French and Riviera News Tuesday 6th February 2024

National News France

French president sends well wishes to King Charles III - French President Emmanuel Macron has wished King Charles III “a speedy recovery” after news broke on Monday that he had been diagnosed with cancer. In a post on social network X Macron said, “our thoughts are with the British people”. The type of cancer has not been revealed and while it is not prostate cancer it was discovered during his recent treatment for an enlarged prostate. In a statement Buckingham Palace confirmed that King Charles had begun “regular treatments” and will postpone public duties during treatment, adding that the 75-year-old Monarch “remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible”. King Charles informed both his sons personally about his diagnosis and the Prince of Wales was said to be in regular contact with his father.

Doughnuts recalled throughout France - In other news, the French government website « Rappel Conso » has issued a product recall on doughnuts sold in major supermarkets and bakeries throughout France. The recall concerns batches throughout France of sugar doughnuts sold in several major brands such as Lidl and Aldi but also in bakeries. The batches concerned “emit an unpleasant odour and taste”, according to the government website. All brands concerned are supplied by the Belgian Vandemoortele group. The recalled doughnuts were sold between November 1 and February 2. For more information go to https://www.rappel.conso.gouv.fr/fiche-rappel/13687/Interne

87% of French people say they have reduced their food waste - According to a Harris Interactive survey for Cetelem published on Monday, nearly 9 out of 10 French people believe that prices have increased in 2023 and as a result 87% of French people say they have reduced their food waste. Nearly 9 out of 10 Europeans (88%), including French people (89%), consider that prices increased last year. This opinion is more prominent in southern countries, such as Portugal where 81% of respondents believe that prices have increased significantly, Italy (65%) and Spain (65%). Inflation has become a main concern for 87% of Europeans. Portugal and France feel the most negative, with 58% and 55% respectively of those questioned saying that their purchasing power has decreased. Consumption habits are also impacted by inflation, with new trade-offs. 62% of Europeans, including 65% of French people, have already given up on leisure-related spending and 58% of Europeans (59% of French people) have deprived themselves of vacation-related spending. According to this survey, 60% of French people have restricted their purchases of clothing and shoes and 44% their food spending. To protect their wallet, 79% of French people surveyed (81% of Europeans) say they resort more to special deals and cut down prices. 41% of French people (35% of Europeans) also admit to eating less than in the past.

Local News

Vast network of 3D-printed weapons dismantled – In local news, a vast network for manufacturing 3D-printed weapons has been discovered in the Var. A first in France, the public prosecutor of Marseille announced on Monday that 14 people aged between 19 and 30 years old had been arrested, some were found to already have criminal records. The suspects manufactured and marketed the weapons from Roquebrune-sur-Argens, in the Var.  A 3D weapon is worth between 1,000 and 1,500 euros for sale on the dark web compared to 5,000 euros for a conventional Kalashnikov-type weapon. The 3D weapons, which are described as looking like “toys”, and are undetectable at airports, are created from scratch by 3D printers imported from the United States. The yearlong investigation saw police seize eight 3D printers, seven 3D weapons and 23 conventional weapons. 300 investigators from all over France were mobilized.

Diver found dead - A diver has been found dead in the Var. Missing along the coastline near Toulon since Sunday evening, Cross Med discovered the victim on Monday morning at a depth of 17 metres. The exact circumstances are not yet known.

An Irish rugby fan has a lucky escape after falling into the Old port of Marseille – Meanwhile, an Irish rugby fan has had a lucky escape after being rescued by police suffering from hypothermia in the Old Port in Marseille. Two rescue teams and sniffer dogs were mobilised to hoist the individual weighing 110 kilos onto dry land. After having attended the rugby match between France and Ireland, the supporter, under the influence of alcohol, had tripped and plunged into the Old Port after urgently relieving his bladder off the quayside of the port.  The incident, which occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning, almost cost him is life as witnesses at the time saw no urgency. The Irishman splashed around in cold water for almost twenty minutes. Until a police patrol noticed him.

Château de la Garoupe - Local media has reported that the Château de la Garoupe in Antibes has been officially sold to the founder of Whatsapp. The château located on the Côte d'Azur and confiscated from Russian businessman Boris Berezovski, who died in 2013, was sold by the French State reportedly to Ukrainian born co-founder of Whatsapp 47-year-old Jan Koum. Koum, who has spent most of his live in the US already enjoys mega yacht “Moonrise”, which is often anchored in the summer on the Côte d’Azur and has an estimated fortune of 14 billion dollars. The businessman sold Whatsapp to Facebook in 2017 for a cool $19 billion. In addition to its privileged location on the Cap d'Antibes, with a breathtaking views of the sea, the Château de la Garoupe, built in 1907 for an English Lord, also has the privilege of having hosted guests such as Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway.

