French and Riviera News Wednesday 24th August 2022

Local News

Proposal to crack down on private jets raises concerns - A proposal by France's transport minister to crack down on private jet flights has raised concern among tourism professionals on the Riviera. Clément Beaune said he was ready to “act and regulate private jet flights” if necessary and would push the issue of private jets at an upcoming European transport ministers meeting in October. Among the measures being considered is requiring private jet companies to make environmental commitments - including a possible carbon quota system. France reportedly has the highest number of private jet movements in Europe, with super-rich owners jetting into Paris and the French Riviera. Here on the Riviera, three airports welcome private jets: Nice, Cannes-Mandelieu and La Môle in Saint-Tropez. At Nice, about 100 private jets take off and land every day and the airport says business travel has returned to its pre-pandemic levels. Nice is the third most popular destination for private jets in the world, after London and New York. They account for four out of 10 aircraft movements at Nice Côte d'Azur airport. In Cannes and Saint-Tropez they represent almost 100% of air traffic. Private flights have a carbon footprint per passenger up to 50 times greater than a commercial flight. On the other hand, private jet charter on the Riviera is an important contributor to the local economy. According to a recent study by Nice Côte d'Azur airport, the average private jet traveller spends almost €1,400 per day when visiting the Côte d'Azur - that's 12 times more than the average visitor on a commercial flight.

Man arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking - A young man in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin has been arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking after it's claimed he hid a stash of drugs at his grandmother's home. Police found almost 5kg of cannabis resin and almost 600 grams of cocaine, plus €1,600 in cash, when they raided the grandmother's property. The man was remanded in custody. His brother, who is also alleged to have been involved in the operation, wasn't detained but will also face trial. The hearing is due for 28th September.

Seaside towns experimenting with beach bins - Two seaside towns in the Var have been experimenting with removing bins from their beaches - and they say it's a success. Saint-Cyr took the decision last summer along a 250-metre stretch of coast as the sight of overflowing bins on the beach was an eyesore. Instead, larger bins have been placed on the promenade, by the steps leading down to the beach, and in nearby car parks. Bormes-les-Mimosas has done the same. The mayors of both municipalities say the feedback from visitors has been positive.

Successful summer for museums in Nice - It's been a successful summer for museums in Nice. Early results suggest the post-Covid recovery is well under way, with visitor numbers up 40% on last year. The Masséna museum's attendance figures are up 60% over the same period - and the Matisse museum has welcomed 65,000 visitors so far this season, which is a record. It comes as tourists return to the Riviera en masse. Another contributing factor is the hot weather, which has pushed many visitors to seek air-conditioned indoor activities.

First-aiders touring coastline - First-aiders in France are completing a tour of the country’s coastline with a visit to the Riviera this week. They'll be providing free training sessions to introduce people to basic first-aid gestures including how to perform a cardiac massage or put on a tourniquet. The Protection Civile volunteers set off from Calais on 1st July and have passed along the Channel coast, down the Atlantic seafront and along the Med. So far more than 3,000 people have benefited from the awareness-raising sessions. You'll find them today in Menton on the Esplanade Francis Palmero between 9am and 5pm. Tomorrow they're in Cagnes-sur-Mer, on Place Saint-Pierre, and on Friday they finish their tour on the Rague beach in Mandelieu. They say with more extreme weather becoming common, including forest fires and storms, it's everyone's responsibility to have some basic first-aid knowledge.

Elton John on Ile Sainte-Marguerite - Elton John's collaboration with Britney Spears isn't due to be released until Friday. But diners at a restaurant on the Ile Sainte-Marguerite, off Cannes, had a chance to hear it by surprise yesterday - with Elton John himself present. He turned up at La Guérite, where a DJ played the new song - and he sang along during the impromptu concert. The song is called Hold Me Closer and it's based on his hit Tiny Dancer.

