French and Riviera News Tuesday 13th December 2022

News

Missing American student - An investigation has been opened by police in Grenoble following the worrying disappearance of a 22-year-old American student. Ken Deland was reported missing by his friends on November 29th. According to police he seems to have left the city of Grenoble, where he had come to study after having difficulties in settling in and making friends. He had mentioned that he wanted to go to Marseille before returning to the US. The disappearance has been widely reported in the American media. The parents of the young man have appeared on national television on several occasions "fearing the worst" for their son. The family specifies that Ken is 1m82 tall and weighs around 86 kilos and that he has blond hair. He was last seen in a store in Montelimar on December 3rd wearing a red jacket, scarf, grey beanie and navy blue jeans. Anyone with information about this disappearance is asked to contact 06 21 86 67 94.

Four people injured after man attacks them with a knife in a Lidl store in northern France - A man in his forties armed with a knife has injured at least four people in a Lidl store, before attempting to kill himself. The incident occurred in the north of France near the Belgian border on Monday evening. The motivation behind the attack is not yet known. The victims, aged 22 to 40, were transferred to a nearby hospital. According to police the suspect entered the store at around 7.50pm attacking at least four customers: two were slightly injured, the other two more seriously.

French President Emmanuel Macron postpones pension reform - French President Emmanuel Macron has announced plans to postpone his presentation of the pension reform until January 10th. The reform has been slammed by labour unions and would see major changes to France's pension system. Macron says that the reason for the postponement is due to recent leadership changes at two opposition parties adding that the delay "will give a few more weeks for those who have taken over to discuss some of the key elements of the reform with the government." The French president insists the retirement age currently at 62 needs to be extended to 64 or 65 in order to finance the pay-as-you-earn system, as more people live longer and enter the workforce later. France has one of the lowest retirement ages in the European Union.

Macron to attend Word Cup match on Wednesday - Meanwhile, Emmanuel Macron will travel to the World Cup on Wednesday to "support the Blues" in the semi-final against Morocco despite several opposition figures again asking him not to go. Before the start of the World Cup, the Head of State had announced his presence for the semi-final or the final in the event of the qualification of the Blues, a commitment which is controversial because of criticism of the living conditions of migrant workers, the environmental impact of air-conditioned stadiums and the place of women and minorities in Qatar. At the time Macron had already called to not "politicize" sport, adding that these "questions must be asked when the event is attributed". On Monday the Elysée said "it's about supporting the Blues in what will be an important moment in French sport and Franco-Moroccan friendship and it’s important for the president to be there to support the players of the French team."

Digital control tower a first in France - Planes that take off and land in Tours will soon be controlled from Toulouse more than 500km away, a first in France. The new system in France should be put into service in 2024. Controllers based more than 500 kilometers from Tours airport will be able to control planes landing or taking off there. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) confirms that a digital control tower will be built at Tours airport next year. It will be equipped with 18 cameras installed on a kind of antenna of about twenty meters. Thanks to the cameras, controllers based in the southwest will have the same view as their colleagues from Tours. A first in France but not in Europe, as England and even Belgium have already tried the system.  

Landline numbers in France - From next year you will no longer have to change your landline number in the event of a move. Following a decision by the telecom’s regulator Arcep, from January 1st it will be possible to keep your landline number in the event of a move to another area of metropolitan France. Until now each geographic number beginning with 01,02,03,04 or 05 is associated to five large areas of France. For example, from January 1st, a resident of Lyon, whose landline number begins with 04 and who moves to Rennes, will be able to keep his landline number. According to Arcep the move responds to a "practical need" for individuals and an economic challenge for businesses.

Villa destroyed by fire in Cogolin - A villa in Cogolin in the Var, has been destroyed by flames. One person suffered slight burns in the blaze which broke out at around 5pm on Monday in a two-storey villa located in the heights of the Bois Fleuri. The fire destroyed the interior of the house. An investigation has opened to determine the cause of the fire.

Power cuts - The Monegasque Electricity and Gas Company SMEG has said that power cuts this winter in the Principality cannot be ruled out. Monaco could like France experience occasional power cuts of limited duration.

