French & Riviera News - Tuesday, January 30th

PARIS SIEGE

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal is promising to announce “new measures” today, in response to the so-called “Siege Of Paris”, where hundreds of farmers blocked eight major access points leading to Paris since yesterday to heap pressure on the government.

Traffic around Paris was significantly disrupted, with some sections closed a few dozen kilometers from the capital. However, Paris itself, the vital Rungis market, and Parisian airports were not blocked.

 

LOCAL PROTESTS

More protests are expected locally as Farmers in Nice continue to push the government for satisfactory measures. This Thursday, February 1st, another slow-moving demonstration, known as an "escargot operation", will take place. The farmers will drive their tractors in a procession, starting in the morning, from RN6202 to the Promenade des Anglais through the MIN. Michel Dessus, president of the Alpes-Maritimes Chamber of Agriculture, hinted at the possibility of another action next week if their demands remain unaddressed.

 

TAXI VICTORY

After yesterday’s demonstrations, taxi union representatives hailed a significant victory after a meeting with the prefecture's chief of staff. Their efforts were rewarded with the postponement of a crucial agreement on healthcare transportation rules and rates until the end of February. This delay allows taxi services to review new transportation rates before finalizing the agreement.

 

NESTLE

Nestlé has acknowledged breaking the rules in its bottled water processing methods in France. The global leader in food and beverages admitted to employing treatments, including ultraviolet light and active carbon filters, on its mineral water brands like Perrier and Vittel. This contradicts French laws that prohibit any disinfectant processes for mineral waters.

Nestlé has expressed regret for overlooking regulatory compliance but assures that all its products now meet French standards.

 

CAP D’ANTIBES

A section of the coastline at Cap d'Antibes is off-limits today due to the planned disposal of an explosive device. The restricted area extends 500 meters around the disposal site at the Pointe de l'Ilette. From 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM today, activities such as sailing, anchoring, scuba diving, and swimming will be prohibited. The Antibes city council has announced that the operation zone will be closely monitored by both land and maritime law enforcement to ensure public safety.

 

FIRE IN NICE

A fire broke out in an apartment in Nice yesterday morning. The 40-square-meter apartment was completely destroyed by the flames, which also spread to the building's roof.  A team of 32 firefighters with seven vehicles was deployed to combat the fire. Thankfully, there were no injuries, although two people will need to be rehoused.

 

ACCIDENT IN MONACO

A 19-year-old man suffered severe injuries after falling 10 meters while cleaning a building facade in Monaco. The incident occurred yesterday at the Fontvieille shopping center, directly opposite the Decathlon entrance. The young temporary worker, who is French, was employed by a Monegasque company specializing in high-rise building maintenance. He was promptly taken to Pasteur Hospital in Nice for treatment and his injuries are not life-threatening.

 

STABBING IN CANNES

A young man in his twenties was injured in a stabbing incident during the early hours of Sunday. The incident, which occurred around 2 AM on Boulevard du Riou, prompted the victim to seek refuge in a nearby car. Emergency services, including three rescue vehicles and approximately ten firefighters, swiftly responded to the scene.

 

CELEBRITY FASHION SHOW

Hollywood actress Julia Roberts has been spotted leaving the Negresco hotel yesterday afternoon on her way to the Jacquemus fashion show at the Fondation Maeght in St Paul de Vence. The show kicked off with fashion icon Gigi Hadid, showcasing a collection from the French designer that emphasizes sculptural designs and cocooning silhouettes, alongside an impressive lineup of top models such as Vittoria Ceretti, Amanda Murphy, Kit Butler, and Emily Ratajkowski. The event attracted a star-studded audience, including Kristine Davis, Kylie Jenner, Jack Harlow and Bianca Balti.

 

ISRAEL FLIGHTS RESUMED

EasyJet has announced that they are resuming its flights to Tel Aviv from Nice on April 2nd. This comes after a temporary suspension following events last October. Flights will be available twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Meanwhile, Air France and its subsidiary, Transavia, are also expanding their services to Tel Aviv, promising more travel options in the coming weeks.

 

SAFA DIES

The Franco-Lebanese billionaire and businessman, Iskandar Safa, has passed away at the age of 68. He died on yesterday evening at the Arnault Tzanck private hospital in Mougins, after a long illness. A notable figure, Safa was a close friend of Senator Henri Leroy and owned the vast Barbossi estate in Mandelieu. He had strong ties with Mandelieu, where he was a patron, funding several renovations including the Notre-Dame du Liban church and the Mimosas chapel.

 

SAMUEL PATY

A square in Cannes has been named after the teacher killed by an Islamist terrorist in 2020, Samuel Paty. During the inaugauration ceremony, his sister, Mickaëlle Paty, voiced her concerns during the dedication ceremony, emphasizing the ongoing threat to freedom in France and the need for a stronger response to such acts of terror.

 

MONACO USA

MonacoUSA will host its next networking event today from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.at the Conscientiae Restaurant on the port of Monaco. Entrance is free and open to all nationalities.  This month's theme is "wellness & lifestyle”, and participants will meet professional coaches specializing in nutrition, yoga, fitness, dance, and art therapy. For more information see the MonacoUSA Facebook page.

 

SCAM WARNING

Monaco’s authorities are warning of a widespread phishing campaign that is targeting individuals through unsolicited emails, attempting to scam potential victims into responding. These fraudulent emails, poorly written, falsely claim the recipient is involved in legal proceedings and urge them to open an attached PDF document and reply via email. The bogus summons mentions alleged "criminal proceedings for sexual offenses" against the message recipient. You are advised not to respond to the sender, nor to open the attachment, but to forward the email to cyber@gouv.mc for investigation.

