French and Riviera News.Monday October 21st 2019

SNCF-Rail traffic in the south of France should be getting back to normal today following a three day wildcat strike that’s paralysed services since Friday.

Workers walked out on Friday following an incident  on a level crossing in the Champagne-Ardennes region in which 11 people were injured including the train driver on October The 16th.

Trade unions led by the CGT say their members are entitled to strike under the terms of “withdrawal of services” legislation but the government says the industrial action is illegal and a skeleton service should be provided by law.

The strike has caused chaos for both commuters and people trying to use the rail network at the start of the half term holidays.

 

Weather- Heavy rain has caused localised flooding in parts of the south of France over the weekend.

The heaviest downpours came on Saturday and Sunday with flooding resulting in parts of Nice ,Cagnes-sur-Mer and Cannes.

Firefighters were called out more than 200 times to deal with flooded cellars and underground car parks.

Part of the A8 motorway had to be closed near Nice Nord causing a large tailback of traffic.

The south of France is due for more rain during the course of this week with the chances of a fine beach day before the clocks go back looking remote. Temperatures are expected to continue to be mild for the time of year at around 22 degrees.

 

Enquiry-Nice city hall has started an enquiry after a small child managed to get out of a municipal play park on Thursday of last week.

The toddler was found in an outside car park by another mother who’d come to collect her child at the halte-jeux de Colobris on the route du Turin  shortly before lunchtime on Thursday.

The child was returned unharmed but questions are being asked why none of the 7 adult employees at the establishment failed to notice.

The supervisor has been suspended pending further investigations.

 

School trips-It’s being reported that a number of schools are cancelling trips to the UK because of potential problems caused by Brexit.

While UK authorities have said that entry to the country will be unchanged for EU nationals after Brexit ,some establishments are looking elsewhere for school trips such as the Republic of Ireland or cancelling them altogether.

Many French schools organise foreign language trips to the UK for 4th grade students as part of the curriculum but the uncertainty over Britain’s future relationship with the European Union is causing headaches for many organisers.

 

Cars vandalised-Police in Saint-Raphael are appealing for witnesses after some 20 cars were vandalised in the Saint-Sebastian area of the town in the early hours of Sunday.

Vehicles had their windows smashed and wing mirrors ripped off in what authorities say was a mindless act of vandalism.

A 20 year old man has been arrested but police think others may have been involved.Anyone who has information is asked to call police on 04 94 51 90 00.

 

Slowly ,slowly catchee Monkey-An escaped monkey has been captured in the hills above Les Adrets de l’Esterel after being on the loose for several months.
The monkey ,thought to be a Barbary Macaque was first spotted in the summer by a hill walker who took a photograph of the animal.
Officers from the National Hunt and Fauna Organisation have been searching for it ever since as the monkey could be dangerous and weighs between 20 and 30 kilos.
No one has come forward to claim ownership of the animal which could have been kept as a domestic pet although registration would have been required.
Firefighters were given the task of catching the monkey which had been tracked to a tree on the Domaine du Seguret.Ths animal was captured unharmed and is now being cared for at the zoological Park in Frejus.

 

In National News.

 

Tornado-Winds gusting at up to 170 km/h have caused widespread damage to parts of the Herault department as a violent storm passed through the region on Sunday afternoon.

Around 30 properties were damaged during the storm and trees were ripped out of the ground.

A tornado was reported to have formed in the area around the town of Pezenas and there are reports of localised flooding.

Much of France has seen severe storms over the weekend.

 

Tax d’Habitation-The National Assembly has voted to scrap the tax d’Habitation or residence tax for 80 percent of primary residences in 2020 and 100 percent by 2023.

Many people have already seen their residence tax cut or completely scrapped already and households with higher incomes can expect the measure to be extended to cover them too over the next three years.

President Macron pledged to cut taxes when he came to office and cuts in income tax are also set to come into force for low and middle earners next year.

 

Engie fined-The French electricity provider Engie has been fined 900,000 euros for abusive telephone marketing.

The National Anti-Fraud Agency DGCCRF which is attached to the French Finance Ministry found that Engie agents has switched potential new customers to its service following a telephone marketing campaign but had failed to gain written approval with a written contract sent through the post.

The offences came to light following a number of official complaints from members of the public who say that they were unfairly targeted by an Engie telephone marketing campaign carried out in the Hauts-de-Seine department between June 2017 and February this year.

The firm is also reported to have ignored a number of contract cancellations under the terms of the legal cooling off period and failed to inform consumers of their right to take their case to the energy mediator.

 

Leonardo-The largest exhibition to bring together the works of the Italian Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci has opened at the Louvre in Paris.

The exhibition which marks the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death features drawings ,paintings ,sketches and writings and is set to attract a huge influx of visitors.

However , there’s still uncertainty over whether the exhibition’s star attraction Savaltor Mundi will appear.

