French and Riviera News.Wednesday April 10th 2019.

Long delays-Motorists using the A8 motorway and Voie Rapide in Nice have suffered long delays after two incidents paralysed the road network on Tuesday.

Traffic was stacked up from Nice l’Ariane to the Italian frontier on Tuesday morning after a heavy goods vehicle caught fire forcing authorities to close the road.

A little later ,an accident involving a motorbike caused huge jams on the dual carriageway running through Nice.

It wasn’t until mid morning that the problems were resolved highlighting the inability of the region’s road network to cope with more than one major incident.

 

Scooter accident-A 16 year old boy has been seriously injured in an accident between the scooter he was riding and a car in Cagnes-sur-Mer.

Police say the accident happened on the Chemin des Travails on Tuesday afternoon.The boy has been taken to hospital in Nice where his condition is described as serious.

An enquiry has been opened into the exact cause of the accident.

 

Thief sought-Police in Antibes are hunting a thief who snatched the handbag of an elderly woman in broad daylight on the Boulevard Wilson.

The incident happened outside the block of flats where the victim lives.Her handbag contained her bank card as well as the code which was written on a slip of paper.

The card has been stopped but the thief is still at large.

 

Tennis-Organisers are putting the finishing touches to this year’s Rolex Monte Carlo Masters tennis tournament which is taking place at the Monte Carlo Country Club from the 13th until the 21st of April.

11 time champion Rafael Nadal will be in town to defend his crown although his troublesome knee problems could be a cause for concern while world number one and local resident Novak Djokovic will also be present.

Qualifying and some first round matches take place this coming weekend with the big guns making their appearance from the start of next week.

Unfortunately , the weather may not play ball with ,apart from Monday , showery conditions forecast for the rest of the week.

Ticket information is available by going to www.montecarlotennismasters.com

 

Preparing for the season-Work is continuing apace on the Quai Bonaparte in Menton where several new seasonal restaurants are hoping to open from the start of June.

8 new ‘biopolar’ pergolas are being constructed to house the new eateries on the Quai Bonaparte and Esplanade des Sablettes.

The new structures can be erected and then taken down again after the summer.

Some reports say that the new structures won’t be ready in time for the 1st of June.

Meanwhile , in Juan-les-Pins , work is also continuing on the construction of several new seasonal restaurants which will replace those which were forced to close and be destroyed last year.

 

In National News.

 

Brexit-France is insisting that Theresa May comes up with a clear plan as to why Brexit should be delayed again.

Mrs May was in Berlin and Paris on Tuesday for last-minute talks with Chancellor Merkel and President Macron ahead of this evening’s crunch European Council Summit in Brussel’s where the UK’s short-to-medium future will be decided.

While Mrs May received a mainly sympathetic hearing in Berlin ,talks with Mr Macron in Paris were considerably tougher with the French leader insisting that the UK premier explain concisely how she can get the Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament in “reasonable time”.

A series of French officials ranging from Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire to the new Europe Minister Amelie de Montchalin backed up Mr Macron’s policy during the course of Tuesday saying that any extension to Brexit must be subject to “very strict criteria” such as a pledge not to interfere in EU business while it remains inside the Union.

The most likely outcome ,according to the president of the European Council Donald Tusk ,is for a Brexit extension until the end of this year or possibly March 2020.The extension could be cut short in the event that Mrs May wins approval for the Withdrawal Bill in the UK Parliament.

 

No hipsters-More and more regional fire services are banning employees from sporting beards.

Fire departments in 5 regions including the Vaucluse in southern France are introducing the ban following recommendations from the Interior Ministry.

Safety experts say that the ban is necessary because breathing apparatus worn by firefighters must be in direct contact with the skin and beards can result in toxic fumes leaking through the seal which could put lives at risk.

 

Less tax, fewer services-The French State Secretary for Health and Solidarity has warned the public that it can’t expect lower taxation and better public services at the same time.

In an interview on French television on Tuesday ,Christelle Dubos said that it was all very well for people to call for lower taxation but they had to realise that it would have a knock-on effect on public services from transport to health.

On Monday , the French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said that France needed to cut taxes-and cut them soon.

