French and Riviera News Wednesday 15th February 2023

News

Unemployment rate declines - Latest figures released by Insee have shown that there were 2.2 million unemployed at the end of last year, a reduction of 45,000 compared to the previous three months. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne welcomed the news, reaffirming the government's determination to get the jobless rate in France below 5 percent of the active population by 2027. Labour Minister Olivier Dussopt said the statistics were good news, especially since the figures to which the present situation is being compared, in the early months of 2008, was itself unprecedented in the previous 40 years. 

EU ban - The European Parliament has voted to approve a ban on new sales of carbon-emitting petrol and diesel cars by 2035, with a view to getting them off the continent's roads by mid-century. The law passed the Strasbourg assembly on Tuesday by 340 votes to 279, with 21 abstentions.

Meanwhile, the region Prefecture announced new speed restrictions on the A8 autoroute on Tuesday afternoon. Vehicles were required to drive at no less than 70km per hour and no more than 90 km/h. The change was due to dangerous air pollution which is moving from the Bouche-du-Rhone into the Alpes Maritimes area. It’s bringing with it very fine particles of pollutants which are dangerous to humans. The Prefecture is asking people to avoid intense physical or sports activity, to avoid travel during peak periods and in the event of respiratory or cardiac discomfort, to seek advice from a doctor or pharmacy.

Fugitive found - The "dangerous" fugitive wanted by the police and reported on Tuesday has since been found in the Var. The man was wanted by the Var police who had launched a call for witnesses on Monday, February 13. The individual had escaped from a prison in Tarascon and was considered "dangerous" by police.  In a message posted on Twitter, the police of Var specifies that the man was arrested in Ollioules, without specifying the circumstances or the time of his arrest.

Strike action - The SNCF has warned passengers that train traffic will be disrupted due to tomorrow’s strike action. Unions have once again called for action on Thursday against the government’s pension reform. Public transport is expected to be affected. In a press release, the SNCF indicates that the movement will start this Wednesday, February 15 at 7 p.m. and should end on February 17, at  8am and has recommended that passengers cancel or postpone their trips.

Demonstration by taxi drivers - A massive demonstration is being planned by taxi drivers for the weekend. They are protesting against the number of licences being issued by authorities and fares being charged by ride-sharing apps such as Uber. It’s thought up to 200 cars could block access to the A8 between Nice Cote d’Azur Airport and Cannes.

Pink Ribbon Monaco - Princess Grace Hospital in Monaco has received a donation of €25,000 raised by participants in last weekend's Pink Ribbon Walk at Port Hercule.  The donation will be used for research into combatting breast cancer being conducted at the hospital.

Cannes Film Festival - The Cannes Film Festival is looking for up to 400 additional paid workers for the event which will run between May 16th and 27th this year. Applicants should speak fluent English and French, with an additional language being an advantage. A number of volunteer positions are also being offered through the website JeVeuxAider.gouv.fr

Business

After almost six decades of family ownership the global sandwich chain Subway says it is exploring a possible sale of the business. The firm has been growing rapidly for years but is now facing tough soaring costs and increased competition. According to the Wall Street Journal, a sale of the company could value it at more than $10bn ($8.2bn). Investment banking giant JP Morgan is advising Subway on the potential sale.

A group of Tesla workers in New York is trying to form a union, which would be a first for Elon Musk's electric car company. They have sent a letter to the firm outlining the plans and asking leaders to agree to ground rules for a "fair" union election. Mr Musk, who has opposed organising efforts at his company in the past, has not responded publicly to the effort.

Airbus has received a massive order of 250 new aircraft from Air India. The order includes 210 narrowbody planes and 40 widebody aircraft, which the airline will use to fly ‘ultra-long’ routes across the globe.

And - French fashion brand Louis Vuitton has named Grammy-winning producer, rapper, singer and songwriter Pharrell Williams as its new menswear creative director. The label described Williams as "a visionary whose creative universes expand from music to art, and to fashion". He is also the co-founder of the streetwear brand Billionaire Boys Club. Williams' first collection for the label will be shown at the Men's Fashion Week in Paris in June.

Sport

Formula One - Charles Leclerc has set his sights on trying to win Ferrari's first Formula 1 drivers' title for 16 years this season. Leclerc, who finished second to Red Bull's Max Verstappen last year, said he believed Ferrari had done a "great job" on their new car, which was unveiled on Tuesday.

Cricket - Pace bowler Stuart Broad will return to the England team for the first Test against New Zealand. The 36-year-old missed the series win in Pakistan in December following the birth of his daughter. Broad joins James Anderson and Ollie Robinson in the pace attack for the day-night opening match of the two-Test series on Thursday (01:00 GMT). The match goes ahead despite New Zealand declaring a state of emergency due to Cyclone Gabrielle.

Golf - Tiger Woods says he is "playing to win" when he competes this week in his first tournament in seven months at the PGA Tour's Genesis Invitational. The 15-time major winner played just three competitive events in 2022, the last at July's Open Championship at St Andrews, when he missed the cut. Woods, 47, suffered severe leg injuries in a car crash in February 2021.

Football – In the Premier League this evening Arsenal are at home to Manchester City. Kick off is at 8.30pm French time.

Weather

Sunny with a gentle breeze. Highs of 15 degrees in Nice, Cannes, Antibes and Saint-Tropez. Highs of 14 degrees in Monaco. This evening going down to 5 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow, sunny intervals highs of 15. Thursday sunny with light breeze highs of 13-15 degrees.

Sunrise       07.29hr

Sunset        17.59hr

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