French and Riviera News Thursday 14th March 2019

Local 

Measles - Public Health France has announced that Measles has claimed its first victim of 2019 in France. Last year, three people died of measles, a highly contagious disease that can cause serious or even fatal complications. In all, about twenty people have died of the disease since 2008. Since the beginning of 2019, measles has affected 350 people, significantly less than the same period in 2018 (966), 

Since the beginning of the year in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region 28 cases have already been reported to the Regional Health Agency. In the Var, the epidemic affected 15 children. 

The World Health Organization and UNICEF have recently alerted the world about the return of the disease and according to Unicef, ten countries, including Brazil, Ukraine and France, account for about three-quarters of the total increase in cases in 2018.

In France, the vaccine was made compulsory for children born after 1 January 2018. Previously it was part of the recommended vaccines. A first injection is carried out at 12 months followed by a second between 16 and 18 months.

Beaches in the Var - Five months after  pollution hit the beaches in the Var region, authorities have intensified the "clean up" operation on the last stretch of coastline at La Croix Valmer. The aim is to make sure that the entire area is ready for the tourist season which is just around the corner with the Easter holiday fast approaching. 

Strike action by tax offices in the Var - Civil servants working at the tax offices of Brignoles, Saint Tropez and Toulon in the Var have protested this week in front of their offices against plans announced by the French government to cut the number of jobs in their sector. The protests were ahead of a general strike which is planned today in Brignoles. 

Drug trafficking - Three people are to appear in court accused of drug trafficking. Police in Hyeres carried out the arrests at the beginning of the month following a raid in which 220 grams of cannabis was seized. At the time the three individuals aged 25, 22 and 21, were transferred to the Toulon public prosecutor's office. 

Fire - Firefighters in the Var have called for the public to be extremely vigilant after a fire broke out on the roadside in Le Castellet in the Var the cause is believed to have been a discarded cigarette butt. Firefighters intervened at 2pm on Wednesday as nearly 500 square meters of vegetation was destroyed. Fire services have warned that conditions are extremely dry at this time of year and it’s important not to throw any cigarettes onto the roadside in order to avoid any fire risk. 

Traffic - The regions A8 motorway saw traffic come to a standstill on Wednesday following an accident westbound at Nice. Shortly after the accident a broken down vehicle added to the delays. The accident occurred at 4.30pm and the area around Nice remained slow and difficult until 7pm.

Visit - Ahead of reports that French President Emmanuel Macron will be in the region to meet with his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jingping, following his official visit to Monaco where he is meeting with His serene highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, it has been announced that five marinas in the area will be closed. Local media reported on Wednesday that at the request of the Prefect of the Alpes Maritimes the ports of Beaulieu, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Eze and Cap d’Ail will be closed on the 24th and 25th March. 

Uber Eats - The meal delivery application Uber Eats has announced it will be available in five new French cities including Grasse in the Alpes Martimes. In the Alpes-Maritimes, the service is available in Nice, Cannes and Antibes. In the Var, you can find it in Toulon, La Seyne-sur-Mer and Hyères. Uber Eats is also setting up in Blois, La Roche-sur-Yon, Mantes-la-Jolie and Saint-Brieuc. Uber Eats is is now available in 74 cities in France.

Daily newspaper Le Figaro has published a list of the best towns and cities in France in which to spend one’s retirement. The Cote d’Azur does well in the rankings with Cannes at number 3, Mandelieu-la-Napoule at number 9, Antibes taking the 15th place and Nice at number 24. The list was drawn up using a large number of criteria including hours of sunshine, access to medical care and real estate prices. The number one place for retirement in France according to the survey is Arcachon in the Gironde.

National 

Brexit - The EU has indicated it’s ready to grant the UK an extension on Brexit – if London puts forward a convincing reason as to why it’s merited. MPs in the House of Commons rejected a no-deal Brexit on Wednesday and are to reconvene today for another vote on whether Brexit should be delayed.

Fishing Industry – Meanwhile France’s government has said it would consider how to compensate fishermen unable to fish in British territorial waters in case the UK leaves the European Union without a deal. French and other European vessels currently have access to British waters as part of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which sets quotas for member states active in shared European exclusive economic zone waters.

Domestic Violence - The French government has announced that the number of victims of domestic violence in France has almost doubled in the last year. Police intervened 420 times in 2018 following calls via a helpline which was made available to women “threatened by” or “victims” of domestic violence. In France, one woman dies, on average every three days as a result of domestic violence.

Wedding guests fined for irresponsible behavior - Wedding guests attending a wedding in Roubaix in the North of France got more than they bargained for after the police issued 32 fines during the procession due to “irresponsible behavior”. In total 3,010 euros was charged to guests in fines for offenses such as not wearing a seatbelt, speeding, leaning out of car doors and brandishing flags. The city council has for several years forbidden any behavior at such events which does not comply with the highway-code similar to other towns across France. 

