French and Riviera News Monday 25th March 2019

Local

State visit - The visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the region ends today and authorities have warned of further disruption for motorists, pedestrians and public transport. The good news is that the A8 motorway pay toll at Saint Isidore will be free of charge this morning until 11am along with parking in the city for the whole day and the tramway in Nice is circulating after services were suspended on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Promenade des Anglais remains closed between, Parc Pheonix and Jardin Albert 1er to all motorists and the region’s buses, and for pedestrians between Rue Meyerbeer and Avenue du Docteur Roux. Only residents and hotel guests will be allowed through on presentation of ID. Those trying to access Nice International Airport this morning are advised to use the access by Saint Laurent du Var. Finally the private beaches between the Radisson Hotel and the Negresco Hotel remain closed until noon.

Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene welcomed the Chinese President in a historical visit to the Principality on Sunday. The leader and his wife Peng Liyuan arrived in Monaco shortly after 1pm, a first for a Chinese President and a diplomatic victory. Following the welcome ceremony in the courtyard of the palace  in Monaco, the two heads of state held a meeting in the presence of  Chinese and Monegasque officials to address economic and environmental issues. In a statement from China’s foreign minister it was declared that “the two leaders whose bilateral relations have become a model of friendly exchanges between a small and a large country went on to have in-depth discussion on the exchanges and cooperation between both China and Monaco”. 

Following Monaco the Chinese President and his wife headed to Beaulieu sur mer to dine at the Villa Kerylos with French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife. Before flying back to Paris, the President of the Republic spoke exclusively to Nice-Matin, thanking residents in the region for their cooperation and reminding them of the importance of the visit of the Chinese head of state. Xi Jinping is due to arrive in Paris later today.

Yellow Vest Protests - The family of the 73-year-old woman, who was injured in Nice on Saturday during a gathering of "yellow vests” protestors, which had been banned by the Prefecture, have taken legal action after the victim was left in a serious condition in hospital. The family’s lawyer says that video footage shows the victim along with two other elderly people being subjected to a charge from officers, while the three individuals posed no particular threat or danger to police. Saturday saw yellow vest protestors gather at Place Garibaldi in Nice despite there being a ban in place, nearly 75 people were arrested and clashes left another two people injured. 

Other protests were held around France with clashes breaking out in Lille, Lyon, Nantes, Toulouse and Montpellier. In Toulon protestors caused chaos on the roads into the city after they occupied the entrance to the motorway tunnel. 

In response to yellow vest protests this weekend which were dubbed as the 19th act of protest by the movement the French interior minister Christophe Castaner hailed the return of order to the streets of France. Following a meeting with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe he declared: "The tougher policies have been effective”. Tough new measures were brought in ahead of the weekend’s planned protests in order to combat violent groups after demonstrators smashed up shops, cafes and newspaper kiosks on the Champs-Elysées on March 16th. The weekend of violence led to Castaner sacking the Paris police head Michel Delpuech for his poor handling of the situation in the capital. Replacing him in the week that followed with Didier Lallement. As part of the hardline measures troops were removed from anti-terrorist patrols to support more than 6,000 police in Paris and nationwide another 59,000 officers were on duty.

Gunfire in Marseille - Kalashnikov gunfire has broken out in a neighbourhood in Marseille. Sunday afternoon saw several men in two cars open fire at around 1.30pm. Nobody was injured and police said the authors fled the scene. An investigation has been opened by police and in a statement the former mayor claimed that residents in the area have been “taken hostage”. Figures show that so far this year three men have been killed in the city in drug related shootings.

Fire in car park in Nice - Ten cars have caught fire in a multi-level car park in Nice on Rue de France near the Hotel Negresco. Firemen intervened on Saturday night after smoke was seen coming from the building. No other damage was reported and no one was injured.

World Theatre Day - In celebration of World Theatre Day on Wednesday 27th March the Princess Grace Theater here in Monaco is offering free access. To mark the occasion the Cultural Affairs Department along with the Monegasque National Commission for UNESCO and the Princess Grace Theater will see four theater companies from the Principality participate. 

Four theater companies from the Principality will present a night dedicated to the performing arts and the promotion of dialogue and peace between people.

Initiated in 1961 by the International Theater Institute (I.T.I.), World Theater Day is celebrated every year by the theater community through numerous national and international events.

National

Brexit - French President Emmanuel Macron has declared that Europe must not remain a « prisoner » to the uncertainties and delays of the Brexit process. Macron’s comments came as Prime Minister Theresa May seeks parliamentary approval of a new exit deal or even risks being booted out. Macron also called for unity within Europe. The French President has been the most forthright among EU leaders in wanting to draw a line under Britain’s Brexit crisis quickly, in order to refocus on pushing forward the bloc’s agenda. Some, including Germany have instead stressed the need to make every effort to ensure a chaotic exit is avoided. 

Health reforms - The National Assembly in France has voted on an amendment allowing pharmacists to directly prescribe certain vaccines, and midwives to prescribe and practice vaccinations under certain conditions, as part of reforms to France’s health bill. MP’s adopted a first amendment to facilitate the care of patients and contribute to strengthening immunization coverage, still very inadequate in France. Currently 11 vaccines are compulsory for young children since January last year. France's vaccination coverage rate is today, one of the lowest in Europe, less than 20% of the target population. 

