French and Riviera Radio News Friday 13th October 2023

News

French President gives televised speech – The French President Emmanuel Macron has given a televised speech on the Hamas attack on Israel. Speaking from the Elysee on Thursday evening Macron, during the ten-minute address, announced the death of a 13th French national, after the Hamas attack on Israel. The head of state went on to say that “never since the Nice attack in 2016 have so many French people been murdered by terrorists,” He also denounced the “fault” of those who “confuse the Palestinian cause and the justification of terrorism”.

A first special flight chartered by Air France to repatriate French people from Israel, particularly the most "vulnerable", took off from Tel Aviv on Thursday afternoon arriving at 9pm in Paris the passengers were welcomed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna. Several other “special flights” are planned for today Friday 13th October and tomorrow, Saturday 14th October.

Ban in France on pro-Palestinian demonstrations - Meanwhile, the French government has banned pro-Palestinian demonstrations. France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin warned that foreign nationals who break the rules would be "systematically" deported, while President Emmanuel Macron called for unity.

Despite the ban, a large crowd of pro-Palestinian demonstrators protested in Paris on Thursday. Police made 10 arrests and used water cannon to disperse the 3,000-strong rally at Place de la République, where demonstrators chanted "Israel murderer" and "Palestine will win" and waved Palestinian flags. Mr Darmanin, who ordered the ban, said those who defy it should be arrested "because they are susceptible to disrupt public order.'' But Pro-Palestinian groups said it risked threatening freedom of expression and pledged to continue demonstrating in support of the Palestinian people.

National Strike action - In other news, today marks national strike action across France as the inter-union calls for mobilization for wages and equal pay between men and women. At the SNCF, three union organizations, CGT-Cheminots, Sud-Rail and the CFDT, assured that they would follow the movement. However, the disruptions should not be too bad. Traffic should be normal for the TGV. On the other hand, certain TER lines will be disrupted, and the SNCF invites travellers to find out region by region on its website. At airports 40% of flights will be cancelled at Paris-Orly, France's second largest airport. 20% of flights will be affected and Marseille-Provence and in Beauvais by 15%. Finally, at the doctors, a “black Friday” is expected will all visits cancelled, and surgery postponed. All emergencies will be transferred to public hospitals with “vital emergencies” being attended to.  General practitioners are demanding increased fees for routine consultations and greater investment in the medical profession. Many say they are being “forced to take on more and more patients from colleagues who have retired or quit the profession and stretching doctors too thin has dire consequences on the quality of care with long delays in treating patients.

Recruitment drive by national police on the Riviera - France's national police force has begun a recruitment drive on the Riviera to hire 83 new junior police officers for the Alpes-Maritimes. Half of the new recruits will carry out general public security missions, and the other half will be border police. The new police officers will be recruited on a three-year renewable contract. Applicants must be between 18 and 30, have French nationality and pass a medical. 

New tax - Draguignan has voted in favour of imposing a new tax on the landlords of vacant shops in the town centre. The city says about 10% of retail units are currently empty. It says some shop owners are trying to charge rents that are too high. The new tax would increase gradually over three years if nothing is done to find a tenant. Shop owners can request an exemption if they can show a good reason why it's vacant - for example, if they're carrying out renovation works.

Area of Nice cordoned off after false bomb alert - A suspicious package abandoned along the railway line led to police cordoning off part of the Gambetta district, in Nice on Thursday. The incident occurred at midday and was a false alarm but managed to cause a lot of commotion into the early hours of the afternoon.

Kiosk - One of Toulon's last remaining newspaper kiosks has launched a fundraising campaign to stay open. The Kiano Presse newsstand was closed for a decade before it was taken over late last year. But with soaring overheads, and despite diversifying to sell tourist souvenirs as well as papers and magazines, the new owner says she's struggling to keep the business afloat. She says newspaper kiosks are an important social point of contact for many elderly and lonely city residents. She's seeking to raise €2,000 from regular customers and passers-by.

