Holiday getaway-The French road monitor Bison Fute is advising motorists of heavy traffic over the weekend as the half term holiday getaway starts.
The A8 ,A7 and A51 motorways are expected to be busier than usual during rush hour this afternoon and also tomorrow.
Roads to and from the ski resorts are also expected to be very busy particularly on Sunday afternoon with a knock on effect in coastal areas.
Nice Carnaval-The annual Nice Carnaval starts tomorrow and continues until the first of March.
As usual there will be a number of parades on the theme ‘The King of Fashion’ as well as flower battles and other events.
The Menton Lemon Festival also gets underway tomorrow.
Motorists are advised to avoid town centres with the usual road closures and other disruptions.
Toulon shooting- Three people have been injured,two seriously after a man opened fire in the Loubiere area of Toulon on Thursday.
The most seriously injured ,a man and a woman have been taken to hospital where they’re described as serious.
Police sealed the area off and the gunman gave himself up after negotiations lasting around half an hour.
Reports say that the suspect has a history of mental health problems.He’s being held in custody at the central Toulon police station.
Scams-Authorities are warning of the growing number of scams either by telephone or the post which have been sucking in more and more victims.
Whether its for bogus financial services , opinion polls or convincing people that they’ve won a large sum of money ,the message is never to give personal details over the phone especially for bank accounts.
Members of the public are also advised to be extremely cautious about calling back anonymous numbers that appear on their mobile phone.
Bloctel-A government service in which you enter your phone numbers to reduce or eliminate nuisance and fraudulent telephone calls is available and does help screen most undesirable correspondence but some calls are slipping through the net.
The government has said that it’s determined to crack down on the problem and last year fined 77 companies across France for abusive telephone marketing with fines totalling 2.3 million euros.
Natural disaster-Reports say that a large number of people who declared damage to property under the terms of the natural disaster that was decreed following torrential rain in the region on the 23rd and 24th of November last year haven’t yet received any money from their insurance company.
Problems ranging from flooding and mudslides are still causing a number of property owners great difficulties nearly three months after the events.
Anyone affected is advised to keep in regular contact with their insurance firm and complain to the local town hall if nothing is done.
Var crime statistics-Gendarmes in the Var say that they dealt with some 25,000 offences in 2019,a fall of 1.3 percent on the previous year.
There are 919 Gendarmes in the department organised into 5 different companies including two marine brigades.
Numbers of burglaries fell by 550 last year compared with figures from 2018 with 2,340 break-ins registered but the clear-up rate is still low at 1 in 6.
Violent crime is on the increase with a 7.7 percent increase in registered offences last year with attacks on women rising worryingly.
Officers are experimenting more and more with drones to increase arial surveillance while more patrol cars are being equipped with dashboard cameras to capture more road offences.
Drug addicts-Two men described by police as being heavily addicted to drugs have been arrested after allegedly committing a number of muggings in the Cannes area since September.
Authorities say that the two ,both in their 40’s had been operating in the area around the boulevard Carnot and are suspected of committing a range of offences in order to “feed their habits”.
The two were tracked down after attempting to use a stolen bank card in a supermarket and were arrested after police studied CCTV footage.
They’ll appear in court in the coming days.
In National News.
Airbus loss-The French and European aviation giant Airbus has reported a net loss of 1.36 billion euros for 2019 after being hit with a multi-billion euro fine over a bribery scandal as well as extra costs for the A400M transport plane.
Airbus said that operating profits rose to 6.9 billion euros adding that it expected to deliver some 880 commercial planes this year against 863 in 2019.
The firm has agreed to pay 3.6 billion euros in fines to the UK ,France and the United States to settle a corruption scandal sparked by suspicious sales.
Mayor released-The Mayor of a Paris suburb has been released from jail on health grounds.
Patrick Balkany ,who’s 71 was jailed in September last year after he and his wife were found guilty of fraud by hiding millions of euros worth of assets from French tax authorities.
The ruling was hailed as a breakthrough in the ability of the French judicial system’s abilities to hold those in powerful positions to account.
Both Mr Balkany and his wife have appealed against the ruling with verdicts expected later this year.
In the meantime ,Mr Balkany has been freed from jail under supervision because of poor health.
Unemployment-Figures from the national statistics office Insee show that French unemployment fell substantially in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The figures show that the number of those out of work and seeking benefits fell by 0.4 percent to 2.424 million people-it’s lowest level since 2008.
The unemployment rate now stands at 8.1 percent with an extra 85,000 people finding work in the final quarter of the year.
