French and Riviera News Thursday 16th May 2019

Local

Road accident - A serious road accident has left three people in a serious condition in hospital. The accident occurred in Menton city centre shortly after 4pm on Wednesday. According to reports a female driver lost consciousness at the wheel of her car hitting two people on a pedestrian crossing and a scooter. Police have opened an investigation and believe the woman may have suffered an epileptic seizure before losing control of her car. The accident caused long delays on the in the area until late afternoon.

Flight makes emergency landing at Nice -. A flight from Sicily to the Netherlands has had to make an emergency landing at Nice International airport. The Boeing 737 landed in Nice on Wednesday morning due to a fuel leak. 129 passengers and 5 crew members were on board at the time. The incident led to the northern runway remaining closed.

Meanwhile at Nice International Airport there was further disruption on Wednesday due to operators of VTC private tourist vehicles blocking the access to both terminals. A war of words has broken out between VTC drivers and Taxi drivers over the last few days with VTC drivers demanding a meeting with the Prefect. By late afternoon the meeting had been granted as VTC drivers added that should they fail to obtain answers from the authorities by the 22nd May they would not hesitate to take further action ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.

The French government has announced that it’s releasing additional funds to help local merchants who have been adversely affected by the Yellow Vest protests. The fund, which is being distributed to 34 local municipalities including Toulon, has been increased from 3 million to 5.5 million euros. 

Cannes Film Festival - The Cannes film festival has been criticised for its treatment of mothers and babies after a female director claimed she and her child were prevented from entering the festival site. British director Greta Bellamacina, whose film Hurt By Paradise is screening in the market section of the festival, said the festival had displayed an “outrageous” attitude after she attempted to enter the festival with her four-month son.

Meanwhile French Actor Alain Delon has responded to a petition, initiated in the United States, which accuses him of having made discriminatory remarks about among others, homosexuals and migrants saying that “people either love me or hate me, but they cannot dispute my career”. Delon made the remarks in an interview with the Figaro newspaper on Wednesday. The actor is set to receive a Palme d’Or for his career on Sunday during the Cannes Film Festival.

Gare du Sud - The “Gare du Sud” in Nice is getting ready to opens its doors to the public on Friday. The former French railway station located in the Libération district of Nice remained derelict until 2013, when the station building was renovated. The station was originally designed by architect Prosper Bobin for the Compagnie des Chemins de fer du Sud de la France and construction lasted from 1890 until June 1892.  The train shed was originally designed by Gustave Eiffel for the Russian and Austro-Hungarian pavilion at the Paris Exposition Universelle in (1889) and was added to the station in 1891.

Today back to its former glory, visitors can enjoy an indoor market, cultural space and gourmet restaurants.

National

New measures for the internet - Major web technology firms have pledged to pursue a range of new measures aimed at stamping out violent and extremist content on the internet. The move follows pressure from governments in the wake of massacres at two New Zealand mosques in March. The "Christchurch Call" was spearheaded by New Zealand's premier Jacinda Ardern and French leader Emmanuel Macron, who gathered tech executives and world leaders to launch the initiative at a meeting in Paris on Wednesday. Facebook in particular has faced withering criticism since the Christchurch attack, after the horrific footage was uploaded and shared millions of times despite efforts to remove it. The social media giant, which participated in crafting the new commitments, said earlier on Wednesday that it would tighten access to its livestreaming feature. Google and its YouTube unit also joined the pledge, along with Twitter, Wikipedia, Dailymotion and Microsoft. The companies said they would cooperate on finding new tools to identify and quickly remove extremist content.

Electricity prices to increase - Consumer associations have claimed that the planned increase in electricity tariffs in France is “unfair”. The government on Wednesday submitted a draft decision to the Higher Energy Council on regulated sale tariffs sold by EDF which will see an increase of 5.9% from June 1st and will affect about 25 million households. In a document the government declared that in 2018, wholesale electricity prices have increased significantly in France, as in all of Europe, because of the increase in fuel and carbon prices and that the increase proposed by the CRE is of the same order of magnitude as the rises passed on in other countries: 8% in Spain and Italy and 20% increase in the social tariff in Belgium.  The consumer associations CLCV and UFC Que Choisir want to seize the Council of State and request the cancellation of such an increase.

Eiffel Tower celebrates 130 years - The Eiffel Tower prepared to celebrate the 130th anniversary of its opening on Wednesday by welcoming 1,300 children before hosting a concert and an unprecedented sound and light show. The famed monument first opened its doors to the public on 15 May 1889. A free concert was planned for the evening, followed by a sound and light show launched by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo that will run for the next three evenings. The event is one of several marking 130 years since the tower was completed and opened to the public.

