French and Riviera News Tuesday 13th February 2024

National News France

French President to meet with angry farmers - French President Emmanuel Macron is to meet tomorrow Wednesday 14th February, with farmers unions for the first time since the start of protests. The Head of State will meet, in the coming days, all the agricultural unions, starting with the Rural Coordination and the Peasant Confederation tomorrow, ahead of the FNSEA and the Young Farmers "next week". These meetings are planned "like every year" ahead of the Agricultural Show but will be the first between the President and the representative organizations of farmers since the start of the crisis. The president of the FNSEA announced, on Monday, that actions on the ground in several departments will take place leading up to the Agricultural Show if the French government does not make concrete efforts.

Unions from the Eiffel Tower vote to strike - Meanwhile, unions from the Eiffel Tower in Paris have voted for a renewable strike from February 19th. The unions are once again denouncing poor financial management by the municipality. The CGT and Force Ouvrière denounce poor financial management of the monument by the municipality, with underestimated costs and overestimated revenues. The City of Paris owns 99% of the capital of the Eiffel Tower operating company. The general assembly which took place Monday morning voted "unanimously" for strike action, which will begin on February 19th, during the school holidays.  A strike had already been organized on December 27th, on the 100th anniversary of the death of engineer Gustave Eiffel. The CGT claim that “the current management is leading the SETE straight into the wall”. The employees also pointed out the threat of a strike during the Olympic Games, organized in Paris from July 26th to August 11th.

More than one student in every class is a victim of school bullying in France - And - France’s Minister of National of Education has revealed that school bullying affects on average, more than one student in every class in France. The conclusions of a national survey also reveal that a significant proportion of students need more assistance and help in the face of the risk of bullying. The survey, carried out in November of last year in the wake of an interministerial plan against school bullying, shows that 5% of schoolchildren from CE2 to CM2, 6% of middle school students and 4% of high school students are considered victims of harassment.

Local News

Gunshots in the Moulins district of Nice - Gunshots have once again been heard in the Moulins district of Nice. Shots were heard at around 4.30pm on Monday, no injuries were reported.  According to the first elements from the national police, the shots were fired on 37boulevard Paul-Montel, near a laundrette which has also been used as a dealing point with several shootings in the area in recent months. An investigation is underway.

Motorist and her dog saved by off duty police officer - A motorist and her dog have been saved by police in Théoule-sur-Mer after becoming trapped in rising waters on Saturday. The incident occurred on Saturday afternoon when the region experienced a Mediterranean episode of heavy rain. The 65-year-old and her dog were trapped in their vehicle before an off-duty police officer intervened raising the alarm. Suffering from slight injuries the woman was treated at the scene by paramedics. The dog was unharmed.

Mystery continues over suspicious smell in Nice - The mystery continues over a suspicious smell in Nice. Reported last week, the unidentified smell, described as sulphur, burning tyres or incinerated waste was being investigated by the local council. On Monday however, the smell which has been affecting mainly the eastern district of the city had still not been identified and according to many locals appeared to be stronger.  To date no explanation has been provided by authorities and the City of Nice once again took action and sent a letter on Monday morning to the prefect of Alpes-Maritimes, to determine where the smell is coming from. Meanwhile, the Terre bleue association has announced legal action for the lack of information, monitoring and protection of the population.

Men sentenced following drugs seized at motorway pay toll in the Var - Five Spanish men have received 4-to-five-year prison sentences and a 5.6 million euro fine after being stopped by police at the pay toll on the A8 motorway in Fréjus. The facts date back to December of last year when the individuals were found to be in possession of half a ton of cannabis pollen distributed in sixteen bags between two vehicles, worth 5.658 million euros. Police confirmed that they were dealing with a well-organized drug network.

Train traffic comes to a standstill between Toulon and Hyeres - Train traffic has been interrupted between Toulon and Hyères in both directions. The SNCF indicated on Monday that due to an act of vandalism traffic was at a standstill. A specialised team intervened to assess the damage while many passengers experienced long delays into the evening.

New tourist tax to be less than expected - A new tourist tax in Monaco will be less than expected. The National Council of Monaco claims to have obtained more measured rates for the tourist tax, which is coming into force, billed to foreign guests of hotels in the Principality. Voted unanimously in July 2023 the law requires any person over 18 years of age, not domiciled in the country and staying in a hotel or hotel residence in the Principality to pay a fee.  The principle is modelled on that of the tourist tax in France which has existed since 1910. The revenue from the tax “allows local authorities to have additional resources to develop tourism in the area”. The amount will be fixed each year by ministerial decree "within the limit of 15 euros per person per night".  In a press release dated February 10th, elected officials in Monaco recalled that the amount initially set by the government was considered “too high and was subject to debate”. In the Principality, the 2024 scale sets the tourist contribution in Monaco palaces (Hôtel de Paris, Hermitage and Métropole) at 7 euros per person per night; 5 euros per person per night for 4-star establishments (Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, the Fairmont hotel and residence, the Port Palace, the Hotel and the Méridien Beach Plaza). In lower standard establishments, the contribution bill will be 3 euros in 3-star hotels (Ambassador hotel, Miramar, Novotel, Columbus) and two euros at the Hôtel de France, the only 2-star hotel in the Principality. Furthermore, stays of more than 90 consecutive days or professional overnight stays linked to conferences will not be subject to the tax.

Boom in cruise ship passengers in Marseille - Marseille is experiencing a boom in cruise ship passengers with 2.5 million visitors in 2023; The Grand Maritime Port of Marseille reported a 76% increase in cruise activities, 36% more passengers and 53% more stopovers than in 2022. Of the four million people who set foot on land, there are 2.5 million cruise passengers, or one million more than in 2022. After three years marked by the pandemic, the activity is booming.

Business

Takeaway delivery drivers in the UK are planning to strike on Valentine's Day to demand better pay and improved working conditions. The action, impacting four food apps including Deliveroo and Uber Eats, is thought to involve as many as 3,000 drivers and riders on Wednesday evening. The action, organised by a grassroots group of couriers, many of whom are Brazilian, is intended to draw attention to what has been described as poor pay and working conditions many riders face while delivering food and groceries in cities across the UK.

And – The UK chip designer Arm Holdings has seen its stock market value almost double in less than a week as investors bet on the artificial intelligence (AI) boom. The Cambridge-based company reported financial results last Wednesday that showed demand for AI-related technology is boosting its sales. Chips designed by Arm already power almost every smartphone in the world. The firm was taken private by Japan's SoftBank in 2016 and it returned to the stock market last September.

Sport

Formula One - Fernando Alonso has said that Lewis Hamilton's move to Ferrari could turn the Italian team into championship contenders in 2025.

Meanwhile, a hearing into allegations of inappropriate and controlling behaviour against Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has finished without resolution. Horner has denied the claims.

Football – In the Premier League last night Chelsea came from behind to win 3-1 against Crystal Palace increasing the pressure on manager Roy Hodgson.

Weather

Clear start with sunshine and a gentle breeze. Highs of 16 degrees in Nice and Antibes, 15 degrees in Monaco and Saint-Tropez, 10 degrees in Saint Etienne-de-Tinée and 11 degrees in Tende. This evening going down to 6 degrees along the coast.

The outlook for tomorrow and Thursday. Wednesday clear skies with hgighs of 14 degrees. Thursday cloudy with highs of between 12-15 degrees.

Sunrise                 07.32am

Sunset                  05.36pm

Sea temperature

Nice                       14.2 degrees

Cannes                 14 degrees

Liverpool              9 degrees and heavy rain.

Milan                     15 degrees and sunny.

Bordeaux             15 degrees and misty with light winds.

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