French and Riviera News Monday 29th April 2019

Local

Flights at Nice Airport disrupted - The Scandinavian airline company SAS has announced that all its flights to and from Nice international airport have been suspended due to strike action. Several flights were cancelled on Sunday with further action planned today and tomorrow. More than 1,213 flights have been cancelled worldwide affecting 110,000 passengers. Strike action began on Friday following a breakdown in negotiations between the company and its pilots who have demanded a 13% salary increase.

Changes in May - Several changes are to come into effect in France as of Wednesday 1st May. Firstly the French energy provider Engie has announced a drop in the price of gas for households across France, from May 28th there will be new 100 and 200 euro notes in circulation.

Campsites -  The owners of five campsites, which were devastated during the floods which hit the region in 2015, have continued their legal battle to obtain compensation. The sites were closed in 2016 following the floods on October 3rd 2015.  The campsites, in Antibes and Mandelieu, were family businesses built-up over several generations and were completely destroyed following the flooding. Last week the Administrative Court in Nice examined the case to annul the decision, which has left four of the sites classified as red zones due to the risk of flooding.

SNCF - In an interview with the Journal de Dimanche, Guillaume Pepy, the head of France’s train network the SNCF, has announced future plans ahead of his departure in December. Pepy said plans will be put in place to make it possible to buy train tickets in French newsagents in four regions of France from June. He also confirmed that there will be no closure of smaller lines, which will no doubt reassure some local elected officials and he added that 26 new trains will be put into circulation serving Paris-Clermont Ferrand and Paris-Limoges-Toulouse at a cost of 700 million euros. Finally from May 9th a new discount card will be launched and from November 29th “Ouigreen” a new loyalty programme will entitle passengers to use electric cars or scooters free of charge, depending on the number of kilometers travelled by train. In response to reports of poor punctuality on some local lines including the Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur region Pepy confirmed that after five months of measuring the service it was at its best that it has been over the last ten years.

Monte-Carlo Television Festival - After Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren, the American actor Michael Douglas will receive the "Crystal Nymph" award at this year’s 59th Monte-Carlo Television Festival. The awards take place on June 18th in Monte-Carlo in the presence of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco.

COCC Monaco charity bike ride - The 8th Annual Saint Tropez to Monaco charity bike ride in aid of the Princess Charlene Foundation has once again been a huge success. The “Champagne and Oyster Cycling Club of Monaco” set off from Saint Tropez at 8am on Sunday morning I talked to some of them during their stop off in the port of Nice.

Anti-Selfie - Actress Stephanie Leigh has created a buzz on social media after posting anti-selfie photos on her Instagram account. Visibly annoyed to see tourists taking selfies in front of monuments around the world Leigh decided to post “Anti-selfies” in front of the Eiffel Tower and the Goldern Gate of San Francisco, but also more surprisingly one post captured her leaning head first into a fountain situated in the old town of Toulon, in the Var.

National

Yellow Vests - Tens of thousands of Yellow Vest protesters have taken to the streets in France for a 24th consecutive Saturday, with many saying the proposals French President Emmanuel Macron announced did not go far enough to address the plight of struggling workers. French police fired tear gas to push back protesters who tried to march towards the European Parliament building in the eastern city of Strasbourg while rotests in Paris remained generally peaceful. The protesters criticise Macron for allegedly favouring the wealthy and are demanding wage and pension increases.

Notre Dame - Neighbours of the fire-stricken Notre Dame cathedral have been advised to clean surfaces where lead-laden dust from the blaze may have settled. Tests have shown that the devastating 15 April fire released particles of the toxic metal that had been present in the frame of the church. Public areas that may pose a lead exposure risk, such as the gardens around the cathedral, have been closed and will not be reopened until lead levels are back to normal.

Football - Paris Saint-Germain have been left stunned by Rennes in Saturday's French Cup final, losing 6-5 on penalties after a dramatic game finished 2-2 at the end of extra time. It was a remarkable comeback from the Brittany side, attended by President Emmanuel Macron.

Business

China’s ambassador to the UK has said that the country should make “independent” decisions about whether to let Huawei help build its 5G network.

The United States ,Australia and New Zealand all say that Huawei is a security risk because of its ties to the Chinese state  but in an article in the Sunday Telegraph ,Liu Xiaoming said that Britain should resist pressure from other nations.

He said that risks should be taken seriously but added that Huawei had enjoyed a “good track record on security”.

Last week , the Daily Telegraph reported that the British government had agreed to allow Huawei limited access to help build the country’s 5G network despite warnings about possible risks to national security.

The paper also said that various ministers had raised concerns about the plan.

 

SAS airlines has said that it will cancel more than a thousand flights today as a result of an ongoing pilots strike.

Pilots started strike action on Friday in a wage dispute with around 70 percent of the airline’s flights grounded  and some 170,000 passengers affected over the weekend.

More than 110,000 passengers are expected to be affected today and tomorrow as the strike continues.

SAS says that passengers who’ve purchased flights for travel up to and including the 5th of May can change or cancel tickets at no cost.

On Sunday it was reported that SAS plans to reject compensation claims as it contends that the strike is out of its immediate control.

 

And-Jaguar Land Rover says that it’s testing software that will allow drivers of its cars to earn the IOTA cryptocurrency as a reward for sharing data.

The firm says that it’s developing what it calls “smart wallet” technology which will be installed in its vehicles.It would reward drivers with IOTA coins for actions such as enabling their cars to automatically report useful data such as traffic congestion or potholes  to navigation providers or local authorities.

Drivers could also earn rewards if the car participates in a ride sharing programme and the tokens earned could be used to pay for motorway tolls ,parking  and charging for electric vehicles.

 

Sport

Football-There were three games in the English Premier League on Sunday and Manchester City returned to the top of the table with 2 games to play following a hard fought 1-0 win at Burnley.

Arsenal’s hopes of a top 4 finish took another dent as they were beaten 3-0 at Leicester and Manchester United and Chelsea drew 1-1 at Old Trafford in a game that both sides really needed to win for their Champions League ambitions.

Manchester City’s remaining games are Leicester at home and  Brighton away while second placed Liverpool play Newcastle away and Wolves at home.

Formula 1-Valtteri Bottas won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday to retake the lead in the drivers’ championship.

The Finn led home a Mercedes one-two for the fourth consecutive time this season with Lewis Hamilton second and Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari third.

Mercedes appear to have the best car but Ferrari have been making things easier for them.

Charles Leclerc could have been on poll if he hadn’t crashed in qualifying and there are questions about the team’s tyre strategy and tactics.

Bottas leads Hamilton by a single point heading into the next race in Spain on the 12th of May and then it’s Monaco on May the 26th.

Athletics-Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge ran the second fastest marathon in history to win the London Marathon on Sunday.

The 34 year old came home in 2 hours 2 minutes and 38 seconds.

In the women’s race Brigid Kosgei won in a time of 2 hours 18 minutes and 20 seconds.

Rugby Union-Worcester have sealed their survival in the English Premiership with a 27-20 win over Gloucester.

The result also means that Gloucester ,who got a bonus point are assured of a top 4 finish.

Tennis-World number 5 Dominic Thiem has won the Barcelona Open after beating Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s final.

The 25 year old Austrian was the comfortable winner 6-4 6-0 in one hour 13 minutes.It’s the first time that he’s won the tournament.

Weather

Clear skies with light to moderate south westerly winds.

Top temperature 19 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 12 degrees on the coast and 7 degrees inland with clear skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday-Mainly fine with highs of 18-21 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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