Additionally, it's important to remember that no Monegasque institution sends out such notices, and official government emails always end in @gouv.mc. Recipients should always verify the sender's real email address and be wary of slight alterations meant to mimic legitimate addresses.

 

MOST POPULAR TOURIST DESTINATION

France is projected to retain its status as the world's most popular tourist destination in 2024. Last year, the country attracted about 100 million visitors and is expected to surpass this figure this year. The World Travel & Tourism Council and ForwardKeys report that international arrivals in France for the first half of 2024 are close to pre-pandemic levels.

Factors contributing to this tourism boom include the successful hosting of the Rugby World Cup 2023 and the anticipation of the upcoming Olympic Games. Additionally, France's major airports are increasing capacity, with a notable rise in passenger seats. This tourism surge is expected to significantly contribute to France's economy and global standin

 

SPORT

Football

An FA Cup shock looked on the cards yesterday, as Hollywood owned Wrexham took an early lead away to Blackburn, but the championship side recovered to win 4-1 and progress to the last 16.

 

In the African Cup of Nations, Ivory Coast left it late to stage a comeback against Senegal. Trailing with just 5 minutes to go, they scored a late equaliser and went on to qualify for the quarter finals after a penalty shootout.

They will play the winners of Mali and Bukino Faso who are in action today.

In yesterday’s other match, A late penalty helped Cape Verde overcome Mauritania to book a place in the quarter-finals for just the second time

 

In other football news

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says reports linking him with succeeding Xavi as Barcelona manager are "totally untrue". Xavi announced on Saturday that he would be stepping down from the role at the end of the season

Spanish newspaper Sport said Arteta, who is a product of Barcelona's youth academy, was also thinking of leaving his post with the Gunners, but Arteta, who has a contract with Arsenal until 2025 described it as fake news.

 

Figure Skating

Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva has been handed a four-year ban for testing positive for a banned substance before the 2022 Winter Olympics. Despite her initial clearance and the claim of unintentional doping, possibly due to contaminated cutlery, the court ruled that this could not be proved. This decision has broader implications, including the potential reallocation of medals from the team figure skating event at the Beijing Olympics, where Valieva had contributed to Russia's gold.

 

BUSINESS NEWS

LVMH

LVMH, led by CEO Bernard Arnault, has announced a groundbreaking revenue of over €86 billion for the year 2023, marking a significant 13% increase from the previous year. This achievement was fueled by strong performances across most of their luxury divisions, particularly in Europe, Japan, and Asia.

The fashion and leather goods sector saw the highest growth, with iconic brands like Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior achieving record sales.

Notably, Dior's Sauvage, endorsed by Johnny Depp, continued its reign as the world's top fragrance. Additionally, the company's beauty retailer, Sephora, stood out for its exceptional contribution to the Selective Retailing sector's 25% revenue increase.

LVMH, France's largest private employer, also highlighted its investment in the French economy and its anticipation for a promising 2024, aligning with the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games.

 

TOYOTA

Toyota has urged owners of 50,000 older vehicles in the US to get immediate repairs as airbag inflators made by Takata could explode and kill them.

The "Do Not Drive" advisory covers some of the world's biggest carmaker's models from 2003 to 2005.

Since 2009, more than 30 deaths have been linked to air bag inflators produced by Takata.

Toyota has warned that  "if the airbag deploys, a part inside is more likely to explode and shoot sharp metal fragments".

The vehicles involved are the 2003-2004 model Corolla, 2003-2004 Corolla Matrix, and 2004-2005 RAV4.

Serious issues with Takata airbag inflators have resulted in the biggest motor industry safety recall in history, involving more than 100 million products and over 20 carmakers.

 

NEURALINK

Elon Musk's Neuralink has made a breakthrough by successfully implanting its first wireless brain chip into a human, promising a future where humans could control devices just by thinking.

Dubbed 'Telepathy', the device aims to revolutionize how people with mobility impairments interact with technology, potentially enabling communication speeds to rival that of a speed typist. This innovation comes after the FDA's green light in May, marking a significant step forward in brain-computer interface technology.

Neuralink's approach involves surgically placing ultra-thin threads onto the brain, allowing for the wireless transmission of brain signals. While Neuralink is at the forefront with Musk's backing, it navigates a competitive field with companies like Blackrock Neurotech and Precision Neuroscience also making significant strides in similar technologies.

 

AMAZON

In a surprising turn, Amazon has called off its acquisition of vacuum giant iRobot, citing significant opposition from European Union competition regulators. The decision marks a setback for iRobot, known for its Roomba vacuums, which now plans to restructure and cut 31% of its workforce, about 350 jobs. This move comes as iRobot faces declining sales and a need to scale back on research and office space.

Amazon had aimed to bolster its smart-home lineup with this acquisition but faced regulatory hurdles over concerns of stifling competition and the potential misuse of consumer data collected by Roomba devices. Despite the UK's approval of the deal, the EU's firm stance reflects a broader trend of increased scrutiny on big tech mergers. iRobot's shares plunged by over 15% following the announcement, highlighting the deal's significance to the company's future.

 

RYANAIR

Ryanair has adjusted its profit forecast downward due to disputes with online travel agents like Booking.com, Kiwi, and Kayak, which have stopped listing its flights. This led Ryanair to lower its prices in December to attract more passengers. Additionally, a significant 35% increase in fuel costs during the October to December quarter has impacted profits.

Ryanair said it now expected profits of up to €1.95bn down from its forecast of up to €2.05bn in November.

 

 

WEATHER

Some clouds this morning but mostly clear across the region throughout the day

Light winds reaching 10-15 km/h from the South

Highs of 17° in Monaco and Cannes. 16° around St Tropez  and Draguignan, 15° around Grasse

Overnight lows of 7°along the cost, 6° inland in AM, 3° inland in the Var

 

Sunrise 7:54

Sunset 17:38

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