French and Riviera News Monday 6th May 2019

Local

Two year old kidnapped in Marseille found - A two year old boy has been found after being abducted in Marseille on Sunday. Following the “Abduction alert” launched just after midday on Sunday, two year old Osnachi was reported ten hours later, to have been found safe and sound in Valence. According to reports the boy went missing while his mother was attending a church service in the city centre of Marseille. The kidnapper is described as a 40 year old European man who was not known to the mother. The "Abduction Alert" plan in France is a massive, immediate warning device deployed to assist in the search for an abducted child. It was launched in France in 2006.

German Tourist dies in Corsica - A German tourist has died after being swept away by waves on a beach in Porto, Southern Corsica. The accident occurred on Sunday morning. The 60 year old woman is believed to have fallen from  rocks. The area was at the time was on a yellow weather alert due to strong winds.   

Weather - Meanwhile the departments of the Bouches-du-Rhone and the Vaucluse, have experienced strong winds this weekend with a record gust of up to 150km/hr. Several trees were blown over and in Marseille, a tree fell on the city’s main avenue causing the tramway to stop running and several events were cancelled, including the a cycling race. And while the last ski resorts in the Alpes Maritimes closed little over a week ago, snow has made a remarkable comeback in the high-altitude of the Riviera.

Road accident - A 50 year old woman has been killed and a man seriously injured in a road accident in the Var. The accident occurred on Sunday afternoon involving two vehicles in a head on collision on the RD79 between Brignoles and Cabasse. A third car was also involved in the accident. Police have launched an investigation to determine the exact circumstances.  

Fire - Three hectares of woodland have been destroyed in a fire at Mont-Faron near Toulon. The blaze started on Sunday afternoon and two Canadair aircraft were dispatched along with 150 firefighters. Strong gusts had at first made it difficult to tackle the blaze ,however by late afternoon the wind dropped and firefighters managed to contain the flames by early evening.

Speed camera destroyed - A speed camera has been set alight at Eze on the Moyenne Corniche. Firefighters intervened at 4am on Sunday morning to extinguish the flames and police have opened an investigation. French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner revealed in an interview in March that since November 17th which marks the beginning of the yellow vest movement 75% of speed cameras in France had been vandalized.

Traffic in Monaco - Following numerous traffic jams in Monaco last Thursday the government has decided to take exceptional measures to tackle the problem. A combination of events completely paralyzed traffic with endless queues of cars stopped on the main roads. The situation has been worsened following the landslide on the Moyenne Corniche which is expected to be resolved by the May 10th. With a flow of 110,000 vehicles per day, traffic in the Principality is a priority and concrete measures are to be put in place to ease the problem including strengthening real time communications, along with postponing some road works until the Moyenne Corniche is reopened and a clamp down on the use of bus lanes and double parking.

National

France Telecom trial - The trial of France Telecom starts today with its former president, Didier Lombard, being pursued for his policy of destabilizing employees. Between 2008 and 2009, about thirty employees of the company killed themselves according to the unions, some referring to "management by terror". It has taken the justice system seven years of investigation and on Thursday, the Paris prosecutor's office has asked for the referral of France Telecom and its former president Didier Lombard of moral harassment on suspicion of having implemented a policy of destabilizing employees. The company was hit by a wave of suicides that moved France almost 10 years ago. France Telecom, now Orange, was the first CAC 40 company to be indicted for moral harassment. 

Yellow Vest Movement – It’s been reported by the French Interior Ministry that some 18,900 protesters took part in the latest marches nationally on Saturday, compared with 23,600 a week earlier. The downturn in demonstrator numbers on the 25th straight weekend of yellow vest protests could be a relief to President Emmanuel Macron who last week made a series of policy proposals to address the issues raised.

France asked by UN to halt any moves to withdraw life support - France has been asked by the United Nations to halt any moves to withdraw the life support from a man who has been kept in a vegetative  state since 2008 due to a bitter legal dispute among his family. Vincent Lambert a psychiatric nurse, was involved in a car accident in 2008 and has since been kept alive through artificial nutrition and hydration at a hospital in Reims. France’s Leonetti law created in 2005 allows doctors in agreement with the patient, or the loved ones of the patient, to stop treatment. After learning that artificial life support to their son would be stopped, Lambert’s parents and half brother and sister obtained a court order to halt the move against the wishes of his wife and five siblings. The European court last week rejected their appeal however the UN committee has accepted it, asking France to wait six months while it prepares its observations on the case. In response France Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said that while the UN’s request is not legally binding, it would abide by it. 

Electric scooter ban - It’s been announced that France will ban electric scooters from pavements as of September. An estimated 15,000 scooters operated by several companies have flooded the French capital since their introduction last year, a number projected to surge to 40,000 by the end of this year. As of September anyone riding an e-scooter, monowheel, personal transporter or hoverboard on the pavement would be fined 135 euros.

