French and Local News.Friday.14.12.2018

Gunman shot dead-French police have shot dead the gunman  who launched a deadly shooting and stabbing rampage in Strasbourg on Tuesday night.

29 year old Cherif Chekatt had been sought by 100’s of officers after escaping following the carnage during which 3 people were murdered and several others were seriously injured.

The French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said that a local police unit had spotted the suspect in the street at 9pm last night.He opened fire on officers who returned shots and neutralised him.He was later pronounced dead.

Police had been carrying out house to house searches in the Neudorf area of the city since Chekatt escaped on Tuesday night after commandeering a taxi following the shootings.There had been fears that he’d escaped across the border into Germany.

 

Strikes-The CGT trade union has called a national day of strike action today in protest over what it says is the failure of President Macron to listen to the “legitimate anger “ of the French people.

Some schools and colleges will be closed today and train travel is expected to be seriously affected.

The CGT wants to add pressure on Mr Macron following 4 weeks of protests by the ‘Gilets Jaune’ who’ve been occupying roundabouts and motorway peages in protest over the fuel tax and falling standards of living.

More protests are planned for large cities across France tomorrow with authorities in Paris on high alert for trouble.

 

Growth-The Bank de France has lowered its growth forecast to one and a half percent for 2018 and 2019 but says that it expects unemployment to continue falling.

In September the Bank predicted growth of 1.6 percent for 2018 but its revised the forecast down in light of the “gilets jaune” protests which have had a serious effect on the economy in the fourth quarter.

Inflation is expected to be running at 1.7 percent next year  and consumer spending power should increase by 1 percent.

The bank says that it expects unemployment to fall to 9.1 percent next year and then to 8.5 percent in 2020 and 8.2 percent in 2021.

 

Skiing-Most of the local ski stations will open for the winter season tomorrow with Isola and Auron already open.

Valberg,Le Colmiane and The Val d’Allos will all open tomorrow in time for the Christmas holidays.

There is adequate snow at the moment but a top up would be welcome.

 

Big Chill-Many parts of Northern and Eastern France are shivering in the first big chill of the winter and our region is also seeing lower temperatures but nothing arctic as yet.

The cold spell is set to last into tomorrow with parts of the Lorraine,Alsace and Burgundy not seeing temperatures rise above freezing.

Exceptional cold weather plans have been activated in Normandy  and Paris and special shelters have been opened for the homeless.

Saturday is expected to be extremely cold in the Massif Central with some mountain valleys expected to see the mercury set at -7 degrees.

The south of France should see daytime temperatures of 11 or 12 degrees with rain forecast for Sunday.

 

Business.

 

The European Central Bank has confirmed that its ending its asset purchase programme this month.

The measure,which was put in place to stimulate the eurozone economy in the wake of the financial crisis will see the ECB stop its bond-buying scheme worth 30 billion euros a month at the end of December despite a recent slowdown in the recovery.

The ECB also said that it was keeping its main interest rate on hold at zero percent.

The European Central bank only started its asset buying programme in 2015-several years after the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England  took similar action to shore up their economies.

The bank has so far pumped more than 2 trillion euro’s into the bloc’s economy while at the same time maintaining ultra-low interest rates.

 

In developing news this morning-China has bought US soybeans for the first time since the trade war started in July in a move hailed as a “great step” by US officials.

The US soybean sector has been one of the biggest casualties of the trade war between the two countries  with Beijing’s high tariffs on the product imposed  this year severely hurting US farmers.

China is the world’s largest importer of soybeans and there had been much anticipation that it would return to the US market.

 

And-The space race is back on after Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic successfully reached the edge of space and back on Thursday bringing passenger carrying space trips a step closer.

SpaceShipTwo reached a height of 82.7 kilometres after taking off from the Mojave Desert and returned successfully to earth

The ship’s motor burned for 60 seconds travelling at 2.9 times the speed of sound as it gained height.

However,Thursday’s flight did not breach the 100 kilometre Karman Line which many experts think is the point where true space begins.

Sir Richard is in a battle with Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos to send the first fee-paying passengers into space.

Sport.

 

Football-Celtic are through to the last 32 of the Europa League despite losing their final group game 2-1 at home to Salzburg.

The hoops scraped through thanks to a dramatic late goal by Rosenborg in the other group game against Leipzig.

Rangers are out though after losing 1-0 away at Rapid Vienna.

Chelsea drew 2-2 at Vidi and go through as group winners and Arsenal also won their group and ended with a 1-0 win over Qarabag.

 

There’s a full programme in the English Premier League this weekend.

On Saturday-Manchester City play Everton in the lunchtime game and then its Crystal Palace against Leicester.Huddersfield against Newcastle.Spurs play Burnley.Watford face Cardiff.Wolves play Bournemouth and Fulham host West Ham.

On Sunday Brighton play Chelsea.Southampton play Arsenal and Liverpool play Manchester United.

 

Cricket-It’s day 1 of the second Test between Australia and India in Perth.

Australia won the toss and decided to bat and they’ve made a good start reaching 78 for no loss midway through the second session of the day.

India lead the series 1-0.

 

Rugby Union-The New Zealand coach Steve Hanson is to step down after next year’s World Cup.

Hanson who’s 59 took over in 2011  and retained the World Cup for New Zealand in 2015.He’s also guided the side to six out of seven editions of the Rugby Championship.

The New Zealand Rugby Union says that it will start the formal process of choosing his successor after the World Cup.

 

There are two games in the European Champions Cup tonight.In Pool 2 Gloucester play Exeter and in Pool 4 Ulster play Scarlets.

 

Weather.

 

Mainly fine with light to moderate westerly winds.

Top temperature 13 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 6 degrees on the coast and 2 degrees inland with clear skies and some frost in places.

The weekend-Mainly fine tomorrow with a high of 12 degrees.Overcast with some rain around on Sunday and a high of 11.

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