French and Riviera News Wednesday 6th September 2023

Van driver jailed over death of 21-year-old in Nice - A drunk-driver has been jailed for five years for killing a young woman on her scooter in Nice last November. The man was behind the wheel of a van, under the influence of alcohol, when he hit 21-year-old Laurène on Boulevard Bischoffsheim in slippery road conditions. She died in hospital from her injuries a few weeks later. A court in Nice has sentenced the driver to a five-year jail term for aggravated manslaughter. Prosecutors had asked for seven years behind bars. His driving licence has been revoked and he's banned from taking a driving test again for five years.

Restos du Coeur appeals for help - The manager of the Nice branch of the Restos du Coeur has made an urgent appeal to the city's mayor Christian Estrosi for help. François Chantrait says a second base for the charity is desperately needed in Nice, as the current centre on the Route de Turin is overwhelmed. He says the association, which distributes food to people in need, is faced with soaring rents and bills due to inflation. On a national level, the Restos du Coeur has warned that it could disappear within three years due to major financial difficulties. Donations are in decline, while the number of people seeking help from the charity continues to grow. The French government has pledged an additional €15 million in support for the association nationally.

Nice improves road safety in La Madeleine - The City of Nice has responded to public pressure to improve road safety on the Boulevard de La Madeleine, after an 18-month-old boy was violently run down by a speeding car last month. The pedestrian crossing where the incident happened will now be protected by traffic lights. The neighbourhood association in the area says three children have been injured on the same stretch of road this year alone.

Monaco tunnel closed tonight - The Monaco motorway tunnel will be closed tonight, and again tomorrow night, between 9pm and 5am for maintenance work. Diversions are in place via La Turbie. Heavy goods vehicles will need to leave the A8 at Nice L'Ariane instead and take the Moyenne Corniche.

September temperature records broken - New figures from Météo France show that temperature records for September were broken on Monday in parts of the Bouches-du-Rhône. The forecaster recorded temperatures exceeding 35°C in Marseille, Aubagne and Aix-en-Provence between 4pm and 6pm. In Salon-en-Provence, the oldest Météo France measuring station in the department, 35.1°C was recorded - the highest September temperature registered there in 85 years. Across the Paca region, the heat is expected to last at least into the weekend.

Villa Matisse gets lottery funding for restoration - A villa in Vence where Henri Matisse once lived has been selected to receive heritage lottery funding to restore it to its former glory. The Villa Le Rêve, more commonly called the Villa Matisse, was the impressionist painter's home from 1943 to 1949. It's one of 100 heritage buildings nationwide that will receive somewhere between €200,000 and €300,000 from the lottery heritage foundation. The money will be used to thoroughly restore the villa and reconstruct the spaces where Matisse painted with a view to opening them up to the public, including art history students.

Successful summer for Monaco's Monet exhibition - In other art news, this summer's exhibition in Monaco dedicated to Monet has broken attendance records at the Grimaldi Forum. More than 120,000 people have been to see the exhibition, which closed on Sunday after a two-month run. On the busiest days over the summer tourist season, it attracted as many as 4,000 people per day. The exhibition looked at Monet's close artistic relationship with the Riviera. Work is under way for next summer's Grimaldi Forum exhibition, which will be dedicated to Turner.

Bed bug problem in Paris cinemas - A cinema in Paris has apologised after customers were bitten by bed-bugs during a screening. Several cinemagoers posted photos on social media of bite marks on their neck and back after watching a film at the UGC Bercy. Other testimonies on social media point to a bed-bug problem in other big Paris cinemas run by UGC, MK2 and Pathé. UGC Bercy said it had begun an emergency procedure to have the screening rooms deep-cleaned. Bed bugs practically disappeared in the 1950s but have made a comeback in the past 30 years as people travel more. According to an Ipsos survey, an estimated one in 10 households in France is affected by them.

