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French and Riviera News.Friday.23.03.2018

Strike action-Commuters have faced a difficult 24 hours owing to a series of strikes across the transport network in protest over proposed government reforms to the public sector.

Rail services were badly affected with commuters complaining of extremely cramped conditions during peak periods and only one in three trains operating on the network.

Many public services were closed on Thursday with unions vowing to continue protests against government plans to reduce civil service numbers and bring in voluntary redundancy packages for some workers.

Rail unions have promised a series of strikes over the next two months.

 

Late again-The Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur region has the worst record for train punctuality in France according to the latest figures.

The French Authority for Quality Transport AQST says that 16 percent of trains in our region arrived late or were cancelled in 2017.

The figures make shocking reading when compared with other regions of the country.In Brittany,only 4 percent of train services arrived late last year.

 

Air France-Industrial action by Air France employees is set to cause further disruption to flights at Nice Cote d’Azur airport today.

The airline estimates that 42 percent of its arrivals will be cancelled today along with 35 percent of departures.

Air France passengers are asked to contact the airline or go to www.airfrance.fr

Flights were disrupted on Thursday owning to industrial action by air traffic controllers.

 

Contes Fire-30 employees from a delivery depot in Contes have been laid off following a devastating fire that swept through the premises in the early hours of Thursday.

Thick smoke from the fire spread across part of the region and was detected as far away as eastern areas of Nice.

Emergency services say that the cause of the fire is yet unknown.

The Millo Garage in Contes is a well known local landmark and has been in business for 25 years.

 

Animals poisoned-Police in Nice have launched an investigation after 13 cats were discovered dead in the ground of a block of flats in the Pasteur area of the city.

Authorities say that the animals had been poisoned and are warning pet owners to be on their guard.

 

Suspected drug gang-Police in the Var have arrested more than 30 people in connection with a vast drug racket which had been supplying much of the south of France with illegal substances.Reports say raids were carried out in and around Brignoles and were centred around the café des Sports on the place Gambetta.The arrests come following an extensive police investigation which has lasted for several months.

 

Illegal tobacco-3 bars in the Antibes area have been fined after authorities carried out surprise inspections that yielded important quantities of illegally imported tobacco products.

Customs officers accompanied by officials from the work authority carried out the inspections.In one case a bar owner was found to be in possession of 18 kilos of hand rolling tobacco that hadn’t been declared on import.

The offending establishments were handed fines ranging from a thousand to 1,800 euros with the illegal products confiscated.

Earlier this week,several restaurants in the Valluris area were fined following inspections for breaking hygiene rules and being in possession of unsafe or sub-standard foods.

 

In National News.

 

Strike-An estimated 200,000 people took part in demonstrations around the country on Thursday according to police figures in protest over President Macron’s reform programme.Unions representing public sector workers led the day of action.The CGT union said that more than half a million people turned out to demonstrate.The numbers were smaller than previous protests but unions have vowed not to back down and more strikes are scheduled for the coming months.There were some reports of violence in Paris where left wing agitators clashed with riot police but in the main the protests passed off without incident.According to newspaper reports,President Macron told advisers that he was feeling “serene” and that the protests were “not a cause for panic”.

 

Giving the finger-A 46 year old motorist has been warned that he could face jail for sticking his middle finger up to two speed cameras in the Loire department.

The incident dates back to 2015 and although the driver admitted to speeding and paid the fines handed out,he denied giving a middle finger salute.

He maintains that he was arguing with his girlfriend and the gestures were intended for her.

The public prosecutor says that although the man paid his fines,charges are being pressed as he “insulted a person tasked with a public service mission”.

Police say that it took a while to identify the offending motorist as he’d modified the license plate of his car with black tape to obscure the number.

 

Business.

Asian markets have fallen heavily this morning after President Trump announced his long-promised tariffs on Chinese goods and China pledged to retaliate in a fight to the end.

Mr Trump signed a memorandum on Thursday that could impose tariffs on up to 60 billion dollars worth of Chinese imports although there will be a 30 day consultation period.

