French and Riviera News Wednesday 15th January 2020

Local

Meningitis kills student in Nice - The Regional Health Agency has implemented a protocol to limit the risks of infection following the death of a 15-year-old adolescent from meningitis. The student who attended the Lycée Les Palmiers in Nice fell ill on Tuesday 7th January and was hospitalised in Nice. He later died from the infection.

Strike - As today marks the 42nd day of strike action in France against the government pension reforms the SNCF has said that the network will continue to improve with traffic gradually returning to normal. Some 80 percent of TGVs and region trains will be in operation today.

Tuesday saw disruption in Nice as part of the industrial action as mass protests unexpectedly moved from Place Massena and blocked the cities Port area. Organisers say 7,000 people took part while the police put the figure at 1,500.  

Man arrested after threatening to blow up his home - A man in his fifties has been arrested in Cannes La Bocca after threatening to blow up his home. Police were deployed to rue Marco Del Ponte on Tuesday evening shortly after 9pm following reports that the man had made the threat following a family argument.

Survey - A survey from Santé Publique on alcohol consumption shows the Alpes-Maritimes is lower than the national average for regular consumption, but higher for so-called ‘binge drinking’ where six or more drinks are taken on one occasion. The survey also showed a preference for beer in the north and spirits to the west, while the south remained traditional with a preference for wine.

Football - The much-awaited match between Monaco and PSG takes place this evening at the Stade Louis II here in Monaco. Following the first leg which was described as a “crazy” match ending in a 3-3 draw. Marking the first draw of the season for PSG and the first time in nearly ten years that the club had conceded three goals at home in the league.

I asked AS Monaco’s Vice President’s assistant Louis Ducruet what his prediction was for tonight’s big game.  

National

Trial against French priest begins in Lyon - At the beginning of his trial in France a former French priest accused of sexually abusing dozens of Boy Scouts has admitted to "caressing" children in ways he knew were wrong. 74-year-old Bernard Preynat appeared in court in Lyon on Tuesday and is accused of assaulting at least 80 young boys in the 1980s and 1990s and faces ten years in prison if convicted.

French film director placed in police custody - French film director Christophe Ruggia has been placed in police custody in connection with allegations of sexual harassment made by award-winning actress Adèle Haenel. Ruggia was arrested on Tuesday morning as part of an investigation into "sexual aggression on a minor".  The actress alleges Ruggia harassed her as a young teenager when they travelled together to promote a film.

Her comments shook the French film industry when they were first reported last November, following an investigation by the Mediapart news website. Ruggia, who is now 55, had previously denied the allegations.

Alain Ducasse speaks out about Dry January - French chef Alain Ducasse, an outspoken opponent of Dry January, has launched an initiative to entice customers of his restaurants to drink more during the first month of the year, not less. Speaking to French media on Tuesday the chef said “I like swimming against the tide,” as he announced plans to offer top bottles of Burgundy and Bordeaux at knockdown prices to encourage diners to order wine by the bottle rather than by the glass. Ducasse said “I’m obsessed with selling wine,” adding that he was horrified to see customers in New York order iced tea with their lunch instead of wine.

In November, the French government quietly abandoned a campaign urging people to give up alcohol in January after the wine industry pushed President Emmanuel Macron to drop the plan.

Alcohol results in 41,000 deaths in France each year, according to France’s Public Health Agency, which urges people to limit themselves to two glasses a day – “and not every day”.

Population - As of the 1st January 2020 the population of France has surpassed 67 million. According to the report released this week by the French National Institute for Statistics and Studies while the population has increased the growth was limited due to a continuous decline in the birth rate over the past five years. Last year, there were 6,000 fewer births and 2,000 more deaths compared to 2018, making a net increase of 141,000 people.

And life expectancy is one of the highest in Europe, with 85.6 years for women, and 79.7 years for men. This, combined with the falling birth rate, means more than one out of five people in France is 65 or older.

Facial recognition - French officials say they want to establish a legal framework for developing facial recognition for security and surveillance. The announcement has increased concerns about the rapid spread of the new technology with 80 civil society groups signing an open letter calling on France to ban facial recognition for any purposes of security and surveillance arguing that the only outcome would be state control over a population.  

