French and Riviera News.Monday October 28th 2019.

Manhunt-Police in the Var have launched an appeal for information about a suspected sexual predator who is believed to be operating in the areas of Draguignan, Les Arcs and Vidauban.

Authorities say that the man ,aged around 60 years has been approaching young women and girls and trying to entice them into his vehicle for the past 3 years.

He’s been using a Peugeot 308 or Peugeot Partner and has been spotted at Les Arcs-Draguignan railway station several times.

Anyone with information is asked to call police in Draguignan on 04 94 39 44 00 or by email on psq-draguignan@interieur.gouv.fr

 

Warning signs-40 percent of regional TER trains had to be cancelled on Sunday because of strike action by SNCF staff.

The strike was called in continued protest over an accident that happened on a level crossing in the Champagne-Ardennes on the 16th of October during which 11 people including the train driver were injured.

Unions led by the CGT say that they want all regional trains to be staffed properly with guards on all services.

More strike action is a strong possibility.Earlier this month ,rail services were paralysed for three days after staff staged a wildcat strike.

 

Environmental plans-The Nice Metropole area has announced plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 22 percent between now and 2025.

Under plans announced by Mayor Christian Estrosi there will be free public transport on days of high air pollution ,a ban on burning garden waste and greater efforts made on composting an recycling.

The Mayor says that he intends to have collective composting  bins installed in the grounds of every apartment block and school and make it much easier for people to process rubbish for recycling.

People  with gardens who need to dispose of green waste will be encouraged to invest in a shredder instead of burning it for which there will be a grant of 50 percent of the cost upon presentation of a receipt and EU safety norm certificate.

The opposition Socialist Party says that the measures don’t go far enough and point to the Mayor’s plans to expand the airport as evidence that he’s not taking climate change seriously.

The Green Party also says that the plans are vastly insufficient and that Mr Estrosi should be concentrating on rapidly reducing traffic to  improve air quality and cut fine particles in the atmosphere which it estimates are causing 380 premature deaths each year in the city and surrounding areas.

 

Tram-The next phase of the Nice tram network will go into service on the 14th of December.

Tests are currently being carried out on the new segment which links the port with Avenue Jean Medecin and takes in two underground stops at Durandy and Garibaldi-Le Chateau.

When in service ,trams will travel at speeds of up to 70 km/h on the underground section.

Work on the latest section started in 2013 and it’s opening will come as a relief to local residents who’ve had to put up with considerable noise and other disruptions for the past 5 years.

 

Watch your step-According to official statistics road accidents involving pedestrians increase when the clocks go back.

The government ministerial department for road safety says that nearly half of all fatal accidents involving pedestrians happen in the four months between the end of October and the end of January. Reduced visibility is the main cause of the increased risk of accidents with pedestrians and cyclists in particular to take extra precautions such as wearing high vis clothing and to take extra care when crossing roads.

 

Storms-Three times as much rain fell in parts of the Var than in the Alpes -Maritimes during the storms of last Wednesday night.

Some areas of the department registered as much as 130 mm of rain described as unprecedented by Meteo France.

The west of the Var was the worst hit part of the department with widespread localised flooding and extensive damage to property and roads.

 

 

Unemployment-The number of people out of work and claiming benefit in the PACA Sud region fell by 1.3 percent in the 3rd quarter according to official data.

In the Alpes-Maritimes the figure was even better with the jobless total falling by 1.4 percent while in the Var unemployment fell by 1.2 percent.

The results far exceed the national figure with the jobless total down by 0.4 percent in the period between June and the end of September.

25 to 49 year olds led the way in finding new employment but the number of long term unemployed remains stubbornly high , up by 0.4 percent in the third quarter.

 

In National News.

 

Murder -An autopsy carried out on a dismembered body which was found in forest land near Strasbourg last Wednesday has confirmed that it is that of  student Sophie Le Tan.

Miss Le Tan had been missing since September 2018 when she had gone to visit an apartment that she was thinking of renting in the city.

The owner of the apartment and principal suspect Jean Marc Reiser was arrested a few days later.

He was charged with the murder of a young woman in the 1980s but was freed owing to a lack of evidence.

In the current case , authorities say that traces of Sophie Le Tans blood were found in Reiser’s apartment but he continues to deny murder.He maintains that he gave first aid to the 20 year old after she cut her hand.

Reiser’s even charged with kidnapping ,illegal detention and murder.

 

 

Foreign bodies -A leading producer of foods for schools has admitted that a number of “foreign bodies” have managed to make their way into a number of its products over the past year.

Elior says that there has been a “series of malfunctions” at its plant in the Val-de-Marne which have resulted in a number of potentially dangerous items being found in puréed food distributed to nurseries in the Paris region.

Complaints from staff working in nursery canteens include finding screws,bolts plastic film, fragments of ceramic  and even a one centimeter pointed bone in the firm’s purée products over the past year.

Elior is the France’s leading producer of pre-prepared meals which are bought by schools,hospitals ,clinics and businesses around the country.

The firm does not contest the news and says that its doing everything possible to make sure there are no more incidents.

Elior produces pre-prepared food in 15 countries with a total workforce of 132,000 including 24,500 in France.

It says that its increasing security and hygiene measures on its production lines and modernising its equipment.

 

Tobacco prices-The cost of a packet of 20 cigarettes is to rise by an average of 50 cents from the first of November.

The price rise is part of government anti-smoking policy which aims to increase the cost of a packet of 20 cigarettes to 10 euros by the end of 2020.

The measures appear to be paying off with tobacco sales falling by 9.32 percent last year.

Smoking still kills some 75,000 people in France annually.

From the 1st of November ,the price of a packet of 20 cigarettes will cost between 8 euros 90 and 9 euros 10. Prices for hand rolling tobacco and cigars will also increase.