Investors are now running scared that the US measures will escalate into a fully blown trade war with potentially dire consequences for the global economy.

This morning,China has urged the United States to “pull back from the brink”.

In a statement issued from Beijing,the Chinese Commerce Ministry said that “China does not hope to be in a trade war,but is not afraid of engaging in one”.

The country has unveiled its own plans to impose tariffs on up to 3 billion dollars worth of US imports in retaliation.

 

Facebook is coming under increasing pressure from lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic after chief executive Mark Zuckerberg admitted that the social media giant made mistakes  in letting the data of 50 million users pass into the hands of the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

US lawmakers have now demanded that Mr Zuckerberg testify personally in Washington to explain his company’s actions and there are probes in both the EU and the UK where the Digital,Culture,Media and Sport Minister Matt Hancock said that it should not be for a company to decide what is the appropriate balance between privacy and innovation and the use of data.

Facebook says that it has no comment other than what Mr Zuckerberg has already said.

 

And-The initial public offering for Dropbox has been priced at 21 dollars per share-higher than first expected.

The IPO is the largest tech stock debut in more than a year and with give the San Francisco based firm a market capitalisation of around 9.18 billion dollars.

The cloud based file storage firm raised the expected price range by 2 dollars on Wednesday on the back of strong demand.

 

Sport.

 

Formula 1-Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes dominated first practice for Sunday’s opening Grand Prix of the season at Melbourne as McLaren ran into trouble.

Hamilton was more than half a second quicker than team-mate Valtteri Bottas and nearly three quarters of a second faster than Max Verstappen’s Red Bull.

Fernando Alonso’s McLaren suffered reliability problems but he eventually recovered to finish in 8th place.

The pace of the Mercedes will already have given the other leading contenders cause for concern although not too much should be read into the initial practice sessions.

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

 

Cricket-England’s humiliation in the first Test against New Zealand in Auckland has been put on hold as rain has delayed play on day 2 of the match.

New Zealand are currently on 229-4 in their first innings in reply to England’s 6th lowest ever Test score of 58 all out.

 

South Africa will resume on 266-8 on day 2 of the 3rd Test against Australia in Cape Town.

Dean Elgar has been the mainstay of the home side’s innings and is still there on 121 not out.

Pat Cummins took 4-64 for Australia.

 

Football-There are a stack of international friendly games tonight as preparations for the World Cup Finals continue.

The Netherlands host England while Turkey play the Republic of Ireland,Scotland face Costa Rica and France play Colombia.

 

Rugby Union-There’s one game in the Aviva Premiership tonight.Bath play Exeter while in the Pro 14 Connacht play Edinburgh.Glasgow host Zebre and Dragons play Cheetas.

 

Golf-World number one Dustin Johnson has been knocked out of the World Golf Championships in Austin after his second straight defeat.

Johnson lost 4&3 to Canada’s Adam Hadwin and is now out of contention.

Rory McIlroy who lost his opening game kept his hopes alive with a 2&1 win over Jhonattan Vegas while Peter Uihlein who beat McIlroy on Wednesday lost to Brian Harman.

 

Weather

 

Clear skies with light to moderate westerly winds and a high of 15 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 7 degrees on the coast and 4 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

The weekend-Mainly fine  with highs of 12-16 degrees.

 

Finally.

A book published by the government in Tajikistan is telling women what they should - and should not - be wearing.

The "Book of Recommendations" is published by the Ministry of Culture, and is filled with photos of models wearing outfits suitable for "women from seven to seventy".

It has chapters advising women what to wear at work, on national and state holidays, for weddings, and even at weekends.

And later in the book there is a chapter on outfits that Tajik women should not wear. It advises against black dresses, headscarves and the hijab, as part of the country's campaign against Islamic dress, which still enjoys some popularity despite President Emomali Rahmon's condemnation.

Also out are overtly western clothes and miniskirts, while outfits that show cleavage and backless dresses are also discouraged.

 

 

 

 

 

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