French and Riviera News Tuesday 2nd May 2023

News

Clashes during May 1st demonstrations - French Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne has declared that 108 police officers and gendarmes have been injured and 291 arrests were made during May 1st demonstrations, a situation described by Borne as « unacceptable ».

Demonstration took place regionally in Toulon, Nice, Grasse, Brignoles, Draguignan, Cannes and Antibes.  Most were peaceful but radical groups threw petrol bombs and fireworks. Police responded with tear gas and water cannon. It is not clear how many protesters have been injured.

Frances biggest Union the CGT announced 2.3 million demonstrators across France while, the Interior Ministry put the overall number of demonstrators at 782,000. Monday was the latest day of mass action against changes which raise the state pension age in France from 62 to 64. The reforms are expected to come into force by September. The government has promised further talks, but the unions are determined to get the changes repealed however, it is not clear where a compromise could be found.

In Nice paint was thrown on a luxury mega yacht moored in the port of Nice. “Element” a luxury yacht worth 125 million dollars and owned by Saudi Fahad al Athel, was targeted by protesters against the pension reform on Monday, May 1st.

Caregivers non vaccinated able to return to work – France’s Minister of Health has announced that caregivers who had been suspended due to a lack of a complete covid vaccination schedule will be able to be reinstated by mid-may.

US to lift covid vaccination obligation - Meanwhile, the United States will lift the obligation to be vaccinated against Covid-19 on May 11th, which concerns federal civil servants and international travellers arriving by air. The lifting of the vaccination obligation corresponds to the end of the state of health emergency declared by Washington, at the beginning of 2020.

Var region hit by violent hailstorm - In other news, the Var region has been hit by a violent hailstorm. After being placed on a yellow weather warning with thunderstorms forecast a severe hailstorm hit the region at around 4pm on Monday afternoon. Many Internet users shared impressive images on social networks, especially from the A8 motorway. According to météo France at least 962 lightning strikes were recorded in the Var, between 1pm and 4:30pm.

The good news is that much needed rain fell on Monday with more than a month’s worth of rainfall in just one hour in the town of Arcs-sur-Argens south of Draguignan.  In addition, the month of April in France has been reported as a month with almost normal temperatures a first for a year. Temperatures in April 2023 were only a few tenths of a degree higher than normal for the season.

Knife attack - Two men in their thirties have been injured in a knife attack in Nice. One of the victims is reportedly in a serious condition. The attack occurred in Nice in the early hours of Monday morning on Rue Verdi. Police have opened an investigation into the attack.

Missing person – Police in the Var have launched an appeal following the worrying disappearance of 40-year-old Ismael Madoi who has not been seen since Saturday afternoon. Last seen in Le Val he is reported to have left his home on foot. Described as of normal build with light brown hair and wearing a grey pullover and dark trousers anyone with any information is invited to call the police on 04.94.69.03.90.

International Fiat 500 meeting in Monaco - The third edition of the Monaco international meeting, organized by the Fiat 500 Monte-Carlo club has been announced and is to be held on Sunday July 16th on Port Hercule. Registrations are now open. The event will see Fiat drivers, produced from 1947 to 1975, gather from 9am to 6.30pm. Places are limited: amateurs have until June 30th. The registration fee is 30 euros per car, 10 euros per co-driver and 25 euros for members.

Tony and Jordan in Monaco - Parisian twins and illusionists Tony and Jordan who became known back in 2016 following the show "France has an incredible talent" in the United States are set to perform in the Principality. The unique act will be taking place on Thursday.

Business

In a deal brokered by regulators. JP Morgan Chase has taken over the troubled US bank First Republic. The Wall Street giant said it would pay $10.6bn (£8.5bn) to the Federal Insurance Deposit Corp (FIDC), after officials shut down the smaller bank.  First Republic had been under pressure since last month, when the collapse of two other US lenders sparked fears about the state of the banking system. Authorities said they hoped the deal would resolve the panic. The failure of San Francisco-based First Republic is the second-largest in US history and the third in the country since March.

As part of a major crackdown amid what experts say is an "epidemic" recreational vaping will be banned in Australia. Minimum quality standards will also be introduced, and the sale of vapes restricted to pharmacies. Nicotine vapes already require a prescription in Australia, but the industry is poorly regulated and a black market is thriving. Health Minister Mark Butler says the products are creating a new generation of nicotine addicts in Australia.

And - Geoffrey Hinton, aged 75, a man widely seen as the godfather of artificial intelligence (AI) has quit his job, warning about the growing dangers from developments in the field. Hinton announced his resignation from Google in a statement to the New York Times, saying he now regretted his work. He told the BBC some of the dangers of AI chatbots were "quite scary". "Right now, they're not more intelligent than us, as far as I can tell. But I think they soon may be." Dr Hinton's pioneering research on deep learning has paved the way for current AI systems like ChatGPT.

Sport

Football – In Premier Leaguer action last night Leicester City and Everton had to settle for a two all draw in a chaotic match which has left both teams in deep trouble at the wrong end of the Premier League table. This evening Arsenal are at home to Chelsea kick off is at 9pm French time.

Tennis – British number one Cameron Norrie has been knocked out of the Madrid Open as China's world number 99 Zhang Zhizhen's history-making run continued. Zhang - the first Chinese man to break into the top 100 - had never before recorded an ATP Masters 1000 win prior to this year's tournament in Madrid.

Meanwhile, world number one Novak Djokovic will be able to play at this year's US Open after the United States confirmed international travellers will no longer need to be vaccinated against Covid-19. The 22-time Grand Slam winner, 35, was forced to miss last year's tournament because of his vaccination status.

Rugby Union - Centre Joe Hawkins has been left out of Wales' World Cup training squad following his move to Exeter. There are 10 uncapped Wales players in the 54-man squad which includes former England prop Henry Thomas.

Weather

Sunny with clear skies and highs of 25 degrees in Marseille, 22 in Cannes, 21 in Monaco Nice and Toulon. 19 degrees in Saint Paul de Vence and Saint Tropez. A gentle breeze across the region.

This evening going down to 13 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 11 degrees in the Var with clear skies. The outlook for tomorrow and Thursday remaining fine. Highs of 21-22 degrees.

Sunrise       06.21am

Sunset        08.34pm

Sea Temperature         15 degrees

UV Level 0

And Finally

Being comfortable with your partner is seen as a sign of a strong, stable relationship. However being settled can also lead partners to bring out the worst in each other, too. Researchers have found that couples who did unhealthy things together, such as lounging on the sofa all day, felt closer to one another the following day than those who opted to go for a walk or run. And they warned that this increased feeling of intimacy can damage our ability to be healthy over the long term.  The team, from the University of Zurich, analysed data from three previous diary studies of unhealthy behaviour in couples.