French and Riviera News Tuesday 6th December 2022

News

Deception charge against drug used for thyroid problems - The National Medicines Safety Agency in France has announced a “deception” charge against the thyroid hormone Levothyrox. The charge comes after the drug, used against thyroid problems, changed its formula back in 2017. Hundreds of patients, among the 2.5 million who use it daily in France suffered side effects such as cramps, headaches, dizziness, or hair loss.

Two people injured in an avalanche in the Alpes de Hautes Provence - Two people have been injured in an avalanche. The incident occurred on Monday afternoon in the town of Enchastrayes in the Alpes de Hautes Provence. The couple were at the time ski touring and were swept from the Dôme between Col de Fours and Jausiers as the avalanche hit. One of the victims a man in his forties was seriously injured after being buried in the snow. Emergency services managed to extract him; he was evacuated to hospital in Marseille. The second victim, a 57-year-old woman who was more slightly injured, was evacuated to Briançon hospital. The departments of Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Alpes-Maritimes are currently placed on a yellow avalanche alert.

Further disruptions on the trains tomorrow Wednesday 7th December - Further disruptions are expected tomorrow Wednesday 7th December, on certain TER, TGV and Intercités trains in France. Just as train travel was thought to be getting back to normal after a weekend of strike action, the SNCF has announced that all of the group's staff members have been called upon to stop work by the CGT-Cheminots, SUD-Rail and the CFDT. The strike will disrupt the circulation of certain regional trains as well as several TGVs and Intercités, especially on the Paris-Lyon line and south of Bordeaux. Disruptions are to be expected for TER in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Grand Est, Occitanie and the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region. On the main lines, passengers concerned will be informed by email or SMS in the event of the cancellation of their train. In this case, the SNCF promises a full refund before the scheduled departure, or a free exchange on all trains where there is still space.

Helpline for anyone left in the dark - The Nice metropolitan area has set up a telephone helpline for anyone with questions about the energy crisis and the risk of power cuts this winter. The hotline entered service on Monday and is intended to answer residents' questions, such as how people will be notified about potential power cuts and who could be affected. Nice city hall says the risk of power cuts this winter is still hypothetical. The dedicated phone line can be reached by calling 04 97 13 56 00. 

All changes on the Lignes d’Azur network - It's all change on the Lignes d’Azur network with an increase in prices, fewer lines, and modified timetables. Deputy mayor and president of the Ligne d’Azur Gaël Nofri, announced the changes saying that the “network needed to save money”. From July the price of a ticket will increase from 1 euro 50 to 1 euro 70 and the book of ten tickets will be discontinued. Prices had not changed on the network since 2013. Speaking to local media the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi confirmed that the “there was a duty of good management in a period when public funds are scarce”.

Tour de France 2024 - More details have emerged about the Riviera finale of the Tour de France in 2024. Last week it was announced that the famous cycling race would finish on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, in a break from the usual Champs-Elysées tradition, to alleviate the pressure on police officers in the capital, which is staging the Olympics. Now it's been confirmed that the final day of the Tour de France action will be a time trial between Monaco and Nice, on Sunday 21st July 2024. The last time Monaco hosted a stage of the race was the Grand Départ in 2009. The exact route isn't yet clear, but it won't be a leisurely cycle along the coast - there will be 35 kilometres in total including plenty of climbs.

Shop till you drop! -  A study has claimed to have found the most festive shopping town on the Côte d'Azur. The winner is Cannes, with 8.7 shops selling Christmas gifts per 1,000 inhabitants. That's ahead of Paris on 6.7 and neighbouring Antibes on 5.3. The study, by a Toulouse-based geomarketing start-up, analysed official Insee data for thousands of retail outlets in major cities. It added up the number of shops registered as selling festive goods including food, books, games, audiovisual equipment and cosmetics, as well as jewellers and wine merchants. Nice has 1,230 shops selling Christmas goods, but on a per inhabitant basis this worked out to be much lower than Cannes. An earlier study by the same start-up showed Cannes also had one of the highest densities of restaurants in France - with one for every 68 residents.

Two cats run for head of Republican party – Finally, two cats have thrown into doubt the reliability of the election for a new leader for France's right-wing Republican party. Local MP Éric Ciotti is in the lead following this weekend's first round of internal elections for the party's presidency. The second round is next Sunday. Participation stood at about 72% - but that included Kalli and Zizou, two cats belonging to a journalist at the Journal du Dimanche. He'd used a flaw in the Republican party's voter registration system to get the pair registered on the electoral list. They even have their own membership cards as fully paid-up party members. And they benefited from a discount for joining the party as a couple. It's an echo of what was called the Douglas affair - when a dog called Douglas was able to vote for the Republicans in the Alpes-Maritimes last December.