Mother fined for smoking with a minor in her car - A motorist has been fined 135 euros for smoking while her child was in the car. The incident occurred in the Charente Maritime in Southwestern France. At the time the mother was accompanying her 17 year old son to his work experience when she was stopped by police. Smoking in a vehicle in the presence of a minor is illegal however, when questioned by police the woman believed it applied to children under 13. Speaking to the local press she added « ironically my son is also a smoker ».   

Sexism - About 20 media and communication groups in France have signed a “charter of good conduct” against sexual harassment and sexist behaviour. On Wednesday TF1, Canal +, France Television and Radio France, as well as Havas and SFR were among those who signed the charter at the Ministry of Culture. The charter organized by the association "For women in the media", was proposed a few weeks after the revelation of the affair of the "LOL League”. According to figures one woman out of two in the media industry has already been a victim of sexist behavior and one in ten students at journalism school have been sexually harassed.

Letter to Donald Tusk - Six year old Sophie from London has posted a letter on Instagram addressed to Donald Tusk. While the United Kingdom is immersed in uncertainty sixteen days from the expected date of Brexit, Sophie expressed her attachment to the European Union writing "Dear Mr. Tusk, I live in Britain, I know we are leaving the European Union but I think we should be friends," she wrote from London. "I drew you a unicorn," adds Sophie.

The President of the European Council Donald Tusk appreciated the touching post and replied posting  "We will always be friends, Sophie”.

Business

Boeing has grounded its entire fleet of 737 Max aircraft after investigators uncovered new evidence at the site of the fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash.

Boeing said that it was suspending all 371 of the aircraft but that it continues to have “full confidence” in the safety of the 737 Max.

The US Federal Aviation Administration had held out before grounding the aircraft following an intervention by President Trump.

Many other countries have already banned the planes.

The crash on Sunday killed 157 people in Addis Ababa and came just 5 months after the Lyon Air disaster over Indonesia last October which claimed 189 lives.

Boeing said that it had decided to ground the planes out of “an abundance of caution”  and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft’s safety.

Reuters is reporting that a group of investors led by Japan’s Softbank and Toyota is in talks to invest more than a billion dollars into Uber Technologies self-driving unit.

The report says that the investment would value the unit at between 5-10 billion dollars  and would provide a much needed cash injection for the startup which is currently costing Uber hundreds of millions of dollars without generating revenue.

The cash injection could also help to underscore Uber’s value as it prepares for a stock market debut  in which its value could top 100 billion dollars.

And-The pound has jumped to highs not seen since June 2018 after the UK Parliament rejected  a no-deal Brexit.

MP’s in the House of Commons voted against leaving the EU without a deal in any scenario last night,paving the way for a vote on whether to try and delay Brexit.

Investors now see a less disorderly exit for the UK from the European Union.

Business leaders have welcomed the vote but have now urged the government to take action.

Formula 1-The sport’s race director Charlie Whiting has died at the age of 66 on the eve of the Australian Grand Prix.

Mr Whiting,who was one of the sport’s most influential people is reported to have suffered a pulmonary embolism in Melbourne this morning.

He was due to officiate at the Australian Grand Prix this weekend and had been working for the FIA since 1988.

The president of the FIA Jean Todt said that he was “deeply saddened” by the news and said that Mr Whiting had been a central and inimitable figure who embodied the ethics and spirit of Formula 1.

Football-Liverpool are through  to the last 8 of the European Champions League following a three-one victory in the second leg of their round of 16 tie against Bayern Munich last night.The victory takes Liverpool through 3-1 on aggregate after the first leg ended 0-0.

Last night’s other tie ended Barcelona 5 Lyon  1.Barcelona win 5-1 on aggregate.

There were 7 games in the English Championship last night.Birmingham lost 2-0 at home to Millwall.Derby and Stoke drew 0-0.Middlesbrough lost 2-1 at home to Preston.Norwich beat Hull 3-2.Aston Villa were 3-1 winners at Nottingham Forest.QPR lost 2-1 at home to Rotherham and West Brom beat Swansea 3-0.

Second leg ties in the Europa League round of 16 are being played tonight.Chelsea take a 3-0 lead into the away leg of their game against Dynamo Kiev while Arsenal go into the home leg of their tie against Rennes trailing 3-1.

Cricket-Australia have completed a one day series victory over India with victory in the fifth game in Delhi.

Australia made 272-9 from their 50 overs and then bowled the home side out for 237 to win the match by 35 runs and take the series 3-2.

Racing-The odds on favourite Altior claimed a record equalling 18th consecutive win over the jumps with victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday.

The Nicky Henderson trained horse was far from dominant but came home by one and three quarter lengths to win the race.

The feature race today is the Stayers’ Hurdle which is off at 4.30 French time this afternoon.

Weather

Mainly fine with a moderate to strong westerly wind with gusts of up to 65 km/h.

Top temperature 17 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 10-12  degrees with clear skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Clear skies,windy in the Var tomorrow.Highs of 17-21 degrees.

Finally 

 

 

 

 

 

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