French and Riviera News Wednesday 21st August 2018

Local

Weather - Violent thunderstorms have hit the Haut Var region with a yellow weather alert being put in place by Meteo France on Tuesday afternoon. 1,226 lightning strikes were recorded. The warning remains in place until 7pm this evening.

Hiker injured in Saint Raphael - A hiker has been seriously injured while walking in the calanque of Saint-Barthelemy, in the town of Saint-Raphael. The accident occurred on Tuesday evening. Emergency services rescued the 32-year-old who was later taken to hospital in Frejus.

Emmanuel Macron - French President Emmanuel Macron has left Fort Brégançon in the Var to head back to the capital and back to work. Macron left Bormes les Mimosas on Tuesday afternoon after spending almost a month there. The President is due to meet with Ministers today in Paris ahead of hosting the G7 summit which will be held from August 24 to 26 in Biarritz.

Most expensive city to study in - According to a study published on Tuesday Nice is one of the most expensive cities in France to study in. Nice was place 10th in the ranking for the fourth year in a row. The study considered registration fees, insurance, food and rent calculating an average living cost of 1,002 euros per month. Paris came first with students having to pay on average 1,288 euros per month. The cheapest city was Limoges.  

Tourism - The Mayor of Nice and the Nice tourism department have announced good figures so far this summer. In the month of June, helped by the Women’s World Cup, hotel occupancy rates were up 3% at 87%. In July, occupancy rates were up marginally, at 89.8%.  The figures up to the 11th of August show rates on a par with 2018 at 92.4%. Bookings for September and October are already looking stronger than last year.

Fireworks - Lithuania has won the Public Prize of the 2019 edition of the Monaco fireworks competition. There are two votes for the best fireworks – the Public Vote and the Jury Vote.  England won the Jury Vote for their display, by the Sirotechnics Fireworks company.

National

G7 Summit - As Biarritz prepares to host the G7 summit this weekend, some residents and business owners have aired their concern over the “unprecedented” security measures which in their view could put a damper on the resort economy. Security measures for the G7, which officially begins on Saturday, will make it challenging for tourists to reach Biarritz this week, however. French President Emmanuel Macron warned during a visit in May that security would be “unprecedented” and “extremely heavy”. The Biarritz airport will be closed to the public from Thursday to Sunday, as will the train station and those of four neighbouring municipalities. Commuter trains are canceled, and a section of the closest highway will be rerouted.

Stacking stones - Towns across France are urging visitors eager to snap the perfect Instagram-friendly holiday photos to refrain from harming the environment by stacking stones, or rock cairns. Much to the annoyance of locals, piling the pebbles has become an increasingly popular way to create an artistic focal point for landscape pictures. While rock cairns have historical spiritual purposes, and are sometimes used to guide hikers, French media reports these days say they're “invading” the country’s mountains and beaches.

Business

President Donald Trump has confirmed he is considering a new, temporary payroll tax cut to help boost the US economy. White House officials had earlier dismissed reports that the administration was discussing the move. US workers pay payroll taxes on their earnings to finance health insurance, social security, and pensions.

The UK government has said it will start automatically enrolling UK firms in a customs system as it speeds up its preparations for a no-deal Brexit. The move will enable UK firms to continue to trade with EU member states after the UK leaves the EU. Business trade groups had urged the government to act after many firms failed to register for the system. The CBI said it was "a sensible move" but "one of hundreds of things that needed to be done" in a no-deal event.

A US toy company famed for its plastic action figures and board games is giving plastic packaging the boot. Hasbro, the largest toy maker in the world in terms of stock market value, announced that all its packaging for new products will be mostly plastic-free by the end of 2022. It plans to stop using plastic bags, elastic bands and the shrink wrap that's usually found around Monopoly, Scrabble and other board games. But Hasbro's toys, which include Mr Potato Head, will still be made with plastic.

Sport

Cricket - Australia batsman Steve Smith has been ruled out of the third Ashes Test after suffering a concussion. Smith, 30, was hit in the neck by a 92mph bouncer from Jofra Archer on day four of the second Test but passed an initial concussion test and returned to continue his innings. Coach Justin Langer confirmed his absence after Smith sat out Australia's training session on Tuesday.

Football - England women's manager Phil Neville said footballers should "boycott" social media to send a "powerful message" that abuse is not acceptable. Neville's comments come after Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba received racist abuse online having missed a penalty in his side's 1-1 draw at Wolves on Monday.

Rugby Union - England prop Mako Vunipola is set to make his return from a hamstring injury in Saturday's Rugby World Cup warm-up against Ireland. The 28-year-old had surgery after a tearing the muscle in Saracens' Champions Cup final victory in May. England head coach Eddie Jones also hopes to have flankers Tom Curry and Sam Underhill available after shoulder and toe problems respectively. England lost away to Wales in Cardiff on Sunday in their most recent warm-up.

Weather

Cloudy patches along the coast highs of 28 degrees in Monaco, Nice and Cannes. 30 degrees in Saint Tropez, La Croix Valmer and Hyeres with a moderate variable wind. This evening lows of 22 degrees.

The outlook for Thursday becoming increasingly cloudy with showers expected inland and highs of 29 degrees.

Finally 

Researchers have developed a blood test which could predict your chance of dying in the next 10 years. 

Scientists in Germany uncovered 14 biomarkers in blood that appear to affect the risk of death, after analysing 44,000 people.

The biomarkers are associated with everything from immunity and glucose control to circulating fat and inflammation.

A trial of the biomarkers found they were 83 per cent accurate at predicting whether someone would die in the following two to 16 years. 

The scientists hope the results could lead to a blood test may one day be used to guide a patient's treatment, such as assessing whether an elderly person is too frail for surgery.  Experts have called the study an 'exciting step' but stress much more research is required before a test can be used in 'real life'.  

 

 

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