Tax accounts for 80 percent of the cost of all tobacco products.

 

Business.

 

Sir Richard Branson has said that aviation can be carbon neutral “before we realise”.

The founder of the Virgin empire will ring the bell at the opening of the New York Stock Exchange later today as his space flight firm Virgin Galactic becomes a listed company.

In an interview with The Observer newspaper on Sunday ,Sir Richard said that his Virgin Atlantic airline was working to achieve net-zero emissions by or before 2050.He said that he was lobbying the UK government to impose the equivalent of a carbon tax on all companies in Britain and for the money to be put into green investment.

He also said that more modern aircraft are cutting Virgin’s fuel burn by 25-30 percent and that hopefully in the not too distant future some short-haul planes will be completely battery driven.

The entrepreneur said that Brexit was a “particular cause of sadness” to him adding that it “must have become apparent to most people in the past three and a half years just what a mistake it was”.

He said that the demise of Thomas Cook could be directly attributed to Brexit as the firm had suffered too much from the 20 percent drop in the value of the pound.He said that all of the firm’s costs such as aircraft maintenance ,leasing and fuel would have been in dollars and that also ,less people had been able to afford to travel overseas.

 

The billionaire owners of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph are putting both titles up for sale.

Reports say that Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay are reviewing all of their key assets including the Telegraph Media Group.

Figures published on the 17th of October showed that the group’s profit for the last financial year had plunged by 94 percent on the previous year to 900 million pounds.

Sales have also been falling with the Daily Telegraph averaging a daily circulation of 310,586 and the Sunday Telegraph averaging 244,351 copies.

The brothers also own the Spectator magazine ,the delivery firm Yodel and the online retailer Shop Direct.

The Ritz Hotel which is also owned by Sir David and Sir Frederick is already up for sale.

 

And-The the luxury goods maker LVMH is reported to have approached the jeweller Tiffany and Co with an acquisition offer according to a report by Reuters.

The development comes as Tiffany struggles with the impact of tariffs on its exports to China.

The report says that LVMH which owns a number of luxury brands including Louis Vuitton,Moët Champagne And Hennessy Cognac has been seeking to expand its presence in the US market for a number of years and submitted a non-binding offer to Tiffany earlier this month.

According to Reuters , Tiffany has hired advisors to review the offer but has not yet responded.

The exact offer price has not been determined but Tiffany has a market capitalisation of 11.9 billion dollars.

 

Sport.

 

MA NOLANS RUGBY WORLD CUP REPORT.

 

The 2019 Rugby World Cup final will be between England and South Africa.

England reached their first final since 2007 with possibly their best ever World Cup performance with a 19-7 victory over the holders New Zealand on Saturday to inflict a first defeat in 19 World Cup games on the All Blacks.

South Africa won a nail biting encounter against Wales 19-16 on Sunday with only 1 try apiece in the entire match but and the Springboks coming through thanks to a penalty near the death.

So , no fairy tale end to Warren Gatland’s reign as Wales Coach.He’ll have to settle for the Bronze medal match against New Zealand on Friday while England will play South Africa in a repeat of the 2007 World Cup Final on Saturday.

The Springboks won on that occasion to take the crown that England had achieved in the 2003 final but Eddie Jones’ side will start Saturday’s final as favourites.

England have had to fly in the Saracens scrum half Ben Spencer to replace Willi Heinz who picked up a hamstring injury in the semi final victory and he’s set to be named on the bench.

Jones has other injury concerns with captain Owen Farrell and wing Jonny May nursing dead legs and prop Kyle Sinckler struggling with a calf problem.Anthony Watson is also suffering with an unspecified injury.

 

Football -In the English Premier League on Sunday-Newcastle and Wolves drew 1-1.Arsenal and Crystal Palace drew 2-2.Manchester United were 3-1 winners at Norwich and Liverpool came from a goal down to beat Spurs 2-1 at Anfield.

 

 

There were 2 games in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday-The leaders Celtic were 4-0 winners at Aberdeen while second placed Rangers beat Motherwell 2-1 and in the English Championship Swansea beat Cardiff 1-0 and Bristol City and Wigan drew 2-2.

 

In the FA Women’s Super League on Sunday Everton beat Brighton 2-0.Manchester United beat Reading 2-0.Birmingham beat Liverpool 2-0.Arsenal were 1-0 winners over Manchester City.Spurs were 2-1 winners at Bristol City  and West Ham lost 3-1 at home to Chelsea.

 

 

Formula 1-Lewis Hamilton won the Mexico Grand Prix on Sunday but he’ll have to wait at least another week to get his hands on a 6th world title.

Hamilton won an enthralling tactical battle against Ferrari with Sebastian Vettel finishing second and Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes third.

He’ll clinch the drivers’ championship at the US Grand Prix next Sunday as long as he doesn’t lose more than 22 points to Valtteri Bottas who is the only man who can catch him.

 

Cricket -Jonny Bairstow hit an unbeaten 78 as England cruised to a 6 wicket win in their first Twenty20 warm-up match in New Zealand.

England beat a New Zealand XI after restricting the home side to 172-4 from their 20 overs and then reaching the target in a total of 177-4 in 18.1 overs.

The T20 international series starts in Christchurch on Friday.

 

Golf-Tiger Woods -Tiger Woods has won a record equalling 82nd PGA Tour title with victory in the inaugural Zozo Championship in Japan.

Woods ended on 19 under par in the rain affected event and finished with a final round of 67.

The win puts him level with Sam Snead who set the record in 1965.

 

Weather.

 

Hazy sunshine with light variable winds.

Top temperature 22 degrees.

Overnight lows of 16 degrees with clear skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday-Cloudy at times with sunny periods.Some showers developing on Wednesday afternoon.Highs of 20-22 degrees.

 

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