Ski resorts - The Riviera's ski resorts are taking stock of last winter's results - and have announced when they plan to open for this coming winter season. Ski resort operators from around France are meeting in Toulon this week for their annual conference. Overall attendance at French ski resorts last winter was down about 5%, due to a mix of an unfavourable school calendar, the cost-of-living crisis and a lack of snow. Weather permitting, La Colmiane and Isola 2000 aim to open on 2nd December this year, Auron on 9th December and Valberg, Saint-Dalmas and Gréolières on 16th December.

Business

Following warnings from the EU this week, to social media platforms X and Meta about spreading “disinformation” on the Hamas’ attack on Israel, it is now the turn of TikTok. In a letter to the platforms CEO the EU called for the company to "urgently step up" efforts and spell out "within the next 24 hours" how it is complying with European law. Social media firms have seen a surge in misinformation about the conflict, including doctored images and mislabelled videos. The EU said TikTok needed to be mindful of its popularity with young people adding that “TikTok has a particular obligation to protect children & teenagers from violent content and terrorist propaganda as well as death challenges & potentially life-threatening content”.

The UK’s Development minister Andrew Mitchell has hit back following criticism on Thursday from the World Bank over aid cuts for the world's poorest, saying the UK was still a "very dominant force". The World Bank is under pressure to raise finances for a new crisis response fund, aimed at helping countries respond to higher poverty levels as a result of higher food prices. Mr Mitchell said that the UK was the third-biggest donor to the World Bank's fund for the poorest countries in the world. But Mr Mitchell acknowledged cuts may have come at the worst possible time.

The second-largest jackpot in Powerball and US lottery history has been claimed by a single ticket sold in California. The winning numbers in Wednesday night’s draw 22, 24, 40, 52, 64 and the Powerball 10 have given an estimated jackpot of more than $1.7 billion. State lottery officials presented the owners of the store with a $1 million bonus check on Thursday for selling the winning ticket. Officials said that the person who bought the ticket has yet to come forward and has one year to do so.

Sport

Football – The UK’s Football Association has announced that players will wear black armbands during this evening’s friendly international between England and Australia and “a period of silence will be held in order to respect the innocent victims of the devastating events in Israel and Palestine".

And - Scotland's bid to reach the Euro 2024 has been prolonged by their first defeat of the qualifying campaign on a frustrating night in Spain where they were beaten 2-0.

Rugby World Cup – The quarter finals kick off this weekend with tomorrow Saturday 14th October, Wales play Argentina at 5pm French time in Marseille. Wales will be aiming to reach the semi-finals for the first time at a Rugby World Cup. Meanwhile, in a huge showdown, Ireland will face New Zealand at 9pm French time in Paris.  On Sunday at 5pm French time England play Fiji in Marseille and like Wales will be aiming to qualify for the first World Cup semi-final in their history. Finally, in what is being tipped as the match of the tournament so far, fit enough to be a final, as hosts France face reigning champions South Africa in Paris at 9pm French time.

Formula One – The former boss of Formula 1, Bernie Ecclestone has been given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to fraud. When asked by tax authorities back in 2015 the 92-year-old did not declare more than £400m held in a trust in Singapore. Ecclestone has agreed in a civil settlement to repay almost £653m to HM Revenue and Customs. He was sentenced to 17 months in prison, suspended for two years. Ecclestone had originally been due to stand trial next month after initially pleading not guilty.

Weather

Mainly fine with gentle breeze. Highs of 24 degrees in Monaco, Nice, Antibes and Vence. Highs of 23 degrees in Saint-Tropez in the Var. This evening going down to 16 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for the weekend. Fine in the Alpes Maritimes with highs of 24-25 degrees. Cloud to begin with on Saturday in the Var with sunny intervals. Remaining fine across the weekend. Rain is forecast for Monday with a drop in temperatures.

Sunrise                07.41am

Sunset                 06.50pm

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