French and Riviera News.Friday January 24th 2020

Strike action-Public transport is being seriously affected today because of strike action in protest over the government’s pension reforms.

In Nice there are no trams and buses and public transport is also being affected in other towns across the region including Antibes.

The SNCF says that it expects to be able to operate two out of three local TER trains across the region.

Many schools are closed today or offering only a skeleton service and no canteen meals for children.

Some hospital staff are also joining the strike along with firefighters and refuse workers.

The government has been trying to find a solution to the pensions dispute and has suggested a number of compromise measures but the CGT union in particular remains mobilised.

 

No M’Lud-Lawyers from the bars of Nice and Grasse have been blocking the entrance to the Alpes-Maritimes Prefecture in protest over the government’s pension reforms.

There was also a protest at the nearby A8 motorway entrance that caused severe congestion for a while.

Around 50 members of the two bars took part in the protests which are backed by the National Bar Council.

Lawyers want their independent pension system to be maintained and are protesting over a proposed doubling in contributions from 14 to 28 percent.

 

Flooding-More than 1,500 people have been forced out of their homes as a result of widespread flooding in the south west of the country provoked by Storm Gloria.

Two French departments ,the Aude and the Pyrenees Orientale were on red alert on Thursday while an orange alert was issued for neighbouring areas.

The warnings are in force until at least lunchtime today.

More than a thousand people have been without power since yesterday and Meteo France says that in some areas two months worth of rain has fallen in the past two days.

In neighbouring Spain the death toll from Gloria has risen to 13 and 4 people are still missing.

 

Ski death-A young woman who was rushed to hospital following a skiing accident at Isola 2000 last Sunday  has died from her injuries.

The 19 year old lost control of her skis on a blue piste in the Lombarde area of the resort at 11.30 on Sunday and crashed into trees at high speed.

Mountain CRS police carried out CPR at the scene after the victim suffered a cardiac arrest and she was transferred by helicopter to the Pasteur Hospital 2 in Nice in a critical condition.

The hospital said in a statement on Thursday that the young woman had failed to recover and died earlier this week.

An investigation into the exact circumstances of the accident is being carried out.Management and staff at Isola 2000 have expressed their shock at the death.

 

Body found-The body of a 31 year old mother of four who’d been missing since New Years’s Day has been found near Toulon.

Laetitia Hemery had been missing since the early hours of the 1st of January. Her body was discovered in a remote area on the Mont Faron which overlooks the city.

The dead woman’s former partner is reported to have confessed to her murder and told authorities where he’d disposed to body.

 

Pensioner death-An enquiry has been opened after a 79 year old woman died following a break in at her house at Grimaud in the Var.

Reports say that the woman suffered a heart attack after thieves broke into her house at around 10pm on Wednesday night.

A neighbour raised the alarm and the thieves fled.

It’s not thought that there was any violence during the break in and the victim but that the victim was overcome with shock.

Gendarmes in Marseilles are handling the investigation.

 

Le Cannet accident-An 84 year old man has crashed his vehicle after suffering a suspected heart attack in Le Cannet.

The man ,who was driving an English registered right hand drive car crashed into a motorway support pillar on the chemin de Carimai above the A8 on Thursday afternoon.

He was taken to hospital suffering from head injuries.

 

Just like Grace Kelly-Coin collectors are extremely interested in a 2 euro piece that carries the head of the late Princess Grace of Monaco.

Only 20,000 of the coins were issued  in 2007 and they’re being sold for a minimum of 2,000 euros each on eBay and other trading platforms.

The other distinguishing feature of the coin is that the map of Europe on the reverse side depicts the European Union before it was expanded to take in new member states.

Anyone who comes across one of the coins in their change should beware though.As they were issued as a limited edition it’s highly unlikely that any of them will be in circulation and any that turn up are almost certain to be fakes.

 

Sainte Devote-Residents and visitors to Monaco are advised of traffic disruption and road closures during the annual Sainte Devote celebrations this coming Sunday.

Because of current building work ,the procession this year will start on the Louis Chiron bend opposite the Nautic restaurant.

Passengers using SNCF rail services are advised to use the Saint Devote Gallery if travelling to and from the train station on foot as the escalators will be stopped from 5.30pm.

The Route de la Piscine will be closed from 5.30 until 7pm and bus users of lines 1 ,2 and 6 can expect brief delays as the Sainte Devote procession passes between 6.40 and 7pm.

Motorists are advised to avoid the area at the same time.

 

In National News.

 

Brexit uncertainty-With Brexit now little more than a formality a report in the Local France has found that many British residents in France are still uncertain of their future after the UK has left the European Union.

The final Brexit legislation passed through Parliament on Wednesday and the UK will now officially leave the European Union on the 31st of January.

However ,there’s still no clarity on how the French government intends to deal with British nationals once the UK has officially left.

The Local says that it has documented cases of British nationals being turned down for residency because they don’t fit the financial criteria either because they’re living on a low income pension or relying on benefits following serious illness.Some self employed people are also at risk because either their business isn’t generating enough income or they’ve only recently set up.

The Local says that there may be many more British nationals at risk than its aware of as a lot of people have been waiting it out before approaching French authorities to see what the final outcome is.

The paper says that there’s a risk that some people may be considering going “under the radar” rather than being turned down when they apply for residency.

