French and Riviera News Thursday 14th February 2019

Local

LBD - Local media has reported that police in Nice have recently been equipped with LBD’s or better known under their brand name as “Flash-Balls”. The weapons have been at the center of a recent debate in France due to a number of serious injuries caused by police using a “Lanceur de balle de defense” during yellow vest protests. Facing criticism from local left wing MP’s the Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi reportedly declared the weapons to be “very effective”.

City of Nice and the Alpes Maritimes - Plans to merge the city of Nice with the Alpes Maritimes department have been abandoned for the time being. A planned merger between the two was announced on February 13th following an idea launched by Emmanuel Macron, for several departments in France, during his election campaign.

Yellow Vest survey - The results have been released of a survey showing the impact of the Yellow Vest movement on businesses in the Alpes Maritimes. The Chamber of Commerce of Alpes-Maritimes carried out the study at the beginning of February, in which almost 1,200 businesses participated. One third of shops participating in the survey experienced declines in business of between 10 and 20%.  54% of shop owners said that they are worried by the yellow vest movement. 

Skiing - The Prefecture of the Alpes Maritimes has reminded skiiers of the safety precautions they should take for off-piste skiing in the light of the raised risk of avalanches at the moment. The avalanche risk is estimated at 3 out of 5 in the Alpes-Maritimes and the prefecture say that 80 per cent of avalanches involving people are triggered at level 3 and on relatively gentle slopes. The Prefecture say to ensure that you are in good physical condition, never go out without the necessary equipment – a shovel, probe and avalanche victim system, check the weather and the stability of the snowpack and never go out alone.

Luxury travel – It was announced this week that two of the world’s leading visionaries in luxury travel have come together to further develop Abercrombie & Kent as the premier brand in luxury travel. Founder, chairman and CEO of Abercrombie and Kent Geoffrey J.W. Kent, has formed a strategic partnership with the Chairman of Heritage Group Manfredi Lefebvre. Geoffrey Kent is a true pioneer and visionary in the travel industry and has built A&K into the world’s leading luxury and adventure travel company while Manfredi Lefebvre built Silversea Cruises, created by his father in 1994 with the purchase of two ships. Both companies have grown to become the dominant players in their respective fields, offering a discerning clientele the ultimate in luxury travel.

Petanque - Fans of petanque will learn next week if it’s to become an Olympic sport. The Summer Olympics are being hosted by France in 2024 and the French Petanque Federation is hoping that the sport will be represented at the games for the first time. In Marseille, pétanque is already an international sport with the "Mondial à Pétanque" held each year bringing together 15,000 players from 27 different countries around the world.

Lovebirds - A couple from Cagnes-sur-mer, referred to as the “Lovebirds” will today celebrate their 71st wedding anniversary. The two 91-year-olds Eliane and Antoine met in 1946, speaking to local media Antoine said he “remembers the day as if it were yesterday”.

Basketball - Monaco’s basketball team have beaten Limoges 62-59 in round 16 of the "Coupe de France". Limoges last won the French Cup in 2000. Limoges led at the end of the first half, 31-39, before Monaco turned things around to win the game. Monaco are still to find out who they face next in the quarter-final draw.

National

Education - The National Assembly has voted on lowering the age of compulsory education from 6 to 3 years, a flagship measure and part of new reforms to be introduced to education in France. A majority of left wing politicians supported the new measure while some right wing politicians criticized the measure in defence of "freedom of choice for parents".

Former French boxing champion - Former French boxing champion Christophe Dettinger has been convicted for assaulting two police officers at an anti-government "yellow vest" protest in Paris. The 37 year old was filmed on 5th January throwing punches in footage that was widely shared on social media. He was sentenced to 30 months in jail.

Meanwhile a Michelin-starred chef who spoke out against  the violence surrounding France’s gilets jaunes protests has been targeted by arsonists twice in two weeks. Yannick Delpech, who in 2000 became the youngest French chef to win a Michelin star, said the latest fire was started outside the kitchens of his restaurant while three employees were working inside.

In January the chef had written on the social media site Facebook saying that he would never cower before a minority who sought only chaos or be held hostage by conspiracy plotters, anarchists, racists who hijack a social movement.”

Business

Google plans to spend more than $13bn dollars this year, as it builds data centres and offices across the US. On Wednesday the search giant promoted its plans in a blog post saying the investments would spur the creation of more than 10,000 construction jobs. The firm will also add tens of thousands to its workforce, doubling its presence in states such as Georgia.

Google's emphasis on its US investments comes amid wider concerns about slowing business spending in the US.

Renault has scrapped €30 million euros in bonuses and severance pay to former boss Carlos Ghosn after he was forced out following allegations of misconduct at Nissan. The French carmaker's board took the decision - backed by the government, its biggest shareholder - as Mr Ghosn remains in detention in Japan.

Meanwhile Ford has said a no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic for the firm's manufacturing operations in the UK and that it would do "whatever is necessary" to protect its business. The comments come after a report the carmaker was stepping up preparations to move production out of the UK. Ford declined to comment directly on The Times' report, but said it had long warned against a "hard Brexit". The company is the latest carmaker to warn on the risks of a no-deal Brexit.

Sport

Football - “When the Spurs go marching in” Tottenham produced a magnificent second-half display to totally dominate leaders Borussia Dortmund and take control of this Champions League last 16 tie in the first leg at Wembley.

Manchester United and Paris St-Germain have been charged by Uefa following their Champions League last-16 tie at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

United have been charged with the throwing of objects by fans and blocking of stairways.

PSG have been charged with the setting off of fireworks, throwing of objects, acts of damages and crowd disturbance.

And - Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been charged by the Football Association for comments he made about the referee after his side's draw with West Ham. draw with West Ham.

Formula One – Mercedes’s team principal Toto Wolff sauy they are "taking nothing for granted" this season. The team, led by five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, have won the past five constructors' championships.

Boxing - Anthony Joshua will fight in the US for the first time when he defends his IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight titles against Jarrell Miller on 1st June. 29 year old Joshua, will take on Miller at Madison Square Garden in the undefeated American's home city of New York. Miller, with 23 wins and a draw, has never fought for a world title.

Weather

Fine and sunny with clear blue skies across the region with highs of 16 degrees in Menton, 15° in Nice, 18° in Saint Tropez with a moderate variable wind. This evening going down to 5 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for Friday and the weekend clear skies and sunshine set to continue with highs of 16° in the Alpes Maritimes and 18° in the Var.

 

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