Train strike- SNCF controllers are threatening strike action on February 16th, 17th and 18th, which looks set to impact the school holidays for some regions in France.  In the PACA region 50 to 80% of controllers are expected to participate in the industrial action.

Lack of snow - Meanwhile, with school half-term holidays fast approaching, the Riviera's ski resorts are desperately hoping for snow. Overnight temperatures recently haven't fallen below zero at most of the Mercantour ski resorts. La Colmiane hasn't seen any fresh snow since 10th January - and only half of its 17 slopes are open. Half-term is a crucial period for ski tourism and the first holiday fortnight, for pupils in Paris and the suburbs, begins this Friday. Here on the Riviera, half term begins on 24th February.

Nice - Nice has been named the 13th best town in France to live in, in an eagerly awaited annual league table. The Association of Towns and Villages ranking takes into account almost 200 different criteria including safety, health, public transport and education. In the ranking of towns with more than 2,000 inhabitants, Nice is 13th, Antibes 25th and Cannes 40th. Paris comes in at 103rd and Marseille is 135th. In the ranking of villages with less than 2,000 residents, Théoule-sur-Mer is 12th and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat 44th. For the fourth consecutive year, three towns in the south-west come top of the list - Bayonne, Biarritz and Anglet - followed in fourth place by Angers in the Pays de la Loire.

French employee wins case after being dismissed for not being “fun enough at work” - Finally, a French employee who was fired accused of “not being fun enough” may just be having the last laugh, after receiving compensation as well as his job back. The incident dates back to November 2022 when his employer had criticized him for not adhering to the company's "fun & pro" values by not participating in all the aperitifs organized internally or by criticizing the excessive alcohol consumption of the teams during these "moments of conviviality".  This week France’s highest court ruled that the man fired by a Paris-based consulting firm for allegedly failing to be “fun” enough at work was wrongfully dismissed and awarded him 500,000 euros compensation and his job back.

Business

Snap the social media giant which operated Snapchat, has announced plans to cut "approximately" 10% of its staff. The news comes a day before Snap reports its fourth-quarter results - having reported a net loss of $368m (£294m) in the previous quarter in October 2023. Snapchat said the move would "reduce hierarchy and promote in-person collaboration".

And - McDonald's has reported that is has missed a key sales target, partly due to customers boycotting the firm for its perceived support of Israel. The fast-food chain reported its first quarterly sales miss in nearly four years due to weak growth in its international business division. Its boss previously acknowledged the impact of the conflict, blaming "misinformation". Shares in McDonald's fell about 4% after the announcement. McDonalds is one of several Western corporations including Starbucks and Coca Cola that have seen boycotts and protests against them by anti-Israeli campaigners.

Sport

Football – In the Premier League last night Manchester City beat Brentford 3-1. The result sees City move menacingly into second place just two points behind leaders Liverpool.

This evening in the FA Cup fourth round replay, Coventry City are at home to Sheffield Wednesday, Plymouth play Leeds and Southampton face Watford. All matches kick off at 8.15pm French time.

Formula One – Red Bull’s team boss Christian Horner is under investigation after a complaint of inappropriate behaviour was made against him. Red Bull said it took the allegations "extremely seriously" and has started an investigation. Horner says he "completely denies" the allegations.

Athletics – American Noah Lyles says he wants to win "all the Olympic medals" after setting a personal best in winning the 60m at the Boston Indoor Grand Prix. Lyles, the 100m, 200m and 4x100m world champion, is set to race in all three events at this summer's Paris Olympics.

Meanwhile, locally it’s congratulations to swimmer Lisa Pou who has become the first Monegasque athlete to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. At 24, Lisa Pou will next be seen swimming in the Seine in six months’ time.

Weather

Mainly fine with some cloud, a gentle breeze. Highs of 14 degrees in Nice and Antibes, 13 degrees in Monaco, 14 degrees in Mougins with sunny intervals, misty in Saint Tropez highs of 14. This evening going down to 8 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow sunny intervals and highs of 14 degrees. Thursday, clear skies reaching highs of 15 and lows of 9 degrees.

Sunrise                07.41am

Sunset                05.47pm

Sea temperature Nice - 14 degrees. 

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