Tutankhamun - A new exhibition has opened in Paris showing artifacts from the tomb of Tutankhamun. The exhibition comes more than 50 years after a similar exhibit set a visitor attendance record that still stands in the French capital. Tutankhamun was nicknamed the "Boy King" because he began his reign when he was only nine years old. He died when he was was approximately 18 years old, but it is not known exactly how he died. Obvious damage to Tutankhamun’s chest and legs suggest an accident – perhaps a chariot or hunting accident, or death on the battlefield. Others have suggested that Tutankhamun may have been murdered. The 150 items going on show are traveling outside Egypt for the last time. The exhibit was assembled to commemorate the upcoming hundred year anniversary of British archaeologist Howard Carter's 1922 discovery of Tutankhamun's intact tomb and the treasures it held.

International Procrastination Day – Today is the day for task avoidance as we celebrate our inability to get on with things that need doing. With today being International Procrastination Day people all over the world, can therefore be justified in not doing the things you set out to do. Indeed, you can mess up your "to-do" list and feel fully justified in lounging around and engaging in not very much. A recent study in France showed that 72% of the workforce spend 2 hours a day procrastinating. Beware, today's event should not be confused with the rather longer Procrastination Week, which ran from 1st to the 7th March.

Business

Friday’s heavy falls on Wall Street have been carried into Asian trade this morning with investors ditching shares and heading to the safety of bonds on growing fears of a US recession.

Concerns about the health of the global economy were heightened last week after cautious remarks from  the US Federal Reserve sent 10-year treasury yields to their lowest level since early 2018.

The yield curve inverted on Friday for the first time since 2007 with history suggesting that such a pattern indicates an upcoming recession.

Markets are also jittery following poor  manufacturing data from Germany which showed a third straight month of contraction  as well as signs of slowing manufacturing and services activity in the United States this month.

 

The White House has confirmed that US officials will travel to China later this week to resume face to face talks aimed at  ending the trade war between the two countries.

Reports also say that Chinese officials will fly to Washington in early April  for further talks.

A truce between the two sides at the G20 summit last December paved the way for talks which have been difficult at times.

President Trump maintains that discussions are going “very well”.

Mr Trump delayed a 1st of March deadline for raising tariffs citing the progress being made.

 

And-Sir Richard Branson has said that despite a delay to Brexit,the UK is “dangerously close to full scale disaster”.

In a blogpost on the Virgin website,the billionaire businessman who is no longer resident in the UK said that Prime Minster Theresa May was “no longer acting in the national interest and putting her party before the country”.

He also claimed that many who had voted to leave the EU had now changed their minds and that the public should have the final say in a fresh referendum.

More than a million  people marched through central London on Saturday calling for a peoples vote.Some estimates said that the crowds had approached two million.

Meanwhile,a petition to the UK Parliament calling for Article 50 to be scrapped has topped 5.3 million signatures.

 

Sport

Football-There were several Euro 2020 qualifying games last night with Scotland getting their campaign off the ground with a lacklustre 2-0 win in San Marino after having lost their opener against Kazakhstan.

Northern Ireland were 2-1 winners over Belarus and Wales got off to a winning start with a 1-0  victory over Slovakia.

The match of the night though came in Group C-the same group as Northern Ireland where Germany scored a last minute winner to beat the Netherlands 3-2.

There are more qualifiers tonight with England away in Montenegro in Group A while France are at home to Iceland in Group H.

Cricket-David Warner of Australia scored 85 in his Indian Premier League comeback after missing last year’s tournament for his involvement in the ball tampering scandal.

Warner was in fine form for Sunrisers Hyderabad but he couldn’t prevent his side losing their opening game against Kolkota Knight Riders.

Rugby Union-Exeter have secured a top four finish in this season’s Gallagher Premiership in England after beating Bath 29-10 on Sunday.

They now top the table by 9 points from Saracens with 5 games to play.

Golf-Paul Casey has retained the Valspar Championship in Florida.

Casey ended on 8 under par to finish one shot clear of Jason Kolrak and Louis Oosthuizen.He’s the first man to retain the Valspar Championship.

Weather

Clear skies  with moderate easterly winds.

Top temperature 18-20 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 12  degrees on the coast and 8 degrees inland  with cloudy skies and some rain inland in the Var.

Tuesday and Wednesday-A few showers around tomorrow morning then fine but windy after that  with highs of 16-19 degrees.

Finally 

It would seem that wealth and success may be less to do with hard work or luck and more to do with DNA.

Scientist found that an analysis of 286,000 Britons showed that the genetic make-up of those who earned over £100,000 differed from those on low incomes. 

A scan pointed to 24 ‘golden genes’ that affect intelligence, the immune system, and the strength of muscles and heart – and so can make the difference between economic success and poverty.

Three-quarters of the genes are linked to intelligence, the scientists found. 

But physical attributes also affect the chances of being wealthy and some of these may be inherited.

 ‘Genetic variants associated with higher income correlate with a genetic predisposition for greater intelligence, a longer lifespan, better physical and mental health, fewer feelings of tiredness, having fewer children and better living conditions,’ the researchers say in a paper which is yet to be published.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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