French and Riviera News Tuesday 17th May 2022

News

France has a new Prime Minister - Three weeks after Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the second round of elections France has a new Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne. Appointed on Monday evening as Jean Castex stepped down, the arrival of a woman at the head of the government is almost unprecedented in France, only Edith Cresson had held the position 30 years ago. Minister since 2017 and until now Employment minister Borne will maintain her candidacy in Calvados for the parliamentary elections in June. Elisabeth Borne began her career in 1987 and in February said on French television "I am a woman of the left. Social justice and equal opportunity are what I fight for”.

May is likely to be the hottest ever observed in France - According to Météo France the month of May is likely to be the hottest ever observed in France. With temperatures rising above 30 degrees in several regions this week and possibly reaching 34 degrees tomorrow and Thursday it could be the hottest month ever observed, and almost the driest. Since the beginning of April, more and more prefects have issued water restriction orders in the face of fears of drought in the weeks and months to come. Some cities such as Lyon could experience at least five consecutive days with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees, an extremely rare event for the month of May: it had only been observed once in the last century, in May 1945. "As a result, May 2022 is on track to break the record for the hottest month of May in mainland France”.

Grenoble authorises the wearing of the burkini - The local council of Grenoble has authorized the wearing of the burkini in municipal swimming pools. On Monday the mayor Eric Piolle opened the session by denouncing "the injunctions on women's bodies" as the city council gave the green light. He received the support of personalities including feminists who believe in a recent forum that "no one should be stigmatized because of their choice of clothing". But for opponents, the burkini is a blatant symbol of oppression of women and is similar to the full veil that the Taliban have just reimposed on women in Afghanistan.

Man shot dead at the wheel of his car - Police in Corsica have opened an investigation after a 59-year-old man was shot dead at the wheel of his car in Bastia. The victim was reported leaving home to go to work when he was targeted.

Court rules in favour of beach restaurant of Ramatuelle - The administrative court of Marseille has ruled that the manager of the well-known beach restaurant the “Plage des Jumeaux” in Ramatuelle, will obtain compensation. The decision however now calls into question the allocation of ten other beach concessions. A legal soap opera that's been going on for 4 years, it was back in 2018 that Jean-Claude Moreu was refused the right to by the town hall to continue operating the beach, despite having done so as a family business for twenty years. Moreu will receive more than two and a half million euros in compensation.

Delays on the regions train network - Meanwhile train services have been severely disrupted between Nice and St Raphael in both directions because of a signalling problem near Cannes train station on Monday afternoon. At one point no trains were operating on the line, but at about 5.30pm the SNCF said that some traffic had resumed with difficulty between Nice and Marseille. 

Cannes Film Festival - Stars have started to arrive at Nice International Airport ahead of today’s opening of the 75th Cannes Film Festival which runs until May 28th. On Monday Oscar winning American actor Forest Whitaker was seen in the arrivals. The actor is attending the festival to accept the Palme d’or for the film « For the Sake of Peace » directed by Christophe Castagne and Thomas Sametin, and produced by Whitaker, which will be screened on May 18th. The actor had previously received the interpretation prize at Cannes in 1988 for his interpretation of jazzman Charlie Parker in "Bird" by Clint Eastwood. Also spotted landing in Nice was Rebecca Hall, British-American actress, producer, screenwriter and director, who is a member of this year's jury and Iris Mittenaere was seen signing autographs. The former Miss France and Miss Universe 2016 arrived on the Riviera to the launch her capsule collection with the Morgan brand.

Steve McQueen’s E Type sells at auction - The Jaguar E Type convertible driven by American actor Steve McQueen in the film "Le Mans" in 1971 has been sold by a British auction house in Monaco on the side-lines of the Historic Grand Prix. The vehicle which had been given to McQueen at the end of the film sold for 109,250 euros, which was less than the initial estimate, of between 250,000 and 300,000 euros.

