French and Riviera News Tuesday 12th March 2019

Local News

Damage caused by high winds - Strong winds which hit the region on Monday caused considerable damage as well as disruption to flights at Nice Airport. In Antibes a tree fell onto a bus shelter hitting a car with two people inside, both were unhurt, however traffic was severely disrupted as the incident occurred on the road which runs from the town center to the A8 motorway. In the Var, a fire broke out in a vineyard in Le Muy. The wind helped the blaze to spread as firefighters intervened just in time, avoiding any damage to a nearby business area as well as homes and a school. Meanwhile in the hills behind Cavalaire, firefighters intervened shortly after 10pm on Monday after a garden fire got out of control due to strong winds- no damage was reported.

And the regions train network near Pugets sur Argens suffered some delays after a tree fell onto the line again as a result of the high winds. 

Supermarket chain Leclerc recalls frozen green beans due to possible dangerous weed - The supermarket chain Leclerc has recalled two lots of frozen green beans of the brand "Notre Jardin" due to the risk of being contaminated by a toxic plant. Batches 8352M and 8031M of bags of 1 kilo of fine frozen green beans are being recalled. According to reports on March 8th the supermarket took the initiative to carry out a precautionary recall following the suspicion, still unconfirmed, of the presence of a weed called datura. According to the retail chain "These green beans come from the south of France where daturas are increasingly widespread". Datura is a hallucinogenic wild plant which contains toxic alkaloids and when consumed can have serious consequences for a person’s health.

Number of people reported missing in Cannes on the rise - Police in Cannes have released figures for the number of missing persons reported. In 2018 there were 45 disappearances recorded including an actress who completely vanished during the Cannes Film Festival. Since 2016, the number of missing persons reported to the police in Cannes continues to increase. Every year, “disturbing” disappearances are reported to the police in Cannes: 37 in 2016, 44 in 2017 and 45 in 2018. One police officer remarked that while « most people are quickly found in the following days, of the 45 that went "missing" last year, 44 were found safe and sound. Among the cases, was one man who had made his wife believe that he had been kidnapped when he had actually gone to find his mistress in Monaco or another case where the husband returned home, drunk, a few days later, saying he had wanted a "break". Another officer remarked that "When they do return home, relatives do not always think to notify us” making it difficult to tell the difference between "false alarms" and more complex situations. However the disappearance of an actress during the film festival remains unsolved. Police were alerted by the film crew after the actress of Eritrean origin had left all her personal belongings and papers at the hotel, leading police to believe that she had not wanted to return to her country of origin. Relatives have still not heard from her. 

Marseille to get a make-over - The City of Marseille has announced a major makeover, which will see the city’s centre and port area pedestrianized and hundreds of trees planted. The three-year project was officially launched last week and will cost a total of €60 million. Its first phase, is due to be completed this summer.

Housing project in Monaco - His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco has officially launched the National Plan for housing here in the Principality. On Monday, in the presence of the Minister of State Serge Telle, the 15 year project, which is an absolute priority for the government, was laid out with various aspects including the creation of 4,548 housing projects enabling more than three quarters of households to have state owned apartments.

Chinese President official visit to Monaco - Local media has reported that French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to visit the region on March 24th to meet with his Chinese counterpart who will be visiting Monaco. On February 28th it was official announced that His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, will welcome the President of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping, to Monaco. The official visit to the Principality took shape after the two heads of state met in Beijing last September and is a first in the history of the Principality.

National

Algeria’s President withdraw from presidential race - French foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has welcomed a decision by Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to withdraw from what would have been a fifth presidential race following weeks of protests against his candidacy. The announcement was greeted with celebration in the streets of Algiers. In a statement Le Drian said "France expresses its hope of a new dynamic which can answer the deep aspirations of the Algerian people will rapidly take hold”.

Policewoman accidentally shot dead by her colleague - A 20 year old policewoman has been killed by accidental fire from one of her colleagues at the Paris police headquarters. The incident occurred on Sunday evening according to reports the police officers were at the end of their service when the victim was fatally shot in the head by one of her colleagues who accidentally pressed the trigger. Several witnesses were present at the time and a psychological support unit has been set up for the relatives of the victim and the author who has been taken into police custody. 

French tycoon Bernard Tapie goes on trial - Ten years after French tycoon Bernard Tapie received a €400-million state payout, the businessman has gone on trial for fraud and embezzling public funds. Tapie arrived in court on Monday.  The boss of Orange, Stéphane Richard, will also be on trial alongside Tapie.

Meanwhile the trial of four “yellow vests” suspected of breaking into the ministry for relations with parliament in January is set to begin tomorrow. During the incident French government minister Benjamin Griveaux was evacuated as protesters smashed through the main gate of the ministry in Paris using a forklift truck.

