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French and Riviera News Friday 19th October 2018

Local

Ambulance workers strike action - More than 150 ambulance workers from all over the region have announced strike action planned in front of the Alpes Maritimes Prefecture from 8am this morning. The move comes in protest against reforms announced by the French government on the financing of medical transport. A national movement is planned in Paris on November 5th. 

Earthquakes in the Var - Two earth tremors have been felt in the west of the Var region, near Toulon and Saint Maximin. The first with a magnitude of 2.1  was recorded at the edge of the harbor at 4pm on Thursday. Its epicenter was located 29 kilometers from Toulon. The second with a magnitude of 2.2 was felt in the heart of Sainte-Baume at 4.40 pm. The epicenter was located 8 kilometers from Saint-Maximin and Nans-les-Pins.

Pollution on the beaches following oil spill - After the beaches of Ramatuelle, the island of Porquerolles has been affected by the oil spills following the collision of two ships on October 7th off the coast of Corsica. An increasing number of areas are becoming affected by the pollution with the region’s authorities announcing on Thursday the release of a clean-up fund of 100,000 euros.

Four new cases of Dengue fever - The regional health authority has confirmed  four new cases of Dengue fever in St Laurent-du-Var, bringing the total number of cases in the area to five. All five are cases of the so-called “tropical flu”, which is spread by the tiger mosquito. The authorities say the outbreak appears to be localised and have carried out mosquito eradication measures in the vicinity of the outbreak and have stepped up the distribution of information regarding the disease in the affected areas.

Meanwhile health authorities in Monaco have warned of seasonal flu which is expected in the coming weeks. A real danger for the elderly, pregnant women and people with chronic diseases, vaccination is available and can be obtained from your local GP.

New prison in Draguignan - The French Minister of Justice, Nicole Belloubethas officially opened the new prison in Draguignan. The facility, which has a capacity of 744 prisoners, has been operational since January.  The minister also said that discussions were taking place with local authorities in Nice regarding the possibility of opening a new prison there in 2022.

Cut off due to landslide - A helicopter has been used to ferry supplies to the residents of an area of Sospel who have been cut off by a landslide.  The landslide, which happened six months ago, cut off the 45 inhabitants of the hamlet of Béroulf.  Since then, the villagers have had to rely on supplies airlifted to them by helicopter.  The helicopter operation which took place on Thursday was the third, and hopefully final, airlift.  Work on a new road to the hamlet is expected to begin in January.

Prince Albert expresses sympathy for flood victims - Prince Albert of Monaco has expressed his sadness for the flood victims in a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron. Speaking of the deadly floods which hit the Aude department earlier in the week, his Serene Highness added that his thoughts were with not only for those who have lost everything but also the relief workers and volunteers who showed such solidarity during such difficult circumstances.   

Green men walk the streets of Nice - Eight men dressed in suits with cannabis leaves printed on them did not go unnoticed in Nice on Thursday as onlookers immortalised the moment on their smartphones and cameras. Walking the streets of the city for much of the day, the “green men” from Switzerland were visiting the Côte d’Azur for birthday celebrations.

National

President Emmanuel Macron plays down fears over Brexit - French President Emmanuel Macron has played down fears of new barriers for Britons if there is no EU deal on Brexit, but he did not rule out visas. UK citizens currently enjoy visa-free travel in the EU, but that could change with Brexit. Mr Macron said suggestions that UK visitors to France might be denied visas were "fake news". He added that measures would be taken to cover flights, ferries and businesses as well.

Commemorations of the end of World War One - More than 60 world leaders, including US President Donald Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, will travel to Paris next month for commemorations of the end of World War I a century ago.  The main ceremony will take place at the Arc de Triomphe war monument in Paris at 11 a.m. on 11 November -- marking the time when guns finally fell silent after four years of trench warfare and general European slaughter.

Scotch whisky - According to new figures the value of Scotch whisky exports climbed by 10.8% to almost £2bn in the first half of this year. Exports of blended Scotch whisky also grew, rising by 8.9% to £1.26bn. Sales to China were up by 34.8%, to £36.3m, while exports to India increased by 44.4%, to about £56m. The US remains the largest overseas market by value, at more than £400m, with France the largest by volume, at almost 90 million bottles.

