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French and Riviera News.Friday July 27th 2018

Traffic-The French road monitor Bison Fute has warned of heavy traffic conditions as the busy summer holiday period continues.

This weekend,roads in the region are expected to be busier than normal owing to the annual crossover between those who holiday in July and those taking a break in August.

Traffic is expected to build around large towns from this afternoon and the A8 motorway is set to be saturated until around 8pm this evening and then again between 9am and 7pm tomorrow.

Motorists are advised to leave journeys until Sunday or Monday if possible but traffic could also be dense on Monday between 11am and 1pm.

 

Train strike-A 48 hour national train strike is continuing but reports say that there’s less disruption than on previous occasions.

Some delays and cancellations are expected today and passengers can get more information by going to www.ter.sncf.com.

The strike is due to end at 8am tomorrow.

 

Air traffic controllers-Some wildcat strikes are possible by French air traffic controllers over the weekend.

Workers near Marseilles have staged a series of sudden strikes over the past few weeks causing disruption to flights.

Several airlines have lodged a complaint with the EU protesting that the industrial action contravenes passengers’ rights to freedom of movement.

If you are travelling this weekend,you’re advised to check with your carrier before setting out.

 

The whole of the moon-Stargazers in the south of France are in for a treat tonight with the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century clearly visible in the sky.

The eclipse will start  at 21.29 this evening and will end at 19 minutes past midnight.

In addition,the eclipse will coincide with a “blood moon” and will make the earth’s satellite appear to be a red or burgundy colour.The planet Mars which is at its closest distance to earth at the moment will also appear very brightly in the sky next to the moon.

 

Storms-Violent storms hit the mountains in the Alpes-Maritimes and inland in the Var on Thursday afternoon with more than 3,400 lighting strikes recorded.

The storms were accompanied by torrential rain and hailstones in places.More thundery outbreaks in mountain areas are forecast for this afternoon and over the weekend.

 

Jellyfish-There have been reports of jellyfish washing up in places along the coast between Cannes and Nice.

Bathers are advised to take extra care in the water and to have a first aid kit containing a soothing cream and possibly an anti-histamine available.

 

In National News.

 

Air pollution-Several regions of France have been experiencing high air pollution with authorities introducing reduced speed limits and other traffic restrictions.

The current heatwave conditions coupled with an absence of wind have seen ozone levels spike in many areas of the country.

Paris has been particularly badly affected with vehicles displaying a 4 or 5 sticker banned from all roads inside the A86 motorway.

The speed limit has also been cut by 20 km/h on the roads.

Other regions affected include the Haute-Garonne in the south west and the Bouches-du-Rhone and Var in the south east.

 

Nuclear fault-The French energy giant EDF has said that it’s detected welding faults at its next generation nuclear reactor which is being constructed in north western France.

Construction of the new reactor was started as long ago as 2007 and was due to be completed by 2012 but has been beset  by a number of problems and is 400 million euros over budget.

EDF says that  33 out of the reactor’s 148 welds have now been found to have “quality deficiencies” and that the problem would delay by a year the loading of nuclear fuel until the 4th quarter of 2019.

The announcement comes just weeks after a French Parliamentary report found security failings at a number of the country’s nuclear plants.

 

Ole Macron-The French President Emmanuel Macron has been holding talks in Madrid with the new Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

Top of the agenda has been Mr Macron’s push to overhaul the European Union with Mr Sanchez reported to be keen to play a bigger role in European affairs than his predecessor Mariano Rajoy.

The two leaders have discussed how to overhaul the EU budget as well as migration and Britain’s exit from the EU at the end of March next year.

Mr Macron is now travelling on to Portugal where he’s meeting with the country’s Prime Minister  Antonio Costa in Lisbon.

 

Business.

Shares in Facebook have plunged by 19 percent after the social media giant warned investors of slowing revenue and increased spending.

More than 120 billion dollars was wiped off the face of the company in a continued backlash over its handling of fake news and user data.

Facebook said that it expects to have to boost spending by 50 percent as it attempts to improve the way that it monitors data and content.

