French and Riviera News.Wednesday July 10th 2019

Lightning victim-The 10 year old boy who was struck by lightning while swimming with his parents in the sea off Golfe Juan on Sunday is reported to be on the mend.

The boy suffered a cardiac arrest after being struck by lightning during a sudden storm shortly before 9am on Sunday.

He was placed on a ventilator at the Lenval Children’s Hospital in Nice following the accident but is now breathing normally and it’s hoped that he will make a full recovery.

 

Storms-Parts of the Alpes Maritimes and the Var have been struck by violent storms which hit the region on Tuesday afternoon.

Torrential rain was reported in some areas with thunder and lightning in places.

In Roquebilliere in the Alpes-Maritimes ,high winds knocked over market stalls and awnings in the village square  and the area was covered in flood water during a sudden downpour.

There are no reports of any injuries.Inland areas are likely to see more thundery outbreaks today.

 

Nice Football-The board of OGC Nice has given the go ahead for the football club to be bought by the British billionaire businessman Jim Ratcliffe.

The board met on Tuesday to finalise the deal with Mr Ratcliffe’s brother Robert on hand to outline the new owner’s plans.

The purchase price is reported to be in excess of 100 million euros but the deal will need approval from the French football and competition regulators.

Mr Ratcliffe made his fortune in the chemicals industry and is in the process of moving to Monaco.

 

Motorbike crash- A 60 year old motorcyclist is in a critical condition in hospital this morning after losing control of his machine on the road at Massoins near Villars-sur-Var in the Var on Tuesday.

Reports say that no other vehicle was involved in the accident and an enquiry is underway to determine the cause.

The victim was airlifted to Pasteur Hospital in Nice after being assessed at the roadside by emergency services.

 

Protests- Employees from the Conforama furniture store at La-Valette-du-Var have been staging protests over the firm’s restructuring plans.

32 Conforama stores out of the current 235 in France are to close as the company attempts to cut costs and boost profits.10 Maison Depot stores which are owned by the firm are also to close.

Under the restructuring plans 1,900 jobs will go at Conforama which has been losing out to rivals such as Ikea as well as to online retailers.

 

Monaco-A man has been fined 2,000 euros and handed an 8 day suspended jail term by the Monaco Criminal Court after knocking a police officer out on the night of the Grand Prix.

Reports say that the man ,who had been drinking heavily had been expelled from the Rascasse and was being talked to by police when he suddenly threw a punch ,knocking an officer to the ground.

He told the court that he had “no recollection” of the incident and had been carried away by the “euphoria” of the Grand Prix.

He had no previous convictions but was told by the president of the Court that he was lucky to escape a  more severe punishment.

 

Tabac Train-Bar Tabacs in 5 regions of France including the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur are to start selling train tickets from the end of this month.

Tickets for both regional TER and national TGV services will available for purchase following an agreement signed between the SNCF rail operator and the National Federation of Tobacconists.

Ticket purchases will be made using a small digital machine which will be able to show prices and special deals.The ticket will be a credit card printout with the passengers name on it and a bar code to be scanned at the station or onboard by the train by the guard.

 

 

In National News.

 

Get off the phone-Drivers caught using a mobile phone at the wheel could soon have their licenses confiscated under proposed new French government legislation.

The French government’s road safety Minister Emmanuel Barbe says that the measure is to be written in to a new 13.4 billion euro programme aimed at improving transport networks and reducing the country’s carbon footprint.

Speaking on Europe 1 Radio ,the Minister said that the idea is to target uncooperative drivers adding that any bans would be short-term.

Recent figures show that 6 percent of French motorists admit to using their phones while driving and among truck drivers the figure is much higher at 15 percent.

Current legislation does not authorise suspension of a license for using a mobile phone with offenders fined 135 euros and losing 3 points.

 

Tapie cleared-The French tycoon Bernard Tapie has been cleared of fraud following a lengthy trial that’s also involved the outgoing boss of the IMF Christine Lagarde.

Mr Tapie ,who’s suffering from advanced cancer was not in court to hear the verdict in the case which was centered around a payment of 404 million euros in public money in 2008.

The money was awarded to the tycoon after he sued the state owned Credit Lyonnais Bank claiming that his 1993 sale of the sportswear firm Adidas had been undervalued.

The payment caused a scandal with claims that the then French President Nicholas Sarkozy was behind the decision to use arbitration as thanks for Mr Tapie’s support for his 2007 election to the Elysee Palace.

The judge found that there was no case to answer against either Mr Tapie ,Christine Lagarde or a third defendant Stephane Richard.

 

 

Notre Dame-Church authorities have revealed that the total amount of money collected so far to finance the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has only reached slightly over 5 percent of the amount promised.

There have been pledges totalling 850 million euros to help rebuild the famous landmark which was devastated by fire earlier this year but only 38 million has been handed over so far.

The Archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit says that he remains confident that more funds will be forthcoming ,explaining that it always “takes time” to get money from large contributors.

The immediate work to protect the Cathedral from the elements and pay staff is being provided from a fund of 4 million euros which has been collected by a charitable group called the Friends of Notre Dame.

 

Job cuts-Canal + France has announced that its to shed 18 percent of its workforce or some 500 staff.

The French cable and satellite TV operator says that it hopes to make most of the cuts through voluntary redundancies as it seeks to restructure and streamline its operations.

Canal + which was the first company to offer the pay per view model in France has been coming under increasing pressure from Netflix and other services offered on digital TV platforms.

The firm,which is owned by Vivendi will start consultations next week and says it hopes to have finalised the job cuts by the end of the year.

 

Business.

 

France has announced that its to introduce an eco-tax for all flights taking off from French airports.

The French Transport Minister Elizabeth Borne made the announcement on Tuesday as part of government plans to streamline transport infrastructure and reduce the country’s carbon footprint.

The new tax is expected to raise around 180 million euros when it comes into force next year.

The amount of tax paid by passengers will depend on the type of ticket being bought and distance of the flight.

Economy class tickets for flights within France or the EU will be taxed at 1 euro 50 while business class tickets for flights out of the EU will attract the highest tax of 18 euros.

 

The pound has fallen to a two year low against the dollar as markets react to continued uncertainty over Brexit and amid signs that the UK economy is slowing.

Sterling fell sharply after data showing slowing retail sales and forecasts of an economic contraction in the second quarter.

The pound has also fallen to a six month low against the euro at just over 1 euro 11 cents.

The dip in value of sterling comes as thousands of UK holiday makers start foreign trips cutting the purchasing power of their travel money.

Visitors to the UK from Eurozone nations are seeing their money go further.

 

And-BMW has given a much needed boost to the struggling UK car industry by confirming the production of its new electric Mini will start in Cowley in the English Midlands.

The  first deliveries of the new brand’s first fully electric car will start in March 2020 with BMW  confirming that the UK was very much in the firm’s plans for future production.

Earlier this year,BMW said that the firm would have to consider moving car production out of the UK if there was a no-deal Brexit.

 

Sport.

 

Tennis-The women’s semi-final lineup for Wimbledon has been decided following Tuesday’s quarter finals.

Serena Williams made the last 4 after a battling three set win over fellow American Alison Riske.She’ll now play Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic who beat Johanna Konta of Great Britain in straight sets.

The other semi will be between the 2nd seed Simona Halep who beat Zhang Shuai of China 7-6 6-1 and Elina Svitolina who beat Karolina Muchova 7-5 6-4.

 

It’s men’s quarter finals day today.Top seed Novak Djokovic will start proceedings on centre court with his match against David Goffin of Belgium.

Rafael Nadal will play Sam Querry of the United States , Roberto Bautista Agut faces Guido Pella and Roger Federer is up against Kei Nishikori.

 

Cricket-Play in the first World Cup semi final between India and New Zealand was suspended for the day as a result of persistent bad weather at Old Trafford.

New Zealand ,who won the toss were batting and had reached 211-5 from 46.1 overs when play was halted.

Fortunately the organisers scheduled a reserve day for the semi finals so New Zealand will be able to complete their innings today and India will have the full 50 overs to reply-weather permitting.

 

The second semi-final is between England and Australia tomorrow.

 

Football-Celtic have taken a significant step towards making the European Champions League following a 3-1 win at Sarajevo in Bosnia.

The second leg is next week with the winners to play Shkendija of Macedonia in the next qualifying round.

 

Cycling-Elia Vivaiani has claimed his first Tour de France stage victory with  win in Stage 4 between Reims and Nancy on Tuesday.

Viviani won a sprint finish at the end of the relatively flat stage from Alexander Kristoff  and Caleb Ewan.

Julian Alaphilippe of France still holds the leader’s yellow jersey with a 20 second advantage over Wout van Aert.Defending champion Geraint Thomas is still down in overall 5th 45 seconds off the pace.

Today’s 5th stage is a rather more challenging 175.5 kilometers between Saint-Die-des-Vosges and Colmar with a number of tricky climbs.

 

Formula 1-Both Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz will stay at McLaren next season.

McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl confirmed that both drivers would be staying in 2020 after showing promise in the first part of this season.

McLaren Racing chief executive officer Zak Brown said that keeping both drivers was “never in doubt” and the team wanted to send a clear message to rivals as the driver-market kicks into “silly season”.

 

Weather.

 

Clear skies in coastal areas with some showers and thunderstorms inland again later.

Light variable or southerly winds and highs of 28-31 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 24 degrees on the coast and 19 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

Thursday and Friday-Partially cloudy with highs of 28-30 degrees tomorrow and 27-33 degrees on Friday.

 

 

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