Altercation between a bus driver and a passenger - France’s board of transport has launched an internal investigation following an incident between an RATP bus driver and a passenger in Paris. According to reports the 29 year old woman was denied access by the driver due to the way she was dressed, claiming her skirt was too short. Following questioning into the incident which occurred on April 30th the driver denies this version of events reported by the press admitting to a “lack of service” for “refusing to open the doors”.  While the investigation continues the reports have caused a reaction from French politicians with Republican Valérie Pécresse calling for “light to be shed on the case" adding that the facts “if proven were scandalous”, meanwhile State secretary for equality between men and women Marlene Schiappa said that “if the facts were confirmed then there would be sanctions” and finally politicians from the right and far right didn’t wait for conclusions of the investigation calling it “political Islam” that should be “eradicated”.

Business

Chinese stocks have fallen this morning after President Trump threatened to impose fresh tariffs on Beijing ,putting a trade deal in doubt.

In a tweet on Sunday ,Mr Trump said that the US would more than double tariffs on 200 billion dollars  this coming Friday and would introduce fresh tariffs.

Recent reports had suggested that Washington and Beijing were nearing a trade deal  and a Chinese delegation had been due to travel to the US this week for talks aimed at ending the trade war.

It’s now been reported that China is considering cancelling the talks although the Chinese government is yet to comment officially on Mr Trump’s remarks.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong plunged by 3.7 percent on the news while the Shanghai Composite plunged by 5.3 percent.

 

The billionaire investor Warren Buffett has said that he wants to invest more in the UK and other parts of Europe despite  uncertainty over Britain’s future relationship with the EU.

Mr Buffett said that he would like his investment firm Berkshire Hathaway to be “better known” on this side of the Atlantic.

He said that he was hoping for a deal in the UK and/or Europe ,no matter how Brexit comes out.

He added that he considered the UK’s decision to leave the UK “a mistake” but said it “doesn’t destroy my appetite in the least for making a very large acquisition in Britain”.

Berkshire Hathaway reported first quarter earnings of 21.7 billion dollars over the weekend-a much better performance than last year’s first quarter loss of 1.1 billion.

 

And-The electric powered racing series Formula E has revealed that pre-tax losses widened by 26.7 percent to 22.6 million pounds last year,giving it combined losses of 142.2 million pounds since it held its first race in 2014.

Formula E Operations is based in London and its biggest shareholder is the Virgin Media owned Liberty Global which has a 23.9 percent stake.

Costs have increased by 38.4 million pounds as Formula E added new staff  and developed new cars which can last an entire race without  needing to be charged.

Crowd attendances are up though with more than 476,000 spectators watching races last year compared with 220,000 in 2017.

Some new big sponsors have also signed up recently including Heineken and Bosch.

Formula 4 comes to Monaco this Saturday the 11th of May.

Sport

Football-There were three games in the English Premier League on Sunday.

Chelsea guaranteed themselves Champions League participation next season with a 3-0 win over Watford  but Manchester United can’t now make the top 4 after being held to a 1-1 draw at relegated Huddersfield.

Arsenal’s bid to finish in the top 4 is also all but mathematically over after they drew 1-1 with Brighton.

Manchester City can go top of the table tonight ahead of the last round of matches if they beat Leicester.

On the last day of the English Championship season Derby secured the final playoff place after beating West Brom 3-1.

Middlesbrough and Bristol City both miss out.

Norwich are promoted to the Premier League as champions with Sheffield United finishing as runners up.

Leeds ,West Brom .Aston Villa and Derby will contest the playoffs.

The semi final first leg games will pit Aston Villa against West Brom and Derby against Leeds next Saturday.

Cricket-England have beaten Pakistan by 7 wickets in a one off Twenty20 international in Cardiff.

Pakistan batted first and made 173-6 from their 20 overs.

England got to the target in 19.2 overs in a total of 175-3 with Eoin Morgan making 57 not out.

Rugby Union-There was one game in the Gallagher Premiership in England on Sunday.Bath boosted their hopes of a top 6 finish by securing a bonus point in their 29-17 win over Wasps.

Golf-Max Homa of the United States has won his first PGA tour title with victory in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow North Carolina.

The world number 417 ended on 15 under par with a final round of 67-three shots clear of John Dahmen of the United States and four clear of Justin Rose.

Weather

Clear skies with moderate south westerly winds.

Top temperature 17-20 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 10 degrees on the coast and 6 degrees inland with clear skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday-Hazy sunshine tomorrow with a high of 19 degrees.Rain on Wednesday with a high of 17.

Finally 

Children in the UK are using doctors' notes to excuse them from French, German and Spanish because language lessons apparently damage their mental health.

Delegates at the National Association of Head Teachers annual conference were told yesterday pupils are being 'wholesale' signed off because the subjects are making them 'unwell'.

Marijke Miles, a member of the union's executive, said children were being made 'anxious' by compulsory languages and were being signed off them 'in order not to become completely out of school', she added.

Rob Campbell, the chief executive of the Morris Education Trust in Cambridgeshire, said the problem was 'an increasingly common occurrence', although doctors' letters often mention a range of stresses, not just languages, making the child unwell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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