Riviera Radio News - Monday April 14th

Local News

Pension Reforms Become Law - French President Emmanuel Macron has officially signed a controversial bill to reform the country's pension system, despite criticism from opposition parties and trade unions. The bill was passed during a late-night session in parliament on Friday night, prompting accusations of authoritarianism and a lack of transparency from some members of parliament. However, the Alpes-Maritimes MP Eric Ciotti, has called for all political forces to respect the decision of the Constitutional Council.

Union leaders and opposition MPs have reacted angrily and are calling for a 'tidal wave' of protests and strikes on May 1st. Unions have rejected an offer by Macron for talks tomorrow, saying they would only meet after 1st May. The decision to push the law through parliament without a vote, using a legal but controversial mechanism, has outraged many French people, with polls consistently showing two out of three French people are against working a further two years. President Macron will address the nation tonight live on TV at 8pm.

Toulon Mayor Sentenced - The mayor of Toulon, Hubert Falco, has been sentenced to three years of suspended prison and five years of ineligibility by the Marseille criminal court in the case known as the "fridge affair”. M. Falco was found guilty of concealing misappropriation of public funds, including using public money for private meals and other expenses, which totalled at least 64,500 euros between 2015 and 2018. The court also confiscated 55,000 euros from his account.

M. Falco has been forced to resign immediately as mayor of Toulon, a position he has held for more than 20 years. In a joint statement, Renaud Muselier, the President of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, and Christian Estrosi, the Mayor of Nice, have both expressed their support for M. Falco.

Physiotherapist Convicted of Rape - A former physiotherapist has been found guilty of rape and sentenced to 15 years in prison by the Alpes-Maritimes criminal court. The case against Olivier Behnam involved three vulnerable women with severe physical and psychological disabilities who were residents of a medical facility in Vence. Four hours of deliberation resulted in a harsher sentence than the 12 years that the prosecutor had requested.

Frank Berton, M. Behnam's lawyer, had argued that the case lacked coherence and regretted the absence of key witnesses. In addition to his sentence, Behnam was permanently banned from practicing as a physiotherapist.

Fishing Regulations - Scientists are warning that unregulated leisure fishing in the Mediterranean is putting fish species at risk of extinction. While there are about 3,000 professional fishermen in France, there are estimated to be hundreds of thousands of amateur fishermen, who are difficult to count, and they are threatening the survival of some fish species. There is no regulation on leisure fishing except in protected marine areas, which represent only 6% of the Mediterranean's surface.

To address the issue, experts are proposing six measures to regulate fishing practices, including the establishment of a fishing licence for amateur fishermen, the creation of no-fishing zones, and the implementation of stricter controls on the sale of fishing equipment. The goal is to protect marine biodiversity and ensure the sustainability of fish stocks in the region.

Rogue Circus - The Zavatta circus held its first show in Antibes this weekend, despite being warned by the authorities not to perform. Having already been refused authorisation in Saint-Laurent-du-Var, the circus settled on private land in the north of Antibes and welcomed around 100 spectators on Saturday afternoon. The authorities issued a warning but did not ban the performance. A further meeting is scheduled to take place today.

Tribute To Marseille Victims - Around 100 people gathered in Marseille to pay tribute to the eight victims who died in the building collapse caused by a gas explosion last week. The gathering was organized by the association "Marseille en colère!" near the site of the tragedy. Bouquets, candles, and messages of support were left at the security barriers surrounding the collapsed buildings.

Fish Farm Expansion Refused - A proposed fish farm in Golfe-Juan has been rejected after a public inquiry. Aquafrais Cannes, the company behind the project, had planned to double its production, by combining three existing concessions into a single structure covering 24,000 square meters. The commissioner's report questions the company's ability to mitigate the environmental impact of the farm and warns of the potential effects of bacterial waste on human health. The final decision now rests with the prefecture.

Attempted Murder In La Turbie - An Australian real estate agent has been accused of attempting to murder his wife in a villa in La Turbie. The victim is still in a coma, and the circumstances of the incident are unclear, but it seems that excessive alcohol consumption appears to have played a role in the violence. The suspect has previously been under investigation for money laundering.

Miraculous Escape - A family miraculously survived a one-tonne rock falling on their car in Toudon, around 50km behind Nice. The couple, in their twenties, and their baby were slightly injured but mostly in shock. Six firefighters intervened and took the family to the hospital as a precautionary measure.

Rock Climber Rescued - A woman in her fifties was rescued, having suffered a heart attack whilst climbing La Tête de Chien in La Turbie. Firefighters were alerted yesterday morning and were able to rescue her. The woman was transported by helicopter to the Pasteur hospital in Nice, where she remains in a critical condition.

Cycling Accident - A cyclist was seriously injured in a collision involving a vehicle and a bike on the D3 road near Gourdon yesterday. The 50-year-old man was taken to Pasteur Hospital in Nice for medical treatment. The driver is being treated for shock.

Correction - There was an error in Friday’s news. The correct dates of this year’s Cannes Film Festival are May 16th to May 27th.


France’s Stock Market Hits A Record High - France's stock market has hit a series of record highs, driven by investor interest in luxury goods groups as Chinese demand for high-end brands rebounds. Shares in Hermès, Kering, LVMH and L’Oréal have risen significantly, with Beijing's dismantling of its zero-Covid restrictions late last year accounting for much of the wider luxury goods sector's recent success. Analysts suggest that China is "the most important market" for European luxury names, with Morgan Stanley noting that about two-thirds of Chinese consumers' personal spending on expensive accessories took place abroad before the pandemic. Luxury goods groups are also viewed as a hedge against inflation, but a potential recession later in the year could derail their progress.

