French and Riviera News Wednesday 19th July 2023

News

Record sea temperature - The Mediterranean Sea has never been so warm with a record 29 degrees in Nice on Tuesday at 5pm. After the temperature record of 41.8 degrees recorded in Puget-Théniers in the hinterland, another record fell on Tuesday July 18th, on the beaches of the Promenade des Anglais with experts believing that 30 degrees could be reached in the coming days. The Alpes-Maritimes remains on an orange heatwave alert. In total, 10 departments are now on an orange heatwave alert the Vaucluse, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Alpes-Maritimes, Var, Haute-Corse, Corse du Sud, Pyrénées-Orientales, Bouches -du-Rhône, Gard and the Hérault.

Uber Files – A 600-page report published on Tuesday July 18th, has pointed to a “nontransparent and privileged” relationship forged between French President Emmanuel Macron and the American platform Uber, upon its arrival in France. The files point to a “secret deal” between the President, the Minister of the Economy and the company, such as the application of “Uber Pop” (where individuals drive customers in their cars) and making it easier to obtain a chauffeur-driven transport vehicle (VTC) license. Danielle Simonnet who is part of the commission of the inquiry, describes how Uber "exploited all the loopholes and set up aggressive lobbying". The case was triggered by the leak of 124,000 internal documents collected by Mark McGann, a former lobbyist for Uber in Europe, and communicated to the British newspaper The Guardian.

2030 Winter Olympics - The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and the PACA region are considering a joint candidacy for the 2030 Winter Olympics. In a joint announcement on Tuesday both regions said they wished to propose their candidacy to the world of sport and the French state to host the event on behalf of the France.  The two regions and the French Olympic and Paralympic sports committees are in discussion with the French government with the objective of obtaining a collective decision by mid-September. Other places have expressed an interest in hosting the 2030 Winter Olympics including Sweden and previous host in 2002, Salt Lake City. France has hosted the Winter Olympics three times, in Chamonix in 1924, in Grenoble in 1968 and in Albertville in 1992. Paris also organized the Summer Olympics in 1900 and 1924 and will host them again next year.

Use of AI during Summer Olympics - Meanwhile, civil rights groups in France have said that plans to use AI technology on the streets of Paris during next summer’s Olympics is a threat to civil liberties. Abandoned luggage and unexpected crowds - real-time cameras will use artificial intelligence (AI) to detect suspicious activity in the French capital. Under a recent law, police will be able to use CCTV algorithms to pick up on problems such as crowd rushes, fights or unattended bags. But opponents fear the French government's real aim is to make the new security provisions permanent.

Eurostar - Some Eurostar passengers travelling from London can now avoid manual ticket and passport checks by UK officials due to a new facial verification system. The technology at St Pancras International station is aimed at reducing congestion and queues. Enhanced post-Brexit checks by French border staff have increased the time it takes to process passengers at the station. Business Premier and Carte Blanche passengers can use the system.

Road accident - Two people have been seriously injured in a road accident involving a two-wheeler and a car in Sainte-Maxime in the Var. The accident occurred shortly before 11:30am on Tuesday July 18.  A 51-year-old woman and a 60-year-old man were airlifted to hospital in Toulon following the collision at the eastern exit of Sainte-Maxime on Avenue General Leclerc. Road traffic was severely disrupted along the coast road between Sainte-Maxime and Les Issambres.

Air pollution - The Var department has been placed on an air pollution alert today due to poor air quality. Atmosud warns of high ozone concentrations which, combined with the heat wave, make for poor air quality which could affect the vulnerable who are advised to avoid intense outdoor physical or sporting activities and avoid going out when the sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm.

Electricity bills on the rise - Electricity bills for French households may rise from 1 August, according to reports in French media. According to France Inter, the government has consulted the Higher Energy Council on a ten per cent rise in electricity prices from August 1st. The increase would be part of the gradual exit from the electricity tariff shield which the government put in place in October 2021.

Luxe Pack Monaco - The organizers of Luxe Pack Monaco have announced the chartering of a special train between Paris and Monaco on the first day of the event. The organisers said that the train has a carbon footprint 26 times less than air transport. The initiative is supported by the Prince's Government. Luxe Pack Monaco is the annual gathering for professionals in the premium packaging sector. This year's edition will be held at the Grimaldi Forum from October 2 to 4.

Provençal - From August announcements on lines 1 and 2 of the metro network in Marseille will be available in Provençal. As a nod to Marseille's culture and identity and as the city prepares for several major events planned soon such as a visit from the Pope and the Rugby World Cup, the transport company will translate the metro station announcements into Provençal. Provençal is still spoken by the inhabitants of the region and certain names of districts come from Provençal. Meanwhile, translations into English and Spanish are also planned when the metro is automated in 2026.

Business

Following a BBC investigation over 100 more former and current McDonald's workers have come forward to allege they faced harassment and bullying. It was reported on Tuesday that the BBC’s investigation had found workers as young as 17 claiming they were being groped and harassed almost routinely. Now more stories are surfacing, putting further pressure on McDonald's. The chain said it had "stringent" standards and would investigate all allegations.

The owner of Jaguar Land Rover will announce plans to build its flagship electric car battery factory in the UK. People familiar with the matter said the new plant in Somerset would be officially announced today Wednesday 19th July. According to reports the UK government is providing subsidies worth hundreds of millions of pounds.  Some in the car industry have described the plant as the most important investment in UK automotive since Nissan came to Britain in the 1980s.

And – Former Ukip leader in the UK Nigel Farage says he has evidence that Coutts bank decided to close his account because his views "do not align" with their values. Farage says that the "36-page" document shows that he was targeted "on personal and political grounds".

Sport

Football - England forward Marcus Rashford has signed a new deal to stay at Manchester United until 2028 with a deal worth £325,000-a-week. The 25-year-old had been in talks with United for a considerable period, with his previous contract due to expire in 2024. Since his debut in 2016 Rashford has hit 123 goals in 359 games for his boyhood club.

Formula One – Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner says that Daniel Ricciardo hopes to use his return to Formula 1 with Alpha Tauri to earn a Red Bull seat in the future. Ricciardo, will race for Red Bull's junior team at Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix. Max Verstappen's deal runs to 2028 but Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez is out of contract at the end of 2024.

Tennis – For the first time today will see tennis stars perform on the French Riviera as the Hopman Cup begins in Nice. Amongst others there will be Roger Federer and world number one Carlos Alcaraz.  The Australian competition established in 1989 had stopped in 2019 due to covid and will for the first time take place in Nice, France. It is a mixed team tennis tournament with Switzerland (winner of the two previous editions) France and Spain taking part. The event which is dedicated to the legendary Harry Hopman, who led Australia to 16 Davis Cup victories is on until Sunday July 23rd.

Weather

Cloudy with sunny intervals and a gentle breeze. An orange heatwave alert remains in place in both the Var and the Alpes Maritimes. Highs of 31 degrees in Nice and Monaco. 36 degrees in Marseille and reaching 39 degrees in Saint-Tropez.

This evening going down to 24 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 21 degrees in the Var with clear skies.

The outlook for Thursday and Friday. Fine with highs of 36-40 degrees.

Sunrise       06.05am

Sunset        09.07pm

Beach weather

Nice – Sea temperature 28 degrees. Air temperature 29 degrees. UV level 10.

Hyeres – Sea temperature 27 degrees. Air temperature 34 degrees. UV level 8.

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