Notre Dame - Meanwhile traditionalists have been left dumbfounded after an architecture firm proposed replacing the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral with a swimming pool.  France is currently preparing to launch an international competition to restore the fire-damaged cathedral to its former glory. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, said he was open to a “contemporary gesture” in rebuilding it and the prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, called for a new spire “adapted to the techniques and the challenges of our era”.

Business

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway investment firm has revealed that it owned more than 860 million dollars of Amazon stock at the end of March.

Mr Buffett had always shied away from the online retailer in the past despite admitting to being a big fan of its founder Jeff Bezos.

Now, Berkshire has admitted that it underestimated Amazon with Mr Buffett saying that he had “been an idiot” for not investing in the firm before.

The holding was revealed in regulatory filing on Wednesday with Berkshire holding some 483 thousand Amazon shares.

The investment strengthens the relationship  between Mr Buffett and Mr Bezos  whose firms teamed up last year with JP Morgan Chase to create a venture to reduce their employees healthcare costs.

 

Oil prices have edged up this morning extending gains to three days as tensions in the Middle East heightened concerns about disruption to supply.

Brent Crude futures were trading at 72 dollars 04 cents a barrel a little earlier with West Texas Intermediate up 25 cents at 62 dollars 27.

Analysts say that increased tensions between the United States and Iran are responsible for rising prices although a surprise increase in US stockpiles has prevented a larger spike.

On Wednesday , staff from the US embassy in Baghdad were flown out the city on concern about perceived threats from Iran.

The United States is also sending more than 100,000 extra troops to the region.

 

And-US retail sales fell unexpectedly in April as households cut back on purchases of new vehicles and a range of other goods.

The data points to a slowdown in economic growth following a temporary boost from exports and inventories in the first quarter.

Other data published on Wednesday showed a drop in industrial production as manufacturers worked off stockpiles of unsold goods.

US growth is starting to slow as the stimulus from President Trump’s 1.5 trillion tax cut package fades.

The escalating trade war with China is also seen as hurting business confidence and undercutting investment in equipment.

Sport

Football-The English Championship final will be between Aston Villa and Derby County.

Derby booked their place in the final after stunning Leeds United in the semi-final second leg tie at Elland Road last night.They won 4-2 on the night to take the tie 4-3 on aggregate.

The final will be at Wembley on Monday the 27th of May to see who takes the last place in the English Premier League next season.

Formula 1-Ferrari’s new team principal Mattia Binotto has said that Mercedes can be caught  and that they can be “competitive in the future”.

Pre-season testing promised much from Ferrari but they’ve been outperformed by Mercedes who have taken straight one-two finishes in every race so far.

In an interview with the BBC ,Binotto  said that overall ,Ferrari were not where they wanted to be  and are under expectations.

He added that they were in a “steep learning phase” but that he aimed to give the Ferrari personnel the “right conditions to deliver”.

Fernando Alonso has walked away unhurt  after crashing in practice for the Indianapolis 500.

The double Formula 1 champion is making his second attempt at the event but the accident on Wednesday was the latest in a series of setbacks this season.

Alonso is bidding to become only the second man in history to complete motorsport’s unofficial “triple crown” of winning the Indy 500 ,the Monaco Grand Prix and the Le Mans 24 Hours.He just needs the Indy 500 to complete the feat which has only previously been achieved by Graham Hill.

Cricket-England will have to find a new captain for the 4th one day international against Pakistan after Eoin Morgan was suspended for one match because of a slow over rate in the third match.

It’s the second time that Morgan has been sanctioned for the offence  and he’ll miss Friday’s match at Trent Bridge.

The rest of the England team have also been fined 20 percent of their match fees for the slow over rate.

Golf-The US PGA Championship starts at Bethpage Black on New York’s Long Island today in chilly conditions.

Tiger Woods will be looking for his 16th Major and hasn’t played since he won the Green Jacket at the Masters last month.

The order of the 4 Majors has been changed this year with the US PGA moving to second on the calendar instead of being the final big tournament of the season.

Weather

Clear skies with light to moderate south westerly winds.

Top temperatures 18-21 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 12 degrees on the coast and 10 degrees inland with cloudy skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Overcast with outbreaks of rain tomorrow.Sunshine and showers tomorrow.Highs of 17-19 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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