French and Riviera News Tuesday 13th December 2022


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 business