French and Riviera News Friday 1st March 2019

Local

Changes to come into effect as of today, 1st March - Today being the 1st of March, and as with the beginning of every month, some changes are to be introduced. Firstly, as of today the price of cigarettes is to increase by 50 to 60 centimes. The price hike is part of the government’s plan to increase the cost of a packet of cigarettes to 10 euros by the end of 2020 in an attempt to reduce tobacco consumption in France. 

Another change as of today concerns companies with more than 1,000 employees, which will have to publish their index of equal pay for men and women. This measure will later apply to companies with more than 250 employees as of the 1st September, and smaller companies on 1st March 2020. Companies will have three years to comply, failure to do so after this period may lead to financial penalties of up to 1% of their payroll and

On the roads as of today, there will be a new license for scooters with new measures devoted to raising the awareness of road safety with tests for under 18’s being carried out in the presence of at least one parent. In addition, young drivers will be required to wear "equipment adapted to the driving of a two-wheeled motor vehicle", namely helmet, gloves, jacket, trousers and suitable footwear.

Finally, launched in 2017 to "attract talent" and "entrepreneurs from around the world", the French Tech Visa which allows start-up founders or talents wishing to join a start-up in France to benefit from a "simplified and accelerated” procedure to obtain a residence permit will be open to all companies. Until now, the procedure was reserved for only digital companies. As of today it will be extended to all "companies identified as innovative”.

Yellow vest protestors in the Var recreate the Arc de Triomphe – The attraction is the pride of the “Yellow Vest” protestors in the Var, who while having occupied the roundabout at the motorway toll of Le Cannet-des-Maures have built a replica of the Arc de Triomphe using wooden pallets. The protestors had previously recreated the Eiffel Tower in the same way, to mark 100 days of the movement. The Arc de Triomphe was a tribute to those who have been killed or wounded during protests.

City of Nice reassures worried residents on the port - The city of Nice has reassured residents on Rue Ségurane on the port, following concerns that due to work being carried out on the new tramline there was a significant security risk concerning buildings in the area. Some families have been relocated during the works due to the noise. Following a meeting between the deputy Mayor Anne Ramos and engineers, residents were reassured that the reason for relocating some people was due to the noise and was in no way associated with the risk of any buildings collapsing. 

Villeneuve Loubet is awarded «Ville Prudente » - Villeneuve Loubet has been recognized as a "Ville Prudente” after being awarded by the road safety association for its positive action towards road safety. The award created a year ago by the association recognises exemplary communes in our region. The creation of pavements, making them accessible to people with disabilities, as well as sound devices installed at the traffic lights have all contributed to improving road safety in the town. 

France’s favorite village – Meanwhile, a village in the Var has been nominated as “France’s favorite village” Cotignac is among fourteen nominees for the election of “France’s favorite village” which will be aired on France 3 in June. Voting started on Thursday via SMS and on the show's Facebook page. It was Cassel in Northern France which claimed the title last year. Voting closes on March 21st.

Jean Michel Folon's art studio opens to the public - The art studio of Belgium artist Jean Michel Folon has opened to the public here in Monaco. The space at Quai Antoine 1er was occupied by the artist until his death in 2005 and remains intact filled with personal items, objects and sculptures. The Folon Foundation in Belgium has worked closely with the Pavillon Bosio here in Monaco, to create a cultural space in the Principality, open every afternoon from 2pm to 6pm visitors can even attend art classes every Thursday of the month.

Vase painted by Picasso left on train – Meanwhile, a 76-year-old man has forgotten a vase painted by Pablo Picasso in Vallauris in the 1950s on a train in Germany. The local police have launched a search to find the vase which is part of a series of vases, paintings and sketches, named "The Owl" made in Vallauris in the 1950s. In 2016 a jug from the series sold at auction for 15,000 euros.

The House of Harry Winston - The exceptional jewelry and time pieces of “The House of Harry Winston” are here in the Principality following the opening of the legendary « King of Diamonds » newest retail salon located at the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo. Timeless elegance since 1932, The House of Harry Winston offers clients a highly personalized and luxurious shopping experience in an exclusive setting. Harry Winston one of the most noted jewelers in the world, was well known to the general public and it was in the 1953 musical “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, that the song "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" includes the spoken interjection "Talk to me, Harry Winston, tell me all about it!"

National

Brexit - The EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has said that a decision from British lawmakers over the withdrawal deal is more important than negotiating an extension to Brexit. Speaking at a press conference in Austria on Thursday Barnier said “Above all we need a decision, it’s more important than extra time”.  The UK is expected to leave the EU on 29 March, however British MPs in January rejected a withdrawal deal tabled by Prime Minister Theresa May

 Climate Change – Environmental activists from the COP21 association have taken down the portrait of French President Emmanuel Macron in City halls of the 3rd and 4th arrondissement in Paris. Dressed in yellow vests, the members entered the institutions on Thursday in protest against the lack of action from the President in the face of climate change. Similar operations were organized this month in several other town halls in France such as Biarritz and Lyon.