The firm also warned that revenue growth would be hit as people make use of new options to limit advertising coupled with less profitable overseas markets.

 

Amazon has delivered record quarterly profits helped by a rise in online sales and demand for its cloud services.

The e-commerce giant said that profits hit a record 2.53 billion dollars in the three months to the end of June –around 12 times what it made during the same period last year.

Sales rose by 39 percent to 52.89 billion dollars.

The firm’s shares rose by 3 percent in after-hours trading.

 

And-The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has ruled out Theresa May’s key customs proposals.

Mr Barnier said that the plan to allow the UK to collect customs duties on its behalf would not work.

He said that the UK wanted to take back control of its money,law and borders-but so did the EU.

Mr Barnier said that the EU would not delegate excises duty to a non-member  but he said that some progress had been made in wider ranging talks on Brexit  although “obstacles” remained before a deal could be reached in October.

Sport.

NEWAY TOUR DE FRANCE REPORT

Geraint Thomas is on the brink of becoming the first Welshman to win the Tour de France.

Thomas finished safely in the peloton at the end of stage 18 on Thursday.

The 172 kilometer stage was won by Frenchman Arnaud Demare but the Team Sky rider keeps the Yellow Jersey maintaining a 1 minute 59 second advantage over Tom Dumoulin with Chris Froome still in third place.

If someone is going to make a move on Thomas it will have to be today in the final mountain stage.

 

Stage 19 is 200.5 kilometers between Lourdes and Laruns and features a number of big climbs.If Tom Dumoulin and Chris Froome want to make a bid for the Yellow Jersey then it will have to be today and they’ll have to hope that they can leave Thomas trailing.

Tomorrow is the individual time trial before the usual procession into Paris on Sunday.

 

Football-Sir Alex Ferguson has spoken in public for the first time since he underwent emergency brain surgery earlier this year.

The former Manchester United manager thanked medical staff who’s treated him as well as the many well wishers who’d sent him get well messages and letters.

Sir Alex,who’s 76 said that he’s be back watching United soon and sent Jose Mourinho and the players his best wishes for the new season.

 

Formula 1-First practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix takes place at 11am this morning with Lewis Hamilton leading Sebastian Vettel by 17 points heading into the weekend.

Vettel will be keen to make amends after he crashed out of last weekend’s German Grand Prix and the signs are that Ferrari might have the upper hand at the Hungaroring.

Second practice is at 3pm this afternoon with qualifying at 3pm tomorrow and the race at 3.10 on Sunday.

 

Cricket-Adil Rashid has been named in England’s squad for the first Test against India despite saying that he wanted to concentrate on limited-overs cricket.

Rashid signed a white ball contract with Yorkshire in February but later said that he was “not finished” with the longer form of the game.

Yorkshire said that they were “surprised” at his inclusion and the former England captain Michael Vaughan called it “ridiculous”.

The player has since said that he doesn’t care what Michael Vaughan says as “no-one listens to him anyway”.

 

Racing-Cracksman is one of 8 declarations for the King George at Ascot tomorrow but trainer John Gosden says that the colt will only run if there’s sufficient rainfall.

The field is headed by the Sir Michael Stoute trained pair of Crystal Ocean and Poet’s Word.

Aiden O’Brien’s Kew Gardens is a non runner following a pre-race test which indicated that he was not 100 percent.

The King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes is off at 4.40 tomorrow afternoon.

 

Weather

Fine in coastal areas with some thundery outbreaks developing inland and light to moderate south easterly winds.

Top temperatures 27-31 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 23 degrees on the coast and 19 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

The weekend-Clear skies in coastal areas,thundery showers inland at times.Highs of 27-33 degrees.

 

Finally.

A zoo in Egypt has denied painting black stripes on a donkey to make it look like a zebra after a photo of the animal appeared online.

Student Mahmoud Sarhan put the images on Facebook after visiting Cairo's International Garden municipal park.

Aside from its small size and pointy ears, there were also black smudges on its face.

The pictures quickly went viral, with experts weighing in on the species of the animal.

A vet  said that a zebra's snout is black, while its stripes are more consistent and parallel.

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