French and Riviera News Wednesday 28th December 2022


GPs strike condemned by France’s health ministry - France’s Health Minister François Braun, has expressed his disapproval of strike action from GPs which began on Monday and is planned to last until January 2nd. Speaking to French media on Tuesday the minister said that he believes the initiative “comes at a critical time for the French healthcare system, with overstretched hospitals and emergency services”. Braun went on to say that “hospitals are currently dealing with three epidemics, flu, Covid-19 and bronchiolitis, and staff are exhausted after three years of the pandemic. The strike action is putting increased pressure on hospitals and emergency services which are already in a critical situation, which is not acceptable".  

Among the demands of the Doctors for Tomorrow collective is that the price of a visit is doubled from 25 to 50 euros. The collective justifies the tariff increase by saying that it would allow GPs to employ a secretary allowing for a better flow in consultations. The Ministry of Health has however not completely closed the door to these demands but criticizes the way in which they are being expressed, namely by a strike movement.

Strike lifted – Meanwhile, as a reminder, strike action planned by the SNCF rail network for this weekend has been lifted. All unions signed an agreement last week following proposals made by the management. Recent figures published have shown that the SNCF made a record profit of 2.2 billion euros in 2022 beating the previous record, set in 2017, of 1.5 billion euros.

Daily papers to increase in price - Almost all national daily newspapers in France are set to increase their prices in January. The increase has been justified by press groups which say that there has been a sharp rise newsprint prices, "from 400 to 1,000 euros" in just one year.

Most national dailies will increase their prices on newsstands in early January, with increases ranging from 10 to 30 cents. The prices of Le Monde, Les Echos and Le Figaro will rise, on weekdays, by 20 cents, to 3.40 euros, similar to Liberation, which will increase to 2.70 euros. An increase of 20 cents will also be applied to the Echos weekend offer, which will reach 6 euros, Le Monde increasing its own by 30 cents, to 5.20 euros.

WhatsApp messaging - According to reports as of January 1st, WhatsApp messaging will no longer be compatible with 49 phone models, including the iPhone 5 or the Samsung Galaxy S2. Users of some 49 phone models released more than ten years ago will not be able to wish their loved ones a happy new year via WhatsApp. Among the phones concerned are the iPhone 5 and 5c released in 2012 and 2013, the Samsung Galaxy S2 and S3 mini, or the HTC Desire 500. However, according to an Android tally from February 2021most users are already running Android 4.1. Only 0.2% of smartphones work with a later version. iOS, on the other hand, is at version 16.2.

But don't panic, if you have one of these devices, there are still a few solutions to continue using WhatsApp. On some devices, it is possible to update the operating system to the next version. It is necessary that the phone has at least Android 4.1 and iOS 12. The update is done from the settings.

French President on holiday in the Var – French President Emmanuel Macron is spending this week in the Var. He arrived at the Fort de Bregancon, the official retreat of French presidents, on Sunday evening and is expected to leave at the end of the week in time to be back in Paris for the New Year's Eve celebrations.

Mild temperatures - Meteo France has announced exceptionally mild temperatures for the New Year’s Eve weekend. An unusually high 15 degrees is forecast for the north in Lille and Paris, 16 degrees in Strasbourg, 18 degrees in Ajaccio and 19 degrees in Biarritz.  The average temperature over the whole of France will be 13.5°C for Saturday, possibly a record for December 31st. But the hottest day ever recorded for a month of December is not expected to be exceeded according to current forecasts. On December 15th, 1989, the average temperature in France was 14.7°C.


Apple and Tesla stocks have tumbled over growing concerns about delays in their production lines in China. Apple shares hit their lowest point since June 2021. Tesla's stock has dropped 73% from a record high in November 2021. Companies have struggled to keep production going in China due to Covid restrictions and weeks of lockdowns.

Meanwhile, Chinese people have rushed to book overseas travel after Beijing announced it would reopen its borders next month. Passport applications for Chinese citizens wishing to travel internationally will resume from 8th January. 

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has announced another €10bn (£8.8bn) in support to address rising prices following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Sanchez said that the government would "protect the middle class and workers amid the rise in the cost of living, energy and food". The proposals include cuts to VAT and a €200 one-off payment for millions of households on less than €27,000 a year. It's Spain's third set of aid measures and brings total support to €45bn.

Some 615 million euros were bet online during the 2022 Football World Cup, a higher amount than expected according to the National Gaming Authority (ANJ). The France-Argentina final alone generated 55 million bets, compared to 37.5 million for France-Croatia in 2018 and 30 million were bet during the France-Morocco semi-final. In comparison, 366 million had been bet in total for the competition in 2018 and 420 million for the Euro in 2021. This week the Addictions France association denounced the "questionable marketing techniques" of sports betting and alcohol companies according to them "the other winners" of the World Cup.

According to a study by Addictions France, 70% of online gamblers are under 34 and 70% are in debt. "The illusion of making money easily is mainly aimed at people in precarious situations" confirms Bernard Basset, president of this association, which is calling for a specific law to better regulate sports betting.

And - The boss of LVMH Bernard Arnault has bought an estate in Italy which once belonged to Leonardo da Vinci. The Casa Degli Atellani in Milan includes a 15th century building and a vineyard. Located in the heart of Milan, a few meters from The Last Supper, one of the most famous paintings in the world, the Casa Degli Atellani had been handed over to Leonardo da Vinci by the Duke of Milan who had at the time commissioned the painting from him. The price paid for the estate has not been disclosed.


Football - Manchester United swept aside Nottingham Forest in last nights Premier league match with a 3-0 win, while Chelsea beat Bournemouth 2-0. This evening Leeds play Manchester City kick off is at 9pm French time.

Rugby Union - Bristol Bears have moved off the bottom of the Premiership as they beat Harlequins 15-12 at Twickenham last night.

Tennis - Novak Djokovic has been welcomed back into Australia almost a year after he was deported over his Covid vaccine status. Officials confirmed the 21-time Grand Slam champion had landed in the country for January's Australian Open. Djokovic, a nine-time Australian Open winner, had an automatic three-year visa ban overturned in November.


Fine with highs of 15 degrees in Nice. Some cloudy patches throughout the day. Highs of 16 in Saint Tropez. This evening going down to 8 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow and Friday sunny intervals highs of 15-16 degrees with a moderate breeze.

Sunrise       08.03hr

Sunset        17.00hr

And Finally 

According to a UK survey by the Guide Dogs charity a fifth of dog owners worry their dog will put on weight over the festive season.  Just like the rest of the family, dogs are at risk of obesity after Christmas, as more than a third of owners admit allowing their pet extra treats during the festivities. A quarter of dog owners take their pet out for fewer walks over Christmas, often due to the cold weather or because they want to curl up in front of the television. It means a quarter of dog owners will be putting their dog on a post-Christmas diet, while 27 per cent plan to increase their dogs’ physical activity to slim them down.



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