French and Riviera News Wednesday 11th October 2023

News

France’s justice minister calls for firmness - France’s Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti has called for “firmness” in the face of “the apology for terrorism” saying that people making comments praising the attacks” should face prosecution for advocating terrorism.

Meanwhile, MPs walked out of the French National Assembly on Tuesday, during a speech by the president of the far-left party “La France Insoumise” Mathilde Panot, after she refused to qualify the Hamas movement as “terrorist”. Speaking to parliament Panot said that she wished “to express a thought of humanity for the hostages, the civilians killed in Israel by the acts of terror perpetrated by Hamas, as well as for the civilians in Gaza who are killed under attack. Before concluding “we condemn all these war crimes".

Médecins sans frontières – The head of the Palestine programme for “Médecins sans frontières” Sarah Chateau has said that this “is really not the time to cut aid to the Palestinians”. The European Union announced on Monday October 9th that it would not suspend aid to the Palestinians. However, a few hours before, the European Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi had affirmed that "all payments" were "immediately suspended, all projects would be re-examined, and all budgets concerning projects, including for 2023, postponed until further notice”. Speaking to French media Chateau, said that “we are aware that there are wounded and dead on both sides but we have a civilian population which is under siege with its homes destroyed. There will be a real need for reconstruction and support for the civilian population. So, now is really not the time to stop humanitarian aid in an area that was already very disadvantaged, with enormous needs”.

Humanitarian corridor - On Tuesday the United Nations (UN) did call for a humanitarian corridor to be established into the Gaza Strip, so that critical medical supplies can be brought in. The UN said Israel's total blockade of the Palestinian territory - home to a densely populated two million people – fails to comply with international humanitarian law.

Gatherings on Old Port of Marseille - Meanwhile, locally between 150 and 200 people gathered in the Old Port of Marseille on Tuesday, October 10, in support of the Palestinian people, despite the gathering being banned by police. The gathering organised by the Marseille Gaza Palestine Collective, and undeclared according to the Prefecture saw people present receive fines for participating in a banned gathering. One 84-year-old protestor told reporters I am here because "I don't like war, I'm not angry, I'm sad. Being angry doesn’t solve anything before adding, “why isn't Palestine independent? Why is blood flowing? on the ground, like in Ukraine? With their fists in the air, the demonstrators, some of whom brandished Palestinian flags, chanted slogans such as “Resistance from Marseille to Gaza”. Many young people took part in the mobilization.

It was in Lyon on Monday, that around 150 people gathered, "in support of the Palestinian resistance", before being quickly dispersed by the police. More than 1,000 Israelis and at least 830 Palestinians have died since Saturday October 7th, the date of the Hamas attack.

According to the latest report eight French people have been killed in the attacks in Israel and 20 are reported missing. France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna warned however, that this toll could increase.  The minister also announced “a special flight by Air France this Thursday" to repatriate French people who were unable to return home.

Bed bugs – The mayor of London is speaking with officials in France to see if any lessons could be learnt from the recent invasion of bedbugs in the French capital, after the insects were spotted on the London underground. Sadiq Khan says everything is being done to ensure the bedbug infestation seen in France will not spread to the city's transport system. In Paris, the insects have been reported in schools, trains, hospitals and cinemas. Mr Khan acknowledged it was a "real source of concern" for people that it may spread to London. The mayor told reporters that Transport for London (TfL) was disinfecting seats daily.

SBM acquires hotel in Courchevel, a first - The Société des Bains de Mer de Monaco the SBM, has officially announced the ownership of the five-star hotel in Courchevel “Le Palace des Neiges”. The acquisition, which was initiated by the president-delegate of SBM Stéphane Valeri, was announced in a press release, in which Valeri spoke of his “great satisfaction for the SBM group to succeed for the first time in its history in finalizing an international hotel acquisition project, with one of the biggest names in luxury hotels in the Alps." For the time being the hotel will still be operated by the Alp'Azur group for the coming winter season, before the SBM begins restructuring work in April 2024 for a "major renovation".

Business

Billionaire and owner of X, Elon Musk, has been warned by the EU that the social media platform is being used to spread “disinformation” following the attack from Hamas on Israel. According to and despite warnings, from the head of EU industry and as required by EU law, “violent and terrorist content” had not been taken down. However, Musk claims the platform had taken action and has asked the EU to list the alleged violations.

As reported last Friday in Riviera Radio’s business news, shares in the German sandal maker Birkenstock are set to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Ahead of the move investors and analysts had said that the sandal company needed to sell more clogs and boots and boost sales to attract new shoppers. The initial public offering priced the shares at $46 per share, valuing the company at roughly $8.6bn (£7.08bn). That is double what it was worth less than three years ago and last year the company sold some 30 million pairs of shoes. The question is whether the company can maintain the momentum - and whether opening the firm up to the pressure of public markets for the first time in its long history will hurt or help.

And – During the trial of Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the crypto exchange FTX, his ex-girlfriend and deputy has testified that he "directed" her to take customer's money to repay risky loans he had obtained. Caroline Ellison was testifying in the trial of Mr Bankman-Fried, who is accused of fraud and money laundering. She said systems he set up led to billions being stolen from customers. FTX was once one of the biggest platforms in the world where crypto investors could buy and trade digital currencies. It went bankrupt in November, with more than $8bn (£6.51) reported missing.

Sport

Golf - LIV Golf's attempt to be recognised by the sport's global rankings body has been rejected. Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) turned down the Saudi Arabia-backed series' request because of concerns about the circuit's format.

Football - Following the controversy surrounding the disallowed goal for Liverpool against Tottenham last month, which led to Liverpool losing the game 2-1. Head referee Howard Webb has said that steps have been taken to avoid it happening again.

And – On Tuesday the UK and Republic of Ireland were confirmed as hosts of the 2028 European Championships at a Uefa meeting in Switzerland. The bid was unopposed after Turkey withdrew from the process last week.

Rugby World Cup – France captain Antoine Dupont has been cleared to return to training before his side's Rugby World Cup quarter-final against South Africa on Sunday. Meanwhile, there are doubts over James Ryan and Mack Hansen's fitness after the Ireland pair missed Tuesday's training session before Saturday's World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand. Ireland head coach Andy Farrell will name his team today.

Olympics - Tickets for next summer's Paralympics in Paris have gone on sale this week. Some 2.8 million tickets are up for grabs on a first-come first-served basis, with prices ranging from €15 to €100 per seat - with the exception of the opening and closing ceremonies. 60,000 of the tickets are for seating positions that are easy to access for people with reduced mobility - and another 12,000 spaces are reserved for wheelchair users. Some 300,000 tickets will be distributed free to school pupils.

Weather

Mainly fine with clear skies. Some cloud to begin with. Highs of 24-25 degrees in Monaco, Nice and Saint Tropez with a moderate breeze. Highs of 28 degrees in Marseille. This evening going down to 17 degrees and partly cloudy.

The outlook for tomorrow and Friday. Remaining sunny with some cloudy patches in places. Highs of 24-25 degrees.

Sunrise       07.39am

Sunset        06.54pm

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