Business

Due to an objection towards a new law which would give news organisations greater power to negotiate fees for content shared on Facebook, Meta has threatened to remove news content from Facebook in the US.  Meta claims their platform, in fact, provides increased traffic to struggling news outlets. It says publishers put their content on Facebook because "it benefits their bottom line." However, media companies argue that Meta generates huge sums of money from news articles shared on the platform. Local news in particular struggled during the pandemic, as Meta made huge profits. A similar law, passed in Australia, led to news on Facebook being briefly suspended last year.

Apple supplier Foxconn says its revenue in November is down 11% compared to the same month in 2021, following unrest at the world's largest iPhone factory. It says the drop is a result of its plant in China being affected by coronavirus restrictions. Compared to October its revenue was 29% down, despite making a record 5.9 trillion New Taiwan Dollars (£160bn) from January to November. That is an increase of 13.5% compared to the same period in 2021.

A group of Taylor Swift fans is suing Ticketmaster after a chaotic, failed bid to buy tickets for the superstar's upcoming US tour. Many fans were left frustrated recently when Ticketmaster was forced to cancel the main sale of tickets on its website. The lawsuit, filed by 26 'Swifties' from across the US alleges that the company is guilty of fraud, price-fixing and anti-trust violations. Ticketmaster has yet to comment on the filing.

World Cup

It was a walk in the park for Brazil as they beat South Korea 4-1 last night. Neymar was the headline act as he made his comeback after an ankle problem. Brazil are into their eighth successive World Cup quarter-final and dedicated this performance to Pele, who is in hospital, as they paraded a giant banner at the final whistle bearing the 82-year-old's name. Pele will have appreciated the gesture and he would have undoubtedly nodded in approval at Brazil's performance, the biggest statement by any country so far at this World Cup.

Japan were once again on the verge of the World Cup quarter-finals but Croatia's experience got them over the line on Monday. After a 1-1 draw at extra time the game ended in a penalty shootout. For Japan, their dream came to end at the round of 16 once more, failing to progress beyond this stage in all four World Cup appearances.

Today Morocco play Spain kick off is at 4pm and Portugal play Switzzerland kick off is at 8pm.

Sport

Tennis - Tennis coach Nick Bollettieri has died aged 91. The New Yorker guided 10 world number one singles players, including Andre Agassi, Maria Sharapova, Monica Seles and Boris Becker. Bollettieri first established his academy in 1978, and before long students were living and training full-time in Florida.

Cricket - Captain Ben Stokes says England's last-gasp victory over Pakistan in the first Test is "mind-blowing". England took the last wicket in fading light on the final day to win by 74 runs in their first Test in Pakistan for 17 years and secure one of their greatest victories of all time. There is only a three-day gap to the second Test on Friday, when England will have the chance to secure the series.

Rugby Union – According to reports after seven years in charge Eddie Jones will be sacked as England head coach today and replaced by Steve Borthwick, after the RFU's post-autumn inquest decided that the Australian's position is untenable.

Meanwhile, Warren Gatland says he is putting his reputation on the line by replacing Wayne Pivac to become Wales coach for a second time. Gatland is Wales' most successful and longest-serving coach, having won three Grand Slams during his previous reign. Gatland also guided Wales to the semi-finals of the 2011 and 2019 World Cups during his first stint as Wales coach, which lasted 12 years. In his final season, Wales reached the top of World Rugby's rankings thanks to a 14-match unbeaten run.

Football - Football legend John Barnes is facing the threat of bankruptcy over an unpaid tax bill of more than £300,000. The former England and Liverpool player’s legal woes were revealed in a High Court hearing on Monday. Barnes, 59, recently sparked controversy by accusing the British public of 'bullying' Qatar.

Weather

15 degrees and sunny with a moderate breeze in Nice. Sunny intervals in Cannes and Antibes. 14 degrees in Monaco with sunny intervals. 15 degrees in Saint Tropez, sunny intervals, and light winds. This evening going down to 5 degrees in Nice. 3 degrees in Saint Tropez and 1 degree in Antibes with below zero temperatures inland.

The outlook for tomorrow and Thursday. Tomorrow, sunny with a gentle breeze highs of 15 degrees. Thursday, light rain highs of 13 degrees.

Sunrise 07.49hr

Sunset  16.53hr

And Finally

Despite what many may think, Britain isn't the boozing capital of Europe according to official data revealed on Monday. The UK actually ranks middle of the pack for alcohol consumption, sitting behind both France and Germany.

An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report found Brits drank 9.7 litres of pure alcohol per adult in 2020 — 0.1 less than the EU average. It was the equivalent of around nine pints of low-strength beer or six large glasses of wine a week.

Latvia had the highest rate with 12.1 litres per adult during the year, while France had 10.4 and Germans drank 10.6.

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