Choking game latest: School to hold awareness sessions and increase supervision

Four days after a 14-year student was rushed to hospital after taking part in a choking game at his school, the head of Charles III has told parents that all students will be warned of the dangers of this troubling trend.

It is a story that has sent shivers down the spines of every parent – a 14-year-old boy had to be hospitalised at the CHPG after taking part in the ‘scarf game’ in Monaco.

It also drew strong criticism from the teachers’ union, who told Monaco Matin that they wanted to see more adult surveillance at the school, where there were 23 supervisors for more than 1,100 students.

On Wednesday, the parents at Charles III college received a message from the principal, Sébastien Dassonville, detailing the actions the school will take to help prevent future incidents, according to a report in Monaco Matin.

“In addition to the prevention actions already implemented, the college will organise special awareness sessions starting this week for college students in order to make them aware again of these risks and so that they do not trivialise these practices. This prevention campaign will be carried out in such a way as not to not arouse concern or curiosity about these dangerous games.”

The principal stated that “any attempt at dangerous games will be subject to sanctions” and that supervision will be strengthened “particularly during travel, recreation and in places conducive to gatherings.”

Parents were encouraged to talk to their children about the potentially fatal game, also known as the pass-out challenge, which has actually been around for a many years but has picked up in popularity after going viral on TikTok.

According to psychology researcher Gregory Michel at the University of Bordeaux, children and adolescents who suffer from depression or behaviour problems may be more likely to play the game to achieve a euphoric high than young people who don’t have mental health issues.


Dangerous ‘scarf game’ incident sparks concerns about pupils’ safety in Monaco school


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Monaco Economic Board announces plans for missions to Morocco and London

More than 300 entrepreneurs, businesspeople and local officials gathered at Le Méridien Beach Plaza on 18th January to hear about the Monaco Economic Board’s exciting plans for 2024 as well as its new membership formula for individuals and companies.  

The Monaco Economic Board’s (MEB) long-time chairperson, Michel Dotta, opened the proceedings at the annual ‘Rendezvous’ event with a tribute to Etienne Franzi, who recently handed over the presidency of the Monaco Association for Financial Activities (AMAF) to Robert Laure after 25 years in the position.  

See more: Robert Laure named new President of AMAF

Dotta called Franzi’s work “remarkable”, complimenting the outgoing president on how he had “transformed an employer union into an institution with a key role to play in our economy… that actively participates in the ongoing effort to make the Principality a benchmark and respected financial centre”.  

Next up was an inclusivity-focused speech from the Monaco Government’s Technical Advisor Lionel Galfré, who asked those gathered to show their support for the Principality’s newly implemented Handipact initiative.

See more: Monaco sets goals for an “inclusive society” with wide-reaching National Policy for Disability Inclusion

MEB CEO Guillaume Rose then took his turn at the mic, giving an overview of what’s in store for the organisation in the first half of 2024. 

Rose’s presentation also covered the new “two tier membership programme” available at the MEB, which will offer two distinct levels of involvement and participation. There will be the classic option, that will be the same as it ever was, and a premium option that will offer priority registration to events and priority invites from partners who distribute through the MEB, support from the MEB’s communication team regarding the local media and the chance to feature in a new section of the MEB website called ‘Our Premium Companies’, among other advantages.   


The MEB’s travel schedule in the first half of 2024, following on from a recent trip to Riyadh, will see representatives head to Morocco from 16th to 19th April and then to London from 10th to 13th June. The MEB will also play host to delegations from Tunisia on 22nd February and Austria on 18th April.  


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More than 80 employers confirmed to attend Monaco Pour L’Emploi jobs forum so far

monaco pour l'emploi

Between 9am and 6pm at the Grimaldi Forum on 16th February, thousands of jobseekers searching for their perfect role in Monaco’s dynamic jobs market will be able to gain an audience with more than 80 employers from a variety of different sectors present in the Principality. 

Designed to address the need for a growing number of workers in an already thriving jobs market – Monaco currently has around 63,000 workers on its books in both the public and private sectors – and pair up suitable candidates with employers looking to fill open positions, the ‘Monaco For Employment’ event is the second edition of a concept launched back in September 2023.  

After that successful inaugural edition, which saw some 3,650 jobseekers turn up with their CVs at the ready, the event has been revived and more than 80 employers have already signed up to have a stand. Companies wishing to attend can still apply for a space within the 3,000sqm facility by clicking here.

Representatives from Monaco’s Caisses Sociales, Cellule Emploi Jeune, Service de l’Emploi and the wider civil service will also be present to help answer any questions that prospective workers in the Principality might have about administrative and even visa requirements.  