Franco-German Partnership under strain - The Franco-German partnership that has been at the heart of the EU for six decades is under strain due to the new German government. Chancellor Olaf Scholz's focus on Germany's economy and the unity of his coalition has led to a lack of attention towards France and Brussels. The smallest party in Scholz's coalition, the Free Democrats, are fighting for survival, and without their support, the government would fall. This has led to defensiveness in Scholz's European agenda and a withdrawal of support for the EU's combustion engine ban. The breakdown in the relationship could have implications for the EU's agenda in areas such as fiscal framework, and a response to the US Inflation Reduction Act. Without alignment between Paris and Berlin, progress on difficult issues and treaty changes will be difficult. The relationship between France and Germany serves a higher purpose as a forge and laboratory for what is possible at the EU level.

Angry Birds Takeover - The maker of Angry Birds, Rovio Entertainment, has confirmed it has held talks with Sega Sammy Holdings over a possible takeover, following a review of the business earlier this year. The deal is estimated to be worth around $1bn. Sega Sammy is a Japanese gaming giant known for its popular Sonic the Hedgehog titles.

While Rovio has yet to reproduce the global success of Angry Birds, it remains a potential target for bigger gaming industry companies like Sega. Earlier this year, Rovio also held talks with Israeli rival Playtika Holding over a potential takeover, but these discussions ended without a deal. Sega Sammy shares fell by more than 4% in Monday morning trade in Tokyo.

Greener Flights To Cost More - Sustainable Aviation, an alliance of UK aviation companies including British Airways and Heathrow Airport, warns that decarbonizing air travel by using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) will increase ticket prices and reduce passenger demand. SAF, which reduces carbon emissions by 70% compared to traditional jet fuel, is currently several times more expensive to produce, and the costs would have to be passed on to consumers. However, Sustainable Aviation argues that people will still want to fly despite slightly higher costs, and annual passenger numbers are still expected to rise by nearly 250 million by 2050. The group also sees a big opportunity for the UK in the move to greener travel, with up to five new SAF production plants planned for development, but urges the government to introduce a mechanism to close the gap in price between SAF and traditional jet fuel.

Hands-Free Driving Approved In The UK - Ford's BlueCruise technology has been approved for use on certain UK motorways, allowing drivers of the 2023 models of Ford's electric Mustang Mach-E SUV to take their hands off the wheel while driving. The technology can control steering, acceleration, and braking, while a camera monitors the driver's eyes to ensure they remain alert. The technology costs £50,830, and a monthly subscription is required after the first 90 days. Is this the future? The system is not autonomous driving and represents a level 2 driver assistance system. Lisa Brankin, Managing Director of Ford in Britain and Ireland, stated that the driver is fully responsible in insurance claims, even in the case of accidents.

New Products From Apple - Apple’s June Worldwide Developers Conference is expected to be one of the largest product launch events in company history, showcasing the long-awaited mixed-reality headset, new Mac laptops, and the largest update to the Apple Watch’s software since its 2015 launch.

Apple plans to unveil a Reality headset, a new xrOS operating system and software development kit, new MacBooks, iOS 17, iPadOS 17, macOS 14, and a major watchOS 10 update. The company is also working on two follow-up mixed-reality products: a high-end version with greater processing power and a downscaled product aimed at making the technology more accessible.



Andrey Rublev claimed his first Masters 1000 title by beating teenager Holger Rune 5-7 6-2 7-5 in the Monte Carlo Masters final. Rublev was 4-1 down to his 19-year-old opponent from Denmark in the deciding set and saved two break points before levelling the match. A double fault from Rune then gave Rublev a 6-5 lead before the 25-year-old served out for his 13th ATP title.

Football - Arsenal are being accused of bottling it after letting a 2 goal lead slip for the second game in a row. Yesterday, the Gunners were held 2-2 by West Ham having been 2-0 up after just 10 minutes and missing a penalty in the second half. Arsenal remain top of the league, 4 points ahead of Manchester City, but the defending champions have a game in hand and momentum on their side. The two title challengers face each other at the Emirates Stadium next Wednesday.

In yesterday’s other match in the Premier League, Manchester United moved up to 3rd place after a 2-0 win against Nottingham Forest, who stay in the bottom 3. Tonight, Leeds United host Liverpool.

In France, Kylian Mbappe has become PSG’s all-time leading goalscorer in Ligue 1 as they beat second placed Lens to move five points clear at the top of the table. Yesterday, Nice were beaten 1-0 by Brest, and Monaco beat Lorient 3-1. Marseille have moved into 2nd place after a victory against Troyes

Golf - England's Matt Fitzpatrick beat American Jordan Spieth in a dramatic play-off to win the RBC Heritage title at Harbour Town in South Carolina. The pair both finished on 17 under after Fitzpatrick, who missed promising birdie putts on the last two holes, carded a final round 68 and Spieth 66. Spieth missed putts to win on the first two play-off holes before Fitzpatrick birdied the third for victory.

Basketball - The Los Angeles Lakers upset second seeds the Memphis Grizzlies with a 128-112 win in their Western Conference play-offs first-round opener.

AS Roca Monaco beat Fos Sur Mer yesterday by 98 points to 83 to guarantee finishing the season in first place in the league.


Some passing clouds this morning around Monaco with extended sunny spells but it will be increasingly cloudy and unsettled this afternoon, with a small possibility of some light showers later on along the coast, and a low risk of thunderstorms inland. Winds are light and variable. Temperatures will peak at 17°C around Monaco and the Alpes Maritimes, 19° around St Tropez.

Tonight some passing clouds, but no rain expected. Light winds and temperatures dropping to an overnight low of 9°.

Tomorrow will be mostly sunny and dry, with some passing clouds. Light winds and temperatures up to 15°.

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