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French and Riviera News Friday 6th April 2018

Local

Helicopter crash - A 70 year old pilot has died in a helicopter crash near Malaucène in the Vaucluse. The accident happened on Thursday afternoon. Firefighters were alerted as witnesses saw the crash happen in forest area 800 meters from the town. The 70-year-old pilot was at the time alone. The circumstances of the accident are not yet known.

Property tax - Five mayors in the Nice Côte d’Azur region have voted against the introduction of a new tax. Nice city council announced plans for the new tax in March. The tax is actually an increase on the current property tax or “tax fonciere” which will affect home owners, businesses and public institutions and is due to come into effect as of October. It is estimated to be an increase of between 10 and 15% on the current property tax varying between different towns in the Alpes Maritimes. Those against the new measure include the mayor of Cap d’Ail Xavier Beck and Henri Giuge the mayor of Saint-Martin-Vésubie. The vote showed 105 votes for and 21 against.

Firefighters in the Var forgotten? - The French Interior Ministry has faced criticism after it was announced that nearly 400 firefighters are to be awarded following their actions of bravery during last summer’s forest fires which ravaged the south of France, only not one is from the Var region. The Var was one of region’s which was the hardest hit with thousands of hectares going up in smoke. The president of the departmental union of firefighters (UDSP) of the Var has called it and an “injustice”, adding “we are not running after medals - after all we did our job - but we have the right to recognition like the others”. According to the ministry -what appears to be an administration error is to soon be rectified.

Alzheimer’s - A center in Roquefort-la Bédoule near Marseille which treats patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease has turned to introducing treatment methods without administering any medication. The number of cases of Alzheimer's disease is increasing with 225,000 new cases each year in France. There are currently 51,000 patients in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region.

Traditional Chinese Medicine - Meanwhile here in Monaco StarsnBars are holding a wellbeing day on Traditional Chinese Medicine. The Ecohub event takes place on Sunday 8th April. The day will dedicated to learning about the principles of traditional Chinese Medicine. The family-friendly event will be held in French and entry is free.

National

Strike Action - French rail unions have met with the government after the first of a series of strikes that will start again on Saturday. Meanwhile, students have occupied some universities and industrial action is taking place or planned at the Carrefour supermarket chain, hospitals and Air France, which could spell trouble for President Emmanuel Macron's government. Rail traffic took some time to return to normal on Thursday following two days of strikes. Three-quarters of the network's train drivers and about 30 percent of all staff took part in Wednesday's strike, a lower figure than the previous day but still enough to cause serious disruption. The next strike starts on Saturday and is due to last until Tuesday morning.

National Front - Jean-Marie Le Pen, the co-founder of France's far-right National Front who was eventually kicked out of the party by his daughter, has confirmed that he has joined a little-known European extreme right movement. Le Pen announced on Thursday that he was now a member of the Alliance for Peace and Freedom (APF), a grouping of European far-right parties, which he joined on March 22. Among its member parties are the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), Italy's Forza Nuova and the DSSS in the Czech Republic.

French Army – Following allegations of widespread sexual harassment involving an elite military academy near Paris. France's defence minister has promised "zero tolerance" of discrimination in the armed forces. A group of male students is said to have forced out young women attending a preparatory school for the École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr. The École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr is the equivalent of institutions such as Sandhust in the UK and West Point in the US. It was founded by Napoleon in 1802 but only admitted women for the first time in 1986.

Business

US President Donald Trump has instructed officials to consider a further $100bn (£71.3bn) of tariffs against China, in an escalation of a tense trade stand-off. These would be in addition to the $50bn worth of US tariffs already proposed on hundreds of Chinese imports. The proposal comes after China retaliated to that by threatening tariffs on 106 key US products.

Thousands of Google employees have signed an open letter asking the internet giant to stop working on a project for the US military. Project Maven involves using artificial intelligence to improve the precision of military drone strikes. Employees fear Google's involvement will "irreparably damage" its brand.

And - Britain's biggest companies have lifted the lid on gender pay gap - with eight out of 10 admitting they pay men more than women. The figures were revealed after the deadline passed for businesses with more than 250 employees to submit data to the Government. Some 78% of companies said they have a gender pay gap in favour of men, with 14% saying they have a median pay gap in favour of women and 8% having no gender pay gap. The gender pay gap is calculated as the difference between the average salaries of men and women but it is not the same as equal pay, where firms are required to pay people doing the same job the same salary, regardless of gender.

Sport

Football - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says his side have done "half a job" after a "spectacular" first-half performance saw the Gunners take control of their Europa League quarter-final by demolishing CSKA Moscow in the first leg.

In the English Premier League this week-end on Saturday Everton play Liverpool, Bournemouth play Crystal Palace, Brighton will meet Huddersfield, Leicester face Newcastle, Stoke play at home to Tottenham, Watford face Burnley, West Brom play Swansea and Manchester City play Manchester United. On Sunday Arsenal play Southampton and Chelsea play West Ham.

Golf - Jordan Spieth charged into the first round lead at Augusta.  Spieth put his early-season struggles firmly behind him to fire a superb six-under 66, including five consecutive birdies on the back nine, which earned him a two-shot lead.

Darts - Five-time world darts champion Eric Bristow has died aged 60. Bristow was at the Premier League Darts event at Liverpool's Echo Arena when he suffered a heart attack. Arguably the sport's first superstar, Bristow also won five World Masters titles and four World Cup Singles titles. He was one of the founder players when the PDC was formed in 1993 and was inducted into the PDC Hall of Fame 12 years later. He was awarded an MBE for services to sport in 1989.

Formula One - Formula 1's commercial owners are presenting their plans for the future of the sport this morning in Bahrain. The presentation will be made by Liberty Media and the FIA, motorsport's governing body, to the bosses of the ten F1 teams currently on the grid. The presentation will set out Liberty's vision of F1 after 2020 when the current Concorde Agreement - which binds the sport together - is due to expire.

Meanwhile according to reports Grid girls are heading back into Formula One with Monaco GP bosses ready to defy the ban. F1's new owners, Liberty Media, announced earlier this year that they were ditching grid girls as it was not in keeping with their plans for the sport. They followed darts who had ended the use of walk-on girls in an effort to bring F1 up to the modern beliefs.

Weather

Mainly fine in the Alpes Maritimes some cloudy patches in Antibes and Cannes with highs of 19 degrees and a moderate northerly wind. In Saint Tropez and the Var clear skies highs of 20 degrees and a variable north easterly wind.

This evening going down to 9 degrees along the coast and 5 degrees in land with cloudy skies.

The outlook for the week-end temperatures remaining much the same. Becoming increasingly cloudy as the weekend progresses with showers forecast for Saturday afternoon and Sunday accompanied with strong gusts of wind of upto 70 km/hour.

Finally 

THINKING OUT LOUD - Mind-reading headset lets you control your devices with your thoughts The AlterEgo headset lets you talk to everything from digital assistants to computers with your mind, and could one day let you silently communicate with other people

The headset, which can read the words you're picturing in your mind, sounds like something out of science-fiction but is an actual, real-life gizmo. The white device (dubbed AlterEgo) hooks around the ear and sits on the jawline of the face.

It works by reading the signals your brain sends to your face muscles when you think about saying a word, preparing them for the upcoming vocalisation – what's known as sub-vocalisations, or "silent speech".

Electrodes in the headset track these neuromuscular signals in the jaw and face.

They're then broken down by an artificial intelligence – which has been trained to pair certain signals with certain words – and sent to a connected device.

 

 

 

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