French and Riviera News Friday 22nd February 2019

Local

Pollution - Following concerns of worrying black smoke from ferries docked in Toulon in the Var, the city council announced this week that the necessary measures have been taken to improve the situation and sufficient electrical power has been installed. In addition, by 2020 ,ferries will be able to cut their engines removing some of the polluting emissions. The port of Toulon will be the only one in the Mediterranean to have such equipment.

Woman hit by tram in Nice - A woman has been hit by a tram in Nice. The accident occurred on Thursday shortly after 10.30pm on line 1 of the Nice tramway on Avenue Jean Medecin. The tram network was temporarily halted following the incident. The victim was taken to hospital by  emergency services where her condition was reported to be stable.

Motorcyclist dies from injuries - A 23 year old motorcyclist who was the victim of a road accident on Wednesday evening in Vidauban, in the Var has died from his injuries. According to a police investigation, he was thrown from his bike onto a vehicle circulating in the opposite direction after hitting the back of a car.

Road safety - Figures on road safety published on Thursday have shown that 20 pedestrians in the Alpes-Maritimes and Var were killed while crossing the road in 2018. In 2017, out of 287 accidents involving pedestrians, 149 occurred on a pedestrian crossing, representing 51% of all accidents, which is 5 points higher than the national average. 

French Formula One Grand Prix – It’s been announced that former boss of the McLaren Formula One racing team Eric Boullier has been appointed by the Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi as president of the French Formula One Grand Prix.

Tickets for the event went on sale on Thursday. The French Formula One takes place on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd June at Castellet in the Var. F1 enthusiasts can buy tickets from 19 euros for the practice on Friday, 49 euros for qualifying on Saturday and 129 euros for the race on Sunday. In addition there are 3-day passes available from 169 euros. Last year, it was British driver Lewis Hamilton who won the race.

It’s been announced that Ryanair will be operating new routes from Marseille Provence airport. 90 new Ryanair jobs will be created as part of a significant investment in the airline’s operations at the airport.  The new flights for the Winter 2019 schedule include Manchester, Copenhagen, Milan and Prague. The investment is part of a significant expansion in France announced by Ryanair today, including a new base for the airline at Toulouse.

National

Birth defects - Parents and health professionals have met in Paris for the first time on Thursday as part of a new committee to discuss mysteriously high rates of congenital birth defects in three areas of France. The French health ministry formed the committee earlier this month in response to growing alarm over increased numbers of newborns with a rare defect known as upper limb reduction, which occurs when a part of or the entire arm of a baby does not form completely. A separate panel of scientific experts has also been convened to “identify and analyse” the potential causes of the condition, which so far remain a mystery. It will meet for the first time in early March.

Benalla Affair - French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has slammed a Senate committee report accusing the president’s office of “major dysfunctions” in its handling of the "Benalla Affair" dismissing the Senate's advice. On Thursday Philippe rejected the committee's recommendations for a reorganisation of the government, calling it a flagrant disregard of the fundamental principles underlying the separation of powers. In a damning 120-page report published on Wednesday, the Senate committee flagged up serious failings within the president's office that had allowed Alexandre Benalla, a former security aide, to acquire excessive powers, including two diplomatic passports. It suggested also that Benalla's alleged links to a Russian oligarch posed a serious conflict of interest and a potential threat to presidential security and national interests.

Jihadist killed in Syria - French jihadist Fabien Clain, who voiced a recording that claimed the 2015 Paris attacks for the Islamic State group, has been reported killed in Syria. The US-led coalition fighting IS said it was trying to verify the reports. Clain became known as the French voice of IS after the 2015 attacks that left 130 people dead.

Speeding fine – One of France’s junior environment ministers Emmanuelle Wargon has been stopped for speeding in Western France. The chauffeur who was driving at the time of the incident was reportedly travelling at 150km hour in an area limited to 110 km/hr on the A1 motorway. At the time the maximum speed had been lowered due to a rise in air pollution.

Rugby – Ahead of more action this weekend in the Six Nations French President Emmanuel Macron has joked that “being the coach of the French team is worse than the job of President”. Macron made the comment at a meeting on Thursday, attended by county councils at the Elysee Palace and part of the National debate. French coach Jacques Brunel has been criticized recently following two defeats against Wales and England. France play Scotland on Saturday in Paris. Macron added that he thought the French team “could do much better and said he had suffered as much as any other supporter following the defeat against England”.

