French and Riviera News.Friday October 25th 2019

Traffic nightmare-Heavy rain on Thursday morning caused massive traffic jams around Antibes after the underpass near the Carrefour roundabout flooded leading to traffic backing up onto the motorway and on the route de Grasse.

Some roads in Sophia Antipolis were turned into torrents of water and there was flooding in the centre of Valbonne too caused by a sudden heavy downpour which lasted around  an hour.

In Valbonne 67 millimeters of rain fell in just one hour causing chaos on the roads and resulting in abundant localised flooding.

The weather caused a number of accidents on the roads including on the A8 near the airport where a car flipped over onto it roof after the driver lost control in the rain.

Meteo France insists that the bad weather is now behind us.

 

Mopping up-Authorities are still in the process of clearing roads around the region following the  severe storms.

Trees came down and there have been rockfalls on a number of roads inland in the Alpes-Maritimes as well as the Var.

Firefighters say they were called out more than 200 times during and after the storm to deal with flooded cellars and underground carparks.

Motorists are warned that some rockfalls are likely to occur over the coming days as water penetrates into cliff faces and to take particular care on bends.

 

Compensation-The Prefect of the Var has started the process of declaring a natural disaster following the storms with a large number of claims expected from leaking roofs  to car damage.

Anyone who suffered damage to property in the storms is advised to go to their local town hall and ask for compensation under the legislation governing natural disasters.

Claims must be registered within five days of an event which means that with the weekend coming ,today is the last day to make a declaration.

The Prefect will then send the files to the Interior Ministry which will decide if compensation should be awarded.

 

Republican Values-The Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has written to the French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe urging him to introduce a charter for civil servants in which they will pledge to honour the values of the Republic.

Mr Estrosi has written the letter in the wake of the terrorist attack at Police headquarters in Paris in which a radicalised employee from the technology department murdered 4 colleagues.

The Mayor says the tragedy reinforces the need for the state to fight radical Islam in all areas of the civil service and that employees should be asked to sign a declaration pledging to uphold the law and the constitution.

He adds that employees working in other sectors such as hospitals and public transport should also be asked to sign the proposed charter.

 

Hospital crisis -A television documentary made by a leading French investigative journalist has returned a damning verdict on the state of a number of French hospitals including the Archet University Hospital in Nice.

Elizabeth Drevillion spent 9 months visiting a number of hospitals and said in a programme shown on France 2 last night that they’re crying out for investment.

The documentary showed dilapidated buildings some with leaking roofs and highlighted basic hygiene problems and lengthening waiting times for routine operations .

Drevillon said that it appears that French public hospitals have been turned into a business which is chronically underfunded.

A number of doctors went on record for the programme who said that public hospitals were particularly short of anaesthetists which meant that operations were being delayed.

The Archet has declined to comment on the documentary but pointed out that the hospital has been redecorated since the programme was made.

 

Nice environment-An environmental activist from Nice has shot a video which he’s posted to social media highlighting what he says is the “casual regard” that both residents and tourists have in keeping the city clean and tidy.

Ludovic Balade says that he’s fed up with people throwing away cigarette ends and other rubbish on the pavements and beaches and has spent considerable time collecting refuse to show the extent of the problem.

Mr Balade says that he collects hundreds of discarded cigarette butts from beaches on a daily basis and wants people to take more responsibility for their actions.

He’s part of an activist group called Nice Plogging  which is urging people to take a keener interest in keeping the city clean.

 

Ditched-A woman has been taken to hospital after losing control of her car on the D1555 near Le Muy and ending up in a ditch.

The woman had to be cut from the vehicle by firefighters.The road was slippery after the storms of Wednesday but the exact cause of the accident is not yet clear.

 

Bye bye Summer-A reminder that the clocks go back by one hour in the early hours of Sunday as we move into winter time again.

For those who prefer more daylight in the mornings the sun will rise at 6.59am on Sunday but the long dark evenings will start to set in with sunset at 17.28.

 

In National News.

 

EU Commissioner-President Macron has recommended that the former Economy Minister Thierry Breton should be appointed as the new EU Commissioner for Industry.

Mr Macron’s original choice for the role Sylvie Goulard was rejected by Brussels for her alleged involvement of illegally hiring EU parliamentary assistants which she denies.

Mr Breton served as Economy Minister under the French Presidency of Jacques Chirac between 2005 and 2007 and if appointed would have responsibility for EU policy on industry ,technology ,defence and space.

The Elysee Palace says that Mr Breton is “a man of action who knows industrial issues inside out  and will not have a bureaucratic approach to European issues”.

 

The European Commission has asked the European Court of Justice to take action against France for persistently failing to meet air quality standards.

France along with Germany and the UK are repeat offenders when it comes to not enforcing clean air standards.

Fines could now follow after levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air have repeatedly broken EU norms in a number of French cities including Nice.

France says that “structural difficulties” are the reason it has been unable to meet standards but the court has rejected the argument.

It’s estimated that poor air causes the deaths of some 68,000 people annually around the EU.

 

Funny fungi-The French health agency has urged people to be extra careful before consuming wild mushrooms after 493 cases of accidental poisoning were recorded in the space of two weeks.

A spokesman said that some poisonous mushrooms look very similar to edible species and if in doubt people should take them to their local pharmacy which will be able to properly identify them.

Wild mushrooms are a popular ingredient on French dinner tables in the autumn but cases of people eating poisonous fungi are currently being recorded at an average of 90 a week.

Ingesting harmful mushrooms usually results in vomiting and severe abdominal pain within 12 hours.

In some cases life threatening conditions are possible including low blood pressure and collapse.