Substantial rise in the number of smokers since the health crisis - According to Public Health France there has been a substantial rise in the number of smokers in France since the health crisis. The increase is also greater amongst women. Last year a quarter of French people smoked every day and the number of occasional smokers increased. Among daily smokers, women and those from less privileged backgrounds smoked more than in previous years, on average nearly 13 cigarettes per day for men and nearly 12 cigarettes per day for women. The increase is greater among women, who lost their jobs during the health crisis, more than men. There is also an increase in tobacco consumption among the less privileged, who have suffered the brunt of the health crisis as smoking often helped them to deal with the stress. The increase in smokers varies by region in France being higher last year in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur than in Paris region.

Road reopens to access ski resorts – It’s good news for those wishing to make the most of the recent snowfall in the region, as the road to local ski resorts has reopened following the recent landslide in the Tinée. Access to the ski resorts of La Colmiane, Isola 2000 and Auron is now possible and for the ski resort of Valberg they will be welcoming everybody from this Saturday 17th December.

Business

Police in the Bahamas have arrested Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX. Police said Mr Bankman-Fried was arrested for "Financial Offences" against laws in the US and The Bahamas. Last month FTX filed for bankruptcy in the US, leaving many users unable to withdraw their funds. It is unclear how much people who have funds in the exchange will get back at the end of bankruptcy proceedings, though many experts have warned it may be a small fraction of what they had deposited. The FTX exchange allowed customers to trade normal money for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

The UK’s Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has said that the UK’s economy will get worse before it gets better. Figures have revealed that it shrank further between August and October. The economy contracted by 0.3% during the three months as soaring prices hit businesses and households and the UK is forecast to be heading into recession. He said: "These figures confirm that this is a very challenging economic situation here and across the world. "And it will get worse before it gets better." Over the three months, economic activity in the UK slowed across all the main sectors including production, construction and services. A country is in recession when its economy shrinks for two three-month periods in a row.

Norway is the world champion of electric cars with the largest number of vehicles circulating per inhabitant and representing the largest proportion of the national car fleet. The Norwegian Association for Electric Vehicles announced on Monday that one in five cars on Norwegian roads is now electric, a proportion that has doubled in less than three years. By way of comparison, electric cars represented 0.64% of the French car fleet on January 1, 2021, according to official figures.

World Cup

Europe's biggest clubs have rejected a proposal from FIFA to launch a new Club World Cup in the summer of 2025 in a major blow to the world governing body. According to reports FIFA have been seeking approval to stage a 32-team competition in the United States during negotiations that have taken place in Qatar over the last few weeks, but the clubs are refusing to endorse the proposals.

FIFA have been seeking to relaunch the Club World Cup for several years and a 24-team competition was planned to take place in China last year, only for it to be cancelled due to the pandemic. 

This evening in the first semi-final of the World Cup Argentina plays Croatia. Then on tomorrow its France against Morocco. Kick off for both of those matches is 8pm French time. The winner of each match will meet in the final on Sunday afternoon but there'll be a playoff match for third place on Saturday.

Sport

Formula One - Chief executive officer and team principal Jost Capito is to leave Williams after two years in charge. The 64-year-old former car industry executive joined the team in December 2020. No reason for Capito's sudden departure was given by Williams.

Golf – Stephen Gallacher will captain Team Europe at the 2023 Junior Ryder Cup. The selection process for the European junior team has also been announced, with six boys and six girls taking on the USA in Italy from 26-28 September. The Scot, 48, has won four events on the DP World Tour and was part of Europe's winning 2014 Ryder Cup team.

Cycling - Former Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas has announced that he will compete in the Giro d'Italia next May. The 36-year-old Welshman confirmed the news on social media on Monday, He has previously said he has "unfinished business" with the Giro having crashed out of the prestigious race twice in the past. Racing at next year's Giro, one of cycling's three Grand Tours, makes it less likely Thomas will ride in the Tour de France later in 2023.

Weather

Light rain with a moderate breeze and highs of 10 degrees in Nice, Monaco and Cannes. In Saint Tropez and the Var should remain dry with thick cloud and highs of 9 degrees. This evening doing down to 7 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 9 degrees in the Var.

The outlook for tomorrow and Thursday. Cloudy tomorrow but remaining dry. Rain is forecast for Thursday. Highs of between 12-13 degrees.

Sunrise 07.55hr

Sunset 16.53hr

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