and six seconds behind schedule in 2022. It is based on analysis of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data by the PA news agency. That was more than three times longer than the previous year, when it was also ranked last for punctuality. The analysis took into account all scheduled and chartered departures from UK airports by airlines with more than 2,500 flights. Cancelled flights were not included. Norwegian Air Shuttle recorded the best performance with an average delay of just 13 minutes and 42 seconds.

Rolex Monte Carlo Masters

Andy Murray has made an early exit at the Monte Carlo Masters as he lost to Alex de Minaur in the first round on Monday. Murray was beaten 6-1 6-3 by the Australian 14th seed and was playing on the Monaco clay for the first time since 2017. Earlier, British number one Cameron Norrie was also knocked out in the first round but Jack Draper returned from injury with a win.

De Minaur will now face Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff in the second round. Meanwhile, former champion Stan Wawrinka is up and running at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. The Swiss star earned a comeback victory against Tallon Griekspoor on Monday, when he overcame the Dutchman 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the second round.

Today, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic is back in action and Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas begins his quest for a three-peat in the Principality. In Djokovic’s first match since Dubai, the Serbian will meet qualifier Ivan Gakhov. World No. 3 Tsitsipas will meet Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi for a third time in the final match on Court Rainier III.

Sport

Football - Dean Smith has been named Leicester City boss until the end of the season. Smith, left Norwich earlier this season after previous spells at Aston Villa and Brentford. Leicester are in huge trouble in the relegation zone following Saturday's home defeat by Bournemouth, two points from safety with eight games left.

In the Champions League quarter finals this evening Benfica play Inter-Milan and Manchester City face Bayern Munich.

Golf - Rory McIlroy has withdrawn from this week's PGA Tour event, the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head in South Carolina. No reason was given for the withdrawal of the world number three as it was announced by the PGA Tour. The RBC Heritage is among the PGA Tour's designated events.

Rugby Union - Former captain Ryan Wilson is to leave Glasgow Warriors, where he is the second highest appearance earner, at the end of the season. Only fellow forward Rob Harley has played more than 33-year-old Wilson's 220 times to date for the United Rugby Championship club. The pair made their professional debuts together just short of 13 years ago.

Weather

Sunny, with highs of 17 degrees in Monaco and Nice and a moderate breeze. Cannes, highs of 19 degrees. 21 degrees in Vence, Saint-Tropez and Marseille. This evening going down to 10 degrees along the coast and 7 degrees inland with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow, sunny intervals, highs of 17 degrees. Thursday, light rain is forecast for Nice and Monaco.

Sunrise       06.58am

Sunset        08.08pm

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