French and Riviera News Tuesday 28th November 2023

News

Three French hostages have been released - Three French hostages have been released by Hamas as part of an agreement between the Palestinian Islamist movement and Israel. The three aged 12 to 16 were amongst eleven Israeli hostages freed on Monday, bringing the total number of released hostages to more than fifty. After seven weeks of anguish, it was relief for relatives including the grandmother of 12-year-old Eitan Yahalomi who lives in Nice however, her son, Eitan’s father, has not yet been released. In exchange for the eleven hostages, 33 Palestinians were released from Israeli prisons, reportedly including 30 children and three women.

Gathering in Nice - Following the release on Monday November 27th, France’s Foreign Minister warned that France would not give up until "all the hostages" find their freedom, including five missing French people. In support of the hostages still captured a gathering, open to the public, is to take place in Nice this morning under the leadership of the mayor Christian Estrosi, the President of the Nice Côte d'Azur Metropolis and the Deputy President of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region. The “Bring them home now” bus, with photos of the Israeli hostages, will be on the Place Masséna at 10.30am.

Conference on energy prices in France - A conference on energy prices is to be held today Tuesday 27th November, at the Ministry of Energy Transition. The conference is being seen as an opportunity to take stock of electricity, gas and oil prices, as well as measures needed to enable households and businesses to be able to pay their bills and to support them in the transition to carbon-free energies. EDF CEO Luc Rémont confirmed last week to French media that the price of electricity will increase by “a maximum of 10% for 2024”.

Mayor of Paris quits social platform X - The mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo has signed off the social network X (formerly Twitter), which has become, according to her, a "gigantic global sewer". Hidalgo the left-wing mayor of Paris announced on Monday, November 27, that she was deleting her account on the social network however, the account of the City of Paris, remains. Since the takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk in October 2022, several personalities have announced their departure, but there has been no massive movement. Several politicians have announced opening accounts on competing networks.

Price of cigarettes to increase - Plans to increase the price of a packet of cigarettes have been announced by the French government which would come into effect in the New Year. In less than five years, the price of a pack of cigarettes has increased by 3 euros in France and is set to rise by between 40 and 50 cents in January, costing 12 euros a packet. The government aims to reach 13 euros a packet by 2027.

One person dies every week on our region’s roads - One person dies every week on our region’s roads and 52% of cases involve motorcycles. The report on road deaths in the region was drawn up on Monday by the Alpes-Maritimes prefecture and the head of road safety in the department, Benoît Hubert. Last year, 52 people lost their lives on the roads compared to 48 currently, at the end of November, for the year 2023 (25 motorcyclists, 10 motorists, 9 pedestrians, 2 cyclists and 2 electric scooter riders). Benoît Hubert has repeated several times that the most fatal road accidents concern "locals on regular commutes along the coastal strip and in the city” and that contrary to what many believe, “it’s not the tourists”.  He also points out that the Alpes-Maritimes is overrun by two-wheelers with “Motorcycles and mopeds representing 52% of victims and that nine out of ten victims are men”.

Road accident – Meanwhile, a woman in her twenties has been slightly injured after her electric scooter collided with a van on the promenade in Nice. The accident occurred on Monday morning shortly after 11am near the Magnan crossroad. The victim was taken to hospital and police are investigating the cause of the collision.

Roquebrune-sur-Argen awarded for its commitment to the environment - Roquebrune-sur-Argens in the Var has just joined the list of “territories committed to the environment”. The town has been rewarded for its commitment to sustainable development by the Regional Agency for Biodiversity and the Environment (Arbe) making it one of 13 towns in the Var to be recognised for their work towards a better environment.  Five major actions were submitted to the regional agency, including more green spaces in the school playground, as well as the introduction of school activities such as the marine educational area, as well as flowerbeds throughout the village which use Mediterranean plants requiring less water and an improvement on forest areas with nature trails and parking facilities.  

