French and Riviera News Thursday 21st March 2019

Local 

Earthquake - South western France has experienced a sharp shock after an earthquake hit the region on Wednesday. Shortly before 11 am residents of the Charente-Maritime and the Bordeaux regions experienced the quake for at least five seconds. With a magnitude of 4.9 on the Richter scale the earth tremor was felt up to 250km from the epicentre in Poitiers and Clermont Ferrand. The damage in the epicentre area remained slight such as cracks in walls and falling plaster. In France, this kind of jolt is not exceptional, but it is noticeable. It’s necessary to reach a magnitude of 6 for catastrophic circumstances, which is rare. The last earthquake of this magnitude took place in 1909 near Marseille.

Meanwhile in the Var three small tremors were recorded on Wednesday morning, around Toulon and Fréjus-Saint-Raphaël, as well as in the west of the region. The first tremor with a magnitude of 1.9 occurred at the foot of the Estérel at 8am. The epicentre was located 5 kilometers from Le Muy, and 17 from Frejus. The second, with a magnitude of 2.0, was recorded at the edge of the harbor at 9.30am, its epicentre was located 3 kilometers from La Seyne. And finally, the third tremor was recorded in the west of the Var region. The epicentre was located 3 kilometers from Castellet and 6 km from Bandol.

Demonstrations banned in Nice this week-end - It’s been confirmed that Yellow Vest demonstrations will be banned in Nice this weekend. The announcement was made on Wednesday following the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi’s, request to both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Interior to ban the so-called Act 19 protests after the violent scenes in Paris last weekend. 

As part of security measures the military counter terrorist mission Sentinel will be used in the region at the weekend. The government’s decision has been met by disbelief from opposition parties with left wing leader Jean Luc Mélenchon calling the move “madness” adding a soldier is not a policemen while others describe the move as trying to solve “violence with violence”.

Meanwhile Marine Le Pen said she was "very shocked at the decision to use the army” adding “We do not put the army against the French people,"

Civil servants call for strike action - Unions representing French civil service workers have called for a day of strike action on the 9th of May. They are also calling for protests at prefectures and in central Paris on the 27th of March.
 

Recycling of household packaging - Nice City council has announced that yellow bins for household plastic waste will be available from June 1st. Containers dedicated to sorting plastic will be able to be used for “all plastic” waste. In addition to new measure from April 1st the yellow bins will be collected two days a week on Monday’s and Thursday’s

Airbnb for babies - A new start-up in Nice is offering childcare equipment for those on holiday in the region. Described as an Airbnb for babies the company “Yoma Family” will make it possible for parents to rent any childcare equipment to make life easier while on holiday. From highchairs to pushchairs bottle warmers to bathtubs the service aims to ease the life of those travelling with children.

Monaco welcomes Xi Jinping - As Monaco prepares for the historic visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday several security measures have been announced. As well as several road closures residents are requested not to use their  balconies and terraces between 11.30am and 1pm and between 2.30pm and 4pm. Any residents wishing to circulate in the Principality are also requested to be carrying ID at all times. For more information go to ssp@gouv.mc

National

First pay toll without a barrier - The first motorway pay toll without a barrier has been tested in France on a stretch of motorway in Moselle. The system, where vehicles slow down to a 50km speed limit, sees cameras register the vehicles number plate. For those that are not subscribed to the service the charge can be paid at the next station service, using machines put in place for doing so, or within ten days the amount due is sent to your address. Failure to pay would lead to an eventual fine. The move aims to reduce traffic and is already used in Canada which has seen a 30% drop in traffic jams.

Doctolib - The French-German start-up Doctolib, which specializes in making medical appointments on the Internet, announced on Wednesday that it is to invest 150 million euros in order to establish itself in new countries. The company is now valued at more than one billion euros. Doctolib has thus joined the very exclusive club of French unicorns, these young digital companies whose valuation exceeds one billion dollars, like Deezer, Blablacar and Vente-privée.com.

The goal of the Doctolib platform "is to bring patients closer to healthcare professionals," The platform, which employs 750 people throughout France will double" in size over the next three years. Doctolib was created in 2013.

Business

The US Federal Reserve has said that it doesn’t expect to raise interest rates again this year.

Following its two day policy meeting in Washington,the US central bank said that policymakers had been unanimous in their decision to keep rates in  a range between 2 and-a-quarter and 2 and-a-half percent.

The Fed warned that “growth of economic activity has slowed from its solid rate in the fourth quarter” and changed its outlook for 2019 from the two increases predicted in December to no movement.

The Fed went on to say that “recent indicators point to slower growth of household spending and business fixed investment in the first quarter”.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell repeated his stance that the central bank would continue to be “patient” and that it may be some time before the outlook for jobs and inflation calls clearly for a change in policy.

 

The iconic maker of blue jeans,Levi Strauss will be worth around 6.5 billion dollars when it rejoins the US stock market following a 34 year absence.

Shares in Levi Strauss have been priced at 17 dollars each-just above the target range of 14-16 dollars.

The firm has sold 623 million dollars worth of shares to institutional investors.The public will be allowed to buy shares from today.

The company will be listed under the symbol LEVI on the New York Stock Exchange  and plans to continue to expand its ranges of clothing for both men and women and deepen its presence in emerging markets.

And-Ford is to expand its production of all-electric vehicles after deciding that rapid growth in the market meant that it had to speed up its plans.

Ford will invest some 900 million dollars in new production capacity at a plant in Michigan and create 900 jobs.

It also aims to start the production of autonomous vehicles in two years time.

Last year, Ford set out plans to invest 11 billion dollars in new vehicle technologies.

Sport

Football-Euro 2020 qualifying gets underway tonight with 10 different games in various groups.

Scotland visit Kazakhstan-that’s an earlier kick off at 4pm French time this afternoon.

There were two friendly internationals last night.Germany and Serbia drew 1-1 and Wales beat Trinidad and Tobago 1-0.

Motorsport-Mick Schumacher has said that he has “no problems” being compared with his father –seven-time Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher.

19 year old Mick will start his first season in Formula 2 in Bahrain at the end of this month  and says that  he feels honoured to be compared with his father because he’s just trying to learn and improve.

Schumacher junior is being tipped for big things in the sport and will be racing for the leading Prema team this season.

Rugby Union-The Wales star Gareth Anscome has said that there could be an exodus of players from the national team from Welsh sides amid the regional uncertainty in regional rugby.

Any player with less than 60 caps who moves away from a Welsh side will not be able to play for the national side and Anscome said that the uncertainty caused by talk of domestic changes and on-off mergers was causing leading players to think about moving away.

Anscome was pivotal during the 6 Nations Grand Slam winning campaign.He currently plays fly-half for Cardiff Blues.

Weather

Clear skies  with light  variable winds.

Top temperature 18 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 10  degrees on the coast and 4 degrees inland  with clear skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Clear skies with highs of 18-22 degrees.

Finally 

Two parents are looking to hire a £40,000-a-year nanny who has to be permanently in character - as a Disney princess.

The couple want the female employee to pick their five-year-old twin girls up from school, cook dinner and put the kids to bed dressed as characters like Rapunzel, Frozen's Princess Anna and Cinderella.

Posting an ad on Childcare.co.uk, the mum explained: "We are looking for someone who can commit to a character and create a really fun atmosphere in our home.

"But also won’t be afraid to be a disciplinarian if the twins are naughty or act out – they can be little terrors at times!

"The right person will have a real creative flare as well as a passion for all things Disney and will be able to share that love of those characters with our girls."

Most parents seek stability in their childcare, but this nanny is required to switch things up and dress as a different Disney princess every month.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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