French and Riviera News Tuesday 19th February 2019

Local

Facial recognition - The Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi has confirmed that the city has been given the green light to try out a facial recognition security system at Nice Carnival, a first in France.  The system developed by the Monegasque company Confidentia, is based on artificial intelligence. 1,000 volunteers have given their authorization as part of the experiment which aims to improve access controls making them more effective replacing access badges with facial recognition.

Tramline - Nice City council has announced that the price of a tram ticket for line two which will run from the Port to the Airport  will not increase for Nice residents remaining at 1 euro 50 a ticket or 10 euros for ten. It still remains to be decided if there will be a “visitor’s rate” put in place for tourists. 

Postal service - The postal service in the Alpes Maritimes has over the last six months, introduced a new service delivering meals to the elderly, a service which is expected to eventually be used across France. Since September for 19 euros 90 a month meals are available for the elderly. The new service comes as competition from the internet has seen La Poste lose 7% of its business each year.

Laureus Awards – Sport personalities Tiger Woods, Lindsey Vonn and Arsene Wenger were among the top winners at the Laureus World Sports Awards here in Monaco on Monday night. Former Arsenal FC manager, Arsene Wenger was awarded the lifetime achievement award, while skier Lindsey Vonn, who recently announced her retirement, was awarded the Spirit of Sport Award and Tiger Woods was awarded the Comeback award. Tennis player Novak Djokovic was awarded Sportsman of the Year and gymnast Simone Biles won Sportswoman of the Year and finally following their second World Cup victory the French national football team were awarded team of the year.

Carnival – Spectators turned out on Monday to see the naval carnival in Villefranche sur mer. The tradition dates back to 1902 and is part of the festivities currently taking place on the Côte d’Azur with the Carnival in Nice and the Lemon festival in Menton.

Weather - Temperatures are expected to reach well above normal this week for this time of year, according to Meteo France. While the average maximum temperature is 13 degrees, forecasters say some parts of the Var region namely Brignoles and Rayol Canadel will experience between 17 and 20 degrees from Wednesday through until Sunday.

National

Missing - A British tourist and a French tourist are missing at a beach on the New South Wales mid-north coast. Personal items belonging to Hugo Palmer and Erwan Ferrieux were found by walkers on Monday. Their rental car, was later found in the car park containing other belongings, including travel documents. A water and ground search began on Monday involving police and emergency services. It continued this morning, but police said there had been no sign of the pair.

Civil servants - According to a survey published on Monday more than half of French people are in favor of changing the status of civil servants in France. 76% are in for introducing a voluntary redundancy plan while 60% believe it should no longer be “lifetime employment”. While the government's public service bill is favoured by the private sector it is fiercely criticized by the unions. The reforms plan to see a decrease of 120,000 post in public services by the end of Emmanuel Macron’s five-year term.

Alcohol consumption - Public Health France has released figures showing that alcohol consumption still remains the second leading cause of avoidable mortality after smoking in France causing  approximately 41,000 deaths per year and representing 7% of the total number of deaths of people aged 15 and over in 2015. According to the figures in 2015, alcohol consumption resulted in 16,000 deaths, 9,900 from cancer 6,800 from cardiovascular diseases and 5,400 from accidents or suicide.

Business

Honda is expected to confirm today that it will shut its plant in Swindon in England in 2022 putting 3,500 jobs at risk.

A range of issues is being linked to the closure including Brexit,falls in sales of diesel vehicles and the EU’s new trade deal with Japan which will mean that tariffs on cars manufactured in Japan and exported to the Europe will disappear over time.

Thousands more jobs in the supply chain to the plant and at businesses in the surrounding area could also be under threat.

The British Prime Minister’s office has said that Theresa May will not make a statement about the closure until Honda confirms the news.

 

The founder of the Chinese tech giant Huawei has said that that there is “no way” that the United States can break the firm.

In an interview with the BBC,Ren Zhengfei said that the arrest of his daughter Meng Wanzhou had been “politically motivated” and denied that the firm had been involved in money laundering,bank fraud and stealing state secrets.

Mr Ren said that the world “could not leave Huawei because we are more advanced”.He said that even if the United States persuaded more countries not to use the firm temporarily,Huawei would simply “scale things down a bit”.

Last week,the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned America’s allies against using Huawei technology saying that it would make it “more difficult” for Washington to “partner alongside them”.

 

And-Shares in Norwegian Air Shuttle have slumped to a seven year low after the firm offered heavily discounted shares to raise some 350 million dollars to shore up its balance sheet.

The rights issue is intended to buy Norwegian time following the collapse of talks with suitors including the owner of British Airways IAG.

Norwegian Air Shuttle has been hit through a combination of higher fuel prices and a European fare war.

The firm has been selling shares in a two-for-one rights offer at 33 kroner each compared with a price of 97.34 kroner at Friday’s close.

Norwegian is also selling planes and cutting costs alongside the rights issue.

The discount carrier reported a net loss of 1.45 billion  kroner last year.

Sport

Football-Pressure is growing on the Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri after his side were beaten 2-0 at home by Manchester United in the 5th round of the FA Cup last night.

The defeat follows on from a 6-0 drubbing by Manchester City in the League recently as well as defeats to Bournemouth and Spurs.

United will now be away at Wolves in the quarter finals.The other ties pair Swansea City with Manchester City,Watford against Crystal Palace and Millwall against Brighton.

There are two ties in the Champions League round of 16 tonight.Liverpool host Bayern Munich at Anfield while Lyon play Barcelona.

Formula 1-Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time on the first day of pre-season testing in Barcelona.

Although very little can be garnered from the first day.,the Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said that Ferrari looked “ultra strong”.

Carlos Sainz in the McLaren was second quickest but it wasn’t a happy outing for Kimi Raikkonen who spun his Alfa Romeo off the track during his first flying lap.

Williams appear to be having the biggest problems though.The car missed the first day of testing and will not be ready today or for most of Wednesday according to reports.

Rugby Union-The England lock Maro Itoje could be back for the big 6 Nations game against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

Itoje is said to be making good progress as he recovers from medial ligament damage that he sustained during the win over Ireland on the first weekend of the tournament.

Victory over Wales would make England strong favourites for the 6 Nations with matches against Italy and Scotland to follow.

Dan Biggar and Leigh Halfpenny have both returned to full training with the Wales squad.Selection decisions will be made later in the week.

Boxing-Tyson Fury has signed a five fight deal with ESPN in the United States.

The contract means that a rematch against Deontay Wilder could face extra hurdles as he’s represented by a different broadcast network.

Fury’s fights will continue to be shown on BT Sport in the UK.

Fury,Wilder and the IBF,WBA and WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua all now work for rival US broadcasters which could make future negotiations difficult.

Weather

Clear skies with light to moderate easterly or variable winds.

Top temperature 14 degrees.

Overnight lows of 6 degrees on the coast and 3 degrees inland with clear skies.

Wednesday and Thursday-Mainly fine with highs of 13-15 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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