French and Riviera News Wednesday 8th March 2023

News

Demonstrations against pension reform – More than 1.2 million protesters have demonstrated as strikes against President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to push back the retirement age to 64, disrupted transport and schools in France on Tuesday. There were minor clashes with police in the French capital and in Nantes, but otherwise the 260 organised rallies across France were mostly peaceful. Unions have warned of rolling strikes on public transport that could paralyse parts of the country for weeks on end.

Online privacy for children - In other news, French MPs have adopted measures to protect children's private life online. MPs voted on a text on Tuesday concerning the health risks linked to overexposure to screens by young people. The text, must now be examined by the Senate. According to figures, a child appears on average "in 1,300 photographs published online before the age of 13" and "50 percent of the photographs which are exchanged on child pornography forums had been initially published by parents on their social networks”.

Strong winds - Emergency services in the region have warned the public to take extra care near the seafront today due to strong winds forecast. On Tuesday afternoon a major emergency operation was carried out on the port of Nice after a man dived into the sea to rescue another swimmer in difficulty. Both men were eventually safely brought back to shore by firefighters.

Covid cases Monaco - Only 6 new positive cases of Covid-19 were detected in Monaco last week, according to the government's weekly Covid update. The incidence rate continued to be very low at 15 per 100,000 people, down slightly from 18 the previous week. As of Sunday evening, just one person was hospitalized at the Princess Grace Hospital. No one was being treated in intensive care.

Café de Paris - The completion of the new Café de Paris here in Monaco has been postponed. It was due to reopen this summer at the beginning of July however the SBM has announced that the reopening is now delayed until the last quarter of 2023.

Circus to perform in Menton following refusal from Nice - The mayor of Menton has announced that the city will welcome the Muller-Zavatta circus in the coming days, marking the end of the showdown between the City of Nice and the circus, which came about due to the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi and his refusal to accept performances with animals and questioning their wellbeing.

The proposal from the mayor of Menton came following a meeting on Monday, between the state authorities and representatives of the circus. The mayor Yves Juhel defended his decision saying that "the city of Menton is one of the rare cities in France to have within its local council an assistant delegate for animal welfare, Patrice Novelli". He added that he has “of course requested that all guarantees be given by the owners, vets and nutritionists as to the treatment and health of the animals”. The circus will therefore go ahead and hold performances during its stay in Menton, excluding acts with wild animals.

Greenpeace activists fined - Five Greenpeace activists have been fined 500 to 800 euros each by the court in Grasse for "obstructing traffic on public roads". The incident dates back to last summer when, during the advertising festival demonstrators gathered in Cannes to denounce what they said was “the denial and complicity of certain advertising agencies who work for fossil goods and service companies”. The gathering led to demonstrators climbing on to the roof of the congress centre of the Croisette.

According to the town hall the actions of the members of the NGO had also "resulted in degradation of the public space and the environment, through illicit displays". Greenpeace, which works precisely for the protection of the environment, had targeted this demonstration, from June 20 to 24, 2022.

Business

The head of the US central bank has warned that officials could raise interest rates further and faster than previously expected in order to stabilise prices. US stocks fell and the dollar rose following the remarks. Many analysts had been expecting another 0.25 percentage point increase. But the comments suggest the bank could move more aggressively. Over the last year, the Fed has raised its benchmark rate to more than 4.5% - the highest rate since 2007 - responding to prices rising at the fastest pace in decades.

Heavy rains, which were blamed for some food shortages in Australia, have also given crop exports a boost. The country's farmers are predicted to see their most valuable year ever. Agricultural exports are forecast to hit a record $75bn (£62.3bn) in the year to the end of June, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARES).

In the UK, following a new pay offer, the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers' union has suspended all industrial action against Network Rail. Strike action was due to take place on 16th and 17th March. The RMT national executive committee said further updates would be given in the coming days.

Sport

Football – Chelsea have reached the Champions League quarterfinals after beating Borussia Dortmund 2-0 on Tuesday night.

Rugby - Vice-captain Courtney Lawes will miss the rest of England's Six Nations campaign with a shoulder injury. The Northampton forward made his long-awaited return off the bench against Wales but has now been hit by another setback. Meanwhile, fly-half Marcus Smith has been retained in the 27-man squad which means he is set to feature against France on Saturday despite being released from camp last week.

Tennis - Emma Raducanu has pulled out of a charity exhibition event before her opening match at Indian Wells. Raducanu also did not practice on Tuesday, though she is hoping to on Wednesday.

Weather

Clear skies strong winds and sunny. With highs of 18 degrees in Nice, Monaco and Antibes. 19 degrees in Cannes. 15 degrees in Saint Tropez with sunshine and a fresh breeze. This evening going down to 10 degrees in the Var and 11 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes.

The outlook for tomorrow and Friday – Sunny with highs of 20-21 degrees and a fresh breeze.

Sunrise       06.55am

Sunset        06.27pm

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