French and Riviera News Wednesday 19th December 2018

Local

Police unions - Discussions between France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner and the police unions have been suspended. The unions are demanding better living and working conditions in the wake of the mobilisation of "yellow vests". On Tuesday the French government proposed making a payment of 300 euros to 111,000 members of the police force who were mobilised during the recent protests. The proposal comes after police unions called for a national day of “minimum service” on Tuesday and today, during which police would not leave police stations unless there is an absolute emergency. Unions have reportedly refused the proposal with talks planned to resume later today

Meanwhile the measures announced in November by the government in a first response to the "yellow vests"movement which Matignon had said would be partly dropped are all ultimately to be maintained. Following a discussions, the government is maintaining all the measures announced by the Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe, in November.

Vinci Autoroutes has announced that it will not try to collect tolls from those users who passed through toll booths without paying during the yellow vest protests. The company said that the procedure, which it said was probably insufficiently explained, and therefore poorly understood, has given rise since yesterday to a large number of negative reactions. VINCI Autoroutes nevertheless called for what it called the good citizenship of everyone in these exceptional circumstances.

Schools in Nice closed - Teachers unions in Nice have called for strike action today with 26 out of 154 schools remaining closed. The movement comes following a petition by parents from the Fouònt-Cauda primary school against the obligation to make children sit on the ground between 8:20 and 8:30am and between 1:20pm and 1.30pm. A rally is planned in front of the rectorate at 10am this morning.

Public transport - The French Communist Party the PCF has launched a campaign for free public transport in Nice. The PCF made its proposals on Tuesday. Several cities in France have already tested free transport resulting in a sharp increase in the number of passengers. As part of the proposal the PCF has suggested increasing the tourist tax for luxury hotels while allowing tourists to benefit from free transport. The campaign will include posters and an online petition.

Genoa - The project of the new bridge in Genoa by the Italian architect Renzo Piano has been accepted. It was announced on Tuesday that Piano’s design will replace the Morandi Bridge which collapsed in August killing 43 people. 81 year old Renzo Piano originally from Genoa designed the Pompidou Center in Paris and will be taking on the project free of charge “as a form of a donation to the city”. The construction of the bridge is estimated at 202 million euros.  

Bookstore in Aix-en-Provence - An online petition against the closure of a book store in Aix-en-Provence has gathered 7,000 signatures. Created in 1936, the “Librairie de Provence” is an institution in Aix-en-Provence. The rise in rent is threatening the business which regulars claim is unacceptable.

Nice beaches - 15,000 cubic meters of pebbles have been deposited on the beaches of Nice in the fight against natural erosion. Every winter, the beaches of Nice are eroding, a natural phenomenon which is due to the structure of the coastline.

National

Growth forecasts - Following the Banque de France, INSEE has in turn lowered its growth forecasts for France for 2018. After reaching 2.2% in the past year French growth will experience a sharp slowdown this year to return to 1.5%, less than the 1.7% expected by the government. INSEE estimates that the growth in the first half of 2018 should be 1%, with an increase estimated at 0.4% in the first quarter and 0.3% in the second. The organization explains this slowdown by the business climate, but also the “yellow vests” movement despite an "acceleration of purchasing power" at the end of the year.

Serial rabbit-killer - A serial rabbit-killer who has been spreading terror around a picturesque village in Brittany has struck again. Police were called after the bodies of seven rabbits were discovered slaughtered and dumped on the ground. Shocked locals had hoped the killings, which reportedly began in March, had stopped after several weeks passed without any animals being killed. Officers say the mystery killer leaves few if any clues. The killings have echoes of the mystery of the Croydon cat killer, a three-year investigation into the mutilation of cats found around south London with their heads and tails removed. In that case, Scotland Yard declared foxes to be the most likely culprit.

Business

A survey by Reuters has found that Asian business confidence is at a near three year low as investors wait to see if there will be any breakthrough in the trade war between China and the United States.

The Thomson Reuters/INSEAD Asian Business Sentiment index edged up to 63 in the fourth quarter,slightly higher than the three year low of 58 seen in the third quarter.

The survey represents the six month outlook of 84 major firms and confirms that there is more uncertainty and increasing concerns about growth.

Meanwhile in the United States,more than half of the stocks in the S&P 500 are in bear markets showing how broad the market sell-off has been in recent weeks.

The S&P is down by 13 percent for the year so far with the Dow Jones down 12 percent and the Nasdaq off 12 percent.

Energy firms have been the worst affected down 23 percent with materials down 22 percent and financials off by 21 percent.

 

British businesses have criticised the country’s politicians for in-fighting rather than preparing for Brexit.

Leading UK business groups say that they’ve been “watching in horror” at the ongoing rows in Westminster.

Britain is due to leave the European Union in 100 days with the prospect of a no-deal increasing as wrangling over how the exit should proceed continue in the House of Commons.

In a joint statement issued on Tuesday,the British Chambers of Commerce,Confederation of British Industry ,Federation of Small Businesses, and the Institute of Directors  said that “Businesses have been watching in horror as politicians have focused on factional disputes rather than practical steps that business needs to move forwards”.

 

And-President Trump has stepped up his pressure on the Federal Reserve by warning the US central bank against making “yet another mistake”.

The Fed is widely expected to announce it’s 4th hike in US interest rates this year later today but with financial markets in turmoil and fears of a recession growing,some critics including the President are questioning the plan.

In a tweet last night,Mr Trump urged the Fed to “feel the market” and not to “just go by meaningless numbers”.

The President has repeatedly blamed the US central bank for the unsettled state of the markets and has dismissed other factors such as increasing trade tariffs and geopolitical factors.

Sport

Football-There appears to be some confusion over whether Manchester United have appointed former striker Ole Gunnar Solskjar as interim manager after a page on the club’s website confirming the development was deleted.

There has been no official announcement that the Norweigen is taking over from Jose Mourinho who was sacked on Tuesday.

The 40 year old is currently in charge at Molde but their 2018 season has finished and doesn’t restart until March.

Long term,the former France star Zinedine Zidane has been linked to the manager’s job at Old Trafford.

Burton Albion are through to the semi-finals of the League Cup in England for the first time in their history after beating Middlesbrough 1-0.

Manchester City are also into the last 4 following a 3-1 win on penalties over Leicester.

The other two quarter finals are being played tonight.Arsenal play Spurs and Chelsea play Bournemouth.

There was one game in the Scottish Premiership last night.Aberdeen thrashed Dundee 5-1.

Formula 1-Lewis Hamilton has clarified his controversial remarks about his home town Stevenage after saying on the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Awards show on Sunday night that he “couldn’t wait to get out of the slums”.

The comment sparked a backlash including from the leader of Stevenage Borough Council who said that the people of the town had felt “very offended”.

Hamilton later said on Instagram that he was “super proud” of Stevenage and that he had “chosen the wrong words”.

Rugby Union-Leicester Tigers have appointed Geordan Murphy as their head coach on a permanent basis.

The 40 year old,who won 8 league titles with the club had been in charge on a caretaker basis since Matt O’Connor was sacked in September.

Tigers have only won 3 games this season and are 8th in the table three points off the bottom.

They lost at home to Racing Metro in the European Champions Cup on Sunday,effectively ending their hopes of progress in the competition.

Weather

Overcast with rain and moderate southerly winds.

Top temperature 12 degrees.

Overnight lows of 9 degrees with partially cloudy skies.

Thursday and Friday-Mainly fine with highs of 14-15 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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