French and Riviera News Friday 15th February 2019

Local

Yellow Vest leader - According to a report published by his lawyer, Maxime Nicolle, also known as Fly Rider, and a main figure of the yellow vest movement has filed a complaint for "threats" and "going against the freedom to demonstrate". The complaint concerns two demonstrations, the first in Toulouse on January 19th, during which he claims he was threatened by a police officer of the anti-crime brigade equipped with an LBD40, the second in Menton on February 9th at which Nicolle was met by a barrage of police as he attempted to cross the Italian border to join other supporters in Ventimiglia. His complaint concerns the violation of freedom of movement between France and Italy.

French Grand Prix - Organisers of the F1 French Grand Prix at Le Castellet have presented new measures to improve traffic and parking during the event which runs from the 21st to the 23rd June. While last year’s event at the Paul Ricard circuit, the first since 1990, “was a great success” it was also marked by huge traffic jams. More than 160,000 spectators attended the three day event making  "access to the circuit difficult,”. As a result some 2,000 spectators signed an online appeal, claiming compensation. On Thursday the organisers announced that, at a cost of one million euros, new measures would be put in place including free parking, a shuttle service, an increase in the number of campsites made available and the installation of bridges for pedestrians.

Manslaughter - The Alpes Maritimes department has been found guilty of manslaughter.  The court case concerned the collapse of a tunnel in Saint-Etienne-de-Tinee in 2014.  Construction work was being carried out on the tunnel at the time and one person was killed and two others suffered serious injuries in the collapse. The Nice Criminal Court found the department and two of its officials guilty of manslaughter.  

New dating app - Figures claim that France has 18 million single people and founder of MI Benjemin Orion from Nice has created a new application targeting 13 million of them between 18 and 32 years old. According to Orion “MI allows those on their first date to get everything right avoiding mishaps such as inviting a vegetarian to eat at a Buffalo Grill”. Set up after his own experiences on other dating apps Orion explains that MI aims to “connect people who are looking for the same thing and share the same interests”. After a first crowdfunding of 21,000 euros, Benjamin Orion is preparing to raise funds up to 150,000 euros for hiring and development.

Nice Carnival – The Nice Carnival begins this weekend with the first “Batailles de fleurs and Corso” taking place tomorrow. The Carnival takes place on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from the Saturday 16th to Sunday 24th February, during which changes will be made to the city’s bus and tram network. Tomorrow will see the Promenade des Anglais closed from 11.30am to midnight.  

Meanwhile here in Monaco the 8th Pink Ribbon march will take place on Sunday at 10:15 am from Port Hercule - on the sidelines of the Monaco Run. The event which aims to raise awareness about breast cancer and encourage screening will see participants complete a total of 5km passing by the Palace, Monaco-city and the terraces of Casino square.

Football - With AS Monaco struggling at the bottom of Ligue 1, having sold off the nearly a billion euros worth of talent. It was announced on Thursday that Vadim Vasilyev has been relieved of his duties as vice president of the club. In a statement, owner Dmitry Rybolovlev said "Some bad mistakes were made last year which have led us to our worst set of results for the past seven years," adding "I'm very grateful for everything Vadim has done and I wish him the best for the future,". 53 year old Vasilyev, had been the mastermind behind Monaco’s transfer policy of scouting and signing players with potential and allowing them to develop.

National

Unemployment - The French unemployment rate is down 0.3 percent to 8.8% of the workforce in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to preliminary figures from French statistics agency INSEE. The figures, which exclude the overseas department of Mayotte, are the lowest since 2009.

Survey – A survey published today has shown that two-thirds of French people (66%) believe that Emmanuel Macron is taking advantage of the national debate to campaign unduly, for the European elections. 55% of French respondents think that Emmanuel Macron "is overdoing it" and that he "is too much in the media" in the context of the national debate, even if 53% find him rather "good at it" a large majority (78%) think that the head of state "will fail to regain the confidence of the French”.

Business

According to reports staff at French oil and gas giant Total have been told it is moving its trading operations from London to Geneva in September in a move affecting 200 jobs. The company declined to comment on the numbers but did acknowledge that it was planning to consolidate trading and marketing activities currently split between London, Paris and Geneva.

Amazon has said it will not build a new headquarters in New York, citing fierce opposition from state and local politicians. Amazon said its plans to build a new headquarters required "positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long term". It said: "A number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned.

In November, Amazon announced plans to invest about $2.5bn and add more than 25,000 "high-paying" jobs at campuses in New York and near Washington DC over the next two decades.

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the U.S government and Facebook are negotiating a settlement over the company’s privacy lapses which could require the online social network to pay a multibillion dollar fine.

Facebook reported fourth-quarter revenue of 16.9 billion dollars and profit of 6.9 billion dollars. The US Federal Trade Commission has been investigating revelations that Facebook inappropriately shared information belonging to 87 million of its users.

Starbucks have said that it will launch a new all day dining café in China which will serve a brunch menu and cocktails, as the world’s largest coffee chain seeks to expand it retail offering in the increasingly competitive market. The opening of the café in the city of Shanghai comes as the company has been facing slowing sales growth in its second-largest market.

Sport

Football – Alexandre Lacazette was sent off as Arsenal slumped to a disappointing first-leg defeat against Bate Borisov in the Europa League last 32 and Chelsea claimed a narrow victory over Malmo in the Europa League after they were greeted with a rousing atmosphere in Sweden for the first leg of their last 32 tie.

Rugby Union - Northampton have signed New Zealand Owen Franks, who will join from Kiwi club Crusaders in the summer. The double World Cup winner, is the All Blacks' most-capped prop, playing 105 Tests since his debut in 2009. Franks will team up with elder brother Ben, who joined Saints from London Irish in March 2018.

Cricket - West Indies bowler Shannon Gabriel has apologized for his words after he asked England's Joe Root if he "liked boys" during the third Test.  The 30-year-old was charged for the comments he made to Root, who replied: "Don't use it as an insult. There's nothing wrong with being gay." The incident in St Lucia resulted in a four-match ODI ban for Gabriel.

Weather

Clear skies highs of 16 degrees in Nice, Antibes and Cannes and 17 in Saint Tropez and Hyere with light variable winds. This evening going down to 6 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 2 degrees in the Var.

The weekend fine and sunny across the region with highs of 17-18 degrees. Good weather is expected to continue into the beginning of next week becoming increasingly cloudy by Tuesday.

Finally 

Splashing the cash on expensive equipment really can make a difference to amateurs starting to exercise.  A new study has found that novices that have more sophisticated equipment were found to be four per cent more economical than those with more basic equipment.

The benefit of the shoes tested - Nike's Zoom Vaporfly, which can cost up to £210 ($210) for a top end edition - is far less noticeable for veteran fitness fanatics.

Scientists say the energy conservation is down to the carbon fibre plate in the sole of the shoe saving energy for the wearer when using their ankle joint, allowing them to better save energy and put it towards running faster.

 

 

 

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