Business

The Financial Times reports that with investors still nervous following last week’s market turblulence,concerns have flared about European growth after Brussels reprimanded Italy for breaking EU deficit rules in its first budget since the country’s populist government took office.

Analysts say that the European region could be more susceptible to a slowdown than initially thought and that there was a possibility that the EU could reject outright Italy’s spending plans.

Further tensions surround the mounting pressure on Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi after the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that he would not be attending the Future Investment Initiative conference.

The FT says that markets are now vulnerable to any kind of bad news.

Economic growth in China has cooled to its weakest pace since the global financial crisis raising pressure on Beijing to step up support as the trade war with the United States and debt risks start to bite.

The Chinese economy grew at 6.5 percent in the third quarter-down from 6.7 percent in the second quarter.Forecasts had been for a growth rate of 6.6 percent.

The GDP reading was the weakest year-on-year quarterly growth since the first quarter of 2009 at the height of the financial crisis.

The signs are that the slowdown is strengthening despite the Chinese government’s pledge to encourage domestic investment to support the economy.

 

And-UK retail sales fell by 0.8 percent in September as consumers tightened their belts after the unusually hot summer.

Food sales registered their steepest drop in three years according to data from the Office of National Statistics.Sales of food were down by 1.5 percent after being boosted in the summer  by the hot weather and the World Cup.

The ONS says that the falls have been spread across supermarkets and smaller stores although other retail sectors suffered too.

Sport

Football-The English Premier League is back in action this weekend following the international  break.

On Saturday Chelsea play Manchester United in the lunchtime game and then it’s Bournemouth against Southampton.Cardiff against Fulham.Manchester City play Burnley.Newcastle face Brighton.West Ham play Spurs.Wolves host Watford and Huddersfield play Liverpool.

On Sunday Everton play Crystal Palace and Arsenal play Leicester on Monday.

Athletics-The US double Olympic gold medallist Ed Moses says that he was told to “shut up” at a World Anti Doping Agency meeting.

Mr Moses who is the chair of the US Anti Doping Agency says that he had been attempting to investigate claims by WADA’s Athlete Committee  chair Beckie Scott that she had been “bullied “ over her opposition to Russia’s reinstatement.

WADA  denies that Mr Moses or anyone else attending a board meeting in May had been told to “shut up”.

Mr Moses maintains that he had been told “bluntly by various officials” at the meeting “not to speak” adding that he had been told to “shut up”.

WADA reinstated Russia’s anti-doping agency in September following a three year suspension after a major doping scandal surrounding state-sponsored doping.

Cricket-Pakistan will try to force the win on day 4 of the second Test against Australia in Abu Dhabi.

Pakistan declared their second innings on 400-9 on day three with Australia on 47-1 in their second innings at stumps,still trailing by 491 runs.

Formula 1-Lewis Hamilton could clinch his 5th drivers’ championship at the US Grand Prix in Austin  on Sunday if he can better Sebastian Vettel by 8 points.

If Hamilton wins and Vettel finishes third or lower then the championship will be his.

First practice in Austin is 5pm this afternoon with second practice at 9pm.

Qualifying is at 11pm tomorrow night with the race at 8.10 on Sunday night.

Rugby Union-There’s one game in the European Champions Cup tonight.Leicester play Scarlets in  Pool 4.

Other highlights over the weekend include Wasps against Bath in Pool 1 tomorrow and Toulouse against Leinster in Pool 1 on Sunday.

Weather

Clear skies with light variable winds.

Top temperature 24 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 17 degrees on the coast and 14 degrees inland with clear skies.

The weekend-Clear skies with highs of 23-25 degrees.

Finally 

According to research one third of teenagers do not know that William Shakespeare was a playwright.

The poll also found that half of state school children have never been to see a play with their teacher and two thirds have never acted in one.

The youngsters were given a list of 13 names, including those of celebrities such as Simon Cowell and Alesha Dixon, and asked to say which were playwrights. A total of 31 per cent were unable to identify Shakespeare as one.

Joanna Read, principal of London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, which conducted the research among 11 to 18-year-olds, said: ‘These statistics are shocking. ‘I’m concerned that half of our children have never been to a play with their school – that figure should be zero.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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