French and Riviera News Wednesday 7th December 2022

News

Strike action by the SNCF - Disruptions are expected on the SNCF rail network. New strike action has been launched for today Wednesday December 7th, lasting until 8am tomorrow morning. The line between Paris and Lyon will be the most affected with just one out of three trains running and the TER service in our region the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur, will also be impacted. Passengers are invited to check the status of their train on the SNCF website and contact your agency.

Threat of strike action from EasyJet France appears to be diminishing - The threat of strike action from EasyJet France over the Christmas period, appears to be diminishing after management accepted a salary increase of 7.5% for flight personnel in France. The proposal has been "welcomed very favourably" by the National Union of Commercial Flight Crew (SNPNC) as management awaits a "rapid confirmation" from the other union of EasyJet hostesses and stewards in France, the Union of Civil Aviation Crew (UNAC).

Emmanuel Macron calls for authorities and public companies to stop scaring the French over possible power cuts - French President Emmanuel Macron has called for authorities and public companies to stop “scaring people with absurd scenarios” about possible power cuts this winter. Arriving in Albania for a European summit France’s Head of State insisted that “the role of the government, ministers and operators is to do their job to provide energy and not to transmit or govern by fear”. At the weekend Macron had already called on the French not to "panic" in the face of the risk of power cuts, even judging that they could be avoided if consumption was reduced by 10%.

Poverty has not declined in France for 35 years - According to a report by the Observatory of Inequalities, poverty "has not declined" for 35 years in France. 4.8 million inhabitants in France lived below the poverty line in 2020, according to the association which denounces a country "which allows extreme poverty to persist". In its third report on poverty in France, the association indicates that poverty has nevertheless "stabilized since the beginning of the 2000s", concerning each year "between 6.5% and 8.5% of the population ". On the other hand, the Observatory of Inequalities points to a France which "allows extreme poverty to persist". 300,000 people are homeless, between 2 and 4 million use food aid and the incomes of the poorest are well below the poverty line.

Nice attack - Sentences ranging from two to fifteen years in prison have been handed down to the eight defendants tried at the trial of the Nice attack, which left 86 dead and more than 400 injured on July 14th, 2016. Seven of the defendants – the eighth is absent – have been appearing before the special assize court in Paris since September 5th. For the three main defendants, prosecuted for terrorist criminal association the maximum sentence of 15 years in prison was requested.

Supporters celebrate victory - The city centre of Nice has been completely cordoned off by police after Moroccan supporters celebrated their victory in the World Cup on Tuesday. The city council deplored “unacceptable overflows” on the Promenade des Anglais and in the Moulin district. The tram network was also briefly interrupted due to objects being thrown onto the track. In Avignon (Vaucluse), supporters celebrated on the Boulevard Saint-Michel. The scenes of joy gradually gave way to moments of tension with the police. At least two people were arrested. A store was ransacked, and several bins were set on fire.

Meanwhile in Paris, it was on the Champs Elysées that Moroccan supporters came to celebrate the historic qualification. Several thousand people gathered on the Parisian Avenue. One supporter told reporters "it brings everyone together, Moroccans, French, everyone. We are all together. It makes us proud”. Another expressed his "joy" saying "we are French, we are children of immigrants, but we are Moroccans too." The supporters "dream" of a France-Morocco semi-final. "It doesn't matter who wins, it would be a dream", for the supporters.

Morocco eliminated Spain and qualified for the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar. A historic qualification for a team which had never reached this stage of the competition.

City of Nice recommends wearing a mask on public transport - The City of Nice has started recommending that passengers wear a facemask on public transport again. It comes amid a triple whammy of growing cases of coronavirus, flu and bronchiolitis. The mask recommendation also applies to public buildings, such as the city hall and libraries. Nationwide, there was a 40% surge in Covid cases last week.

Cost on public transport on the rise in the region - The cost of public transport in Nice will increase by 10% next summer. A single ticket will go up from €1.50 to €1.70. The set of 10 tickets will be scrapped. Instead, it'll be possible to buy a batch of 50 tickets for a discounted rate of €1 per ride. Bus fares to the Mercantour ski resorts will go from €12 to €14 return. The fare rise is the first since 2013 and will come into effect next July. Meanwhile, from January, some Lignes d'Azur bus routes will be reorganised. Some timetables will change and trams in Nice will finish earlier in the evening, at 12.30 instead of 1.30.

