Riviera Radio News - Tuesday, April 25th

Local News

Medical Consultation Fees Rise - Medical consultation fees in France are set to increase by 1.50 euros by the end of the year, with minimum fees of 26.50 euros for general practitioners and 31.50 euros for specialists. This decision comes after failed negotiations between doctors and the national health insurance. Other measures, such as financial assistance for hiring medical assistants and new consultations for chronic diseases, were also announced.

More Saucepan Demonstrations - There were more saucepan banging protests across France last night. In Nice, between 200 and 300 demonstrators protested in from of the town hall and marched along the Rue de la Prefecture and Rue Gioffredo. The protest was organized by ATTAC and CGT against President Macron’s policies.

Leclerc Demonstrations - Elsewhere, about a hundred union activists blocked the entrance of a Leclerc supermarket in Vallauris, yesterday morning for over an hour. The action was in support of an employee who was apparently fired due to her involvement in protests against pension reform. However, Leclerc cited performance issues, including talking too much, being slow in tasks, and not taking mandatory breaks, as the reasons for the dismissal. The situation briefly escalated with minor clashes between protesters and customers, but everything was quickly resolved, and the store reopened to customers at 11 a.m.

Fire In Cannes - A fire broke out last night in a snack bar in Cannes, forcing the evacuation of 26 people from a nearby building on Rue Pasteur. The fire started in the kitchen of the snack bar. 29 firefighters were brought in to control the blaze. Meanwhile, the fire services also extinguished another fire on a nearby building's terrace on Avenue Branly. The cause of both fires remains unknown.

New Mayor In Toulon - Josée Massi has donned the mayoral sash of Toulon for the first time during the commemoration of the Armenian genocide. As the interim mayor, appointed after the conviction of Hubert Falco, M. Massi participated in the ceremony without making any comments. A special municipal council meeting is scheduled for May 3 to elect a new mayor, with Massi currently favored to continue leading the city until the end of the current mandate.

Tramway Changes Announced - Changes have been announced to the tramway routes in Nice. The planned Line 4, which was supposed to connect Cagnes-sur-Mer to Grand-Arénas, will now end at the Centre administratif des Alpes-Maritimes (Cadam) on the existing tracks of Line 2. This change in route will also affect Lines 2 and 3, with Line 2 now not going any further than the airport and Line 3 stopping at the port of Nice. According to Gaël Nofri, deputy mayor of Nice in charge of transportation, this change is not a cost nor a construction change, but rather an adjustment to improve efficiency. The new routes are expected to be in operation from 2026.

Deadly Accident in Lantosque - A tragic car accident in Lantosque, France, has left two people dead. A Hyundai SUV veered off the road and plunged down a ravine, resulting in the deaths of a 51-year-old woman and a 68-year-old man from Roquebillière. Despite swift efforts from firefighters and a helicopter rescue, the victims could not be saved.

Fatal Shooting in Marseille - Another shooting in Marseille has claimed the life of a 19-year-old man. The incident occurred on Sunday evening in the Cité du Mail neighborhood of the 14th arrondissement. The victim was shot in the head with a firearm and died despite medical intervention. There have now been 16 homicides already this year in Marseille.

Tensions In Nice - Police in Nice have apprehended a masked man and are actively searching for armed individuals in the Moulins neighborhood. Firefighters have been brought in with support from police to calm tensions in the area.

Risk Of Over-Tourism In Eze - The village of Èze has announced that it is currently welcoming over 5000 visitors per day, which is even more than during the peak tourist season of August last year. This is seen as a positive development for local businesses, but also presents challenges such as concerns of over-tourism and issues with parking. The municipal authorities are working on measures to regulate the influx of tourists, including mandatory reservations for the popular exotic garden and the opening of a new underground parking facility in the autumn.

Vallauris Orange Blosson Festival - Vallauris has celebrated its annual festival dedicated to the orange blossom, which has been a part of the town's heritage for over a century. Vallauris is the only French town where orange blossoms are still cultivated, and the festival offered visitors the opportunity to learn about the flower's production, which is becoming increasingly rare due to decreasing tree numbers.

The Nérolium cooperative in Vallauris is a "sanctuary" where the secrets of the flower's orange blossom is also a key part of Vallauris' culinary heritage and is used in cakes, teas, and pastries.

Menton Mayor Returns To Work - The mayor of Menton, Yves Juhel, has returned to work after a month-long absence due to fatigue caused by overwork. The 77-year-old mayor made the announcement in a video posted on the city's Facebook page, saying he was "in good shape" and "happy to be back in business".

