French and Riviera News Wednesday 29th November 2023

News

Woman stabbed in apartment in Nice - Police are actively searching an armed man, after a woman was stabbed in an apartment in Nice on the Route de Turin. The incident occurred at midday on Tuesday. The woman suffered a stab wound to her neck and was taken to hospital. The reason for the attack is unknown. An investigation is currently underway.

Deaths related to drug trafficking jump by 57% in France – Recent data published has shown that this year looks set to be a record year with a 57% increase in homicides and attempted homicides in France related to drug trafficking. Since the start of the year in Marseille, shootings, and settlings of accounts, of all kinds, have left more than 40 dead. The Director General of the National Police (DGPN), Frédéric Veaux, announced this week that “315 acts of homicide and attempted homicides between criminals” had been recorded from January 1st to November 13th, an increase of 57% over the same period for last year.

The drugs market in France generates, according to Ofast, 3 billion euros in turnover. It represents "21,000 full-time jobs and 240,000 people live directly or indirectly from it". Cocaine is bought between 28,000 and 30,000 euros the kilo and resold between 65 and 70 euros per gram. The current threat represented by drug trafficking according to police, is at “a historically high level”.

Call to save A&E department of Gassin Hospital in the Var - Local elected officials in the Saint-Tropez area have called on the French state to help save the A&E department at Gassin Hospital. Faced with the shortage of emergency staff, lack of support and finances, the mayors of the Gulf have united in their call for help. Since the end of June, the service has been forced to close its doors several times at night, and permanently since October, due to the lack of emergency doctors. Elected officials say they are ready for all solutions, even the most creative.

Bypass - At last, could it be the end of the long traffic jams all year round on the coast road from Saint-Maxime to Saint-Tropez in the Var? Well, don’t hold your breath, as the creation of a bypass through Plan-de-la-Tour has, believe it or not, been on the table since the 1970s. The bypass of Sainte-Maxime would pass via the RD 74 through Plan-de-la-Tour first, then via the RD44 to Grimaud. A development which, in theory, would relieve traffic on the coast road. The problem however is that the mayor of Plan-de-la-Tour is opposed to the project saying it will have a “noticeable effect of residents” while other elected official are calling for “solidarity”.  

French companies backtrack on working from home claiming employees are more efficient in an office environment - French companies appear to be backtracking on working from home or “tele travail” claiming that employees are in “actual fact more efficient when working in an office”. Having become the norm during the Covid pandemic, working from home has become less popular more recently with many French companies reducing the number of teleworking days authorized per week.

In 2022, 19% of French employees worked from home at least one day per week. Taking the case of the Amazon France headquarters, in the Paris suburb of Clichy the e-commerce giant went from 3 to 2 days maximum of working from home per week. A measure decided by management, but rather well accepted by the employees, with one saying “It allows for a more pleasant working atmosphere, but also to be more efficient” adding  “it's easier to go see someone at their desk to ask them a question rather than sending them an email or a message."

Military exercise - A major military exercise is to take place in Toulon today Wednesday 29th November. Police have informed the public not to panic at the sound of “explosions” related to the exercise and to not burden authorities with telephone calls or relay false information on social networks. The exercise is expected to last 36 hours.

The big toy fair - The big toy fair is to return this Sunday December 3rd, to Sainte-Maxime. Hosted at the Pastorelli gymnasium in total 80 exhibitors will attend making it a great opportunity to get good deals in the run-up to Christmas. Held for the last thirty years the 2023 toy fair will take place this Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Almost new and older toys, at unbeatable prices will be on offer, from the classic board game to various toys and games, including the essential cuddly toy. As always there will be something for all tastes, all ages, and all budgets.

French students are better prepared for citizenship than the international average – Finally, according to a recent study French students are better prepared for citizenship than the international average.  For the first time French students participated in an international study on civic education and citizenship and in many areas, they stand out from the national average. The challenge of the international ICCS study, on civic education and citizenship addresses both the knowledge, but also the attitudes and civic engagement of 82,000 students in 4th grade, or equivalent, in 24 countries. French students participated for the first time and they got good results.

On civic knowledge, such as knowning how an election works or what does the term "fake news" mean, French students were within the international average. It was also noted that girls did better than boys in this area and in general the results depend a lot on the socio-economic level of the families.

Concerning the attitudes of students in France, they stand out in citizenship, albeit with a critical outlook. Nearly 90% say that they will participate in elections when they are adults compared to 77% internationally. Showing that there is still an interest in a democracy, but also a critical side which it comes to elected officials. There is more criticism from French students than internationally for example, almost three quarters of French students believe that members of Parliament do not care enough about the wishes of the population.

Where France also stands out is on the subject of equal rights, between women and men, and between nationals and immigrants - young people in France are more concerned about it than the international average. Finally, more French teenagers want to get involved in environmental protection issues, while also being more worried.

Business

According to the Wall Street Journal Apple is set to pull the plug on its credit card partnership with Goldman Sachs Group. The tech giant recently sent a proposal to the Wall Street bank to exit the contract in the next 12 to 15 months. Apple and Goldman had started to roll out a virtual credit card in 2019. The exit would cover their entire consumer partnership, including the savings account rolled out this year.

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) has agreed to buy a 10% stake in Heathrow airport. The deal which is reportedly worth £2.37bn ($3bn) is still subject to regulations. The airport has been losing money this year because of its significant debt which is affected by aggressive hikes in the cost of borrowing. The Civil Aviation Authority has also decided to lower passenger charges which go towards costs for terminals runways, baggage systems and security.

And - The Premier League is to convene another meeting of English football's top-flight clubs within a fortnight as it scrambles to gain approval for a landmark financial distribution agreement with its lower league counterparts. The Premier League has scheduled a summit with its 'shareholders' on 12th December to discuss progress towards a 'New Deal' for English football after a meeting last week ended without a resolution.

Sport

Football - Barcelona came back from a goal behind to beat Porto and seal a spot in the Champions League last 16.

And - Kylian Mbappe scored a controversial late penalty to deny Newcastle an impressive win at Parc des Princes, but the result keeps Newcastle in the fight to reach the Champions League knockout stages.

Golf - Tiger Woods has said he will continue to play for as long as he thinks he can still win as he prepares to return to professional golf. Woods will play in the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas having not played since injury forced him to withdraw from the Masters in April.

Weather

A mainly fine start to the day, clouding over by the afternoon with highs of 15 degrees in Monaco, Nice, Saint-Tropez and Antibes. A gentle breeze. This evening going down to 9 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for Thursday and Friday, rain is forecast temperatures remaining the same.  The weekend, mainly fine with mild temperatures. Strong winds are forecast for the Var on Saturday.

Sunrise       07.41am

Sunset        04.55pm

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