Business

The US has warned that IT workers from North Korea are trying to get remote working jobs by hiding their true identities for the purpose of stealing money for Pyongyang. According to three US government agencies many of them pretend to be from other parts of Asia. They are allegedly helping to fund North Korea's weapons programmes, in violation of international sanctions.

Sri Lanka's new prime minister has said that the country is down to its last day of petrol as it faces its worst economic crisis in more than 70 years. In a televised address, the Prime Minister said that the nation urgently needed $75m (£60.8m) of foreign currency in the next few days to pay for essential imports. He said the central bank will have to print money to pay government wages. He also said that the state-owned Sri Lankan Airlines may be privatised.

The European Commission has lowered its growth forecast by 1.3 points to 2.7% and revised its inflation forecast upwards by 3.5 points to 6.1% for 2022 because of the war in Ukraine. In a statement released on Monday the Commission Vice-President said that "there is no doubt that the EU economy is going through a difficult period due to Russia's war against Ukraine, and we have revised our forecast downwards accordingly. The economy has been on a rollercoaster ride over the past two years. After being hit in 2020 by the effects of the Covid pandemic, activity rebounded strongly from the spring of 2021. The result was record growth of 5.4% recorded last year in the euro zone, after a recession record (GDP down 6.4%) the previous year.

Despite the turbulence experienced by the cryptocurrency market last week, investors continue to believe in the potential of the sector. The crypto company Elwood Technologies, specializing in cryptocurrency trading, has just raised $70 million from investors. The funds come mainly from the London fund Dawn Capital as well as from the American bank Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs is undoubtedly the American bank that is betting the most on cryptocurrencies at the moment. Recently, it even became the first bank to launch a secured bitcoin loan service, in partnership with the American cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.

The head of Twitter has hit back after Elon Musk said his $44bn deal to buy the platform was "on hold" while he sought details about fake accounts. Analysts have speculated that Mr Musk may be looking for ways to renegotiate the price of the deal or walk away.

Sport

Football - Arsenal's hopes of finishing in the Premier League top four were dealt a huge blow as they were beaten by Newcastle 2-0 last night.

In this evening’s Premier League Southampton are at home to Liverpool. However, Liverpool's top scorer Mohamed Salah and defender Virgil van Dijk have been ruled out of the game after the pair went off during Saturday's FA Cup final win over Chelsea at Wembley - Salah with a groin problem and Van Dijk with a knee injury. Reds boss Klopp is confident both will return for Sunday's season finale against Wolves at Anfield.

Meanwhile Klopp has said that Liverpool fans booing the national anthem before the FA Cup final was "not something I enjoyed".  Liverpool supporters booed 'Abide With Me' and 'God Save the Queen' before kick-off at Wembley on Saturday. However, the German boss also said: "It's always best to ask the question - why does this happen? They wouldn't do it without a reason. "Maybe I'm not here long enough to understand. I am sure it's historical." UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the booing.

And according to Spanish reports Real Madrid are confident Kylian Mbappe will announce his decision to join them from Paris St-Germain within the next fortnight. The 23-year-old's contract expires this summer and PSG were prepared to offer the forward a 150m euros signing-on fee to keep him at the club for another two seasons.

Tennis - French tennis player Gael Monfils has said that he has withdrawn from the upcoming French Open because of an injury to his right heel that will require minor surgery. Monfils, France's highest-ranked player at No. 22, said he has been hampered by the injury since the Monte Carlo Masters in April, adding that he can't move properly on the court. The 35-year-old veteran also withdrew from the Lyon Open this week, an event that serves as a warm-up for the clay-court Grand Slam. The French Open starts on May 22.

Weather
Hazy skies this morning clearing by this afternoon. Light winds. Highs of 22 degrees in Nice, 24 degrees in Saint Tropez and 26 degrees in Marseille. Going down to 16 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes this evening and 13 degrees in the Var with clear skies.

The outlook for Wednesday and Thursday - Remaining fine with highs of 23-25 degrees. Risk of showers inland by the afternoon.

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