French and Riviera News Wednesday 12th December 2018

Local

Shooting in Strasbourg - Hundreds of police officers are hunting a gunman after three people were killed and 12 others wounded in a shooting in Strasbourg. The suspect, who is known to security services, escaped after exchanging fire with soldiers and armed police on Tuesday. He is believed to be injured. The shooting happened close to a popular Christmas market near one of the central squares. France's counter terrorism prosecutor has opened an investigation.

National Strike - Unions have called for national strike action on Friday, December 14th in protest against low wages, poor pensions and better social protection. In response to the announcement the city of Nice has said it will set up a minimum service for schools where more than 25% of teachers are expected to strike with parents having to register before Thursday, December 13th.

Meanwhile students continued to demonstrate across the region on Thursday. In Marseille the access to ten high schools was blocked. In Grasse, about a hundred students  blocked the access to two schools and students also partially blocked access to a school in Nice. Protests continue against government reforms to education and the universal national service.

Road accident - A 54-year-old man has died following an accident on the A8 motorway. The accident happened on Tuesday afternoon westbound at Aix-en-Provence after the motorist lost control of his vehicle. No other vehicles were involved in the accident which led to long delays on Tuesday afternoon as firefighters intervened.

Rower has to abandon challenge - Shirley Thompson who had set herself the challenge of rowing across the Atlantic has had to abandon her challenge. Thompson, from Ireland lives in Grasse and started her adventure at the beginning of December to celebrate her 60th birthday. Shirley's team reports that she heard a thud, perhaps a whale, and that afterwards her boat started to take in water.

Yellow vests - A yellow vest protester has  suffered stab wounds following an argument with a fellow protester. The incident occurred on Tuesday at the motorway exit in Bandol. Yellow vests have been demonstrating at the exit since the beginning of the movement. The victim was taken care of by police who were present at the time.

Parking meters - In Vence, about 3 out of 4 of the town’s parking meters have been vandalised. The motive for the vandalism hasn’t yet been established.  Authorities say that the meters will be replaced.

MonacoTech - Officially inaugurated by his Serene Highness Prince Albert of Monaco MonacoTech has celebrated its first anniversary. The programme for startups created by the Monegasque State, in partnership with Monaco Telecom and Xavier Niel, is now an integral part of the local economic landscape. MonacoTech supports companies or projects of innovative companies with high growth potential so that they benefit from the Monegasque ecosystem while being in keeping with the vision and strategy of Monaco. So far 24 startups have received support with 16 still in the programme.

National

Budget - Italy's Deputy Prime Minister has said that France’s recent budget concessions risk breaching European Union rules, just like Italy’s have done, adding that he expected Brussels to treat Paris and Rome in the same way. Italy's budget for 2019 was the first in history to be rejected by Brussels for breaking previous commitments to reduce borrowing.

Health care - A study published today has revealed that one out of every two French people living in rural areas have difficulty in accessing medical care. The study which echoes similar claims of the “yellow vests” protesters shows that 49% of those in rural areas experience the difficulty compared to 14% in the Paris area.  According to 67% of French people, the healthcare system in France is experiencing frequent major dysfunctions primarily caused by a shortage of GPs.

Business

US President Donald Trump has said that trade talks with China are taking place on the phone and that he would intervene in the Justice Department’s case against a top Chinese executive from Huawei Technologies if it would serve national security interests or help close a trade deal.

In an interview with Reuters,Mr Trump said that “whatever’s good for the country,I would do”.He added that a trade deal with China would be the largest ever made and said that it was a “very important thing”.

Meng Wanzhou was granted bail by a Canadian court on Tuesday and will remain in Vancouver pending a hearing on whether she should be extradited to the United States.

The US Justice Department says that she violated economic sanctions against Iran.China has called for her immediate release.

 

The pound is hovering at near 20 month lows this morning following reports that the British Prime Minister Theresa May is to face a leadership challenge.

Mrs May was on a whirlwind tour of Europe on Tuesday in a bid to win last minute concessions from the EU on the Irish backstop which many Conservative members of parliament as well as opposition MP’s are firmly opposed to.

The signs are that,despite some soothing words,the EU won’t budge and reports are swirling that 48 Conservative MP’s have now sent letters of no confidence in the Prime Minister to the Chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady.

Sir Graham has asked for a meeting with Mrs May following Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons today at which he may inform her that she will face a leadership challenge.

 

And-The French Finance Minister has said that measures to defuse the “gilets jaune” protests will cost 10 billion euros with the money offset by cuts in government spending.

Bruno Le Maire  said that planned reforms remain on track  despite the concessions to protestors.

He said that France would still honour its deficit to GDP targets set by the EU and that it was important to maintain the path to reform.

President Macron announced four measures on Monday in a bid to calm the protests including an increase in the government bonus scheme for the low paid,an end to taxes and social charges on overtime,the removal of a surcharge on most pensions and a call to businesses to offer a tax-free bonus to staff.

Sport 

Football-Both Spurs and Liverpool have made it through  to the last 16 of the European Champions League.

Liverpool beat Napoli 1-0 at Anfield which was enough to take them through despite PSG thrashing Red Star Belgrade 4-1 in the other game while Spurs grabbed an amazing 1-1 draw at Barcelona while the other game in the group Inter Milan were held to a 1-1 draw by PSV.

Both Manchester teams are in action tonight.Manchester City host Hoffenheim and Manchester United travel to Valencia.Both have already qualified for the last 16.

Motorsport-Felipe Massa says that he’s relishing the challenge after signing a three year deal to race for Venturi in the Formula E Championship.

The first race of the season takes place in Riyadh on Saturday and the former Formula 1 driver says that he’s expecting it to be close with many of the competitors in with a chance of winning the championship.

Massa said that Formula E is a lot more competitive compared with Formula 1  and he chose the discipline to extend his career.

Rugby Union-Johnny Sexton has signed a new deal with the Irish Rugby Football Union which means that he’ll play for his country as well as Leinster until 2021.

Sexton was named World Rugby Player of the Year in Monaco two weeks ago after helping Ireland to the 6 Nations Grand Slam  and said on Tuesday that he was delighted to extend his contract.

Boxing-Deontay Wilder has said that Anthony Joshua  is “begging” for a world heavyweight unification fight.

Wilder drew with Tyson Fury in Los Angeles two weeks ago and the WBC has sanctioned a rematch but he says that Joshua’s management have been trying to “reach out” to his team to set up a unification fight.

Joshua holds the WBO,IBF and WBO belts while Wilder holds the WBC crown.

A reunification bout would be a box office smash.

Weather

Becoming quite cloudy with the chance of a shower or two in the Alpes Maritimes this afternoon.

Top temperature 13 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 7 degrees with partially  cloudy skies.

Thursday and Friday-Rain tomorrow with some snow over the high ground.Partially cloudy on Friday.Highs of 9-13 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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