Weather warning - Méteo France has placed the Var and the Alpes Martimes on an orange weather alert with heavy rain and thunderstorms forecast. The warning which was issued on Wednesday at 4pm will remain in place until 8pm this evening with increased rainfall expected this afternoon accompanied with intense thunderstorms and wind gusts of up to 70km/h.
Train strike - SNCF has announced further strike action from 8 o’clock this evening as part of its rolling strike action. Services will be affected Friday and Saturday with a number of delays and cancellations on the regional network.
Pollution - The Prefect of the Bouches-du-Rhones has requested an immediate clean up and an evaluation of the environmental consequences from the Alteo alumina factory plant in Bouc-Bel-Air north of Marseille. The demand comes following an accident on April 8th which resulted in a thick cloud of red dust covering the surrounding area.
Parkinson’s disease - Wednesday marked world Parkinson’s day and as part of a number of events organised throughout France a round table will be taking place in Cannes today at 2.30 this afternoon. 200,000 people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s in France, 3,000 of them in the Alpes Maritimes. According to French health authorities the number of patients has significantly changed in recent years with 40,000 more than in 2010.
French cyclist tests positive - French cyclist Rémy di Grégorio from Marseille is at the centre of a new doping scandal with reports that he tested positive in March during the Paris-Nice race. Grégorio has been temporarily suspended by the UCI and will not be competing, as planned in the Finistère Tour this weekend.
Green - Nice has been voted one of the least green cities in Europe. A survey by BFM Business, shows the city has just one tree for every 17 people, compared to Rome with 1 tree for every 9, or even Paris with 1 in 11.
Activists clash with police - Further clashes have broken out at Notre-Dame-des-Landes as police battled for a third day to clear activists who first set up the alternative commune a decade ago. Some 70 protesters were lobbing projectiles at police from behind barricades set up to defend the camp at near the city of Nantes. Activists opposed to plans to build an airport first began squatting on the farmland in 2008 and it had since grown into a sprawling 4,000-acre settlement billed as a utopian leftist farming community.
“Lessons on Power “ – The former French president Francois Hollande has accused his successor Emmanuel Macron of deepening inequality with his pro-business reforms. The comments are made in Hollande’s memoirs of his five years in power which went on sale on Wednesday. In the 400-page book, "Lessons on Power" Hollande throws numerous jabs at the 40-year-old centrist who replaced him last year. Hollande left power as the most unpopular president in French history, but some opinion polls have shown Macron reaching even lower depths at the same point in his term. According to a poll published this week. Macron's approval rate currently sits at 55 percent.
Passport – Recent figures published have shown that 120,000 people took up French citizenship in 2016. Half of these came from people already living in France, while 20,000 were the result of a marriage to a French person. Meanwhile British applicants for French citizenship have sky-rocketed in the last three years, going from 320 in 2015, to 1,500 last year.
Hallyday - A court decision is expected on Friday, on whether the estate of French singer Johnny Hallyday, should be frozen or not. The singer’s son and daughter are taking the action against Hallyday’s last wife, who was left everything in his final will.
Markets in Asia have been under pressure this morning as the threat of imminent US military action against Syria rattled investors and sent oil prices to their highest levels since late 2014.
Comments by US President Donald Trump have raised the prospect of direct conflict between America and Russia for the first time since the two superpowers took opposing sides in the seven year old civil war that’s also seen an escalation in tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Reuters reports that leading experts are playing down concerns over the possibility of World War III breaking out but they say that a direct collision between the United States and Russia would certainly see stock markets plunge.
The escalation has seen oil prices rise to their highest levels since late 2014 on possible supply concerns with Brent Crude trading up more than 7 percent so far this week and hitting a high of 73 dollars 09 cents this morning.
Minutes from the last policy meeting of the US Federal Reserve show that some members are urging the central bank to consider raising interest rates more quickly in what could mark a change in policy from the gradual approach taken in recent years.
Markets dipped following the release of the minutes from the Fed’s March meeting.They show that several members of the Federal Open Markets Committee expect stronger growth and inflation to warrant more aggressive action on rates over the medium term.
The US central bank has been gradually raising interest rates since the financial crisis but has until now only taken small, measured action.
And-UK manufacturing growth slowed unexpectedly by 0.2 percent in February-the first decline in almost a year.
Economists had forecasted a 0.2 percent increase but the UK Office for National Statistics says that output was hit by falls in electrical appliance manufacturing and oil refining.
Year-on-year manufacturing output increased by 2.5 percent against a previous forecast of growth of 3.3 percent.
Meanwhile the UK construction industry is in a deep recession,contracting by 3 percent over the past year.Spending is also down on new commercial and industrial buildings including offices,shops and factories.
Football-An injury time penalty from Christiano Ronaldo saved Real Madrid from an embarrassing exit from the European Champions League after opponents Juventus staged a stunning comeback in the second leg of their quarter final tie.
Juventus were leading 3-0 with the tie heading into extra time before Ronaldo stepped up and put a 97th minute penalty into the top corner of the net to take his side through to the semi finals 4-3 on aggregate.
The other tie ended Bayern Munich 0 Sevilla 0 .The Germans go through 2-1 on aggregate.
The second leg quarter final ties in the Europa League are being played tonight with Arsenal 4-1heading into their away game at CSKA Moscow.Lazio Rome are at Red Bull Salzburg leading 4-2 from the first leg.Marseilles host Leipzig trailing 1-0 from the first leg while Sporting Lisbon are 2-0 down ahead of the home leg of their tie against Athletico Madrid.
In the English Championship last night,Wolves practically guaranteed themselves Premier League football next season thanks to a 2-0 win over Derby.
Athletics-Australia are still way out in front on day 8 of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
Australia have 57 gold medals in a total haul of 145 with England in second place with 25 gold medals and India in third place with 12.
Earlier this morning,England completed a one-two in the women’s mountain biking event with Annie Last taking the gold and team-mate Evie Richards taking the silver.
There are medal events in athletics,diving,gymnastics and bowls today.
Cricket-Steve Smith,David Warner and Cameron Bancroft will not be awarded contracts by Cricket Australia for the forthcoming season following their parts in the ball tampering scandal.
Smith and Warner have been handed year-long bans while Bancroft has been suspended for 9 months.
Cricket Australia says that contracts are based on player performances over the past 12 months and that there will be a focus on white ball cricket before the 2019 World Cup.
Racing-The Grand National meeting starts at Aintree today with the big race on Saturday.
A maximum of 40 horses will start the big race with an estimated worldwide television audience of 600 million.
Blaklion is among the favourites having finished 4th last year although there are continued doubts that he has the stamina to last the 4 mile course.
There’s also some money for Seeyouatmidnight,Captain Redbeard,Buywise along with Total Recall,Anibale Fly and Pleasant Company.
There’s an ORANGE WEATHER ALERT in force for the Alpes-Maritimes and Var until 8pm tonight with heavy rain,thunderstorms and the risk of flooding.
Moderate to strong easterly winds with a high of 12 degrees Celsius.
Partially cloudy skies tonight with a low of 10 degrees.
Friday and the start of the weekend-mainly cloudy tomorrow with scattered showers and a few bright spells.
Much better on Saturday with mainly clear skies and a high of 19 degrees.
Bill Gates and Angelina Jolie have come top of the list of the world’s most admired man and woman in 2018, according to a YouGov study.
Barack and Michelle Obama take the two second place spots, with the former president 15 places higher than Donald Trump, who has gone up one position since the last study.
Football stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi - coming in at 10th and 11th place respectively - beat Pope Francis who was 16th.