French and Riviera News Wednesday 7th February 2024

National News France

Ceremony to pay tribute to the French victims of the Hamas attack on Israel - Four months to the day after the Hamas attack on Israel, a ceremony to pay tribute to the French victims will take place today Wednesday 7th February at Les Invalides in the French capital, with a speech at midday from French President Emmanuel Macron. The Islamist movement's offensive led to the death of more than a thousand people in the Jewish state, the majority civilians, including 42 French people. The national tribute which will be paid by Emmanuel Macron will also concern the six other French people injured on the day of the attack, the four French Hamas hostages released and the three other fellow citizens “still missing and presumed hostages”.

Government reshuffle not yet announced - A much awaited government reshuffle is still to be announced by France’s Prime Minister Gabriel Attal. It was on Tuesday following a lunch between Attal and the French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee, that an announcement was expected however, some minister nominations are still pending. Today Wednesday 7th February, François Bayrou will meet Gabriel Attal. Bayrou, former justice minister who was acquitted by the Paris Criminal Court on Monday for his alleged involvement in a fraudulent scheme that embezzled European public funds, is amongst the names circulating for the Ministry of National Education.

Dockers strike action at the maritime port of Marseille - In local news, dockers in the maritime port of Marseille have announced a “total shutdown” of the port today Wednesday 7th February, in protest against the pension reform. Unions say they will be mobilized for 24 hours. Adopted without debate last March, the reform which notably includes the increase in the retirement age is still fought by the workers of the Grand Maritime Port of Marseille (GPMM).

Pollen alert - The Alpes-Maritimes and the Var departments have been placed on a “red pollen alert”. The allergy risk is high around the Mediterranean and is expected to last for several weeks, at least until the end of March. Mild temperatures have favoured the conditions. For more information and tips for those with allergies go to https://www.pollens.fr

HSH Prince Albert expresses full support to King Charles III - HSH Prince Albert the II of Monaco has expressed his full support for King Charles III following the news that he is being treated for cancer. Prince Albert wrote that that the Monarch’s “determination, courage and candour have always been a source of inspiration” adding that he is convinced that “he will show the same bravery in this ordeal” before concluding that, the “Monaco royal family and the people of Monaco join together in sending their warmest thoughts and prayers to you, the Royal Family and your loved ones”.​

Tour de la Provence - The cycling “Tour de La Provence” returns this week with four stages taking place from tomorrow Thursday February 8th, through until Sunday February 11th in the Bouches-du-Rhône, the Luberon and the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. After a 5 km individual time trial in Marseille on Thursday, the cyclists will set off on Friday from Aix-en-Provence, heading towards the Luberon arriving in Bonnieux, and finally arriving at Martigues. Motorists are reminded that traffic and parking in the region will be severely disrupted.

Nation of lovers? - Finally, recent research has suggested that France’s reputation as a nation of lovers may be wilting a little, as one in four adults claim to have had no sexual encounters in the past year. A study revealed a noticeable decline in sex, particularly among young adults who are turning to television or video games instead of intimacy with their partners.

Business

Energy giant BP has reported its second highest annual profit in a decade. Profits of $13.8bn (£11bn) were recorded in 2023, which was however, down from the record $27.7bn in 2022. The company came under fire last year from environmental groups after it scaled back plans to reduce the amount of oil and gas it produces by 2030.

“More boots on the ground” is how the head of the US aviation regulator described new safety checks on Boeing planes. Federal Aviation Administrator Mike Whitaker told US lawmakers on Tuesday that Boeing is being "closely scrutinised" after a door plug broke off one of its planes last month. No-one was seriously hurt in the mid-air blowout. But issues found in inspections since have raised questions about standards.

And - The former boss of WeWork, Adam Neumann, has announced that he wants to buy back the bankrupt shared office company. Mr Neumann, who now leads a new property firm called Flow, was ousted from WeWork in 2019 after a disastrous - and ultimately fruitless - attempt to list the company on the stock exchange exposed its financial weaknesses and raised questions about his leadership. The company filed for bankruptcy last November when it sought court protection as it tried to renegotiate leases with its landlords.

Sport

Football – In the FA Cup fourth round replay last night Coventry beat Sheffield Wednesday 4-1. Plymouth lost to Leeds 4-1 and Southampton beat Watford 3-0. This evening Nottingham Forest are at home to Bristol City and Aston Villa play Chelsea.

Meanwhile, in other football news according to a report in France Liverpool made contact with Xabi Alonso over taking over as the club's manager next season in November. Alonso is the overwhelming favourite to become the Reds' new boss next term on the back of Jurgen Klopp revealing he will be stepping down from his role after eight-and-a-half years in May. Klopp told supporters in an emotional video message last month that he is 'running out of energy' and will be stepping down from his role as manager at the end of the current season.

Formula One - A hearing into a complaint of inappropriate behaviour made against Red Bull Formula 1 team boss Christian Horner will take place on Friday. Following the news of an investigation on Monday Red Bull said that it took the allegations "extremely seriously". Asked about the allegations by a Dutch newspaper Horner said: "I completely deny these claims."

Rugby Union - Paul Willemse will miss France's Six Nations matches against Scotland and Italy as a result of his red card in the defeat against Ireland. Scotland, who won their Six Nations opener against Wales, host France at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Weather

Cloudy to start with clearing as the day goes on. Highs of 15 degrees in Nice and Monaco. 17 degrees in Saint Tropez with a moderate wind. This evening going down to 8 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for Thursday and Friday. Tomorrow mainly fine, Friday, heavy rain is forecast highs of 15 degrees.

Sunrise       07.40am

Sunset        05.48pm

Sea temperature Nice - 14 degrees. 

London                Light cloud, 9 degrees.

Paris                      Light rain, 12 degrees.

New York            Sunny, 8 degrees.

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