French and Riviera News Tuesday 8th October 2019

Local

Tramway in Nice - For the first time since work on the new tramline began the Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi and former French Prime Minister Jean Pierre Raffarin along with a delegation of officials, residents and traders have visited the future underground station of the new tramline in Nice. While the completion of line 3 in the west of the city is expected next month the section Jean Medicin – Le Port is due to be complete on December 14th.

A part of history has also been exhibited on the new platform of the tramline with the original base of the “Sincaire tower” dating back to 1543 and the Franco-Turkish siege with the folk heroine of the city of Nice Catherine Ségurane on display for all to admire. 

Farmers to protest in the Var today - Farmers in the Var have announced plans to protest in the region today by occupying roundabouts and access to main roads. The national call to demonstrate was announced by the Federation of Farmers' Unions denouncing what they call "agribashing” and general unfair treatment of farmers and their profession.

Protests are planned from 7am to 9am at the roundabout in Hyeres, the motorway entrance at Cuers and Le Cannet des Maures, aswell as the roundabout of La Foux at Gassin and in Fayence.

Boa constrictor - Firefighters have managed to capture a two-meter-long boa constrictor which had escaped from an apartment in Marseille. Residents in the apartment block alerted emergency services after the snake killed and ate a kitten on one of the balconies. The animal was at the time being looked after by a friend who lives in the residence.

Vineyards on the Côte d’Azur - Recent figures published have shown that the overall wine production in the vineyards of the Côte d’Azur is down by 14% this year compared to last, due to drought. Several departments have been affected by the scorching episodes of June and July including the Gard, Hérault and the Var.

Chanel fashion house buys domaine in Porquerolles – Meanwhile the famous fashion house Chanel has announced its acquisition of The Domaine de l’ile on the island of Porquerolles in the Var, one of three on the island, the domain was until now owned by Sébastien Le Ber, grandson of François-Joseph Fournier, who acquired the island in its entirety in 1910 to offer it as a wedding present to his young wife. A passionate winemaker, it is he who has developed over the last forty years the area with 35 hectares of vineyards and olive groves.

The fashion house is already owner of three estates in Bordeaux. The amount of the transaction has not been revealed.

Le Rayol Canadel honors Jacques Chirac - The Mayor of Rayol Canadel in the Var Jean Plénat has announced plans to rename the Avenue des Belges to Avenue Jacques Chirac, in honor of the former French President who died last week. Chirac moved to the village aged eight and spent time at the Domaine Potez where his father worked. The inauguration will take place on Saturday, October 12th at 11am at the Domaine with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque and an exhibition on the main moments of the life of Jacques Chirac in the village. It will also coincide with celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of Rayol Canadel.

National

Motorcyclist killed - A thousand people have gathered in Villiers le Bel north of Paris demanding that “the truth” be told about the circumstances following the death of a 23-year-old man in a motorcycling accident on Sunday. The accident occurred near a police intervention and according to the family’s lawyer witnesses say a police vehicle may have been responsible for the fatal fall. The victim’s family have since filed a lawsuit against X for manslaughter and an investigation is underway to determine the exact circumstances including the examination of CCTV cameras. 

Internal report - An internal report on the man who killed four police colleagues in Paris last week says the 45-year-old computer expert, who was hearing disabled and had converted to Islam, showed signs of radicalising in 2015 but “no problem” since. Mickaël Harpon was shot dead after stabbing four people to death with a 33-centimetre kitchen knife and an oyster knife during the lunchtime attack at his workplace on the French capital’s Île de la Cité on Thursday. He had been employed at Paris police headquarters since 2003.

Scientific breakthrough - Four years after a nightclub fall that left a 28-year-old from Lyon tetraplegic. The victim has managed to walk again thanks to a brain-controlled exoskeleton. The technology represents a scientific breakthrough that could bring hope to tetraplegics seeking to regain movement. The results of a clinical trial, conducted in June 2017, were published last week.

Mona Lisa returns - The Mona Lisa has returned to its place in the Louvre museum after renovations in the room where it is usually displayed were completed. After two months of work, Leonardo da Vinci's painting, which millions of tourists from around the world come to see every year, is once again back in its place. A statement from the Louvre explained that the decision to renovate the room was made as a result of a huge increase in the number of visitors to the museum since the “Grand Louvre” project and the Pyramid were completed 30 years ago.

Marcel Proust - Letters showing how Marcel Proust waged a charm offensive to get glowing reviews and win France's top literary prize have failed to sell at a Paris auction on Monday.

Sixteen letters that the author of "Remembrance of Things Past" wrote to the influential newspaperman Rene Blum between 1913 and 1916 were expected to go for up to €300,000 euros at Christie's. The letters showed how the well-connected and wealthy Proust pulled every possible string to make sure his books were hailed as masterpieces.

