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French and Riviera News Thursday 14th June 2018

 

Local

Rail Strikes - The French National Assembly has overwhelmingly backed a landmark bill to overhaul the country's heavily indebted state-run railway company the SNCF. The vote which is seen as a victory for President Emmanuel Macron and a blow to rail unions will mean the biggest reform of the way the French rail network since its nationalisation in the 1930s  phasing out the company's domestic passenger monopoly and scrapping employee benefits such as early retirement and job for life guarantees. Unions are determined to continue strike action calling for a mass protest on June 28th. The strike so far has reportedly cost the SNCF 400 million euros.

Road Accident – Police in the Var have called for motorcyclists  to be more vigilant on the region’s roads following a serious accident in La Croix Valmer in the Var on Wednesday morning. Latest figures show that 19 people have been killed on the roads of the Alpes Maritimes since the beginning of the year. Of those, eleven were riding a motorbike or scooter.

Bullfighting - A recent survey carried out by the Brigitte Bardot Foundation has revealed that 74% of French people are against bullfighting. The poll, published today shows that a large majority of French people no longer want bullfighting and are in support of an anti-bullfighting bill which is to be introduced to parliament by French MP Philippe Michel-Kleisbauer.

Plogging - A surprising new concept has hit the streets of Nice and it goes by the name of “Plogging”. “Plogging” which originated in Sweden invites joggers to pick up rubbish while out running. Open to everyone the winners of the Riviera Business Club Start of the year 2017, Nicholas and Barbara Basalgate of the restaurant “Badaboom” invite people to take part in this new discipline with the aim of “together making a positive gesture for the environment”. For more information go to the Nice Plogging facebook page.

Pizza championship - Denis Job from Avignon has won first prize in the world pizza championship held in Italy. Passionate about pizza, Job entered the competition faced with a demanding jury, in search of taste and a perfect dough. The great pizza enthusiast is the first Frenchman to win a world championship title in Naples. This year, he faced 600 competitors from 40 different countries.

National

Italy summons French ambassador - Italy has summoned the French ambassador after Emmanuel Macron criticised what he called Italy’s “irresponsibility” in turning away a migrant rescue ship with more than 600 people on board. In a speech to Parliament on Wednesday he demanded an apology from the French President and challenged France to take in the migrants it had promised to take under an EU agreement, accusing it of turning back 10,000 migrants at Italy’s northern border. Following the fall out questions are being asked as to whether Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte will still go ahead with a meeting planned with Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Friday.

Refineries blockade - France's main farming union has called for protesters to continue a blockade of refineries after the government failed to ease their concerns over the use of imported palm oil at local biofuel plants. Oil and gas major Total said on Tuesday that 3.5 percent of its petrol stations in France had run out of fuel after two days of blockades. The blockade concerns a total of 18 refineries across France.

Business

The US Federal Reserve has,as widely expected,raised interest rates by a quarter of one percent.

The increase brings the Fed’s target for its benchmark rate to between one and three-quarters and two percent-the highest level since 2008.

A majority of central bank officials are also now forecasting two more rate increases before the end of the year.

The Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell says that increasing employment is boosting income and confidence while foreign expansion and tax cuts are supporting additional growth.

Fed projections suggest that the US economy will grow by 2.8 percent this year  with unemployment falling to 3.6 percent.

 

Comcast has started a bidding war by offering 21st Century Fox 65 billion dollars to lure it away from a merger with Walt Disney.

The bid is 20 percent higher than the existing Disney offer on the table.

Comcast’s chief executive Brian Roberts says that he’s confident that regulators will allow it to acquire most of Fox’s assets after AT&T’s court victory in its bid to buy Time Warner re-set the media playing field.

Reuters says that the battle to acquire Fox is shaping up to be a summer blockbuster starring well known media moguls Rupert Murdoch and Disney chief executive Bob Iger.

Fox now has to decided whether it prefers Comcast’s bid and if so it will give Disney 5 working days to respond.The future of the UK broadcaster Sky is also tied up in the process.

 

And-Volkswagen has been fined a billion euros by German prosecutors over its diesel emissions scandal.

The public prosecutor found that VW had sold more than 10 million cars between mid 2007 and 2015 that had emissions cheating software installed.

The firm says that it does not intend to appeal against the fine and accepted that it had a “responsibility for the diesel crisis”.

The fine is one of the highest ever imposed against a firm by German authorities.

Sport

Football-The World Cup starts in Russia today with the hosts playing Saudi Arabia in Group A following the opening ceremony.
32 teams including the holders Germany will be competing in 64 games over 32 days.
The 21st edition of the competition will be played in 12 stadiums across 11 cities and spread out over two and a half thousand kilometres.
England,who are in Group G with Belgium,Tunisia and Panama.They play their opening game against Tunisia on Monday night.


Cricket-England have beaten Australia by 3 wickets in the opening one day international at the Oval.
Australia batted first and were bowled out for just 214 in 47 overs.
England struggled at times in their reply but got to their target in 44 overs in a total of 218-7.
England take a 1-0 lead in the 5 match series with the second game taking place in Cardiff on Saturday.

Motorsport-Toyota have denied that they’ll favour Fernando Alonso at this weekend’s Le Mans 24 hour.
Toyota have never won the race but they go into the event as favourites and if Alonso’s car won then it would guarantee wider coverage than their other entry.
A spokesman for the team said that both cars will start the race with an equal chance of winning and what they’re aiming for is a Toyota 1-2.

Tennis-Rafael Nadal has pulled out of next week’s Queen’s tournament in London saying that he needs to rest.
The world number one is coming off a record 11th victory at the French Open and says that he’s spoken to his doctor’s who say that he needs to take a break to be ready for Wimbledon.
Meanwhile the world number two Roger Federer was back in action on the grass on Wednesday after taking a self imposed break from the clay court season.
Federer beat Mischa Zverev in three sets in the second round of the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart  and said that three months out is a long time but that he’d found his rhythm after a difficult start and that it was good to be back.


Golf-The second major of the year,the US Open starts at Shinnecock Hills,Long Island today.
Four time major winner Rory McIlroy will be playing alongside Jordan Speith and Phil Mickelson in the first round while Tiger Woods is in a group alongside world number one Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas. 

Weather

Mainly fine with perhaps a rumble or two of thunder inland and light variable winds.

Top temperature 26 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 20 degrees on the coast and 15 degrees inland with clear skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Mainly fine with highs of 24-27 degrees.

 

Finally 

Parents have been slammed for using video footage to challenge the results of their kids’ school sports day.

Parents brought their video "evidence" into a school in Cardiff to dispute the results, but the school had refused to budge in the results row.

Sian Evans, headteacher of Mynydd Bychan school in Cathays, Cardiff, has now sent a strongly worded letter to parents warning them to stop the practice, saying: "Teacher's word is final".

In the letter, she said: "The members of staff at the finish line, and nobody else, have the absolute final say and as to the first, second and third place positions.

 

 

 

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