A former McDonald’s turned into charitable restaurant - Finally, a former McDonald's in Marseille has been turned into a charitable restaurant and food bank that aims to help the city's most vulnerable. During the coronavirus lockdown in 2020, several McDonalds employees who were out of work decided to take over the premises of the restaurant and use it to feed those in need. Gradually the idea of a permanent food distribution centre took shape. This week it'll be formally inaugurated - it's called Après M, or After McDonalds. The initiative can be found in the Saint-Marthe district, in Marseille's 14th arrondissement.  It's received support from 50,000 supporters, each of whom invested €25 to get the project off the ground. As well as distributing food to the neediest, Après M will also be cooking up gourmet burgers for the general public, with all the proceeds going to the charity.

Business

Computer chip giant TSMC says it will more than triple its investment in a giant US plant to $40bn (£33bn). It is one of the largest foreign investments in American history. The announcement came as President Joe Biden and the Taiwan-based firm's boss opened the factory in Arizona. TSMC is the world's largest maker of microchips for other companies, with clients including Apple.

Former US President Donald Trump's family real estate company has been found guilty of tax crimes. The Trump Organization was convicted on all counts on Tuesday after two days of jury deliberations in New York. Vowing to appeal the verdict, Mr Trump said he was "disappointed" and again described the case as a "witch hunt". The company was convicted of enriching its top executives with off-the books benefits for more than a decade.

Bank Morgan Stanley is cutting about 1,600 jobs or roughly 2% of its global workforce, joining other big banks in making reductions as the economy slows. The news comes after chief executive James Gorman warned that the bank would see "modest" job losses. He cast the downsizing as a predictable outcome after several years of rapid growth. Goldman Sachs bank is among the others making cuts in the sector, which is also bracing for smaller pay bonuses.

Motorists in France can expect to see insurance, petrol and paytolls increase in 2023. According to a study by Assurland, an increase of 3% can be expected on an average car insurance contract. Pay toll rates for the main motorway networks in France will increase by 4.75% on average on February 1st this comes after a 2% increase this year and 0.44% in 2021. However, the discount granted since the beginning of 2019 to motorists making at least ten round trips per month on the same route will increase from 30 to 40%. In addition, electric vehicles will benefit from a 5% reduction for one year, on all their journeys. Finally, another foreseeable increase is that of fuel prices. From January 1st, the government discount, reduced from 30 to 10 cents on November 16th, must disappear, just like the one from TotalEnergies, reduced at the same time from 20 to 10 cents.

World Cup

Despite topping their group, Morocco entered the World Cup contest as the underdogs against the European giants, but they stuck to their task and managed to keep Spain at bay for 120 minutes and then dominated the penalty shootout winning 3-0. Fans are convinced that Morocco are going to be the first African nation to win the World Cup after beating Spain backing them to go all the way in Qatar.

Cristiano Ronaldo walked off the pitch on his own as his teammates celebrated a stunning 6-1 victory over Switzerland on Tuesday night. The Portuguese captain made his own way to the dressing room following the game having been dropped by coach Fernando Santos. Portugal however had no issues without him in the side as they raced into a 5-1 lead in his absence, with his replacement Goncalo Ramos scoring a hat-trick. 

Meanwhile the England team are keeping their body clocks on UK time to combat the heat and help adapt to the unusually late 10pm kick-off times at the World Cup. From the four matches Gareth Southgate’s side have played in Qatar, three of them have kicked off at the later time of 10pm. Sunday’s quarter-final against France is also scheduled to start at 10pm - as are the semi-finals.

All eyes will be on France's No 10 Mbappé when England face Les Bleus on Saturday but stopping the man who still wears seven on his back because of an old obsession with David Beckham will be just as important. Antoine Griezmann is described as the “petit prince” who lets Kylian Mbappe be king and keeps the peace”.

Meanwhile French President Emmanuel Macron predicted on Tuesday that des Bleus will beat the Three Lions in their World Cup quarter final. The French President was supremely confident of France's chances on Saturday, telling national radio: 'I don't doubt that we're going to win.' Macron, an avid supporter of Marseille, correctly predicted France's victory over Poland last week including guessing the final score and goal-scorers. But he refused to be drawn on the result against England, saying he would give a prediction closer to the match. 

Sport

Formula One - Former Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean will return to racing in Europe next year with Lamborghini in sports car racing. The Frenchman, 36, has competed in America's IndyCar series since escaping from a huge fire following a crash at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix. Grosjean will race at Le Mans 2024 for Lamborghini's elite class 'hypercar' entry, run by the Iron Lynx team.

Weather

Sunny intervals. 14 degrees in Monaco and Saint Paul de Vence. 15 degrees in Nice with a moderate breeze. 16 degrees in Cannes with a light wind. This evening going down to 8 degrees in Nice, 7 in Saint Paul and Monaco and 5 degrees in Cannes with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow and Friday. Light rain with a gentle breeze. Highs of 13-15 degrees across the region.

Sunrise 07.50hr

Sunset 16.53hr

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