French and Riviera News Thursday 5th December 2019

Local

Strike - France is preparing for severe disruption as millions of workers go on strike in protest at being forced to retire later or face reduced pensions. School and transport workers will join police, lawyers and hospital and airport staff in a general walkout.

Easyjet has announced the cancellation of 233 flights over the next few days. The cancelled flights involve those arriving at or departing from French airports or flying over French airspace. Air France has announced the cancellation of 30% of its domestic flights and 15% of its medium-haul flights. Nationally, the SNCF is predicting that almost no TER or inter-city train services will operate and only one TGV out of ten will operate. Local timetables for the Riviera show a handful of trains scheduled for the morning and evening rush hours only. There are no trams running in Nice but there is free on-street parking.

The Monaco government has suggested carpooling as an alternative to public transport for workers travelling into the Principality from France.  Many local demonstrations are planned on the Riviera, including in Nice on the Place Massena this morning.

In Paris police have ordered shops and restaurants located on the main route of today’s massive pension strike in the French capital to close over fears of fresh protest violence. The government will deploy 6,000 police and army officers to deal with potential unrest.

Strikers are scheduled to march from Gare du Nord to Place de la Nation in central Paris.

But police are worried about plans announced by some Yellow Vest groups and other activists, including Black Bloc protesters, to demonstrate alongside the striking workers to offer their support.

The industrial action is expected to last beyond Thursday and some trade union leaders have warned they will continue to strike until Mr Macron abandons his campaign promise to overhaul the retirement system.

One opinion poll showed that seven out of ten French people support the strikes. The Macron administration will hope to avoid a repeat of the country's general strike over pension reforms in 1995, which crippled the transport system for three weeks and drew massive popular support, forcing a government to back down.

Another fatality has been confirmed as a result of last weekend’s storms. The body of a 61-year-old woman missing from Grimaud has been discovered in Saint-Tropez. The body of Marie-Claude Gaiero was found at Canoubiers beach on Wednesday morning. The discovery brings the total number of fatalities as a result of the storms to seven in the south-east of France.

Telephone scam - Authorities in the region have alerted members of the public to a current telephone scam. Several residents have reported to the city council in Valbonne after receiving calls from people posing as employees of the local tax office asking for payments. The number 01.78.90.14.71 is displayed and you are asked to call back and enter your bank details. A second scam involves an SMS message from 04.59.91.00.22 associated with the government website for parking tickets informing you to urgently pay an overdue fine. Authorities have confirmed that this is a scam and anyone receiving the call should report it to police.

Schools remain closed - Two schools in Mandelieu in the Alpes Maritimes will remain closed until Friday. Both establishments were closed following the bad weather on Sunday. Work is still being carried out to make access to the car park possible and repair areas of the school flooded by the torrential rain.

Delays on the A8 motorway - Motorists have suffered long delays on the A8 motorway following three accidents involving several vehicles which happened within minutes of each other. The rush hour traffic on Wednesday evening was disrupted eastbound just after the Antibes paytoll. Two lanes were closed. As yet no injuries have been reported.

Artwork for tramline 2 - Paola Sapone of the art Gallery “Galerie Sapone” in Nice has donated works of art to the City of Nice. The paintings will be part of a permanent exhibition in the underground station of tramline 2 at Jean-Médecin.

National

Euro 2020 - The Euro 2020 football box office has opened. One million tickets went on sale on Wednesday for the competition which will take place from June 12th to July 12th in 12 cities, in 12 European countries. 55,000 places have been allocated for the France’s matches, spread over seven matches.

According to the ticketing manager of the French Football Federation: "For France’s first match in Munich, the match against Germany, which will take place on June 16th, tickets are on offer for 50 euros.

Fans can apply for tickets until 18th December.

Business

The pound has surged to a two year high against the euro after the latest opinion polls suggested that the UK would avoid a hung parliament after the general election  next week.

Sterling rose after several polls gave the Conservative Party a 10 point lead with a week to go until voting begins.

The pound has risen by 6 percent over the past two months and climbed further still on Wednesday as investors saw the prospect of a hung parliament receding.

However ,some analysts are warning that not too much should be read into the latest polls and that there could still be a narrowing in voting intentions as the election a week today approaches.

The initial EU referendum result in 2016 saw sterling fall sharply against major currencies.

 

Asian stocks have edged higher this morning on signs that China and the United States are still on track to sign a preliminary trade deal.

Optimism has been somewhat tempered by the almost daily shifts in the prospects for defusing the damaging trade war which has been going on for the past 16 months.

On Wednesday ,Investors were quick to pick up on a Bloomberg report which said that Washington and Beijing are closer to agreeing how many tariffs should be rolled back in a phase 1 trade deal.

US President Donald Trump said later on Wednesday that negotiations are going “very well”  which provided a boost to risk assets and dented safe havens.

The fluid situation in the talks has jolted financial markets heading into Christmas with major economies struggling with weak exports ,investments and corporate profits.

 

And-Saudi Arabia is pushing Opec to announce deeper cuts in oil production in a bid to prop up prices ahead of a potential glut in supplies next year.

Opec members are meeting in Vienna to discuss production and prices with suggestions that a curb in output as a much as 400,000 barrels a day may be on the cards.

Rising hopes of a production cut boosted prices in Asian trade this morning with Brent Crude rising by 4 percent to 63 dollars.

Potential cuts to output come as analysts are warning that the crude market could be heavily oversupplied in the first half of 2020 as the strength of the global economy has been undermined by the US-China trade war.

Sport

Cricket-Tributes have been pouring in for the former England captain Bob Willis who’s died at the age of 70.

Willis played 90 Tests for England and captained the side 18 times.He’s still 4th highest on the list of all-time England wicket takers at 325.

He was best known for blowing the Australian’s away in the 1981 Ashes series during which he took a career best 8-43 to help England win the urn at the Headingly Test.

After he retired ,Willis became a successful commenter at Sky Sports where he was known for his sharp analysis and acerbic wit.

In a statement ,his family said that he’d died after a long illness.

David Gower ,who succeeded him as England captain said that Willis had “a burning ,bright passion for the game” while the former England fast bowler Darren Gough said that he was “hugely admired around the world”.

Football-There were 6 games in the English Premier League on Wednesday with the leaders Liverpool notching up a 5-2 win in the Merseyside derby against Everton.

There was no happy return for Jose Mourinho to Old Trafford as his Spurs side were beaten 2-1 by Manchester United.

Leicester moved back up to second with a 2-0 win over Watford while Chelsea maintained 4th place after beating Aston Villa 2-1.

Wolves are 5th after beating West Ham 2-0 and Southampton beat Norwich 2-1.

There are two games tonight.Sheffield United play Newcastle and Arsenal host Brighton.

In the Scottish Premiership last night Aberdeen and Rangers drew 2-2.Celtic beat Hamilton 2-1.Hearts and Livingston drew 1-1.Kilmarnock and St Johnstone drew 0-0.Ross County beat Hibs 2-1  and Motherwell were 3-0 winners over St Mirren.

Celtic are top of the table with a 2 point lead over Rangers.

Rugby Union-The former Scotland captain John Barclay has announced his retirement from the international game.

The 33 year old Edinburgh forward won 76 caps and played at 3 World Cups.

He made his debut against New Zealand at Murrayfield in 2007 and played his final match against Japan at the World Cup in October.

Writing on Instagram ,Barclay said that “all good things must come to an end”.

Weather

Rather cloudy with light to moderate north easterly winds.

Top temperature 15 degrees.

Overnight lows of 9 degrees on the coast and 7 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Mainly fine with a high of 15.

 

 

 

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