French and Riviera News Wednesday 9th August 2023

News

Two of the Raid police officers released - Two of the five Raid police officers placed in police custody in Marseille, as part of the investigation into the death of 27-year-old Mohamed during rioting in the city have been released. The other three remain in custody. Mohamed, died of a cardiac arrest on the night of July 1st, during violent riots in Marseille in connection with the death of young Nahel in the Paris region. The autopsy revealed an impact on the chest, an injury compatible with that of a flash ball.

IHU - An international research team has found that a major French research centre which produced one of the most widely cited and controversial research papers of the Covid-19 pandemic used questionable and concerning ethics during the approval process across hundreds of studies. The IHU, a clinical research centre was founded by Prof Didier Raoult, who was director of the centre until August 2022. Raoult was the corresponding author of an IHU-led study published in 2020 which claimed the drugs hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin could in combination treat Covid-19 with “100% viral clearance”, leading to several countries adopting the treatment, and former US president Donald Trump promoting it.

Parasailing accident in Nice - Two tourists have been taken to hospital in Nice after a parasailing accident on the Promenade des Anglais. The accident occurred three metres from the Negresco beach on Tuesday afternoon. Two Asian tourists in their twenties fell five metres on to the pebbles after the sail became unhooked from the boat. Both were lucky to not hit a barrier, or someone. Attended to on the spot by emergency services they are thought to have suffered broken legs and back. An investigation into the incident has been opened.

Menton to close beaches from August 31st - There is anger in Menton at a decision to close private beaches from August 31st. The decision by the town hall is to allow for major works to be carried out. However, it is the beach clubs which have to conduct the works themselves. The owners say it’s ridiculous that they will lose valuable late summer revenue yet have to pay up to €700,000 each for the works. Local hotels also report clients cancelling or shortening September holidays due to the lack of beach clubs. 

Stingray warning - The town hall of Bormes-les-Mimosas has issued a warning against swimming at several beaches in area due to the presence of stingrays. Red or orange flags will fly at beaches where stingrays have been sighted as they come to shore to reproduce. People are warned to stay well clear of the fish who are well known for their brutal sting.

Thefts - Theft of high-end luxury watches continue in Cannes with the latest victim having had his watch stolen while eating dinner at a restaurant on the Croisette. Two men wrestled the watch from the diner’s wrist before fleeing on a motorbike. It’s the 22nd such theft this summer.

Nannybag - In partnership with the start-up Nannybag, the SNCF is once again offering luggage lockers at locations close to nearly thirty train stations across France. In Paris Saint-Lazare, La Rochelle, Grenoble, Nice and Metz, shops and hotels located less than five minutes from the station now offer to look after baggage, suitcases and strollers following a reservation on the app. The price is 6 euros per day and per luggage. Nannybag is a French application founded in 2016 and supported since 2022 by La Poste.

Noise levels - In Nice, a judge has upheld a decision to limit noise levels created by street performers in the city. Performers could face fines of €150 for exceeding noise levels or €750 for obstructing a street. The areas concerned include the Old Town, Place Massena and the Promenade des Anglais.

Business

Shares of WeWork, the once globally hyped office space sharing company, have plunged after it raised "substantial doubt" about its future. The company's shares fell by close to 24% in extended trading in New York. WeWork, which is backed by Japanese tech giant Softbank, was hit hard by the pandemic as social distancing rules drove people to work from home. However, it has yet to turn a profit even after workers returned to offices as coronavirus restrictions eased.

In a shock move that has seen shares plummet, Italy has passed a one-off 40% tax on the profits banks earn from higher interest rates. A hike in official interest rates has resulted in record profits for Italian banks with the proceeds being used to help mortgage holders and to cut taxes.

An Oxford Internet Institute (OII) study has suggested that there is no evidence that the global spread of Facebook is linked to widespread psychological harm. Research looked at how wellbeing changed in 72 countries as use of the social media platform grew. It counters the common belief that social media is psychologically harmful.  Several countries, including the UK, are considering legislation to protect social media users from online harms. The research only looked at Facebook and not Meta's other platforms, which include Instagram.

And - In France, the Champagne region’s exposure to risk caused by heat, drought, floods and frost is set to triple by the 2050s, posing serious problems for the region’s vineyards. An S&P Global Sustainable Report says the changing conditions could also alter the taste of champagne. Vineyards are taking the report seriously. Moet say they recognize the effects already and are working to adapt, while Taittinger noted the harvest, which used to take place at the end of September 20 years ago, now takes place in late August. 

Sport

Football - At the World Cup, France have powered through to the quarter-finals after a convincing 4-0 win over Morocco. They next take on hosts Australia for a place in the semi-finals. That game kicking off in Brisbane on Saturday morning at 9am French time.   Also at the World Cup, England will face Columbia in their quarter-final match, also on Saturday, after the South American’s beat Jamacia 1–nil in Melbourne.

Rugby Union - Many supporters may be thinking what former scrum half Matt Dawson has said. Speaking to UK media, Dawson asked “where were the world class players for the Rugby World Cup opener on the 9th of September”? England announced its 33-man squad on Monday with Owen Farrell captain again. Dawson, who won the World Cup in 2003, could only predict full-back Freddie Steward as a guaranteed starter in the backline to take on Argentina in Marseille in England's opening game.

Tennis - Andy Murray is through to the second round of the Canadian Open in Toronto. The Scot previously won the tournament in 2009, 2010 and 2015.

Weather

Sunny with a moderate breeze. Highs of 25 degrees in Monaco, Antibes and Nice. 24 degrees in Saint-Tropez with a gentle breeze.  32 degrees in Marseille. This evening going down to 18 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow and Friday. Fine, highs of 26 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes. Going down to 18 degrees in the Var.

Sunrise       06.27am

Sunset        08.43pm

Beach weather

Nice – Sea temperature 23 degrees. Air temperature 24. UV level 9.

Marseille – Sea temperature 15. Air temperature 27. UV level 9.

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