Mystery still surrounds who owns the world’s most expensive painting which was once thought to have been held in the Gulf and its whereabouts are unclear.

Unconfirmed reports say that the painting is being kept on the super yacht of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

 

Business.

 

Directors and top executives from Boeing have been meeting in Texas in the aftermath of the latest revelations about its banned 737 Max Jet.

Pressure has been growing at the world’s largest plane maker from both investigations into two fatal crashes and the financial burden caused by the jet’s continued ban and high production.

Reports suggest that Boeing might be set to announce significant job cuts as it continues to be unable to deliver 737 Max jets to customers and production costs drain cash from the firm.

Sunday’s meeting at San Antonio will continue into today.Boeing is set to announce third quarter results on Wednesday.

 

UK fund managers are reported to be in “crisis mode” following the demise of former star picker Neil Woodford’s investment empire which has left hundreds of thousands of small investors with big losses.

Mr Woodford’s main investment fund was shut down by administrators on Thursday and he was dismissed.Later he closed his two remaining funds with money to be returned to investors , many of whom will have lost heavily.

The fear in the City is that the public may be losing confidence in the fund manager investment model and could lead to some people stopping investing for their retirement altogether.

Mr Woodford, who was once dubbed the “Warren Buffett” of the UK had a 30 year record of providing strong returns on investment from his days at Invesco Perpetual.

Anyone investing 10,000 pounds at the start of his career at Invesco would have seen it grow to 250,000 by the time he left in 2013.

When he launched his own firm in 2014 he raised 1.7 billion pounds in two weeks.

A series of bad bets in 2017 saw his flagship fund go into decline and investors started to remove funds and the final straw came in June this year when the administrator “gated” the fund which prevented investors removing any more money.

The fear now is that Mr Woodford’s losses could hit investor confidence in active fund managers in favour of algorithmic trading.

 

 

And-The pound is experiencing  more volatility as the seemingly never-ending Brexit saga continues.

The so-called “Super Saturday” sitting of the UK Parliament over the weekend resulted in more of a damp squib as MPs led by Sir Oliver Letwin voted in favour of an amendment not to pass Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s withdrawal deal with the EU until all the necessary legislation is in place.

The amendment forced Mr Johnson to write to the EU seeking a further extension to article 50.On Saturday night ,Mr Johnson sent the letter but didn’t sign it and included a second letter which he did sign stating that a further extension was not in the interests of either side and that he did not support it.

The Prime Minister could now face legal action under the terms of the Ben act and the government will try to get the legislation though Parliament again this week although the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow has said that he’s not yet sure whether he can allow the same question to be asked again.

Any attempt to pass the legislation is set to be heavily amended by opposition MPs who may try to insist that the deal can go ahead if the entire UK remains in a customs union with the EU or that it can only pass subject to a confirmatory referendum.

The EU has said that it may take several days for all 27 members to decide whether a further extension to Article 50 can be granted.

 

Sport.

 

MA NOLANS RUGBY WORLD CUP REPORT.

 

The semi finals of the World Cup will be between South Africa and Wales and England against the holders New Zealand.

If Saturday’s quarter finals were easy victories for England over Australia and New Zealand over Ireland ,Sunday’s contests were much more nail biting affairs with Wales squeaking home 20-19 against 14 man France and South Africa overcoming Japan 26-3 after a close first half.

France will be rueing the needless red card handed to lock Sebastian Vahaamahina who caught Aaron Wainwright with a clear elbow to the head early in the second half but they were in the contest right to the end and may well have won it if they’d had 15 men on the field.

Japan threw everything they had at the Springboks but in the end couldn’t live with their opponents superior pack and defence.

 

The semi finals will be played next weekend with England against New Zealand at 10am next Saturday and Wales against South Africa at 10am on Sunday.

 

Football-There was 1 game in the English Premier League on Sunday.Manchester United and Liverpool drew 1-1

There’s 1 game tonight.Sheffield Wednesday play Arsenal.

In the Scottish Premiership on Sunday Hearts and Rangers drew 1-1 and in the English Championship Wigan beat Nottingham Forest 1-0/

 

Tennis-Andy Murray has won his first ATP title since 2017 after beating Stanislas Wawrinka in the final of the European Open at Antwerp.

Murray  came from a set down to win 3-6 6-4 6-4 to claim his first men’s singles win since he retuned from injury.

The Scot was playing only his 7th tournament since returning from hip resurfacing surgery in January.

 

Golf...The Open de France has been won by Nicolas Colsaerts.

The Belgian carded a final round of 72 to end on 11 under par-one shot clear of Denmark’s Joachim Hansen.

It was Colsaert’s first title since 2012.

 

Weather.

 

Overcast with frequent outbreaks of rain and light to moderate easterly winds.

Top temperature 21 degrees.

Overnight lows of 17 degrees with partially cloudy skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday-Partially cloudy tomorrow.Rain and thunderstorms on Wednesday.Highs of 20-24 degrees.

 

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