[caption id="attachment_29414" align="alignnone" width="640"] Maryse Battaglia, Isabelle Contenseau-Realini and Virginie Cotta. Photo: Facebook Conseil National de Monaco[/caption]
Leader of the National Council, President Stéphane Valeri, has announced a number of important appointments to strengthen the administrative teams working with the elected assembly.
In order to distinguish the political dimension from the administration, a Cabinet of the President of the National Council has been reconstituted.
According to announcements made in the official Journal de Monaco of March 12, Virginie Cotta will act as Chief of Staff. Ms Cotta, who holds a Doctor of Law, had been Director General of the Department of Social Affairs and Health since 2012. As Head of Cabinet, she will be in charge of coordinating project managers directly related to the President of the National Council, including the implementation of the political project of the majority.
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Maryse Battaglia also joins the President's office and becomes a Social Affairs Officer. Ms Battaglia was Technical Advisor in the Department of Social Affairs and Health in charge of the Commission of Graduates Insertion.
Isabelle Contenseau-Realini, who has worked alongside Stéphane Valeri since 2003, both during his years at the National Council and when he became Minister of Social Affairs and Health, becomes Head of the Secretariat of the President.
“Over the past weeks, individuals who are part of organised crime groups, have been stealing the identities of high-ranking personalities in the principality and trying to establish personal contact with them, through email, text or video-conferencing via a WhatsApp-type application,” the government said in a statement Friday.
The elaborate scheme uses signed official documents on official letterhead, with phone calls that can display the switchboard number of these institutions.
The set up, which targets "community leaders or people with responsibility", uses the pretext of an urgent financial matter and asks for money to be transferred to foreign bank accounts, particularly in Asia.
Monaco-Matin additionally reports that a known journalist was contacted by a fake Prince Albert through WhatsApp and asked for money to help free a local journalist, supposedly kidnapped by an Islamist group.
Police have launched an investigation.
The Department of Public Security is calling for the utmost vigilance:
• be very cautious and sceptical about this kind of unusual communication;
• carry out direct and certain verification;
• contact the Judicial Police Division in case of such requests: +377 93 15 30 15 or email@example.com.
[caption id="attachment_28782" align="alignnone" width="640"] Photo: Facebook Les CGT des Cheminots[/caption]
While the last few weeks have been relatively calm for users of the regional rail service, this is about to change after a consortium of rail unions decided to strike on two days each week for three months, starting after Easter.
The industrial action will start on Tuesday, April 3 and last until Thursday, June 28, to protest against the reforms planned by France’s rail operator, SNCF.
Laurent Brun, a leader of the militant CGT union, said that the French government has no desire to negotiate with the unions and should carry the blame for conflict with the unions over a very long period.
A draft law allowing the use of executive orders to reform the rail system was presented last week before the Council of Ministers, meaning that changes, such as a reduction in the workforce, could be implemented without parliamentary discussion.
A three-month series of rail strikes would cause huge disruption to thousands of commuters who rely on the TER service to bring them to work in Monaco each day.