Riviera Radio News - Friday, April 21st

Local News

Industrial Action Across France - It was another day of industrial action yesterday across France but with a smaller turnout than expected. Several hundred protestors in Paris gathered at the Gare de Lyon before going on to occupy the headquarters of the Euronext financial exchange in the La Defense business district of Paris. Locally, demonstrations took in several locations including in Nice where service on Line 1 of the tramway was disrupted because of the march. Organizers are gearing up for a larger demonstration on May 1st.

Salary Increase For All Teachers - President Macron has announced a salary increase for all teachers during a visit yesterday to a school in the Hérault department. The "unconditional increase" in salary will be between 100 and 230 euros net per month for teachers at all levels of their careers, starting from the next school year in September. There will be additional pay for teachers who take on new voluntary missions, totaling up to 500 euros per month. However, some teachers' unions have criticized the increase as insufficient to address long-standing issues of salary stagnation and inflation. The budget allocated for the salary increase is 635 million euros in 2023 and 1.905 billion euros in 2024.

SMS Scams - There are renewed warnings this morning about the increasing prevalence of SMS scams targeting mobile users. These fraudulent text messages are designed to trick recipients into clicking on links that lead to pirate websites where their personal or professional information, such as passwords or banking data, can be stolen. The most popular SMS scams at the moment include fake fines from ANTAI, the French automated traffic offense processing agency; fake delivery notifications from companies like Chronopost; fake Crit'Air vignette alerts; fake renewal requests for the French health insurance card, Carte Vitale; and fake updates on the Compte Emploi Formation (CPF), a French professional training account. Recipients are urged to be cautious and verify the authenticity of such messages before clicking on any links.

Swiss Fans Banned From Football Match - The Europa League quarter-final match last night between OGC Nice and FC Basel took place without any visiting supporters, as the Conseil d’Etat rejected an appeal from the Swiss club to overturn the ban imposed on their fans. As a result, 16 buses of Swiss fans were turned away at the Italian border and arrangements were made to watch the game in San Remo. The match ended in disappointment for Nice (see Sports News below)

Meanwhile Jean-Pierre Rivère has broken his silence on the Galtier affair. The President of OGC Nice told Nice Matin that he had remained silent to protect the team during this challenging season and that he has done all he can to help the enquiry. He stated that the justice system will reach its own conclusions and he doesn't know what they will be.

Athletes Join The Police Force - The French national police has recruited a team of 66 high-level athletes with the aim of improving the image of the police. The team includes athletes such as world vice-champion fencer Maxime Pianfetti and European bronze medalist gymnast Carolann Héduit. The recruitment drive is part of preparations for the 2024 Paris Olympics and the rugby World Cup, with a goal of diversifying the police force and improving its public image.

Minister Greeted With Boos in Brignoles - Olivier Véran, spokesperson for the government and former health minister, was greeted with boos, pots and pans, and chants against retirement reform during his visit to Brignoles yesterday. Véran was supposed to meet with abstainers from the last presidential and legislative elections in the region, where abstention rates were higher than the national average.

Gare du Sud Gourmet Hall To Re-Open - The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, has announced that the Gare du Sud's gourmet hall will reopen before the summer after significant thermal renovation work has now been completed. The focus will be on Mediterranean cuisine, with restaurants offering Italian, Lebanese, Spanish, Oriental, and Greek specialties, and there are plans for a culinary school. The decor is promised to be bohemian chic with natural fibers, wood, and indoor plants.

Naked Arrest - A man was arrested completely naked on his grandmother's exercise bike in Champs-sur-Marne near Paris. The 24-year-old man was caught attempting to suffocate his 75-year-old grandmother, who had called the police in the early hours of the morning. The grandmother recounted a shocking story of her grandson attacking her with a pillow, leaving her injured and bruised. Police found the man naked on the exercise bike with blood-stained objects including a knife and hammer. The man is reported to have a mental illness and harbored unexplained resentment towards his grandmother.

