French and Riviera News Wednesday 19th October 2022

News

French President expresses condolences - French President Emmanuel Macron has expressed his condolences to the parents of the teenager found dead in a plastic trunk in Paris. The parents of Lola met with Macron at the Elysée Palace on Tuesday. The Head of State promised his “full support and solidarity”. French investigators have charged a woman suspected of raping and murdering the 12-year-old girl and a judge has ordered that she be held in provisional custody.

Meanwhile there has been a show of grief and outrage over the murder which has now turned into a political row over the migrant status of the suspect after it emerged that she is an Algerian immigrant under orders to leave France. Macron’s political opponents on the right and far right have accused the French government of failing the family.

Strike action at TotalEnergies - The CGT union is today at noon, expected to take a new decision concerning a possible renewal of the strike action at TotalEnergies. On Tuesday evening, the CGT coordinator of the TotalEnergies group told French media that the strike movement within the group was renewed until at least Wednesday.

It was last Friday that the CGT refused the 5% wage agreement and an exceptional bonus of between 3,000 and 6,000 euros which was concluded between the management and two majority unions the CFE-CGC and the CFDT. The CGT demands a 10% increase to offset the inflation expected this year and to take advantage of the exceptional income earned by the oil group in 2021.

Restriction on sale of petrol extended – Meanwhile, the prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes has extended the restrictions on the sale of petrol in the department. The measure put in place since last week, will be extended to October 24th. On Tuesday, 38 out of 103 service stations were still out of petrol. The measure means that it is still prohibited for vehicles to take more than 30 litres of fuel when refuelling. Trucks are still limited to 200 litres and the purchase of fuel in jerry cans is also still prohibited.

Water restrictions extended - The Alpes-Maritimes prefecture has also announced that water restrictions will remain in place until November 15th. With more than mild temperatures for the month of October, the Côte d'Azur continues to suffer from the lack of water and the rainfall is still in deficit. While localized rainfall since August has certainly helped to temporarily relieve the levels of certain superficial rivers, it has not made it possible to reverse the trend in the long term.

Mild weather - According to Météo France forecasts, the most likely scenario for the second part of October is a continuation of mild and warm weather, with temperatures above normal for the season. Already on Tuesday, October 18th, temperatures rose above 24° in Nice. In the Var, the thermometer recorded 28 degrees in Le Luc and Brignoles and 26 degrees on the coast at Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer.

France fined again for failing to improve air quality - France's highest administrative court has ordered the state to pay €20 million in fines for failing to improve air quality in major cities. The penalties came on top of another €10 million from the same court for the same reason in 2021. The latest legal decision comes five years after the Conseil d'Etat (Council of State) court ordered the government to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide and fine particles in more than a dozen zones to comply with European standards.

Work begins on Rue Cassini in Nice - Work has begun on Rue Cassini in Nice. The renovation will see traffic reduced to one lane, the creation of a cycle path and the planting of trees. The work should last a year. Speaking on the project the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi said on Monday that “the objective was to reduce circulation and to vegetate the area similar to all the districts of the city".

Meanwhile the City of Nice has announced plans to have one tree per inhabitant by 2026. The local council wishes to plant 280,000 trees within four years. The objective is symbolic but is also towards a greener future.

Tourism - Finally, the summer season on the Riviera might have only recently finished - but tourism leaders are already busy planning for 2023, and they're pretty optimistic about the future. 2022 has been described by some in the sector as a "catch-up" year. After two very difficult summers due to the coronavirus crisis, figures have bounced back to pre-pandemic levels. Hotels saw occupancy rates around the 80-90% mark this summer. The economic benefits of tourism on the Riviera are estimated at almost €10 billion per year. The Alpes-Maritimes departmental council is providing subsidies in the region of €3.4 million next year to help attract visitors to the area.

Meanwhile, if you're looking for a job in a hotel or restaurant next summer, there's 1,000 of them currently up for grabs in Monaco. The Monte-Carlo SBM is holding a jobs fair today at the One Monte-Carlo conference centre, from 2pm to 7pm. Recruiters from 20 venues in the principality will be meeting potential recruits.

Business

Two HSBC advertisements have been banned by the UK’s advertising regulator for being "misleading" about the company's work to tackle climate change. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the banking giant can no longer run the ads which promoted its plans to reduce harmful emissions. The watchdog said that the posters "omitted significant information" about HSBC's activities. It marks the ASA's first action against a bank for so-called "greenwashing".

Also in the UK, rail workers' union RMT has announced more strikes next month following what it said was a pay offer "U-turn" from Network Rail. Three days of strike action are set to take place on the 3rd, 5th and 7th of November. Meanwhile, pubs and clubs are facing the prospect of beer shortages while fast food firms including Burger King, KFC and Pizza Hut are also under threat of disruption from industrial disputes.

Netflix has stopped losing customers, after struggling to hold on to them in the face of competition and pressures from the rising cost of living. The streaming giant said it added 2.4 million households to its subscriber base over the July to September period. That reversed the losses it suffered in the first half of the year after raising its prices in key markets.

Sport

Football – In the Premier League last night Brighton drew 0-0 against Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace came from behind beating Wolves 2-1.

Meanwhile, France and Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante has been ruled out of the World Cup in Qatar after having an operation on a hamstring injury. Kante, suffered the injury during Chelsea's 2-2 home draw with Tottenham on August 14th. In a statement, the club said that the procedure was a success but Kante is expected to be side-lined for four months.

Rugby Union - Finn Russell is expected to be omitted from Scotland's initial squad for the upcoming Autumn Nations Series. The Racing 92 fly-half is unavailable for the first match against Australia which falls outside the Test window.

Weather

Clear skies and sunshine with a gentle breeze. Highs of 22 degrees in Nice, Saint Paul de Vence and Antibes. 23 degrees in Cannes. 24 degrees in Saint Tropez and Toulon. Reaching 27 degrees inland in Puget Theniers.

This evening going down to 10 degrees inland in the Var and the Alpes Maritimes and 13 degrees along the coast in the Var. Lows of 15 degrees this evening in Nice with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow. Remaining fine in the morning clouding over by the afternoon. Thundery showers are forecast for Friday evening. Highs of 21-22 degrees.

Sunrise:    07.49hr                       Sunset: 18.40hr

And Finally

The manager of a fast-food chain in the UK has decided to punish customers who forget to be polite to employees. If they forget to say “hello” or “thank you” when placing their order, they are told that their consumption will be more expensive.

Customers who omit to greet the waiter or thank them, would have to pay twice as much for their drink. The rule has been written on a blackboard placed on the counter of the establishment. The manager says that so far, no customers have been charged for being rude.

The practice has been used elsewhere it was back in 2013 in Nice that one café charged €7 instead of €1.40 for rude customers.

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