“The Employment Forum desired by the Government, and reinforced by the success of the first edition last September, responds to an ever-increasing need for our companies to recruit qualified and quality candidates,” says Christophe Robino, Monaco’s Minister of Social Affairs and Health (pictured). “This Forum is intended to become a highlight of the year and will allow companies to develop an annual recruitment strategy and meet seasonal employment needs. Monaco Pour L’Emploi must become the unmissable meeting place for economic players in the Principality.”

The event is free to attend. More information can be found here.


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Photo credit: Stéphane Danna / Monaco Communications Department

CSM to explore “the crossroads of art therapy and medical research” at upcoming event

The Centre Scientifique de Monaco and the Aleksandr Savchuk Foundation, which raises funds for scientific research as well as backing educational and sport-based initiatives for cancer sufferers, have joined forces with the International Art & Science Institute to host a fascinating event that will explore the benefits that art and art therapy can have on patients. 

The ‘Repair the World with Art’ conference, which will take place on Thursday 1st February between 10am and 7pm at the Centre Scientifique de Monaco (CSM), will cover an array of projects happening in Monaco and the south of France that are at “the crossroads of contemporary art, art therapy and medical research”.  

Personalities from the worlds of art and science are due to speak at the event, such as Professor Florence Askenazy of the Université Côte d’Azur, who is also a children’s psychiatrist at the CHU de Nice and the city’s Hôpital Pédiatrique Universitaire Lenval. Professor Askenazy will deliver a talk on the “benefits of art therapy in working with the psychological trauma of children and adolescents”. 

Taisiya Savchuk-Polishchuk, the president of the Aleksandr Savchuk Foundation, will also be speaking about art therapy and “art-care actions” as well as the ‘Going Towards the Light’ book project that the foundation has been developing, and artist Olga Kisseleva will hold a presentation on “art, science and interdisciplinary practices of the stage space”. 

“We wish to promote unique reflections, initiated as much by the arts and aesthetics as by medicine or neuroscience, in order to identify the specificities of art as a tool for repairing the world,” says Savchuk-Polishchuk of the unique event. “The artistic dimension of science as well as the contribution that an aesthetic approach to scientific data can make will also be addressed.” 

“Art is recognised as a very beneficial means of treating patients”

Doctor Vincent Picco, the head of the paediatric cancer research team at the CSM, says, “Art is recognised as a very beneficial means of treating patients, with proven effects on reducing cancer, the taking of medications and the length of hospital stays as well as the improvement of the well-being of the person treated independently of the care protocols. This approach is one of the extensions of our research action at the CSM, which aims to treat, but also to improve the conditions of therapeutic care for people undergoing treatment.” 

A cocktail reception will follow the talks.  


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Monte-Carlo Country Club launches new ‘Meet Up and Play’ tennis sessions

For anyone looking to learn or improve their tennis game, as well as make new friends and potentially find a new partner to play against, the Monte-Carlo Country Club is offering the perfect opportunity to do just that.  

From now until 22nd February, the club is putting on two ‘Meet Up and Play” sessions a week for club members that will be held on Thursdays from 6.30pm to 8pm and on Sundays from 3.30pm to 5pm.  

And after working up a sweat on the very clay courts that have welcomed the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer over the years, why not stop in at the Country Club’s Art Déco-style clubhouse? The facility will be open for a post-match snack or refreshment.

The sessions are entirely free of charge for members. For more information, opening hours and how to become a member, click here.  

Read related:

Game, set, match: Where to find the best tennis courts in and around Monaco


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French teachers’ unions call for national strike on 1st February

Against the backdrop of ongoing farming protests and the so-called “Siege of Paris” by members of the country’s agricultural sector, a cross-section of teachers’ unions has called for a nationwide strike to take place on Thursday 1st February. 

Around 40% of the country’s teaching staff – those represented by the Force Ouvrière, FSU, CGT Educ’Action, SE-UNSA, Sud Éducation unions – have been asked to participate in the industrial action, which is being driven by calls for higher wages for all staff, criticism of job cuts in the sector and a fight back against “the implementation of forced reforms”.

The latter reasoning is a reaction to the ‘Shock of Knowledge’ reforms announced by now-Prime Minister Gabriel Attal in his former capacity as Minister for National Education and Youth back in December. 

See more: France asks students and teachers to work harder to bring up school standards and scores

Posts released by various participating unions also note “anger against the new Minister [for Education]”, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, who drew public criticism earlier this month when it was revealed that she had taken her eldest son out of state school and enrolled him in a privately funded establishment. She claimed that the decision had been driven by “lots of teaching hours without a serious replacement” in the absence of a permanent teacher and said that she was “fed up… like hundreds of thousands of families”.  

Heads of schools heavily affected by the planned strike are expected to alert parents of any closures or class cancellations ahead of time. No figures are available yet for schools in the French Riviera, but around 130 establishments in Paris are likely to be shut for the day. In Nice, a protest has been organised by the local teaching unions’ members that will depart Place Garibaldi for the Gare Thiers at 10am.  


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