During his absence, his powers were transferred to his first deputy, Christian Tudès, who managed the city's affairs and chaired the municipal council. The interim presidency of the French Riviera Agglomeration Community (Carf) was entrusted to his first vice-president, Albert Filippi. In his video message, Juhel thanked those who supported him and emphasized the city's plans for the upcoming summer season.

Isola Closes After Record Season - Isola 2000 has closed its winter season with record-breaking attendance and excellent snow conditions. With over 4 million visitors since its opening on December 3rd, the resort has seen a 20% increase in attendance compared to last season. The success has been fueled by a strong presence of foreign tourists, particularly from Europe. Despite the warmer temperatures in late April, skiers and tourists have enjoyed the good snow conditions, and businesses in the area are looking forward to another successful winter season next year.

Sighting Of Northern Lights - The "northern lights" were visible in the Hautes-Alpes this weekend for the first time since 2003. The shades of red and purple in the sky were caused by geomagnetic storms as a result of solar flares of electrically charged particles hitting earth. It's very unusual for the northern lights to be seen at such southerly latitudes.

Monet To Be Celebrated In Monaco - Claude Monet's iconic paintings from his travels on the French Riviera will be showcased at the Grimaldi Forum this summer. The exhibition, titled "Monet, en pleine lumière," will focus on the period from 1883 to 1888 when Monet stayed and worked on the Côte d'Azur, producing nearly a hundred paintings and experimenting with new techniques.

The exhibition features 95 paintings from 30 public and private collections worldwide, including the museum Marmottan Monet in Paris and Prince Albert II's collection. The exhibition will open on July 8th.

Business

First Republic Bank - First Republic Bank has announced over $100 billion of withdrawals from customer accounts in the first quarter of this year, amid concerns about the global banking system. The bank's deposits fell by more than 40% since December, and it plans to cut costs by shedding 20% to 25% of its workforce. This comes after recent bank collapses, including Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in the US, and Credit Suisse in Europe, have raised fears of a banking crisis.

LVMH - LVMH, the French luxury goods group, has become the first European company to hit a $500bn market value. Thanks to booming demand among the rich for its high-end brands. Shares in LVMH closed up 0.1% on Monday giving the company a market capitalisation of £454bn. LVMH shares have soared by 30% so far this year propelling it into the top 10 of the world’s most valuable listed companies.

The new valuation puts the stake held by its chairman and chief executive, Bernard Arnault, at $212bn – cementing his position as the world’s richest person. Earlier this month LVMH reported a 17% increase in first quarter sales, more than double analyst expectations. Luxury rival Hermès, and other luxury goods companies have also seen their share prices soar.

CBI - The UK's biggest business group, the CBI, has admitted to hiring "culturally toxic" staff and failing to take action against sexual harassment of female colleagues. The group acknowledged its mistakes in an emotional letter to members, expressing a "sense of shame" for letting down its employees. The CBI has now dismissed several individuals in response to an independent law firm report on misconduct allegations, including rape.

The future of the CBI is uncertain as it has suspended operations until June to reform its workplace, and many high-profile members, including John Lewis, BMW, Virgin Media O2, and Aviva, have quit. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt stated that there was "no point" engaging with the CBI when its own members had deserted, while even the CBI president Brian McBride expressed uncertainty about rebuilding trust.

Disney - Disney has announced a second round of layoffs as part of its ongoing restructuring plan, resulting in 7,000 job losses. This comes as Disney's traditional TV and film business continues to shrink, while its streaming unit faces significant losses. CEO Bob Iger had previously announced a $5.5 billion cost-cutting drive in February, with this week's cuts bringing the total number of job reductions to 4,000 so far.

The cuts will affect various parts of the company, including sports channel ESPN and film studios, but frontline workers at the park are not expected to be affected. Disney's job cuts reflect a larger trend in the entertainment industry as companies focus on profitability after heavy investments in streaming platforms. Another round of cuts is planned for this summer. 

AutoGPT - Auto-GPT is being hailed as the next level in artificial intelligence, able to carry out multi-step tasks unlike its predecessor, ChatGPT. Auto-GPT breaks a task into smaller sub-tasks and spins off independent instances to work on them, coordinating all work into a finished result. Unlike ChatGPT, it can access the internet and create its own prompts, making it capable of complex, multi-step procedures.