Entrepreneur forum - The entrepreneur forum in Grimaud in the Var,  is to open its doors today, Tuesday 28th November, from 9am to 2pm. So, whether you are a project leader or have a booming company, looking for assistance or to build your network, this event is useful to all young business leaders. It offers the opportunity to interact with specialists in the creation and development of companies. For more information go to www.golfe-sainttropez.fr.

Reminder for pet owners - Pet owners in the region have been reminded of a service available should you lose your cat or dog. The Pet Alert internet platform lists lost animals, but also those animals seen and found. The site allows you to post a free or paid ad on Pet Alert Alpes-Maritimes Facebook group, followed by 55,000 people. Don’t forget however to microchip your pet, as an identified animal has a 40% greater chance of being returned to its owner and you also risk a fine of 135 to 750 euros if your dog or cat is not microchipped.

Christmas special – Finally, a peaceful town on the Riviera is bubbling with excitement in the run up to Christmas as it prepares to transform itself into a magical ski resort. This year’s “trip” to Biot, for “Biot, I love Christmas” runs from December 1 to 30, 2023. Every year, Biot has its own giant advent calendar with "Christmas shutters", created and decorated by schoolchildren from Biot, the IME les Hirondelles and the Espace des Arts et de la Culture.  Like every year, shutters are opened daily to form a large open-air exhibition.  In addition, this year the village will be transformed into colourful slopes, and chairlifts will fill the landscape under “flakes of snow”. Friday, December 1st, during opening the public is invited to meet at Place de Gaulle at 6pm to follow the start of the festivities. Including mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and hot chocolate will create as well as a concert at 7pm.

Business

The first transatlantic flight powered only by sustainable fuels is due to take off on this Tuesday morning. Operated by Virgin Atlantic, it will fly from London's Heathrow to New York's JFK airport at 11:30 GMT. Airlines see the flight, which is supported by government funding, as demonstrating that a greener way of flying is possible. But a lack of supply remains a challenge, while other technology will be needed to hit emissions targets. So-called sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) can be made from a variety of sources, including crops, household waste and cooking oils.

Australia is to ban imports of disposable vapes from January, in an effort to curb nicotine addiction in children. New laws to stop single use vapes from being made, advertised, and supplied in the country will also be introduced. It comes amid a broader push to phase out recreational vaping completely. Vaping has been marketed as a way to quit smoking, but Australia's health minister says it has created a "new generation of nicotine dependency".

And - The increase in potato prices in France is driving up the cost of chips, crisps, mashed potatoes, and other such products. According to INSEE, in one year, one kilo of potatoes sold on the supermarket shelf, increased from 1.70 euros to 2.09 euros, an increase of almost 23% between September 2022 and September 2023. The price of frozen potatoes (chips, potatoes, dauphine potatoes, etc.) has also jumped by 25% in one year. Data shows that a French person consumes on average 50 kilos of potatoes per year, including 30 kg in processed form

Sport

Football – There was more video assistant referee controversy in Fulham’s 3-2 win against Wolves in last night’s Premier League.

And - America is in the grip of Messi madness after he signed for Inter Miami from Paris St-Germain in the summer. Football in the country has been here before. But according to many, never quite like this.

Rugby Union - Wales back row Taine Plumtree is set to miss at least the start of the Six Nations as he is likely to need surgery on his shoulder. Wales open their Six Nations campaign against Scotland on Saturday, 3 February in Cardiff.

Weather

Clear skies are forecast with highs of 17 degrees in Nice, Monaco Menton and Saint-Tropez. Highs of 8 degrees inland. The wind is set to pick up in the afternoon with gust of 45 - 65 km/hr to the west of the Alpes Maritimes and the Var.

Wednesday sunny to start with, clouding over by the afternoon with highs of 15 degrees. Thursday and Friday rain is forecast temperatures remaining the same.  Dry at the weekend with mild temperatures for this time of year and clear skies.

Sunrise       07.40am

Sunset        04.55pm

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