French and Riviera News Tuesday 5th July 2022

News

Strike action by the SNCF - Due to a strike action by the SNCF traffic on the TGV and Intercity lines is expected to be disrupted on Wednesday July 6th. The service will also be "severely disrupted" in Ile-de-France and on the TER network. SNCF railway workers have called for action demanding wage increases. Intercity traffic will also be "disrupted" with 1 train out of 3 on average and no traffic at night, with the exception of the Paris-Nice line. TER traffic will be "severely disturbed" with 2 trains out of 5 on average. The details of the regional transport plans will be communicated by SNCF Voyageurs in each of the regions”, users are invited users to “find out about the circulation of their train on the SNCF app and on their TER site”. International traffic will be less affected with a “normal” service on the Eurostar and Thalys routes and “almost normal” on the Lyria lines, the France-Italy, France-Germany and France-Spain routes.

Forest areas closed to the public due to fire risk - Due to the risk of forest fires, four forest areas in the Var have been put on a red alert from today Tuesday 5th July. Given the weather conditions in the department with Méteo France forecasting a mistral of 55km an hour the Var Centre, Haut Var, Les Maures and Sainte-Baume, are placed at severe risk and classified as "red". Access is strictly prohibited. There are also concerns about cigarette butts, which should not be thrown out the window when driving, as the main roads are often the source of a fire.

Water-use restrictions – Meanwhile, water-use restrictions have been announced for 40 communes around the Alpes-Maritimes as the risk of drought intensifies. Among the affected communes are Antibes and Biot and towns along the Paillon valley. In these areas, it's forbidden to water your garden, wash your car, clean outdoors or play water games until 31st July. You can still have your car washed by an authorised professional. Factories in the affected zone are required to reduce their water use by 60%. Most of the rest of the department is on what's called an "enhanced alert". It's strongly recommended to limit your water use where possible. Gardens should only be watered after 7pm or before 9am. Water levels in some parts of the Alpes-Maritimes are at their second-lowest level since 1959. And while some heavy rain last week temporarily improved water levels, it wasn't enough to reverse the underlying trend. The drought alert could remain in place until autumn.

Man hospitalised after nearly drowning - A man has been hospitalized after nearly drowning in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. The incident occurred on Monday afternoon at around 5pm. The individual was taken out of the water by rescuers and taken to the Princess Grace Hospital here in Monaco. The exact circumstances of the accident are not yet known.

Investigation after motorist crashes into motorcyclist - Police have opened an investigation after a motorist under the influence of alcohol, crashed into a motorcyclist on the seafront between Cagnes-sur-mer and Saint-Laurent du Var on Monday afternoon. The incident occurred shortly after 4.30pm. The driver has been placed in police custody and the motorcyclist was taken to hospital suffering slight injuries.

Covid incidence rate - The coronavirus incidence rate in the Alpes-Maritimes continues to rise, breaking through the mark of 1,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants last week. This is the seventh wave of Covid-19. It started at the end of May, when the incidence rate was just 200 cases per 100,000. The absolute record set in mid-January this year was 4,300 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. On Friday alone, 125,000 new cases of coronavirus were recorded nationwide. Just a week earlier the figure was 80,000.

Memorial of Nice attack to be unveiled on July 14th - The memorial of the “Angel of the Bay” will be inaugurated at 3.30pm on July 14th on the Promenade des Anglais, opposite the Palais de la Méditerraneé, six years after the Nice attack which left 86 dead and hundreds injured. The ceremony will see the unveiling of the work of a half-man, half-angel aluminium sculpture by Nice artist Jean-Marie Fondacaro.

Beach in Menton classified as smoking-free - A second beach in Menton has been officially classified as smoking-free. After the Plage du Fossan, it's the Plage des Sablettes near the Old Port that now gets the official label from the National League Against Cancer. The ban had technically been in place since last year but hasn't been very strictly enforced. From this summer, Menton is promising a zero-tolerance policy with fines of 68 euros. During a recent clean-up, 9,500 cigarette butts were picked up from the beaches of Menton. Smoking remains allowed on the town's other beaches, but it is forbidden everywhere to leave cigarette butts in the sand.

Michel-Edouard Leclerc comments on petrol discount from TotalEnergies - Michel-Edouard Leclerc president of E.Leclerc hypermarkets in France, has reacted to the 12 cents discount from TotalEnergies petrol stations saying that he “doesn’t care as he is already cheaper”. Leclerc made the comments on Monday morning during the opening of the renovated service station on the A8 motorway at Adrets-de-l’Esterel in the Var. Leclerc also mentioned the need to preserve the purchasing power of the French, and his desire to keep the same price for products sold in motorway service areas, as in Leclerc hypermarkets. The Total Energies group had announced the discount in its stations located on the motorways of France last week.