Business

Elon Musk has launched legal action to summon Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey to appear in court as part of his legal battle with the tech company. Mr Musk is seeking to end his $44bn deal for Twitter after alleging the firm failed to provide enough information on fake account numbers. But the social media site is suing Mr Musk to try to force him to buy it. The case will be heard in Delaware, US, in October unless both parties decide to settle outside of court beforehand. Twitter hopes that a judge will order Mr Musk - who is the world's richest man - to complete the takeover at the agreed price of $54.20 per share.

British Airways will cut roughly 10,000 short-haul flights to and from Heathrow Airport between late October and March. The move is aimed at minimising disruption over the winter and some long-haul flights will also be affected, the airline said. BA said it will also cut a dozen round-trips per day - totalling 629 flights - until the end of October. Heathrow, which is BA's main hub, has capped passenger numbers flying from the airport due to staff shortages. Airports and airlines, which cut jobs during the height of Covid restrictions, have found it difficult to recruit enough staff as demand for holidays has returned. Heathrow has struggled to cope with rising passenger numbers and issues with its baggage handling systems caused long delays in returning luggage.

Sony PlayStation is being sued for £5bn in the UK over allegations it "ripped off its customers" with overpriced games and in-game purchases. The group legal action, led by consumer rights champion Alex Neill, could see almost nine million gamers compensated. It claims Sony PlayStation breached competition law, imposing unfair terms and conditions on games' developers and publishers, and driving up prices.

Sport

Cricket - England Test captain Ben Stokes says he feared he might not play again during his mental health break from the sport. All-rounder Stokes took a five-month break from cricket in 2021 to prioritise his mental wellbeing. The 31-year-old suffered panic attacks after bottling up his emotions for several years. Stokes has had a difficult few years, first taking compassionate leave from cricket in 2020 to be with his father Ged, who died later that year from brain cancer. He then broke a finger on his return to the sport and ultimately rushed to make a comeback to captain England's limited-overs teams after a Covid outbreak forced them to pick an entirely new squad in July 2021. Following that series against Pakistan, Stokes took an indefinite break, returning for the Ashes in Australia in December 2021, and was appointed Test captain in April this year.

Tennis - Novak Djokovic's decision not to be vaccinated against Covid-19 could mean he misses out on another opportunity to play a major tournament. The nine-time Australian Open champion was unable to play in Melbourne and could also be missing at the US Open, although the 35-year-old recently said he had his "fingers crossed" he will be in the draw when the Grand Slam starts on 29 August. Djokovic, who was still on the US Open entry list on Monday, has not been vaccinated against Covid-19 and since October 2021 the United States has not allowed non-vaccinated visitors to enter the country. The ruling stopped Djokovic from playing ATP Masters 1000 events at Indian Wells and Miami in March and April, along with last week's Cincinnati Open. He was also not allowed to play at the Rogers Cup in Montreal - another Masters event that took place this month - because of Canada's ban on unvaccinated visitors. Finishing with the most men's Grand Slam singles titles is Novak Djokovic's ultimate career goal. The Serb won his 21st major title with victory at Wimbledon in July, leaving him one behind Rafael Nadal's all-time men's record.

Athletics - Athletics icon Usain Bolt has moved to trademark a logo showcasing his signature victory celebration pose. The retired Jamaican sprinter submitted an application in the US last week. He is known globally for the move - in which he leans back and gestures to the sky - as he routinely struck the pose after winning gold medals and setting world records. Mr Bolt still holds the world records for the 100m and 200m, making him the fastest man in history.

Weather

Sunny spells today, some light cloud around, the chance of rain this afternoon further inland in the Alpes-Maritimes. Temperatures reaching 29 degrees celsius on the coast and 32 inland in the Var, with light south-easterly winds. Clear skies overnight, temperatures staying around the 23-25 mark on the coast, 18-19 further inland.

The outlook for Thursday: fine and sunny, 30 degrees on the coast and up to 34 inland in the Var. A risk of storms inland on Friday, and on the coast on Saturday.

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