French and Riviera News Friday 15th March 2019

Local

Climate change As part of a global call many rallies are planned across France today. The "global strike for the future" will see students around the world take part. In Nice students are meeting this morning at Place Garibaldi. The idea to mobilize young people all over the world as part of the fight against climate change was inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg several weeks ago.

It’s reported that 212 gatherings are planned in France, 201 in Germany, 200 in Italy, 168 in Sweden, 150 in the UK 182 in the United States, 100 in South America, 60 in Canada, 50 in Australia and 30 in India.

Meanwhile four French environmental groups are suing the French government for not doing enough to fight climate change. The groups argue that France has for years failed to uphold its commitments and as such is violating the rights of French citizens. Filing a case is a symbolic move, but one that legal experts say can be an effective tool to push governments to act.

Over two million people signed a petition supporting the move by the NGOs, which filed the case in the French administrative court on Thursday.

Weather alert - Météo France has placed the Var on a yellow weather alert yellow due to high winds. The warning was put in place on Thursday afternoon and remains for most of today.

Saint Tropez - The tourist office of Saint-Tropez has launched plans to make the town the top destination in France for vegetarians and vegans. While Saint Tropez is already known for its exceptional restaurants the goal announced by the tourist board is to widen the horizon and offer a new experience and to be leader in what is now known as Veg’Attitude.

Isola 2000 has announced that helicopter flights to and from the resort will end in April.  A petition against the flights on environmental grounds had gathered more than 5,400 signatures. The director of the tourist office said in a statement that he had been very satisfied with the helicopter service but that it would not be renewed in April.  Isola 2000 plans to close for the season on the 22nd of April. 

Strike action - Staff at a port facility near Marseille went on strike on Thursday in protest against the impact of Brexit on the French customs administration.  They allege that the customs system is not sufficiently prepared for the impact of Brexit. Customs officers in the Hauts-de-France region, which includes the port of Calais, have been on strike over the issue since the 4th of March and the industrial action is now spreading nationwide.

National

Oil slick - French authorities have warned that a huge oil slick is about to hit the country's coastline after an Italian ship capsized near La Rochelle on Tuesday. The container vessel, Grande America, caught fire on Sunday during a voyage from Hamburg to Casablanca. All 27 crew have been rescued, but 2,200 tonnes of fuel has reportedly spilled into the ocean. A slick 10km (6 miles) long and 1km wide is expected to reach Brittany, northwest France, by 17 March.

French gynacologists’ – France’s health minister Agnès Buzyn, along with feminist organisations has said that the threat from a French gynaocologists’ union to “stop carrying out abortions” was “unacceptable” and was “taking women hostage”. The union has called for its members to be prepared to stop carrying out abortions in protest over what it claims is a lack of insurance funds for colleagues convicted of medical errors.

National debate - According to a poll published on Thursday eight out of ten French people want to see the process of the national debates continue. The debates launched by the French government as an answer to the yellow vest crisis is due to end today. So far the debates have shown that the reindexing of penions on inflation, the reduction of VAT and an increase in the minimum wage were top on the list of concerns voiced by the French people.

Meanwhile "yellow vests" have announced a key meeting on Saturday following the end of the national debate and marking the four month of the movement with demonstration planned in Paris. With the number of protestors having fallen in recent weeks the movement has warned the government of a revival this weekend. In Paris, the movement coincides with the "March of the century" for climate change, and the "Solidarity march" against police violence and "state racism".

Business

China has passed a new foreign investment law that could smooth efforts to reach a trade deal with the United States.

Delegates at the National People’s Congress voted overwhelmingly in favour of the new legislation which aims to great a greater balance between domestic and foreign businesses.

However, reports say that the new bill is still quite general and doesn’t address a number of persistent concerns of foreign companies or foreign-invested enterprises in China.

The legislation is being seen  as an olive branch to the United States as the two countries try to reach agreement in trade negotiations.

The US Federal Aviation Administration has said that all Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 aircraft will remain grounded until at least May following the Ethiopian Airlines disaster.

The regulator said that the planes will be unable to fly until a software update can be installed and tested.

Sunday’s crash killed 157 people from 35 countries after the aircraft came down shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa.

It was the second crash involving a 737 Max in the past 5 months.

Boeing shares have been taking a battering since the latest incident.

And-The soft drinks giant Coca Cola has admitted for the first time that it used three million tonnes of plastic packaging in a single year.

The disclosure is part  of a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation which is calling for governments and companies to do more to tackle plastic pollution.

Some 150 firms have pledged to reduce their use of plastic as part of the campaign.

Some firms including H&M ,Pepsi and L’Oreal have so far refused to say how much plastic they use.

Coca Cola markets 50 different brands of fizzy drinks,juices and water and says it is committed to reducing its use of plastic and to make all of its packaging recyclable worldwide.

Sport

Rugby Union-The climax to this year’s 6 Nations Championship will unfold tomorrow with Wales looking to secure the Grand Slam in coach Warren Gatland’s final game in the event.

Gatland will step down after the World Cup and his players and fans would like to see him go out with a bang.

Wales need to beat Ireland in  Cardiff to win both the Grand Slam and Triple Crown.Kick off is at 3.45 French time tomorrow afternoon.

England can still win the Championship if they beat Scotland at Twickenham and Wales fail to beat Ireland.Kick off there is at 6pm and the other match is between Italy who are facing another wooden spoon and France.Kick off in Rome is at  1.30 lunchtime.

Formula 1-Lewis Hamilton was quickest in first practice for the opening Grand Prix of the season in Melbourne.

The world champion edged Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel  with his team-mate Charles Leclerc third quickest.

Qualifying is at 7am tomorrow French time with the race at 6.10am on Sunday.

Tributes will be paid over the weekend to the sport’s race director Charlie Whiting who died suddenly in Melbourne on Thursday morning at the age of 66.

Football-Chelsea are through to the last 8 of the Europa League after thrashing Dynamo Kiev 5-0 away last night to take the round of 16 tie 8-0 on aggregate.

Arsenal are through too thanks to a 3-0 win over Rennes at the Emirates which gave them a 4-3 aggregate win.

In the English Premier League this weekend.On Saturday Bournemouth play Newcastle.Burnley host Leicester and West Ham play Huddersfield.

On Sunday Fulham play Liverpool and Everton host Chelsea.

It’s a shortened Premier League programme because of the FA Cup quarter finals.

Tomorrow,Watford play Crystal Palace.Swansea play Manchester City and Wolves host Manchester United.

The final tie is on Sunday with Millwall up against Brighton.

Racing-Jockey Bryony Frost has made history by becoming the first female rider to win a top-level  Grade 1 Cheltenham Festival race.

The 23 year old on board Frodon came home in the Ryanair Chase to rapturous cheers from the 70,000 strong crowd.

It’s the Gold Cup at Cheltenham today with last year’s first and second placed horses Native River and Might Bite facing each other again.

Paul Nicholls is seeking a record-equalling 5th Gold Cup success with Clan des Obeaux and there’s a lot of money for Presenting Percy who’s won at Cheltenham before but will be taking his first crack at the big race which is off at 4.30 this afternoon.

Weather

Mainly fine with a moderate to strong westerly wind across the Var with gusts of up to 65 km/h.

Top temperature 17-21 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 11  degrees with clear skies.

The weekend-Mainly fine .Highs of 15-19 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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