French and Riviera News Thursday 2nd January 2020

Local

Gastroenteritis - Emergency services in the region are currently saturated due to the epidemic of gastroenteritis in the region. Health officials said on Wednesday that doctors have been “overwhelmed” by the number of patients and have asked that only the most vulnerable cases, such as young children and the elderly contact the “Samu” which is currently receiving one call every minute in the Alpes Maritimes with people reporting symptoms of gastroenteritis.

Man killed while sledging on New Year’s Eve - A 28-year-old man has died in a sledging accident in the Alpes de Haute Provence. Emergency services intervened shortly after 3am on New Year's Eve but were unable to save the victim. According to reports the man had collided with a tractor trailer as he descended a snowy slope in a field.

City council to consider banning heaters on terraces - Nice city council has launched a debate on plans to remove heaters from outdoor terraces as part of the climate change emergency. The extremely polluting devices are popular with many cafés, bars and restaurants in the region. The City of Rennes in north western France has already banned such devices from the terraces of its bars and restaurants.

New Year swim - The traditional New year swim has been taking place across the region. In Toulon in the Var 880 swimmers participated on Wednesday morning braving the cold and taking a dip in the sea which was reportedly a cool 14 degrees.

Blue shark spotted in the Gulf of Saint Tropez - Fishermen in the Var have spotted a blue shark in the Gulf of Saint Tropez. Described an “an exceptional sighting” as the blue shark rarely approaches the Mediterranean coast. Blue sharks rarely bite humans. From 1580 up until 2013, the blue shark was implicated in only 13 biting incidents, four of which ended fatally.

First baby of 2020 - One of the first French babies of the year 2020 was born in Marseille. Parents Alain and Caroline welcomed their son César at ten past midnight on New Year’s day.

National

French President Emmanuel Macron - In Tuesday's televised New Year's Eve address, French President Emmanuel Macron has said his government would push through a pension overhaul that has sparked one of the country's biggest transport strikes in decades. He called for a "rapid compromise" with unions. Macron gave no sign in his address that he would back down on the plan to reform France's complex pension system, saying "the pension reform will be carried out."

Meanwhile the leader of France's hardline CGT union has urged all workers to join pension strikes. Reacting to Macron's speech, CGT leader Philippe Martinez called for strikes "everywhere" from next week, both "in the public and the private sector".

Ban - Disposable plastic plates, cups, straws and other products have been banned in France. The ban applies to some of the most common polluting products but does not concern plastic packing material. The ban aims to put an end to some of the most recognisable single-use products plastic plates, cups, cutlery, drinking straws all fall under the ban, as do cotton buds used for cleaning and hygiene.

Legion d’honneur - Football all-rounder and former Arsenal coach Arsène Wenger, actresses Jeanne Balibar and Marina Hands, singer Gilbert Montagné and Nobel prize winner Gérard Mourou are among 487 people to be given the Legion d’honneur award. The 487 awards were given to people who distinguished themselves in “the general interest,”.

The institution of the Legion d’Honneur awards was founded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. It is France’s highest national distinction and has 92,000 members.

Business

Global stock markets ended 2019 with healthy gains despite slowing growth and the trade war between the United States and China.

Last year saw a welcome return to confidence in equities after many global markets suffered their worst year in a decade in 2018.

The Dow Jones industrials added more than 20 percent in 2019 while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq did even better rising by around 30 percent.

China’s Shanghai Composite index rose 24 percent in 2019 and even the Hang Seng in Hong Kong managed a 12 percent increase despite a backdrop of anti-government protests.

The European economy had a mixed year but markets registered impressive gains with the Dax in Frankfurt up 25 percent on the year and the FTSE 100 in London up 12 percent.

 

President Trump has announced that he will sign the long-awaited trade deal with China on the 15th of January.

The so called “phase 1” deal should help to reduce tensions between the world’s two largest economies with the signing due to take place in Washington in the presence of high level representatives from China.

Mr Trump said that he would be travelling to China later in the year to get on with “phase 2” of the deal.

The text of the “phase 1” agreement has not yet been published but its understood that China has agreed to increase purchases of US agricultural products and boost intellectual property protections while Washington will roll back some tariffs on Chinese goods.

 

And-Leading US drug makers have hiked their prices by between 5 and 10 percent.

Reuters reports that prices have been increased on a range of some 250 everyday drugs with the chance of more rises in the near future.

The United States which allows drug pricing to be guided by market competition has higher prices than many other countries where governments directly or indirectly control costs making it the world’s most lucrative market for pharmaceutical firms.

Companies tend to negotiate rebates on their list prices in exchange for favourable treatment from health care insurers meaning that patients rarely pay the full price.

Sport

Football-There was a full programme in the English Premier League on New Year’s Day with Arsenal registering their first win under new coach Mikel Arteta as they saw off Manchester United 2-0.

In the other results Brighton and Chelsea drew 1-1.Leicester City were 3-0 winners at Newcastle.Southampton beat Spurs 1-0.Watford beat Wolves 2-1.Manchester City were 2-1 winners over Everton.Norwich and Crystal Palace drew 1-1 and West Ham thrashed Bournemouth 4-0 to give new manager David Moyes a winning start.

There’s one game tonight with the leaders Liverpool facing Sheffield United at Anfield.

In the English Championship the top of the table clash between West Brom and Leeds ended in a 1-1 draw while Millwall beat Luton 3-1.Wigan were 3-2 winners at Birmingham.Brentford were 4-0 winners at Bristol City.Fulham lost 2-1 at home to Reading.Stoke City were 5-2 away winners at Huddersfield.Nottingham Forest beat Blackburn 3-2.Middlesbrough were 2-0 winners at Preston.QPR thrashed Cardiff 6-1 and Hull were 1-0 winners at Sheffield Wednesday.

Cricket-The England bowler Joffra Archer is doubtful for the second Test against South Africa in Cape Town tomorrow after picking up a right elbow injury.

The 24 year old did not bowl in training yesterday and could miss the match.

England are likely to include a spinner in the team with Somerset’s Dom Bess favourite to get the nod ahead of Jack Leach and Matt Parkinson.

South Africa lead the 4 match series 1-0 after winning the opening Test at Centurion by 107 runs.

Basketball-The former commissioner of America’s National Basketball Association David Stern has died at the age of 77.

Mr Stern retired in 2014 after holding the job for 30 years.

He’d been in  serious condition since suffering a brain haemorrhage last month.

He’s credited with massively increasing the sport’s revenues and popularity.

Weather

Mainly fine with light variable or westerly winds.

Top temperature 14 degrees.

Overnight lows of 8 degrees on the coast and 5 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Mainly fine with highs of 14-15  degrees.

Finally

The new year hangover will cost the UK economy almost £5billion, say analysts. Figures show that nearly one in eight workers who go ill  do so in the first week of January.

Most absences are logged today, the first day back after the new year bank holiday.

They typically last for three days, with women almost a third more likely to take time off compared with men.

The highest rate of absences were in Scotland and Wales, and the lowest in London.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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