Government reshuffle - In politics, French president Emmanuel Macron has undergone a government reshuffle on Monday, replacing a cabinet minister who's at the centre of a rape investigation. Disabilities minister Damien Abad has been shown the door. The reshuffle comes after Macron lost his parliamentary majority in recent elections. Several other high-profile roles have changed in the reshuffle.  The president of Samu-Urgences, François Braun, will replace Brigitte Bourguignon as health minister. Christophe Bechu is Macron's new environment minister. Prime minister Elisabeth Borne is due to announce the government's priorities for the coming months this Wednesday.

Villa of deceased French businessman Bernard Tapie to be auctioned- The villa of deceased businessman Bernard Tapie has been put up for auction. The Mandala in Saint-Tropez will be auctioned as part of the liquidation of Tapie’s assets, indebted before his death for some 600 million euros. The auction is taking place in Belgium on Wednesday and the starting price is reportedly 65 million euros.

Business

France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has said that the government is considering financial aid to those who use their car to get to work. The aid would be paid "depending on the level of income".  Le Maire announced the proposal on Monday which would see the introduction of a new “fuel allowance” for all those who are obliged to use their car to go to work. The minister added that the government is working on "more generous compensation for all those who are forced to take their vehicle to get to work”. A discount of 18 centimes per litre of fuel has been applied at the pump for all motorists since April 1st to soften the impact of soaring oil prices, and the Purchasing Power Law will propose to extend this measure until the end of August.

Meanwhile in the UK twelve people have been arrested after protesters used "rolling roadblocks" to bring parts of the M4 to a standstill during demonstrations over high fuel prices. Groups of motorists took part in "slow-downs", occupying all three lanes and dropping their speed to back up traffic behind them. At least 12 have been arrested on the M4 for breaching a legal notice issued by police before the protest.

Also, in the UK Kellogg's has lost a legal challenge against the government over new food regulations that would stop some of its cereals being prominently displayed in shops. The maker of Coco Pops and All-Bran took legal action against the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) over the rules, which come into force this October. Under the plans, there will be restrictions on where certain types of foods can be displayed in supermarkets or on their websites.

The Federation of e-commerce and distance selling (Fevad) in France has recorded 41.8 million buyers in 2021. While the number of online buyers is slowly increasing by 153,000 French people, e-commerce turnover continues to grow by double digits this year. It amounts to nearly 130 billion euros in 2021. An increase of 15% compared to 2020, but above all 25% compared to 2019, before the pandemic.

And hotel group Accor has announced an ambitious plan to bring back the legendary Orient Express by 2024. The company wants to restore 17 original carriages from the Orient Express, dating back to the 1920s and 30s. Accor jointly owns the Orient Express brand, alongside the SNCF, but it's been licensed out to various operators over the years. No details have been released yet about timetables or fares.

Sport

Football - Manchester City have signed Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips for £45m. The 26-year-old England international has signed a six-year deal with the Premier League champions. Meanwhile Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen has agreed in principle to sign for Manchester United on a free transfer. The 30-year-old's short-term contract at Brentford ended last month.

Tennis - Nick Kyrgios says "so many people will be upset" he has reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals, but says it is a "good feeling" to silence his critics.

Cricket – Edgbaston officials are investigating allegations of racist behaviour by members of the crowd during the ongoing Test between England and India. One account on social media said there was racist abuse directed at India fans in the Eric Hollies stand. Another stated the "disgusting racism" faced was "some of the worst abuse we've ever experienced at a match". Edgbaston officials apologised and said they would investigate the matter as soon as possible.

It's day four out of five of the Test match series England need 119 runs to win.

Rugby Union - Wales prop Tomas Francis is out of the tour to South Africa after suffering concussion in last Saturday's first Test defeat. The 30-year-old was carried off after sustaining a head blow shortly after coming off the bench in the second half. No replacement has been called up.

Weather

Sunny with a gentle breeze. Highs of 29 degrees in Nice and Saint-Paul de Vence, 31 degrees in Cannes. In the Var along the coast in Saint Tropez sunny with a moderate breeze. Highs of 33 degrees and reaching 36 degrees inland. This evening going down to 19 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for Wednesday and Thursday remaining fine highs of 29-31 degrees.

Sea Temperature              22              UV Level            9

Sunrise                        05.54hr              Sunset                21.14hr

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