The UK Finance Minister Savid Javid has resigned amid a cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Mr Javid has been expected to keep his job but stepped down after being told he would have to dismiss his team of special advisors if he wanted to stay in number 11 Downing Street.
The move is being seen as a further attempt by Boris Johnson and his special advisor Dominic Cummings to gain full control over the treasury to keep their public spending plans on track.
Mr Javid said that “no self-respecting Minister could accept such conditions”.
He’s Ben replaced as Chancellor of the Exchequer by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak who was just a junior housing minister 7 months ago.He’s seen as a Johnson loyalist and is unlikely to rock the boat when it comes to public spending.
Mr Javid has been due to deliver his first budget next month.He was only appointed Chancellor in the summer and is thought to have been under constant pressure from Dominic Cummings to toe the line.
In other reshuffle news the Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom has been sacked and replaced by Alok Sharma.
The head of Ford Europe has raised concerns about a possible 2032 ban on petrol ,diesel and hybrid cars.
The move in the UK has been suggested by the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps aa part of a range of potential dates being looked at by the government.
Stuart Rowley from Ford said that plug-in hybrids can be an important part of the technology mix and also called for more infrastructure investment for electric vehicles including more access to charging points.
Industry experts say that car manufacturers have been investing heavily in hybrid technology and that the UK government’s position undermines what they’re trying to achieve.The idea is to use hybrids as a stepping stone to a fully electric fleet but that much more work had be done on infrastructure.
And-Facebook has delayed the launch of its new dating feature in Europe after a visit from the Irish Data Protection Commission.
The Commission says that it was only told about the feature 10 days before the planned launch and that no information or documentation has been provided.
Facebook maintains that it has completed the necessary paperwork but added that it wanted to get the launch of its dating feature right so was prepared to wait.
Facebook Dating launched in the United States last September as part of the firm’s existing phone app.
The feature which is a potential rival to Tinder uses the firm’s data on a user to show common friends and interests and can also pull in posts from Instagram.
No new date for the European launch has been set.
Boxing-Tyson Fury has said that he’ll have to knock Deontay Wilder out in Las Vegas to avoid a repeat of the judging controversy in their first meeting.
The match ended in a draw when the pair met in December 2018 with both sides claiming victory afterwards.
They’ll go toe-to-toe again on the 22nd of February with Fury saying that to guarantee a win ,he’ll need a knockout.
Wilder has been taunting his opponent in recent days and said that Fury would be having “sleepless nights” ahead of the contest.
Cricket-The second T20 international between South Africa and England is being played in Durban today.
England will be attempting to bounce back after losing the opening match in the three match series by a single run in East London on Wednesday.
Play starts at 5pm French time.
Football-There are a few games in the English Premier League this weekend despite the winter break.
Tonight Wolves play Leicester while tomorrow Southampton play Burnley and Norwich host Liverpool.
On Sunday Aston Villa play Spurs and Arsenal host Newcastle.Chelsea play Manchester United on Monday night.
Formula 1-The Vietnam Grand Prix will be going ahead despite concerns over Coronavirus.
Formula 1’s managing director Ross Brawn says all the feedback is that the virus is a bit like in the UK at the moment in that there have been some cases but not enough to concern the public.
The race in Hanoi is 100 miles from the Chinese border and will take place as scheduled on the 5th of April.
Brawn conceded that the situation could change depending on the spread of the virus.
Formula E-Stoffel Vandorne is looking to strengthen his grip at the top of the championship this weekend as the cars head to Mexico.
The Belgian tops the leaderboard with 38 points after the first three races of the season although he hasn’t yet won a race.
The Mexico circuit has been increase this year to accommodate a new section after the first two corners.
Lucas de Grassi in the Audi won the race last year but is currently only 5th in the standings and will be looking for a good weekend.
The race starts at 11pm tomorrow night French time with qualifying from 6.30.
Rugby Union-There’s no 6 Nations action this weekend but there’s one game in the Gallagher Premiership tonight with top of the table Exeter away at Gloucester.
In the Guinness Pro 14 Glasgow meet Zebre and Munster play Southern Kings.
Clear skies with moderate to strong north westerly winds.
Top temperature 18 degrees.
Overnight lows of 8 degrees on the coast and 5 degrees inland with clear skies and the wind dropping.
The weekend-Mainly fine tomorrow.Cloudy on Sunday.Highs of 15-16 degrees.
The latest recommendations from the French government to limit the risk of a coronavirus epidemic in France have been published. ... Read More