Users of a drug prescribed to fight against baldness take legal action - The lawyer of the alleged victims of the drug “Propecia" also known as “Finasteride” which is prescribed to cure baldness has announced to French media that three victims have launched judicial proceedings due to serious side effects. The drug is used by the MSD laboratory and prescribed to about 30,000 French people each year. According to their legal representative about sixty patients have described extremely adverse effects related to taking the drug.

Business

The pound has risen after the British Prime Minister Theresa May said that she’d  secured changes to the UK’s divorce deal from the European Union and planned to go ahead with a meaningful vote in Parliament today.

Sterling rose by as much as 1.1 percent against the dollar amid optimism that progress is finally being made to resolve the Brexit crisis although it’s not yet clear whether Mrs May will have the numbers to get the deal through the House of Commons.

The breakthrough followed a whistle-stop visit by Mrs May to Strasbourg last night for a meeting with the EU President Jean Claude Juncker during which legal concessions on the thorny Irish Backstop question were given.

Foreign exchange strategists have said this morning that they remain optimistic that a hard-Brexit will be avoided and that if the deal goes through today then it would be “very good news” for sterling.

Mr Juncker warned last night however that it was “this deal-or Brexit may not happen at all”.

 

The United States has warned Germany that it would curb intelligence sharing if Berlin allows Huawei to participate in its 5G mobile network.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the warning came in a recent letter sent by the US ambassador to Germany.

Washington has been lobbying its allies to boycott Huawei due to concerns over national security.

The Chinese firm has rejected the claims that it poses a security risk and is currently suing the US government.

In the letter,the US ambassador,Richard Grenell said that America would not be able to keep the same level of co-operation with German security agencies if the country allowed Huawei or other Chinese firms to participate  in its next-generation 5G network.

 

And-The electric carmaker Tesla is increasing prices of its vehicles after scaling back its store closure programme.

Tesla said that the 3 percent increase would not apply to its new mid-market Model 3  but that other vehicles in its range would all see prices rise.

The firm said earlier this month that it would close an unspecified number of stores to fund a price cut for the Model 3 but later said that it would close only around half of the stores originally planned.

Tesla currently has 378 stores and service locations but hasn’t said which ones will close.

Sport

Football-Zinedine Zidane has rejoined the Spanish giants Real Madrid as manager only 10 months after leaving.

The Frenchman replaces Santiago Solari who was sacked after less than 5 months in charge.

Zidane has agreed to take charge until 2022.Real Madrid are currently 3rd in La Liga ,12 points behind the leaders Barcelona.They were also knocked out of the European Champions League by Ajax.

There was one game in the Scottish Premiership last night.St Mirren lost 1-0 at home to Kilmarnock.

There are two round of 16 second leg ties in the Champions League tonight.Juventus host Athletico Madrid trailing 2-0 from the first leg and Manchester City take a 3-2 lead into their game against Schalke.

Rugby Union-Maro Itoje has been ruled out of England’s final 6 Nations game against Scotland with a knee injury.

The Saracens lock hasn’t played for England since they beat Ireland on the opening weekend and he’s being kept out until its certain that he’s recovered properly.

Meanwhile Scotland’s Stuart Hogg,Blair Kinghorn and Tommy Seymour will all miss the match with various injury problems.

Racing-A wet and windy start is forecast for the Cheltenham Festival which gets underway today.

Native River is looking to become the first back-to-back winner of Friday’s Gold Cup since Best Mate completed a hat-trick of victories in 2004.

Today is Champions Day with the featured race the Champion Hurdle Chase which is off at 4.30 French time this afternoon.

Weather

Hazy sunshine with light to moderate south westerly winds.

Top temperature 16 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 8-10 degrees with cloudy skies.

Wednesday and Thursday-Mainly fine with highs of 15-17 degrees.

Finally 

A new study has revealed that British adults aren't quite as knowledgeable about the world as they think they are. 

Research has found that 90 per cent of people struggle with geography questions that are meant for 10 to 13-year-olds.

For example, nearly a third were unable to identify France on a map while three quarters could not name the capital of Canada.

The study was carried out by Expedia, who asked over 2,000 adults and more than 1,000 children to complete questions based on Key Stage 3 level geography tests.

Almost two thirds of the adults surveyed (59 per cent) considered themselves to be well travelled – yet ironically over half failed to recognise Japan (52 per cent) and India (50 per cent), a country which is approximately 13 times bigger than the UK, on a map.

Meanwhile, although four in ten adults (40 per cent) were able to spot Argentina, one in ten (10 per cent) thought it was Brazil.

The trickiest place to pinpoint was mountainous Austria, with 76 per cent of Brits struggling to correctly name the country.

And when it came to UK geography, almost half of those surveyed (47 per cent) struggled to identify Devon, with more than one in ten adults (13 per cent) confusing the county famous for its beautiful coastline for neighbouring Cornwall.

The study also revealed half of Brits (49 per cent) use travel booking websites to learn about new countries before they go away.

 

 

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