Global Military Spending - Global military spending reached a new high of $2.2tn in 2022, with Europe showing the fastest growth rate of 13%, hitting record levels since the Cold War. Russia and Ukraine have contributed significantly to this increase, with both countries increasing their spending by 9.2% and 640%, respectively.

The US remained the top spender with $887bn, followed by China and Russia. Experts predict that European states will continue to militarise in 2023, and this trend is expected to continue globally. The report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute highlights that the conflict in Ukraine and increased tensions in Southeast Asia have influenced countries' decisions to allocate funds to their military.

Monaco Legend Group - Monaco Legend Group has set new records with its two-day sale held at Le Meridien Beach Plaza in Monte Carlo over the weekend. The auction included a unique Rolex Yacht-Master made for the former president of Rolex, Patrick Heiniger, a Patek Philippe World Time, and a white gold Nautilus made for the Sultan of Oman. The Yacht-Master sold for €2.3 million, while the Patek Philippe World Time fetched €3.036 million. Other top sellers included an Omani Patek Philippe Nautilus from the personal collection of John Goldberger, which sold for €1.3 million. Co-Chairman Davide Parmegiani expressed delight in the result, calling it their best auction to date, while Co-Chairman Claude Cohen hailed the incredible quality and rarity of many of the lots. Monaco Legend Group's auctions are now established as a gathering of passionate watch collectors.

Woodoo - French start-up Woodoo has raised $31 million in funding, led by Lowercarbon Capital. Woodoo's technology can convert low-grade and diseased wood products into premium high-tech materials, which can be used to make surfaces, panels, and luxury goods. This fundraising highlights the growing importance of recycling raw materials to protect the environment and the growth of France's tech sector. President Emmanuel Macron has previously expressed his desire to see an increase in French tech 'unicorns' or start-ups by 2030. Despite Paris traditionally lagging behind other tech and finance hubs, the French technology sector has recently seen high-profile fundraising rounds for some companies.

Sport

Football - Tottenham Hotspur have sacked Cristian Stellini after just four games in charge. The decision comes a day after Spurs were thrashed 6-1 at Newcastle - a performance chairman Daniel Levy has described as "wholly unacceptable". He is replaced by Ryan Mason for the final 6 games of the season.

Meanwhile Chelsea are in advanced talks to make former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino their new manager. The Argentine, whose most recent job was at Paris St-Germain, is keen on the role but more negotiations will take place before any deal is finalised.

Cricket - Ireland battled back from last week's first Test hammering by Sri Lanka to impressively reach 319-4 by the close on day one of the second Test in Galle. Skipper Andrew Balbirnie was denied a first Test century as he was dismissed for 95 after his record Irish Test partnership of 115 with Paul Stirling.

Elsewhere, Mark Chapman's sublime unbeaten century helped New Zealand chase down 194 to beat Pakistan and draw their five-match T20 international series 2-2.

Rugby Union - Sides from the Championship will join Premiership sides in a revamped Premiership Rugby Cup next season. The 24 teams in the top two tiers will be split into four pools of six with five group matches, followed by semi-finals featuring each pool winner in February 2024 and a final in March. It is the first time in 18 years that Premiership sides will face lower-tier teams in a cup competition.

Weather

Today will be increasingly cloudy with moderate winds and temperatures rising to 20° along the coast in Alpes Maritimes, up to 23° inland in the Var. There is a possibility of some light rain this morning particularly inland. Clearing up overnight with lows of 10°.

Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with light passing clouds.

Last local news

Evening Update Wednesday 24th of April

French scientists have been developing technological tools for the past four years to help athletes optimize their training for the Paris 2024 Olympic... Evening Update Wednesday 24th of April Read More

24/04/2024

French and Riviera News Wednesday 24th April 2024

Nice airport says as many as 60% of flights will be cancelled tomorrow due to a nationwide strike by air traffic controllers.... French and Riviera News Wednesday 24th April 2024 Read More

24/04/2024

Evening Update Tuesday 23rd of April

After eight months of work and several sea trials, the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle has begun a six-week operation in the Mediterranean, ... Evening Update Tuesday 23rd of April Read More

23/04/2024

French and Riviera News Tuesday 23rd April 2024

A group of experts have come up with more than 150 recommendations for how Nice can deal with the increasing effects of climate change.... French and Riviera News Tuesday 23rd April 2024 Read More

23/04/2024

Evening Update Monday 22nd of April

Some communes in the Alpes-Maritimes will be plunged into darkness this Monday evening. For the third year running to mark Earth Day, mayors in the Al... Evening Update Monday 22nd of April Read More

22/04/2024