French and Riviera News Friday 11th January 2019

Local

Missing – Police in the Alpes-Maritimes have appealed to the public following the disappearance of a 54 year old woman from Mougins. France Mazenc was last seen on Tuesday leaving her home dressed in black trousers, jacket and a beret. Described as having short brown hair, brown eyes and a pale complexion police have asked for anyone with any information to contact them on 04.93.75.50.00.

Gastroenteritis and chicken pox - An epidemic of gastroenteritis has been reported in the Var.The strain is  particularly contagious it is characterized by vomiting and diarrhea with the main risk being dehydration.

Meanwhile, the Alpes-Maritimes is already plagued by an epidemic of chicken pox, which concerns, mostly, children. Adults who have not contracted the disease can check via a simple blood test and if necessary, be vaccinated.

Yellow vest protest planned for Saturday - Police heads have met with the Prefect of the Var ahead of Saturday’s “Act 9” of the “yellow vest” protests planned in Toulon. Police have demanded that every policeman be provided with necessary protection. The request comes following violent incidents in last weekend’s protests in which not all police were correctly protected.

The movement plans to prepare new gatherings across France this weekend ahead of the great national debate which will be held on January 15th by French President Emmanuel Macron. Approximately 80,000 police and gendarmes will be mobilized throughout the country.

More recently, some members of the "yellow vests" movement including Maxime Nicolle, have called for a "referendum on tax collectors". The principle is simple: inviting people to simultaneously withdraw money from banks, to paralyse the system. " This is not a new idea to France, footballer Eric Cantona carried this idea in vain in December 2010.

Poison - The Appeals Court in Aix-en-Provence has been hearing an appeal by a 58 year old woman against her conviction for the poisoning of four men.   Patricia Dagorn was sentenced to 22 years in prison last January by the Alpes Maritimes Court in Nice.  The four men, two of whom later died, were poisoned in 2011 and 2012. 

Palm trees - Twenty one palm trees are being felled on the Croisette in Cannes this week.  After a survey of 110 nearby palm trees, authorities deemed the trees to be in an unsafe condition. Two trees on the Croisette fell last year.  The trees which are being removed will be replaced by other palm trees in the spring.

Bus strike - Disruption on the Zest bus network in Menton continues today as drivers continue strike action which began on Thursday. Several lines are affected between 7am and 8am and 4pm and 5pm. 

Oldest library in Nice - The oldest library in Nice has reopened after renovation works with an official ceremony being held on Thursday morning. The Romain-Gary library was built in the late nineteenth century and bought by the City of Nice in 1925 to be transformed into a library. As well as books of historical significance, the library contains thousands of historical documents, prints, posters, photographs and postcards, including a New Testament from 1523. 

National

60% of speed camera’s vandalised - French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has said that members of the "yellow vests" protest movement have vandalised almost 60% of France's entire speed camera network adding that the wilful damage was a threat to road safety and put lives in danger. Some protesters feel speed cameras are solely a revenue-generating measure which takes money from the poor. The extent of the damage is believed to affect more than half of all 3,200 speed cameras in the country's network with devices being "neutralised, attacked, or destroyed" by members of the protest movement.

Rapper Nick Conrad - Prosecutors are calling for a suspended €5,000 fine for French rapper Nick Conrad, who is on trial for incitement to murder in Paris after he published an online video entitled "Hang White People". The music video shows the rapper acting out the kidnap, torture and hanging of a white man. The lyrics, which sparked outrage, call for white babies to be killed. Mr Conrad denies the charge, and says the song is a comment on racism. Anti-racism groups have called the clip an incitement to violence and racial hatred.

Business

The chairman of the US Federal Reserve has once again stressed that the central bank can be patient  in approving any further interest rate hikes as policy makers attempt to gauge whether the economy will slow this year.Mr Powell’s second comments within a week provided some cheer for markets which are still concerned about the prospects for global growth coupled with the ongoing trade dispute between Washington and Beijing.

Mr Powell says that the Fed will be “waiting and watching” over the coming months.He said that “with inflation low and under control,we have the ability to be patient and watch patiently and carefully as we figure out  which of these two narratives is going to be the story of 2019”.

Mr Powell was speaking at the Economic Club of Washington on Thursday.

 

Ford has announced plans for a major shakeup in its UK and European operations.

The carmaker is set to cut thousands of jobs across Europe including in the UK  as it focuses on more profitable models and exits less profitable markets.

The head of Ford Europe,Steven Armstrong says that should the UK leave the EU without a deal ,a further review of the firm’s operations in Great Britain will take place.

Ford hopes that the changes will help it to achieve a 6 percent operating margin in Europe.

Mr Armstrong said that Ford needed to address the parts of the business that are unprofitable.

 

And-The chief executive of Debenhams has been voted off the board  but will remain in his role.

Sergio Bucher joined Debenhams from Amazon but two major shareholders,Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct and the Landmark Group voted against his re-election.

The vote at Debanhams AGM came as the embattled retailer reported a sharp fall in sales during the Christmas trading period.

Debenhams has been hit by a shift to online shopping and rising costs.Last year it issued three profit warnings  and is closing up to 50 stores and is seeking new finance.

Sport

Tennis-Andy Murray has admitted that this year’s Australian Open may be his last and plans to retire after Wimbledon.

The former world number one has been struggling with a hip injury and says that he’s been in a “lot of pain” for around 20 months.

The three-time Grand Slam winner said that he wasn’t sure that he’d be able to play through the pain for another four or five months but he wanted to get to Wimbledon although he was not sure that he could make it.

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

On Saturday West Ham play Arsenal.Brighton host Liverpool.Burnley play Fulham.Cardiff host Huddersfield.Crystal Palace play Watford.Leicester play Southampton and Chelsea face Newcastle.

On Sunday Everton play Bournemouth and Spurs host Manchester United.Manchester City play Wolves on Monday.

There’s one game in the English Championship tonight.Leeds play Derby.

Formula 1-McLaren have appointed Andreas Seidl as their new team boss in the latest in a series of management changes.

The 46 year old former boss of Porsche’s World Endurance Championship team will join McLaren “sometime during the 2019 season” according to chief executive Zak Brown.

Brown said that Seidl is a “highly capable leader” with a track record of success.

Mclaren have struggled in recent seasons and their decision to switch from Honda to Renault engines last year hasn’t yet paid off.

Rugby Union-There’s one game in the European Champions Cup tonight.Gloucester play Munster in Pool 2  while tomorrow Leinster play Toulouse in Pool 1  and Ulster play Racing 92 in Pool 4.

Weather

Clear skies with light  easterly or variable winds.

Top temperature 12 degrees.

Overnight lows of 4 degrees on the coast and -2  degrees inland with clear skies and a widespread frost.

The weekend-Mainly fine with highs of 12-14 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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