He was responding to the results of President Macron’s “Grand Debate” in which the public overwhelmingly said that French taxes were too high.

France taxes its citizens more than any other EU member state with taxation Equivalent to 46.2 percent of GDP.France also has the highest level of social spending according to 2017 data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

 

Business.

 

The International Monetary Fund has downgraded its global growth forecast for 2019 after saying that it sees “many downside risks”.

The IMF’s chief economist says that while she’s not predicting a global recession growth will be slower this year.

Gita Gopinath was speaking after the IMF released its regular assessment of the World Economic Outlook which has forecast global growth of 3.3 percent this year and 3.6 percent in 2020.

Developed economies affected include the United States ,the Eurozone and the UK.

UK growth is predicted at 1.2 percent this year-down by 0.3 percent from the previous IMF forecast .Growth for 2020 has also been downwardly revised.

Sharp slowdowns are also forecast for Germany and Italy , which is already in recession.

 

An escalating trade dispute between the United States and the European Union has seen Washington threaten to impose tariffs on around 11 billion dollars worth of European goods.

The development comes after the World Trade Organisation ruled that EU subsidies that support Airbus have an adverse impact on the US.

The US trade representative says that European manufactured aircraft as well as cheese and wine could be subject to fresh tariffs.

The EU says that the 11 billion dollar figure quoted by Washington is “greatly exaggerated”.

Other products that could be subject to increased tariffs include salmon ,lemons ,virgin olive oil ,cashmere sweaters ,motorcycles and non-electronic wall clocks.

 

And-As previously reported , the troubled UK department store chain Debenhams has slid into administration putting thousands of jobs at risk.

The development came after the board of Debenhams turned down a final 200 million pound cash injection from the owner of Sports Direct , Mike Ashley in return for his appointment as chief executive of the firm.

Debenhams is now in the hands of its creditors which include UK high street banks as well as US hedge funds.

Debenhams has 166 stores and debts of 621 million pounds.Some stores have already been earmarked for closure  but that will now be in the hands of its creditors.

 

Sport.

 

Football-The first two European Champions League quarter final first leg ties were played last night and it’s advantage Spurs in the all English clash with the Londoners coming out 1-0 winners in their game against Manchester City at the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium.

Liverpool won the other match with a 2-0 victory over Porto at Anfield.

 

The remaining two ties are being played tonight.Ajax host Juventus and Manchester United play Barcelona at Old Trafford.

 

There were 6 games in the English Championship last night.Blackburn beat Derby 2-0.Bristol City were 3-2 winners over West Brom.Leeds United were 2-0 winners at Preston.Sheffield Wednesday beat Nottingham Forest 3-0.Swansea beat Stoke 3-1 and Bolton lost 2-0 at home to Middlesbrough.

 

Golf-The US Masters starts at Augusta tomorrow with fans eagerly awaiting the first Major of the year.

Rory McIlroy has been drawn to play with Rickie Fowler while Tiger Woods,who says he fancies his 15th Major will play alongside John Rahm.

World number one Justin Rose is in a group with three-time champion Phil Mickelson and Justin Thomas and Paul Casey will play with the 2015 winner Jordan Spieth and the US Open and PGA Championship holder Brooks Koepka.

 

Cricket-David Warner has made his third half-century in the IPL in less than a week as Australia prepare to name their World Cup squad.

Warner hit 70 not out for Sunrisers Hyderabad to become the IPL’s leading run scorer.

Australia are set to name their preliminary squad for the World Cup which starts on the 30th of May before the end of the week.

 

Rugby Union-The Sale Sharks prop Jake Pope has been banned for 6 months after testing positive for cocaine for the second time.

Pope is the first player to be found guilty of twice breaking the Rugby Football Union’s illegal drugs policy.

A statement from the club said that Pope’s behaviour had been “unacceptable” but pledged to support him.

 

Weather.

 

Partialy cloudy with some showers and thunderstorms developing across the region this afternoon.

Light,variable winds and a high of 17 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 11 degrees on the coast and 6 degrees inland with partially  cloudy skies and occasional showers.

Thursday and Friday-Sunshine and showers with some more persistent rain tomorrow evening and into Friday morning.Highs of 15-17 degrees.

 

 

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