Facial recognition technology is already widespread in France. Which is on track to become a European leader in its development and use.

Business

Asian shares have slipped this morning as investors awaited the signing of the Phase 1 trade deal between the United States and China.

The wind has been somewhat removed from the sails following comments from the US Treasury Department that said that tariffs will remain in place “for now”.

Media reports on Tuesday said that the United States would be likely to maintain tariffs on Chinese goods until after November’s Presidential election.

Analysts say that the Treasury Department’s announcement shouldn’t have come as a complete surprise and that underlying sentiments should be unchanged.

Oil prices slipped this morning on sentiment that the Phase 1 trade agreement will not lead to more fuel demand as Washington intends to keep tariffs in place.

President Trump has launched a fresh attack on Apple after tweeting that the firm was “refusing to unlock iPhones used by killers ,drug dealers and other violent criminal elements”.

At the start of the week ,the US Attorney General William Barr accused Apple of not being helpful in an enquiry into a shooting that’s being treated as a terrorist attack.

It’s the latest in a series of clashes between the White House and technology giants over access to data.

Mr Trump has accused Apple of not co-operating with investigators despite his administration aiding the firm on trade and other international issues.

Apple has rejected the claims.

And-The British government has agreed a rescue package for the regional airline Flybe.

Ministers have agreed to work with the airline to arrange a repayment plan for a tax debt that’s thought to top 100 million pounds.

The firm’s owners have also agreed to pump more money into the company.

8 million passengers use Flybe annually and for some it’s their only means of getting to work or to remote areas of the UK.

The government has also agreed to review the 26 pounds air passenger duty that’s levied on domestic UK return flights.

Sport

Tennis-Serious questions are being asked as to whether the Australian Open can go ahead as planned next week after play for the qualifying rounds was delayed in Melbourne for the second day in a row owing to poor air quality.

Smoke from bush fires has made air quality in the city very poor and some players have been complaining of feeling unwell.

Organisers say that air quality should improve over the coming days but some players representatives are unhappy that athletes are being made to play in what are clearly conditions dangerous to health.

The situation will continue to be closely monitored.

Football-There were 5 FA Cup third round replays in England last night.Reading were 2-0 winners at Blackpool.Coventry beat Bristol Rovers 3-0.Newcastle beat Rochdale 4-1.Shrewsbury Town were 1-0 winners over Bristol City and Spurs beat Middlesbrough 2-1.

There are two more replays tonight.Carlisle play Cardiff and Manchester United play Wolves.

Cricket-The England spinner Jack Leach is returning home from the tour of South Africa after failing to recover from illness.

Leach has suffered from Sepsis and then gastroenteritis and flu since November and hasn’t been able to regain full fitness.

Several other players have been suffering with flu on the current tour.

The third Test against South Africa starts in Port Elizabeth tomorrow.

Australia have hammered India by 10 wickets in the first one day international in Mumbai.

India were bowled out for 255 in 49.1 overs with the tourists getting to the target in just 37.4 overs in a total of 258 without loss.

David Warner finished on 128 not out with Aaron Finch on 110 not out.

Rugby Union-The Scotland coach Gregor Townsend will reveal his 6 Nations squad today after having had much cause for thought since the end of a disappointing World Cup.

Several players have retired since the end of the tournament  and the Scotland defence is in desperate need of improvement if they’re to make any impact in ths year’s 6 Nations.

Reports say that there won’t be a lot of new faces in the squad but training methods and the psychological approach are set to be shaken up in a bid to get Scotland to a place where they can close out close matches or recover from going behind early.

Weather.

Quite cloudy this morning with some scattered showers-brighter this afternoon with light variable or easterly winds.

Top temperature 14 degrees.

Overnight lows of 7 degrees on the coast and 4 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

Thursday and Friday-Partially cloudy tomorrow with a high of 14. Rain on Friday with some snow over the high ground.Highs of 12-14 degrees

 

 

 

 

 

 

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