French and Riviera News Tuesday 31st January 2023

News

Strike action - Due to national strike action in France today Tuesday 31st January, against the government’s pension reform, most Paris metro and suburban rail services will be severely restricted, while intercity travel will be badly disrupted with just one high speed train in three running. Minor disruptions are expected on Eurostar train services. Air travel is not as badly affected with Air France saying it would cancel one in ten short and medium haul services while long-haul flights will be unaffected.

Locally, no trams will be running in Nice, few buses and if travelling by train in the region you are advised to check on the SNCF website. Out of the 150 schools in Nice seven will be completely closed and 102 will remain partially open. The others will open as normal. Of the 29 nurseries and day-care centres in the capital of the Côte d'Azur, 2 will remain closed, 13 will open normally and 14 will operate on a restricted service.

The most controversial part of the proposed reform involves increasing the minimum retirement age to 64 from its current level of 62, which is the lowest level in any major European economy. A new poll by the OpinionWay survey group, published on Monday in Les Echos newspaper, showed that 61 percent of French people supported the protest movement, a rise of 3 percentage points from 12 January. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said 11,000 police, 4,000 in Paris alone, would be deployed on Tuesday across France to ensure the demonstrations will pass off peacefully.

2023 immigration bill - Meanwhile, the French government is to present tomorrow Wednesday 1st February, the 2023 immigration bill. It comes in the midst of public dissatisfaction over pension reforms and is another burning issue at the council of ministers this week. The text of the bill provides for a series of measures to facilitate expulsions, especially of "delinquent" foreigners, a "structural" reform of the asylum system, and a mechanism to integrate certain undocumented workers. The French government has praised the draft bill for its "balance" in trying to control immigration while also improving integration.

France and Australia agree a deal - Abroad, France and Australia have agreed a deal to jointly manufacture and supply thousands of artillery shells to the Ukrainian army.  The agreement, “worth several million (Australian) dollars”, was announced after bilateral talks in Paris aimed at resetting the relationship between the two countries. A first shipment of 155mm shells from existing stocks is expected to be delivered to Kyiv within the next two months.

Pedestrians hit by vehicle on A8 motorway - A pedestrian has died after being hit by a vehicle in Nice. The incident occurred on Monday around at around 6pm eastbound on the A8 between Nice airport and Nice Saint-Isidore. The reason for the presence of this pedestrian is still unknown. Traffic was reduced to one lane causing long tailbacks and the entrance 51 to Nice airport was closed while emergency services intervened reopening shortly after 8pm. An investigation has been opened to determine the cause of the accident while the identity of the person remains unknown.

Man arrested after attempted robbery in Monaco - An individual has been arrested in Monaco following an attempted robbery on a pedestrian on the Quai Albert 1er. The incident occurred at around 7pm on Monday evening when police were called to the Condamine district. The man reportedly fled, taking refuge in the vegetation on the hillside of the Monaco rock, only to be found and arrested shortly afterwards by Monegasque police. It is not known if he was found to be in possession of any stolen property or indeed the reason.

Fisherman fined for not declaring bluefin tuna - A fisherman from Sanary-sur-mer in the Var has been fined 2,500 euros for not having declared a ton of bluefin tuna. The 30-year-old, who took over the family business at the end of 2000, is mainly criticized for not respecting the rules relating to bluefin tuna and swordfish fishing. Failing to declare the catch to the national fisheries monitoring centre (CNSP), responsible for controlling fishing in the region.  

Theft of painting - A Ukrainian man has gone on trial in France accused of masterminding the theft of a €1.5m painting. The painting was discovered in a house in Kyiv a year after it disappeared from a museum in Nancy. The work by Paul Signac, Le Port de La Rochelle, went missing from the Musée de Beaux-Arts in Nancy, in 2018.

Painted in 1915, Le Port de La Rochelle is part of a series Signac made of the ports of La Rochelle, Marseille, Saint-Tropez and Rotterdam. The trial is expected to last two days.

Business

According to reports the US government has stopped approving licences for American firms to export most items to Chinese technology giant HuaweiIt comes as the Biden administration continues to tighten its rules on exports of US technology to China. Washington has previously accused Huawei of being a threat to US national security and of working with the Chinese Communist Party. The company and the Chinese government have repeatedly denied the allegations.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that the UK economy will shrink and perform worse than other advanced economies as the cost of living continues to hit households. The IMF said the economy will contract by 0.6% in 2023, rather than grow slightly as previously predicted. However, the IMF also said that after the Autumn Statement it thinks the UK economy is now "on the right track". Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the UK outperformed many forecasts last year.

Renault is to trim its holding in Japanese partner Nissan as part of a deal rebalancing the troubled alliance between the two companies. The deal will also see Nissan take a stake in Renault's new electric vehicle venture. The agreement comes after months of negotiations. The companies described Monday's announcement as "an important milestone" on the road to defining a new basis for their partnership.

Ryanair has reported record after-tax profits of €211m (£185m) in the Christmas season from October to December. The budget airline continued to perform better than its pre-covid years as demand during October half-terms and Christmas and New Year breaks resulted in "strong" passenger numbers and fares across the board.

Sport

Football - Manchester City will go to Championship side Bristol City in the FA Cup fifth round. Five of the eight ties are subject to a replay, including the winner of non-league Wrexham and Sheffield United landing a home meeting with Tottenham. Manchester United will host West Ham after they beat league One Derby County 2-0 on Monday night.

This evening in the FA Cup fourth round replay Birmingham city play Blackburn Rovers kick off is at 8.45pm French time and in the EFL Cup semi-finals Newcastle play Southampton kick off is at 9pm French time.

Golf - Rory McIlroy emerged victorious after a tense tussle with Patrick Reed in the last round of the Dubai Desert Classic. The world number one birdied the final two holes to shoot a four-under 68 and finish on 19 under to win by one shot.

Athletics – Mo Farah is preparing to say an "emotional" London Marathon "goodbye" to his home support after confirming his participation in April's race. The four-time Olympic champion, 39, expects 2023 to be his final year of racing before retirement. But he is unsure if the marathon will be his last competitive event, saying he will take it "one race at a time”.

Weather

Sunny across the region with a moderate breeze. In Nice, Saint-Tropez and Monaco highs of 14 degrees going down to 4 degrees this evening with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow and Thursday. Sunny intervals tomorrow. Fine on Thursday clear skies and highs of 14.

Sunrise       07.48hr

Sunset        17.39hr

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