BUSINESS

TikTok's first European data centre has gone live as the Chinese-owned company seeks to combat long-held privacy concerns.
The firm behind the popular short-form video app, which has more than a billion users, has been in complicated discussion with Western politicians who fear that user information from the app could be given to Beijing's regime. TikTok has always rejected suggestions it would snoop on its users or hand governments any data, saying Beijing's laws do not extend to data held abroad. Until Tuesday, user data was only held on servers in the US and Singapore. Now, its first European data centre, which is in Dublin, is a further attempt to reassure politicians.

Administrators for the troubled British high street retailer Wilko have offloaded 51 stores to discount retailer B&M. The firm taking over the stores is yet to confirm whether workers at the sites will be retained - but the company's statement suggests hope as it aims to relaunch the stores within weeks. Hopes are fading for a wider rescue deal that will take in the vast majority of the chain's 400 stores and 12,500 employees. The owner of HMV, Doug Putman, is reportedly targeting around 200 sites following talks with Wilko's suppliers. Negotiations with Wilko's joint administrators at PricewaterhouseCoopers are continuing.

And the boss of one of the UK's biggest investment companies has warned that people's minimum pension contributions need to double if they are to retire comfortably. At the moment, the legal minimum contribution for eligible workers is 8% of their qualifying earnings. Employers have to pay at least 3% of this. The chief executive of Abrdn, Stephen Bird has said millions of people are heading towards an inadequate retirement income.  He said minimum pension contributions need to double from 8% to 16% of pay to have any chance of achieving a decent retirement outcome.

SPORT

Motorsport - Every Formula 1 team complied with the sport's cost cap in 2022, governing body the FIA has said. The FIA added the 10 teams had all been issued certificates of compliance with the $140m cap after "an intensive and thorough process". All teams "acted at all times in a spirit of good faith and co-operation," it said. The findings may surprise a number of teams, because rumours have been swirling around F1 in recent weeks that at least one team had broken the cost cap again in 2022. Last year, the FIA found that world champions Red Bull exceeded the limit in 2021, while Aston Martin and Williams were found guilty of procedural breaches. Red Bull were given a $7m fine and a 10% reduction in permitted aerodynamic research for a year as a result of the breach.

Football - Scotland are hopeful that they're on the brink of a place in Euro 2024, ahead of their match against Cyprus on Friday. Scotland couldn't have asked for a better start to their Euro 2024 campaign, with a record-breaking four wins from four. Steve Clarke's side are eight points clear at the top of Group A with four games remaining, although Georgia have one game in hand and Spain have two.

Newcastle United midfielder Isaac Hayden has joined Belgian club Standard Liege on loan for the rest of the season. Hayden joined Newcastle from Arsenal in 2016 and has made 171 appearances for the Magpies. But he has been out of the first-team picture in recent seasons, spending last year on loan at Norwich.

Tennis - Third seed Jessica Pegula and Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur suffered frustrating defeats in the fourth round at the US Open. Pegula, who had been one of the favourites for the title, put in an error-strewn performance in a 6-1 6-3 loss to compatriot Madison Keys. Despite her success on the WTA Tour, the 29-year-old has yet to go beyond the quarter-finals at any Grand Slam. Last year's runner-up Jabeur lost 6-2 6-4 to China's Zheng Qinwen.

WEATHER

Plenty of sunshine across the Riviera today, staying warm with temperatures reaching 29 degrees celsius on the coast this afternoon and 31 inland. Clear skies tonight, temperatures going down to 19 on the coast and 16 further inland. The outlook for Thursday: another fine and sunny day, 30 degrees on the coast and up to 32 degrees celsius inland in the Var.

BEACH WEATHER

On the beach in Nice this afternoon, it'll be fine and sunny, 27 degrees celsius, with light winds. The sea temperature is 24 degrees celsius and the UV index is 7. In Saint-Tropez it'll be fine and sunny, 29 degrees celsius, with light winds. The water temperature is 24 degrees celsius and the UV index is 8.

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