French and Riviera News Wednesday 13th December 2023

News

Crisis meeting following the rejection of new immigration bill - The French government has held a crisis meeting following the rejection of a new immigration bill on Monday. The outcome of the meeting on Tuesday, will see the legislation sent back to a parliamentary committee in order to thrash out a new text to break the deadlock. The French government has said it will push on with a planned immigration law in the face of a political crisis after opposition parties from the left to the far right refused to even debate it in parliament. French President Emmanuel Macron and his government were surprised by the humiliating defeat, the first time in 25 years that a government bill was rejected before even being debated. The immigration bill is intended to show that Emmanuel Macron can take tough measures on migration while keeping France’s doors open to foreign workers who can help the economy.

Climate change - A major new report has warned that the south of France is one of the regions in the world that is the most exposed to the effects of climate change and potential water shortages. As the COP28 climate summit draws to a close, the Rhône-Mediterranean Water Agency's new climate change adaptation plan sets out 30 priorities that need to be urgently addressed by 2030. Their recommendations include an at least 10% reduction in overall water usage - by households, local authorities, and industries, including farmers, winegrowers, hotels and golf courses. The report warns that in the Paca region in particular, soils are drying out, water quality is deteriorating, and river flows are in decline. The Water Agency is releasing €65 million in emergency funding to secure the region's drinking water supply - including reducing leaks and promoting better water use.

Meanwhile, this week Monday was the warmest 11th December on the French Riviera since records began, according to new data from Météo France. A weather station in Cannes recorded 23.7°C at 3pm with 23.5°C in Valbonne. The previous record for this time of year was 35 years ago - an abnormally high 23.4°C recorded in 1988.

Flooding in the Dordogne – However in the Dordogne, a crisis unit has been set up following floods in the region. The unit aims to identify and take care of those affected by the flooding as many roads are completely closed. On Tuesday a parent took several children on his tractor so that they could get safely to their school bus stop.

Night train - The first night train from Berlin to Paris in almost a decade pulled into Paris Gare de l’Est on Tuesday morning, hailed as a milestone moment in cleaner alternatives to air travel in Europe. The sleeper service between Berlin and Paris had been called for by travellers, local politicians and green campaigners for years and marks a return of slow travel and cleaner options after night trains lost out to competition from budget airlines and high-speed trains at the beginning of the century, with many sleeper-train services closing.

Paper tram tickets to end - If you have any old paper Lignes d'Azur bus and tram tickets, you have until the end of this month to use them up before they become obsolete. The Nice public transport operator has been gradually phasing out paper tickets in favour of contactless cards. The validating machines on buses and trams will stop accepting paper tickets on 1st January. It's a case of use it or lose it - it's not possible to exchange them for an electronic alternative.

Scam telephone calls - Authorities in Monaco have warned of a sudden spike in scam telephone calls, with more than a thousand malicious calls being detected in the space of just a few days. The calls typically come from a hidden or private number. Scammers mainly target elderly people and try to obtain financial information by posing as a police officer or other person in a position of authority. The Monegasque government is urging all residents to be vigilant, not to answer calls from private numbers and above all not to engage in any unusual requests for personal or financial details.

Christmas Tree Auction – Meanwhile, today Wednesday 13th December, Action Innocence Monaco will be holding its famous Christmas Tree Auction at the Hôtel de Paris at 6pm. Action Innocence Monaco was founded in 2002 under the patronage of Prince Albert II of Monaco and raises awareness and funds for a safer online environment for children.

Recruitment – Finally, a big recruitment drive is under way to hire 200 staff for the new Palm Beach resort in Cannes, which is due to open in time for the film festival next May. Construction work on the €200 million project is progressing well, on the site of the former Casino Partouche on the Cap de la Croisette. It'll feature several restaurants, a hotel, shopping arcade, cabaret, nightclub, beach and swimming pool. A broad range of job profiles are on offer from waiters and reception workers to bartenders, security guards and IT staff. Management are accepting speculative job applications - and a jobs fair will also be planned for next spring.

Sport

Football - Manchester United have exited the Champions League at the group stage after a 1-0 defeat by Bayern Munich at Old Trafford.

In this evenings Champion League matches Newcastle play AC Milan and Red Star Belgrade face Manchester City.

Rugby Union - Henry Arundell has signed a contract extension with French club Racing 92, making him ineligible for England. The winger's new contract will run until 2026, which means he will be absent from England duty until then. Rugby Football Union rules do not allow players based abroad to be selected for England.

Business

Argentina's new government says it will weaken the value of its currency by more than 50% against the US dollar. It is part of the "economic shock therapy" that the President Javier Milei says the country needs to fix its worst crisis in decades. The county’s Economy Minister Luis Caputo also announced deep cuts to public spending.

They include a reduction in fuel and transport subsidies and the freezing spending on some major government contracts and advertising. Argentina is battling soaring inflation, with prices rising by around 150% over the last year. It is also struggling with low cash reserves, high government debt, while 40% of the population is living below the poverty line. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), to which Argentina owes $44bn called the measures "bold" and said they will help create the environment for private sector growth.

Recent data has shown that 85 to 90% of TGV trains in France are fully booked ahead of the holiday season, with 4 million passengers. Figures are up compared to last year and the SNCF has announced plans to be able to meet the increasing demand by improving capacity. The company is banking on the new TGV M which offers 20% more capacity, but which is behind schedule, expected to be circulating in 2024 it has now been delayed until the beginning of 2025.

Meanwhile, more people may be travelling by train, but less people are buying Champagne ahead of Christmas. With an average price of 30 euros per litre in supermarkets, champagne is increasingly being neglected in favour of other sparkling wines which are 4 to 5 times cheaper. After more than a year of sharp increases in food prices, the French have made trade-offs by favouring low-cost products and Champagne has not been spared with a 20.7% drop this year across all French retail channels between January 1st and December 3rd.

Weather

Cloudy to begin with, giving way to clear skies and sunshine this afternoon. Highs of 16 degrees in Monaco, Nice, Cannes and Antibes. 15 degrees in Saint-Tropez. The wind is expected to pick up across the region with gusts of up to 60km/h. This evening going down to 2 degrees inland and 7 degrees along the coast with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow, Thursday, sunny with a gentle breeze and highs of 17 in Menton and Théoule-sur-mer. Friday fine with highs of 18 degrees. The weekend is forecast to be fine and sunny.

Sunrise       07.55am

Sunset        04.53pm

 

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