French and Riviera News Thursday 13th December 2018

Local

Maximum level of alert in France - France has been put on a maximum level of alert as police continue to search for the gunman who opened fire at a Christmas market in Strasbourg on Tuesday.  Deputies observed a minute of silence in the French National Assembly as a mark of respect for those who lost their lives in the attack which is being investigated as a terrorist incident. Border controls have been reinforced and security stepped up at all Christmas markets across the country. Police have identified the suspect as Strasbourg-born 29 year old Cherif Chekatt, who is on an intelligence services watch list as a potential security risk. It is believed he was radicalised in prison.

In the aftermath of the attack the Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi has requested from the prefect access to those on an intelligence services watch list in Nice otherwise known as the “S Files”.

Meanwhile French government ministers have appealed for the nationwide gilets jaunes protests to stop in the wake of the attack. The gilets jaunes have staged four weeks of protests across the country, as well as four Saturdays of street marches that led to violence and vandalism in Paris and other cities. Many gilets jaunes had vowed to stage a fifth Paris street march this Saturday, insisting Macron had not done enough to address social inequality.

Cedric Herrou - A French court has overturned the sentencing of French farmer Cedric Herrou who helped migrants cross the Franco-Italian border. It's the first decision of its kind since France's Constitutional Court ruled in July that people cannot be charged for helping migrants, as this went against the basic French "principle of fraternity". Herrou was given a four-month suspended prison sentence in August 2017 by an appeals court in Aix en Provence for helping about 150 migrants trying cross the Franco-Italian border. His sentence was also overturned on Wednesday.

Earth tremors in the Var - Two earth tremors have been recorded in the Var. The tremors with a magnitude of 3 were recorded on Wednesday morning off the coast, just a few hundred meters from the Ile du Levant.

New tram line - According to local media the cost of the new tramline to and from the terminals at Nice International Airport will be the same price as the entire network. Either 1 euro, for the purchase of a 10-trip card for 10 euros, or 1 euro 50 for a single ticket. The mayor of Nice will inaugurate part of the connection of the airport to the West-East tram line today while the complete termination of line 2 planned on the Port of Nice is due in September next year. 

Strike Action - The regions train network has announced delays and cancellations tomorrow Friday 14th December due to national strike action. Passengers are advised to check timetables at sncf.fr

Football matches postponed - France’s professional football league has announced that several matches are to be postponed this week-end following a request from prefectures in the Loire-Atlantique, Alpes Maritimes and Calvados. Matches between Nantes-Montpellier, Nice-Saint-Etienne and Caen-Toulouse, will all be rescheduled. The request come following possible protests from the “yellow vest” movement.  

National

End of year bonus - Several major companies have announced that they would be granting an “exceptional bonus” to some of their employees following Emmanuel Macron’s request that companies, on a voluntary basis, pay a "year-end bonus" tax-free to their employees. Orange, LVMH, Publicis and more recently Total have committed to the new measure.

Mother gives birth on roundabout due to road blocks - A father, who was unable to reach the hospital before the birth of his second daughter has helped his wife give birth on a roundabout in Quimper in Northern France. Julien Branquet, a 33-year-old paramedic, was driving his 23-year-old wife, Gaëlle Guinot, to the maternity hospital when due to Yellow Vests protests traffic came to a standstill. Later while in hospital several protestors from the Yellow Vest movement visited the mother baring gifts for the newborn baby. 

Board games - While you might be led to believe that video games are high on this year’s Christmas wish list it would appear that board games are making a comeback. Recent figures have shown that sales in board games in France are increasing, up by 3% in 2017 with 112 million sold in France.

Business

Sterling has slipped back a little on the foreign exchanges despite the British Prime Minister Theresa May winning a confidence vote in her leadership.

The pound started climbing steadily during the afternoon as rumours emerged that Mrs May would win the confidence vote but as the result came out,showing that 117 Conservative MP’s had opposed her continued leadership,it started to fall again.

Analysts say that the “far from comprehensive” victory had caused some selling in the markets.

The view is that Mrs May will still fail to get her Brexit deal through Parliament despite her efforts to force more concessions on the Irish backstop from the European Union.

The British Prime Minister will attend an EU summit today but reports say that other leaders are only willing to grant her a very short period of their time.

 

In the United States,Congressional questioning of the chief executive of Google has revealed that the term “idiot” has been searched for more than a million times.

Sundar Pichai was being asked why typing the word into Google images threw up pictures of President Trump and whether it was an example of political bias in algorithims.

Mr Pichai denied the accusation and said that Google results were based on billions of keywords ranked according to more than 200 factors including relevance and popularity.

According to Google Trends “idiot”is currently the number one most searched for term in the United States.

And-Investors appear to be increasingly concerned that there may be a recession brewing in the United States.

Much of the sentiment is being driven by movement in the bond markets which have been shown by a US central bank survey to have successfully foreshadowed all 5 US recessions since 1955.

US treasuries are issued as a form of borrowing by the government to fund spending.They come in different lengths of maturity and pay investors a rate of return in regular instalments.

When demand is high,prices rise and the bond’s rate of return relative to the market price falls.Conversely, a lower price means a higher yield.

At the moment,the bond yield is falling suggesting that the economy may be heading into choppy waters.

Capital Economics  has warned that there’s a 30 percent chance of the US entering into a recession within 18 months which  would coincide with the run up to the next Presidential election.

Sport

Football-Manchester United failed to finish top of their Champions League group last night after going down 2-1 at Valencia.

Manchester City do go through as winners of their group though thanks to a 2-1 home win over Hoffenheim.

So the last 16 in the Champions League has been decided.Borussia Dortmund,Athletico Madrid,Barcelona,Spurs,PSG,Liverpool,Porto,Schalke,Bayern Munich,Ajax,Manchester City,Lyon,Real Madrid,Roma,Juventus and Manchester United will all go into the hat for the knockout phase.

The final places in the last 32 of the Uefa Europa League will be decided tonight.

Cycling-The future of Team Sky has been thrown into doubt after the broadcaster Sky announced that it would be withdrawing its backing at the end of 2019.

The team has delivered four Tour de France wins after being launched in 2010 and has made Sir Bradley Wiggins.Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas into major stars.

A spokesman said that the team would continue to compete under a different name if a backer is found.

Rugby Union-The chief executive of New Zealand Rugby has said that the Ireland coach Joe Schmidt turned down an invitation to join the All Blacks last year as assistant to head coach Steve Hanson.

Schmidt is to retire as Ireland coach at the end of the World Cup next year to dedicate more time to his family despite being linked with the All Blacks.

New Zealand Rugby had asked him to replace assistant coach Wayne Smith who’s retired but he turned the offer down.

Weather

Sunshine and occasional showers with moderate easterly winds and a high of 12 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 6 degrees with overcast skies and outbreaks of rain.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Partially cloudy with highs of 10-13 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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