Survey - According to a survey by Franceinfo published on Thursday, nearly seven out of ten French people (67%) want the children of French jihadists to stay in Iraq and Syria. 82% of French respondents approve the decision of Emmanuel Macron and the government to let Iraq judge the French jihadists, including the risk of seeing death sentences pronounced. A majority of those interviewed approve the decision to leave the fighters in the hands of the Iraqi justice.

Study shows that Italy and France have lost out since the introduction of the Euro – A study by the European Policy Center, show that since the changeover from the French franc to the euro, every French person has lost 56,000 euros over the period from 1999 to 2017. Figures show that while a majority of Europeans reported a loss following the change the Germans, Dutch and the Greeks benefited from the situation.  The study entitled “20 years of the euro the winners and the losers” was published in February and shows Germany to be the biggest winner from the change to the single currency in Europe. On average, each German gained 23,116 euros in purchasing power over the period 1999-2017.

War hero - A 95-year-old war hero has been awarded France's highest military honour for his part in the D-Day landings. Herbert Thorpe, from Long Eaton in Derbyshire, was part of a Royal Navy crew he has been awarded the Legion d'Honneur by the French, who thanked him for his dedication.

Business

Official figures from the United States show that continued to slow in the final quarter of 2018 with GDP coming in at an annualised rate of 2.6 percent.

However,the figure was ahead of expectations which had been for growth of between 1.8 and 2 percent.

A drop in consumer spending is being cited as the main reason for the slowdown and the reason why GDP in the 4th quarter was much lower than the 3.4 percent rate seen in the third quarter.

Last year.the US was boosted by big tax cuts and an increase in government spending.

For the full year,GDP grew by 2.9 percent-just below President Trump’s target of 3 percent.

 

The electric carmaker Tesla has announced that it will start selling a version of its Model 3 in the United States at a price of 35,000 dollars.

The move finally delivers on a promise that Tesla made more than two years ago but the firm said that it would be shifting to an online-only sales model.

As recently as September,the Model 3 was retailing for more than 50,000 dollars.

Closing physical stores will allow the firm to save around 5 percent and some jobs are set to go as well.

Telsa’s chief executive Elon Musk has refused to say how many jobs are under threat but he said the change was necessary if the firm was to achieve its goal of making electric cars mainstream.

 

And-Gap has announced that its to close 230 stores and split off its Old Navy brand  as part of restructuring in a bid to revitalise the company.

The clothing retailer  says that Old Navy will become a standalone company while a new firm ,which is yet to be named will house the Gap brand as well as  other names including Banana Republic.

The news comes as figures emerged showing that like-for-like sales at Gap continued to fall while revenue at Old Navy rose.

Gap says that the store closures will mainly be in North America.

Sport

Football-Fulham have sacked manager Claudio Ranieri after just 106 days in charge following a disastrous string of results.

The final straw came after Fulham were beaten 2-0 by Southampton on Wednesday which leaves the club second from bottom of the English Premier League  and 10 points from safety with 10 games left in the season.

The 67 year old Italian took over in November but only won 3 of his 17 games in charge.

In the English Premier League this weekend.

On Saturday Spurs play Arsenal.Bournemouth host Manchester City.Brighton play Huddersfield.Burnley face Crystal Palace.Manchester United play Southampton.Wolves host Cardiff and West Ham play Newcastle.

On Sunday Watford play Leicester.Fulham host Chelsea and Everton play Liverpool.

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

Formula 1-Monaco’s Charles Leclerc set the fastest time on the penultimate day of pre-season testing in Barcelona.

Leclerc in the Ferrari set the fastest time of the winter so far  with Alexander Albon in the Toro Rosso second quickest and Lando Norris in the McLaren third.

Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly crashed on Thursday  after losing control on turn 9-his second crash in pre-season testing.

Mercedes appear to be having problems setting up the cars while Ferrari look to have the strongest package so far.

Rugby Union-There’s one game in the Gallagher Premiership in England tonight.Bristol play Gloucester while in the Guinness Pro 14 Leinster host Cheetahs.

Tennis-Roger Federer is through to the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships moving him closer to a 100th ATP singles title.

The veteran Swiss beat Marton Fucsovics 7-6 6-4 to set up a last four clash with Borna Coric of Croatia.

If Federer wins in Dubai he’ll become only the second player to win 100 singles titles after Jimmy Connors who won 109.

Weather

Bright-but with a fair amount of cloud cover at times and  moderate westerly winds.

Top temperature 15-19 degrees.

Overnight lows of 10 degrees on the coast and 5 degrees inland with clear skies.

The weekend-Mainly fine with highs of 15-19 degrees.

Finally 

A new study has warned that a few extra hours of shut-eye on your days off work are not enough to offset your 'sleep debt' of late nights and early mornings during the week. 

Insufficient sleep and untreated sleep disorders put people at increased risk of health problems, including obesity and diabetes. Researchers set out discover if extra sleep at weekends is enough to reduce the risks.

The answer, according to the findings  is 'no.' Study co-author Dr Kenneth Wright, of the University of Colorado, said: 'The key take-home message from this study is that ad libitum weekend recovery, or catch-up sleep, does not appear to be an effective countermeasure strategy to reverse sleep loss induced disruptions of metabolism.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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