French and Riviera News Tuesday 12th April 2022

News

Presidential 2022 – French President and candidate for re-election Emmanuel Macron has said he is ready to “move” on his pension reform. Speaking to French media on Monday April 11th, Macron said that he will defend a “minimum pension of 1,100 euros per month” at present the minimum pension stands at 900 euros.  Macron also added that he was prepared to postpone the age of retirement to 64 rather than 65, as previously suggested.

Victims of coach accident identified - The victims of the coach accident in Belgium on Sunday April 10th, have been identified as a 17-year-old Frenchwoman and a 29-year-old Colombian. Both were killed while travelling on the French registered BlaBlabus, on the motorway north of Antwerp. The accident left ten other passengers seriously injured, including five who were declared to be in a critical condition on Monday. The driver is suspected of having driven under the influence of narcotics. In a press release, the prosecution said it had requested the temporary detention of the driver, a 35-year-old Frenchman.  An investigation has been opened for manslaughter.

France expells six Russian spies – France has announced the expulsion of six Russian spies "operating under diplomatic cover". The Quai d'Orsay announced on Monday April 11th, that following a very long investigation, it had discovered a clandestine operation "led by the Russian intelligence services" in France. According to information from French media the investigation had been ongoing for several months and had given rise to the surveillance of a Russian agent, in contact with a Frenchman to buy information. It was the latter who warned the French secret services. For the moment, the French authorities have not communicated on the nature of the operation.

In local news

Diver dies off beach of Saint Clair in the Var - A diver has died off the beach of Saint-Clair in Le Lavandou in the Var. The incident occurred late afternoon on Monday. Emergency services were alerted, and a rescue team deployed, unfortunately the lifeless body of the diver was found shortly after.

Forest fire finally brought under control - A forest fire in Comps-sur-Artuby north of Bargemon in the Var, has finally been brought under control on Monday evening. The blaze was declared on Saturday and has since destroyed 30 hectares of vegetation. The origin of fire remains unknown.

Police seize helicopter - Police in the Var have seized a helicopter which had landed illegally on the beach of Cap Taillat in Ramatuelle in the Var. The helicopter was spotted in the middle of the natural area, popular with walkers. An investigation has been launched to find the owner and pilot of the aircraft.

Tourist train returns to the streets of Antibes – Finally, there is a certain air of Spring in Antibes ahead of the summer season, as the little tourist train returns. An ideal way of visiting the city the train leaves from Rue Lacan and runs until October, a popular mode of transport with both tourists and locals.

Business

French banking group Société Générale has announced that it is ceasing activities in Russia. Hundreds of foreign companies, ranging from financial firms to retailers and fast-food restaurants, have pulled out of Russia since the invasion began on 24 February. French firms, which are the biggest foreign employers in Russia, have been among the slowest to withdraw, prompting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to urge them to leave during his address to the French parliament on 23 March. Société Générale said in a statement that its withdrawal from Russia would cost it 3.1 billion euros.

Apple has announced that it has started making the iPhone 13 in India, as the U.S tech giant tries to reduce reliance on its Chinese supply chain.

According to new research reported in the UK just 20 fossil fuel firms including Shell and BP are projected to spend £715 bn on new oil and gas fields by 2030. All the oil majors have pledged support for the Paris Agreement, which commits to limiting global warming to ideally 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. The analysis from campaigners Global Witness and Oil Change International comes a week after the United Nations (UN) called it "moral and economic madness" to invest in new oil and gas.

Heathrow has admitted it is "stretched" as travel rebounds from the pandemic but staffing levels remain low, amid widespread delays at the UK's largest airport. The airport has said it is rushing to hire some 12,000 workers to cope with rising demand for international travel ahead of the summer. A spike in travel for the Easter holidays has already caused havoc at major UK airportswith huge queues forming at Heathrow and Manchester as soaring Covid cases forced flight delays and cancellations for British Airways and easyJet.

Sport

Football – The former Colombia captain Freddy Rincon is in a critical condition with severe head injuries after being involved in a car crash in Cali. 55-year-old Rincon was driving a car in which there were four other people when it was in collision with a bus early on Monday. The Former Real Madrid midfielder scored 17 goals for Colombia and played at three World Cups.

Tonight, in the Champions League Bayern Munich play Villarreal and Real Madrid face Chelsea.

Rugby - World Rugby is set to give every professional player the chance to have their say on the future direction of the sport. Rugby’s concussion protocols have once again come under severe criticism in the 2022 Six Nations and player welfare remains one of the biggest issues. This month, World Rugby will release a series of surveys which will allow the game’s key stakeholders, including professional and retired players, coaches and referees and medical experts, to impact rugby’s development in the years to come.

Commonwealth Games - The 2026 Commonwealth Games have been officially awarded to the Australian state of Victoria. It will mark the sixth time the Games have been hosted by Australia, but it is the first time a state or region has been awarded the multi-sport event. Sixteen sports have been confirmed on the initial programme, with up to seven more set to be added.

TENNIS REPORT – MONTE CARLO MASTERS

On Monday the three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka lost in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters as he made his return to Tour-level tennis after 13 months out. Elsewhere, Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's final appearance in Monte Carlo ended in defeat after he was beaten 6-2 6-2 by Croatia's Marin Cilic. The 36 year old is to retire after the French Open, which starts next month.

In other action on the court on Monday Italy's ninth seed Jannik Sinner beat Croatia's Borna Coric 6-3 2-6 6-3, while Poland's Hubert Hurkacz breezed past Hugo Dellien of Bolivia 7-5 6-4.

Today at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters Novak Djokovic makes his big comeback against Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, last year’s quarterfinalist. Unable to play at the Australian Open, Djokovic has only played three games this year. Also, on court this morning is Great Britain’s Daniel Evans who will face Frenchman Benjamin Borin.

Weather

Cloudy with sunny intervals. Highs of 16-17 degrees along the coast in Nice and Saint Tropez and 21 degrees inland. A fresh breeze in the Alpes Maritimes and gusty winds in the Var. This evening going down to 9 degrees in Nice and 6 degrees inland with clear skies.

The outlook for Wednesday - Sunny intervals with highs of 19 degrees. Thursday - Highs of 21 degrees and clear skies.

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