Business

The prospects for progress in the trade war between China and the United States have dimmed after Washington blacklisted a number of Chinese firms over Beijing’s treatment of predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities and President Trump said that the chance of a quick trade deal was unlikely.

The move by the US Commerce Department could deepen divisions between the two sides as they convened for two days of talks aimed at paving the way for further discussions later this week.

Washington and Beijing have been at odds over US demands that China improve protections on American intellectual property ,end cyber theft and the forced transfer of technology to Chinese firms.

President Trump also wants China to curb industrial subsidies and increase access for US firms to largely closed Chinese markets.

 

The UK Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned that even a “relatively benign” no-deal Brexit would push Britain’s debt to its highest level since the 1960s.

The influential think tank said that borrowing would likely be pushed up to 100  billion pounds and that total debt would rise to 90 percent of national income.

The director of the ISF Paul Johnson said that the government is now “adrift without any effective fiscal anchor”.

He said that given the extraordinary level of uncertainty and risks facing the economy and public finances ,the government should not be looking to offer permanent overall tax giveaways in any forthcoming budget.

 

And-The  restaurant chain Pizza Express has hired financial advisors ahead of a meeting with creditors to review its debt situation.

Pizza Express ,which has 470 outlets made losses for the past two years and its operating profits have been more than offset by the high interest payments on its 1.1 billion pound debt pile.

Pizza Express was founded in  1965 and currently employs  14,000 people.

It’s owned by the Chinese private investment firm Hony.

The current interest on the firm’s debt is costing it 93 million pounds a year which is exceeding its operating profit.

In April auditors concluded that the firm is still a going concern despite its debts being of higher value than its assets.

Sport

MA NOLANS RUGBY WORLD CUP REPORT.

There’s one match at the World Cup today.South Africa play Canada in Pool B.

The Springboks will be looking for big score with a bonus point as they bid to see off Italy’s challenge for second place in the Pool but they should make it as Italy’s final Pool match is against New Zealand.

Wales have made two changes for their game against Fiji tomorrow.

James Davies comes in for Justin Tipuric who’s being rested and Ross Moriarty replaces Aaron Wainwright.

Wales will be through to the quarter finals if they win tomorrow and will want to go on and win the Pool to avoid a possible encounter with England in the last 8.

And-England are waiting on the fitness of Billy Vunipola ahead of Saturday’s final Pool game against France.

The number 8 picked up an ankle injury against Argentina  and will be replaced by Mark Wilson if he’s ruled unfit.

A final decision is expected today.

Formula 1-Organisers of the Japanese Grand Prix as well as the Rugby World Cup are keeping an eye on Typhoon Hagibis which could bring high winds and torrential rain over the weekend.

The Typhoon is forming south of Japan and could be the strongest to hit the country this year.

The 2014 Grand Prix was halted following atrocious weather which led to the death of Jules Bianchi who suffered severe head injuries and died 9 months later after being in a coma.

Cricket-England have named Chris Silverwood as their new head coach to replace Trevor Bayliss.

The 44 year old joined the England setup as bowling coach in January 2018  after leading Essex to their first County Championship in 25 years in 2017.

Silverwood will take charge for the first time on England’s tour of New Zealand next month when they play 5 Twenty20’s and two Tests.

Tennis-Andy Murray has continued his return from injury with victory against Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina in the first round of the Shanghai Open.

Murray came through in three sets and says that his match fitness is improving with every game he plays.

He reached his first singles quarter final in more than a year last week when he made the last 8 of the China Open.

Weather

Mainly fine with light south westerly winds.

Top temperature 24 degrees.

Overnight lows of 15 degrees on the coast and 13 degrees inland with clear skies.

Wednesday and Thursday-Partially cloudy tomorrow with some showers inland.Mainly fine on Thursday.Highs of 22-24 degrees.

Finally 

The main police officer on a tiny British island says it is fighting a drink-driving epidemic — even though cars are banned.

Folk on Channel Island Sark tootle around on tractors, horses and mobility scooters. Cars are banned on Sark island so locals use carriages among other vehicles But PC Mike Fawson insists it is now “awash” with criminals and drunken road users. 

Fawson blames the 500-inhabitant island’s “excessive alcohol consumption” for the current crime wave. And he says the four-strong force needs pepper spray, batons, CCTV and speed radar guns to deal with them.

The officer made the comments in a report as he prepared to end his year-long posting. PC Fawson wrote: “There are many incidents we cannot lawfully do anything about as we don’t have the tools and laws to deal with them.” Records show he dealt with 267 incidents.

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