French and Riviera News Wednesday 15th March 2023

News

Pension reform - How close is it to being passed? - Senators and deputies in France’s National Assembly will from this morning at 9am, as part of a joint committee, try find a compromise on the pension reform. If agreed, the text could be voted on tomorrow at the Assembly. According to an estimate, between 260 and 285 deputies say they are ready to vote for the government’s text. If the absolute majority in the National Assembly is currently 287 deputies, this could decrease due to abstentions.

62% of French would like strike action to continue if reform is passed - Meanwhile, today Wednesday March 15th, marks an eighth day of mobilisation across France against the reform. Dozens of rally points have been identified by unions.  According to a new Elabe poll for BFMTV, 62% of French people would like the strike action to continue if the reform is passed.

Which sectors will be affected by strike action - Today will see many sectors disrupted due to the strike. Described as a “black day” on France’s transport. The public is being advised to avoid travelling by train. In the air, flight cancellations should be fewer than last week, but some disruption and delays are nevertheless expected. Teachers are still mobilised and most French refineries remain blocked as agents have been on strike since March 6th. Finally, Parisian bin collectors continue their strike action resulting in some 7,000 tonnes of uncollected rubbish building up in the French capital. Unions for bin collectors have announced that they intend to strike at least until March 20th.  It was on Tuesday evening that France’s Minister of the Interior called the mayor of Paris requesting the requisition of striking staff adding that failure to respond would lead to the State having to intervene.

Canua Island project is rejected by the president of the region - Renaud Muselier, President of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d 'Azur region, has denounced a floating island project planned in Mandeuleu claiming that it “lacks common sense”. Canua Island planned for the end of April is not yet off the coast of Mandulieu La Napoule but is nevertheless already causing discontent. In a press release this week the president of the region said that the “project risks seeing the light of day despite massive opposition, as well as the harmful impacts it entails".

Two hospitals in the PACA are ranked best in the world - Two hospitals in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region have appeared in the ranking of the best hospitals in the world for 2023.  According to the ranking by Newsweek, La Timone and Hôpital Nord both in Marseille, are amongst the best in the world. Elsewhere in France, several hospitals are present, including in Paris, the Pitié Salpêtrière University Hospital which is in the top 10 (8th) and the European Hospital Georges Pompidou (19th).

Nice eliminated in running for cultural capital city - The city of Nice has been eliminated in the first round of voting for the cultural capital of France overtaken by Rouen, Clermont-Ferrand and Montpellier which have all gone through to the 2nd round. In response to the result the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, defended the city declaring Nice is “the world’s capital of culture”. The elimination however, did not come as much as a surprise for some, who had criticized the mayor claiming that the running for the title “was purely a political ambition and not enough was done on the ground to be able to be considered as a serious contender”. 

Beausoleil increases its video surveillance – Beausoleil has announced plans to strengthening its video surveillance, with the installation of thirty cameras by 2024. The town council has started a three-year program to strengthen its video surveillance system. This will include license plate readers for motorists.

Weather and climate forecasts on French television - State television run channels France 2 and France 3 have changed their daily weather forecasts into "weather and climate bulletins" as part of France Televisions’ efforts to raise awareness about climate change. Presenters are showing not only what weather to expect, but the reasons behind it. Presenters will also respond to questions from viewers and internet users using the hashtag #OnVousRépond (We reply to you).

Winter plants being given away today in Monaco - The town hall of Monaco is giving away 300 winter plants at the Princess Antoinette Park. Those interested are invited to the park at 1.30pm and can meet with gardeners for any advice. The initiative came about after a resident asked the town hall about the fate of the plants uprooted each winter. The first edition of this initiative took place in October and was a great success. In less than ten minutes, all of the plant stems donated by the town hall of Monaco had found takers.

Wild boar spotted in broad daylight on beach in Cannes - The mayor of Cannes David Lisnard has shared on Twitter, a photo taken by police officers, of a wild boar roaming one of the towns famous beaches. The sighting was capture on Tuesday morning in broad daylight on the beach situated on the boulevard de midi. The last sighting of a wild boar in Cannes dates back to 2020 during the Covid lockdown when one was spotted on the famous Croisette.

Professor claims that Leonardo da Vince was only half Italian - According to a professor at the University of Naples Leonardo da Vinci, son of a slave, was only half Italian. Until now, Leonardo was considered to be the fruit of an illegitimate love affair between Pierre da Vinci and a young Tuscan peasant girl named Caterina di Meo Lippi. However, professor Carlo Vecce claims that Da Vinci, author of the Mona Lisa and symbol of the Renaissance, was in fact only half Italian as the mother of the genius was a Circassian slave. The Renaissance specialist has based his claims which he published on Tuesday, on a series of historical documents collected from the archives.

Business

Argentina's inflation rate has soared past 100% for the first time since the early 90s. Inflation hit 102.5% in February meaning the price of many consumer goods has more than doubled since 2022. Argentina has been in economic difficulty for years and most of the population now live in poverty. Its government has being trying to stem price rises by capping the prices of food and other products.

Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, has announced plans to cut 10,000 jobs. It will be the second wave of mass redundancies from the tech giant, which laid off 11,000 employees last November. Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said the cuts would be "tough". In addition to the 10,000 jobs cut, 5,000 vacancies at the firm will be left unfilled.

And - OpenAI has released GPT-4, the latest version of its hugely popular artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT. The new model can respond to images, providing recipe suggestions from photos of ingredients, for example, as well as writing captions and descriptions.

It can also process up to 25,000 words, about eight times as many as ChatGPT. Millions of people have used ChatGPT since it launched in November 2022. Popular requests for it include writing songs, poems, marketing copy, computer code, and helping with homework - although teachers say students shouldn't use it.

Sport

Football - Manchester City swept RB Leipzig aside with a 7-0 win on Tuesday night to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

And - Inter Milan moved into the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2011 as they eliminated Porto in their last-16 tie.

In this evenings Champions League action Napoli face Frankfurt and Real Madrid play Liverpool. Kick off for both matches is at 9pm French time.

In the Premier League this evening Brighton are at home to Crystal Palace and Southampton play Brentford.

In other football news, Fifa has switched the format for the expanded 2026 World Cup back to four-team groups. The competition in the United States, Mexico and Canada was due to feature 16 groups of three because the number of teams is increasing from 32 to 48. But the success of the four-team format at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar caused the governing body to reconsider. The move expands the competition from its projected 80 matches to 104, including a new round-of-32 stage. Fifa said the top two and eight best third-placed teams would progress to the last 32.

Rugby Union - Lock Ollie Chessum has been ruled out of England's Six Nations finale against Ireland in Dublin after suffering an ankle injury in training. Leicester team-mate George Martin has been called up to the squad.

Tennis - British number one Cameron Norrie reached Indian Wells quarter-finals with a straight-sets win over Russian Andrey Rublev.

Cricket - England stumbled to a 16-run defeat in the final T20 as Bangladesh completed a 3-0 series clean sweep.

Weather

Sunny with highs of 16 degrees in Nice and Menton, 17 degrees in Cannes and 15 degrees in Monaco. Strong winds in the Var region with clear skies and highs of 16 degrees in Saint Tropez. 18 degrees and gusty winds in Le Lavandou. This evening going down to 9 degrees along the coast and 4 degrees inland with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow and Friday. Clear skies with highs of 14-15 degrees and a moderate breeze.

Sunrise       06.43am

Sunset        06.35pm

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