Business

A report in the Guardian Newspaper says that the European boss of Honda warned about a catalogue of risks posed by Brexit at a briefing near its Swindon plant in England last year.

The report says that the news throws doubt about Honda’s insistence that the closure of its Swindon plant  had nothing to do with the UK’s decision to withdraw from the European Union.

The paper reports that at a meeting on the 14th of September last year,Honda’s European manager said that the firm was committed to the Swindon factory.

However,notes taken at the meeting by a local Labour Party councillor show that Patrick Keating also flagged up a host of reasons why Brexit  and in particular the threat of a “no deal” scenario posed a threat to the plant.

Honda announced at the start of the week that it would close the plant in 2021 threatening 3,500 jobs directly and thousands more at supply chains and local businesses.

 

AT&T and Hasbro have become the latest firms to pull adverts from YouTube over claims that child abusers are leaving offensive comments next to videos of children on the platform.

The US telecoms giant  and the toymaker follow Nestle which pulled advertising on Wednesday.

YouTube said that it had disabled comments on millions of videos that “could be subject to predatory comments”.

The latest allegations surfaced on Wednesday when a YouTube vlogger claimed that paedophiles were latching on to videos of children and objectifying them in the comments section.

A spokesman for AT&T said that until YouTube can protect our brand from offensive content of any kind then it was removing its advertising.

 

And-Barclays has reported a flat profit of 3.5 billion pounds for 2018-unchanged on the previous year.

The Bank has also set aside 150 million pounds for anticipated economic uncertainty related to Brexit.

Barclay’s chief executive Jes Staley said that 2018 had been a “very significant year” with several issues resolved.

The bank confirmed that it will pay a dividend of  6-and-a-half pence this year.

Barclays also said that it continued to be concerned about the possible negative impact of Brexit on the economy.

Sport

Rugby Union-The third round of the 6 Nations is being played this weekend with the big match at Cardiff tomorrow between Wales and England in what could be the Championship decider.

Wales have picked Gareth Anscome ahead of Dan Biggar at fly half but Leigh Halfpenny hasn’t made the cut after failing to recover from concussion that’s kept him out of action since mid November.

England coach Eddie Jones has opted to start with prop Ben Moon who comes in for the injured Mako Vunipola  while Jack Nowell starts in place of Chris Ashton who’s also out through injury.

The match starts at 5.45 French time tomorrow afternoon.

Also tomorrow France host Scotland at 3.15 and on Sunday Italy play Ireland.

Football-Arsenal and Chelsea are both through to the last 16 of the Europa League.

Arsenal  beat Borisov 3-0 on the night to take the tie 3-1 on aggregate while Chelsea were 3-0 winners over Malmo-coming out 5-1 winners over the two legs.

Celtic are out.They were beaten 1-0 on the night at Valencia to lose the tie 3-0 on aggregate.

In the English Premier League this weekend.

There are two games tonight with Cardiff playing Watford and West Ham against Fulham.

On Saturday Burnley play Spurs.Bournemouth host Wolves.Newcastle play Huddersfield and Leicester play Crystal Palace.

On Sunday Arsenal play Southampton and Manchester United host Liverpool.

It’s also the League Cup Final on Sunday between Manchester City and Chelsea.Kick off is at 5.30 French time.

Formula 1-Valtteri Bottas says that Ferrari are a bit ahead of Mercedes at the end of the first week of pre-season testing.

The Finn said that “Ferrari do seem to be very strong,no matter which fuel loads or engine modes they’re running-they’re quick”.

Nico Hulkenburg in the Renault set the fastest time on Thursday with Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon second and Daniel Ricciardo in the other Renault third.

Cricket-West Indies play England in the second one day international in Barbados today.

England won the first match and the crowd will be hoping for a repeat of the high scoring antics of Wednesday.Play starts at 4pm French time.

Weather

Mainly fine  with light  variable winds.

Top temperature 18 degrees.

Overnight lows of 10 degrees on the coast and 6 degrees inland with clear skies.

The weekend-Mainly fine with moderate easterly winds and highs of 13-15 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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