 

C&A-The Dutch clothing retailer C&A has announced that it’s to close a further 30 stores across France because of a persistent drop in turnover.

C&A has already said that it will be closing 14 stores and says that the latest measures are a bid to preserve as many jobs in France as possible.

The firm had 160 stores in France in April 2019 and more than 3,000 employees but has since embarked on store closures and redundancies.

Other retailers in the sector including New Look and Pimky have also been suffering of late.

 

Property boom-French towns with populations of between 60,000 and 100,000 are experiencing a property boom according to several media reports.

Towns such as La Rochelle ,Avignon , Beziers and Colmar which have good public transport links and a vibrant local economy are attracting huge interest from people who either want a quieter life or are seeking to purchase property for buy to let purposes.

With interest rates low and grants and tax breaks available for renovation work ,prices are starting to rise and local residents are concerned that they could be priced out of the market.

Bordeaux has seen property prices skyrocket over the past two years after a high speed TGV service opened linking the city with Paris.

The development has seen a substantial number of people who work in Paris move to the Aquitaine region as they can now commute to the capital with relative ease.

 

Business.

 

Shares in airlines and travel firms have been hit as more cases of the Corona virus are reported.

Two Chinese cities are in virtual lockdown as authorities attempt to stop the virus from spreading with people prevented from travelling in and out ahead of the busy Lunar New Year holidays.

There have now been more than 850 confirmed cases of the Virus and 19 deaths and the disease has reached other countries including Singapore ,Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.

On Thursday UK authorities confirmed that 14 people are being tested after showing symptoms.

Oil prices have also taken a hit with investors concerned that the epidemic will turn into a pandemic and affect global trade.

Stock markets around the world have also been hit putting the skids on the recent rally.

 

A banker who was implicated in the embezzlement and money laundering case against Africa’s richest woman has been found dead in Lisbon.

Nono Ribeiro de Cunha who was 45 managed the account of the oil firm Sonangol which was formerly chaired by Isabel Dos  Santos at the small Portuguese lender EuroBic.

His death was reported on Thursday after Angolan prosecutors named both him and Ms Dos Santos as suspects in the case.

The accountancy firm PWC has also dismissed an executive and launched man investigation into his links with the suspects.

Isabel Dos Santos denies the alleged corruption offences which came to light in leaked documents.

 

And-The US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said that the teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg should “go away and study economics” before lecturing investors.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos ,Mr Mnuchin said that Greta Thunberg’s call for investors to dump fossil fuels showed a lack of understanding about the economy and jobs.
He said that “after she goes away and studies economics in college , she can come back and explain that to,us”.
On Tuesday in Davos ,President Trump dismissed what he described as the “prophets of doom”
Greta Thunberg has been urging investors to move out of fossil fuels and into green technology as part of action to curb climate change and global heating.

In response , Greta Thunberg said that “you don’t need a college degree to see which way the wind is blowing “ .

 

Sport.

 

Tennis-Action has been continuing at the Australian Open in Melbourne with the big news today the elimination of Serena Williams.

The 7 time champion was knocked out in the third round by Wang Qiang of China 6-4 6-7 7-5.

Caroline Wozniacki has also gone-beaten in three sets by Ons Jabeur and said afterwards that she was retiring from the game.

The top seed Ashleigh Barty is through to round 4 though after beating Elena Rybakina 6-3 6-2.

In the men’s event Diego Schwartzman of Argentina made round four with a straight sets win over Dusan Lajovic and Marton Fucsovics is also through after beating Tommy Paul of the United States.

 

 

Cricket-The 4th and final Test between South Africa and England is being played at the Wanderers in Johannesburg from today with the home side trying to salvage a draw.

England lead the series 2-1 after winning in both Cape Town and at Port Elizabeth and a further victory in Johannesburg will give them their most successful overseas tour for 9 years.

 

Football-There was one game in the English Premier League last night.The leaders Liverpool extended their winning run to 14 games with a hard fought 2-1 win at Wolves.Firmino scored the winner on 84 minutes.

There was one FA Cup 3rd round replay last night with League 1 Tranmere beating Watford of the Premier League 2-1 after extra time.Tranmere’s reward is a 4th round home tie against Manchester United.

There are no games in the English Premier League this weekend as it’s the 4th round of the FA Cup in England.

Among interesting looking ties tomorrow Brentford of the Championship play high flying Leicester City of the Premier League.West Ham face the Championship leaders West Brom and Hull host Chelsea who can’t seem to keep a clean sheet at the moment.

Sunday highlights feature Manchester City against promotion chasing Fulham of the Championship while Liverpool visit Shrewsbury of League 1

 

Rugby Union-Finn Russell will not face Ireland in the 6 Nations after leaving the  Scotland training camp for a “breach of protocol”.

A statement said that the influential fly-half will play “no part in preparations for the Six Nations opener”.

It remains unclear whether the 27 year old Racing 92 star will play any part in the campaign.

 

There’s one game in the Gallagher Premiership in England tonight.Northampton play London Irish.

 

Weather.

Overcast with outbreaks of rain and moderate north easterly winds.

Top temperature 14 degrees.

Overnight lows of 9 degrees on the coast and 7 degrees inland with cloudy skies.

The weekend-Quite cloudy tomorrow with some bright spells.Sunshine and showers on Sunday.Highs of 13-14 degrees.

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