If you or someone you know has eaten a poisonous mushroom then call 15 immediately or the local anti poison centre for your area.

 

Contaminated baby food-A non-governmental  food safety watchdog has issued a warning about baby milk products on sale in the country that may be contaminated with hydrocarbons.

ONG Foodwatch says that 2 out of 8 Nestle and Danon baby milk powder products that it’s tested have dangerously high mineral oil content and should not be used.

Danone has denied the reports and says that none of its baby milk powder products contain hydrocarbons while Nestle has not made comment.

In 2017 the French national health agency recommended that manufacturers should reduce the use of flavoured hydrocarbon based mineral oils in baby foodstuffs.

In 2015 Foodwatch reported that 60 percent of basic foods such as pasta, rice ,cereals and lentils contained abnormally high levels of hydrocarbons which have been linked to cancers.

Since then  a number of leading manufacturers and retailers have pledged to eliminate them from their products.

 

Business.

 

Twitter has reported quarterly profits that were way below analysts forecasts owing to product bugs which have hampered advertising sales.

The micro-blogging social media site said that it made 37 million dollars in the third quarter which was less than 75 percent of what had previously been anticipated.

Revenues were  9 percent higher than a year ago at 824 million dollars but were still at the lower end of Wall Street forecasts.

Twitter has been struggling to keep pace with its larger social media rivals , particularly Facebook and has been facing increasing criticism for its perceived inability to properly control racist and hate speech.

The firm’s shares fell by 17 percent on the news.

 

Royal Bank of Scotland has reported a pre-tax loss of 8 million pounds for the third quarter after positive results in the second quarter.

The Edinburgh based bank which is still 62 percent owned by the UK taxpayer said that it had taken a 900 million pound hit from the cost of Payment Protection Insurance PPI.

RBS added that its investment bank had had a “particularly challenging” third quarter.

The bank announced its last results before chief executive Ross McEwan leaves the company.

 

And-Mario Draghi has given his final press conference before he steps down as the president of the European Central Bank.

Mr Draghi’s departure comes as the eurozone and in particular Germany is struggling in global economic headwinds caused by trade wars and uncertainty over Brexit.

He said that he thought that he’d complied with his mandate adding that his successor Christine Lagarde “knew what had to be done “ and that he had no particular advice for her.

He said that it was vital that central banks continued to co-operate and that forums such as the G20 are more important than ever.

Mr Draghi’s comments are being interpreted as a coded message that he considers that nationalism and protectionism are undermining global bodies.

He also said that recent weak data from the eurozone showed that the ECB had been right  to announce a fresh stimulus package last month.

When asked if he had any plans for the future he said that “you’ll have to ask my wife”.

 

Sport.

 

MA NOLANS RUGBY WORLD CUP REPORT.

 

The scene is set for the World Cup semi finals which are being played on Saturday and Sunday.

England play New Zealand at 10am tomorrow with coach Eddie Jones restoring the partnership between George Ford who’s recalled at fly-half and Owen Farrell who moves to inside centre.That’s the only change to the side that beat Australia in the quarter final with Henry Slade dropping to the bench.

New Zealand have sprung a surprise with flanker Sam Cane only on the bench and Scott Barrett starting in his place.It’s the first time that Barrett will have started in the back row as he’s normally picked as a lock.

 

For  Sunday’s second semi final ,Wales have suffered an injury blow ahead of their encounter with South Africa with Liam Williams turning an ankle in training and ruled out the match and probably the final too should Wales make it.

Leigh Halfpenny is expected to come into the side and there are still concerns over the fitness of centre Jonathan Davies who’s leg was heavily strapped in final training.

The Springboks have made one change to the side that beat Japan with winger Cheslin Kolbe ruled out with an ankle injury.He’s replaced by Sbu Nkosi.

Fans of both sides watching in France will be able to enjoy an extra hour’s beauty sleep with the clocks going back and 10am really being 11am.

 

Football...in the Europa League last night Wolves came from 1-0 down to win 2-1 at Slovan Bratislava.Manchester United won 1-0 at Partisan Belgrade.Arsenal scored a last minute winner to beat Vitoria 3-2.Celtic  beat Lazio 2-1 and Rangers drew 1-1 at Porto.

 

There’s a full programme in the English Premier League this weekend.Southampton play Leicester tonight and then on Saturday Manchester City play Aston Villa.Brighton play Everton.Watford host Bournemouth.West Ham play Sheffield United and Burnley play Chelsea.

On Sunday Newcastle host Wolves.Arsenal face Crystal Palace.Liverpool play Spurs and Norwich host Manchester United.

 

Formula 1-First practice for Sunday’s Mexico Grand Prix at 5pm this afternoon with Lewis Hamilton needing to finish 14 points better than team-mate Valtteri Bottas to secure his 6th world title.

Mercedes say that the Mexico circuit doesn’t suit their car with Ferrari and Red Bull tipped for a good weekend.

Second practice is at 9pm tonight with qualifying at 8pm tomorrow night and the race at 8.10 pm on Sunday.

 

Golf-Tiger Woods recovered from a poor start to hit a scintillating 64 to share the lead heading into the second round of the inaugural Zozo Championship in Japan.

Woods ,who is making his first appearance since knee surgery had reached 6 under par alongside fellow American Gary Woodland.

He started his round with three successive bogeys but fought back with 9 birdies in his remaining 15 holes.

The second round of the tournament has been washed out by heavy rain and will now take place early tomorrow.

 

Weather.

 

Partially cloudy with light variable winds.

Top temperature 22 degrees.

Overnight lows of 16 degrees on the coast and 12 degrees inland with clear skies.

The weekend-Clear skies with highs of 21-23 degrees.

 

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