Monaco Named As The Most Expensive Travel Destination In The World - Monaco has been ranked as the world’s most expensive travel destination by a popular travel blog. After analyzing around 60 destinations, Traveller's Elixir placed Monaco in the top spot, ahead of Saint-Barthélémy, Gstaad, Bora Bora, and Reykjavík. According to the blog, a five-day trip to Monaco will cost an average of €2,047, excluding flights. The high prices in Monaco are attributed to its high-end restaurants, designer shops, luxury boutiques, and upmarket  entertainment venues. In comparison, the cheapest destinations for a five-day trip are Delhi, Phnom Penh, Kathmandu, and Medellin in Colombia.

AirBNB Lists France’s Most Welcoming Coastal Towns - Airbnb has ranked the top 10 most welcoming coastal towns in France. The only town featured in our region is Èze which proudly claims 4th place. As the month of May approaches with its long weekends, Èze is expected to be a popular choice for a coastal getaway. The 3 most welcoming coastal towns in France are said to be La Hague in Manche, Port-en-Bessin-Huppain in Calvados, and Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré.

Business

Buzzfeed To Close - Buzzfeed is to close its news site and cut its workforce by 15%, that’s around 180 staff. It comes as the digital media company faces serious financial challenges, including a slump in advertising spending. Calling the decisions "deeply painful", Chief Executive Mr Peretti said he could not invest more in the unprofitable news site. He said the firm would focus on delivering news via the HuffPost, which Buzzfeed took over two years ago.

Twitter removing blue check - Twitter has started removing the verified blue checkmark from thousands of accounts, including those of Beyoncé and Pope Francis! It’s part of Elon Musk's efforts to overhaul the social media company and turn a profit. Users who want to retain the checkmark beside their name now have to pay $84 a year to subscribe to Twitter Blue. The decision to monetize verification could potentially bring about a significant cultural and power shift on the platform.

Sport

Football - Disappointment for OGC Nice in the Europa conference league, as they were beaten 2-1 in extra time by FC Basel yesterday. It’s frustration for the Aiglons who drew the away leg in Switzerland and were leading yesterday until the 87th minute. They will feel they have missed a golden opportunity to reach the semi-finals of a major European tournament for the first time in  their history. FC Basel will play Fiorentina in the semi-final. The other semi-final will be between AK Alkemaar and West Ham who beat the Belgian team Gent 4-1 at the London Stadium yesterday.

Europa League - Manchester United are being accused of having no passion after a spiritless 3-0 defeat to Seville last night meant they were dumped out of the Europa League at the quarter final stage. United were well below their best - creating almost nothing going forward, overrun in midfield and making two terrible mistakes in defence - as they exited Europe with a whimper. Seville will go on to play Juventus who narrowly edged out Sporting Lisbon. It was a good day for Juventus yesterday, as they also had their 15-point penalty over transfer dealings overturned, with Italy's highest sporting court ordering the case to be re-examined.

In other matches, Roma scored two goals in extra time to come from behind against Feyenoord and reach the Europa League semi-finals. They will play Bayer Leverkusen in the semis who comfortably beat Union Saint-Gilloise 4-1 in their second leg to win 5-2 on aggregate.

Tennis - Rafael Nadal says he is in a "difficult" situation as he does not know when he will return from his injury lay-off. He was initially ruled out for six to eight weeks with a hip injury but has now not played since the 18th January. Nadal confirmed he will miss the Madrid Open, which starts on 25 April, and there is doubt over his participation at the French Open in May.

Schumacher - Michael Schumacher's family are planning legal action against a magazine which published an artificial intelligence-generated 'interview' with the former Formula 1 driver. Die Aktuelle ran a picture of a smiling Schumacheron the front cover of its latest edition with a headline of "The first interview". The article was produced using an AI programme called charatcter.ai, which artificially generated Schumacher 'quotes' about his health and family.

Weather

Extended spells of sunshine particularly this afternoon, despite some cloudy spells that can be particularly dense inland, but no rain is expected. Winds remain light and temperatures will rise to 19° along the coast, 17° inland. Tonight will be clear with lows of 11°.

The weather is looking settled for the start of the weekend. Plenty of sunshine during the day with highs of 20° tomorrow, but becoming unsettled and increasing cloudy on Saturday night. Sunday will be mostly cloudy with temperatures dropping although no rain is expected.

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