French and Riviera News Thursday 21st February 2019

Local

Anti-Semitism - French President Emmanuel Macron has announced new measures to tackle anti-Semitism, following a spate of attacks. Macron said parliament would vote on a new law to tackle hatred on the internet. On Tuesday Mr Macron visited a Jewish cemetery near Strasbourg where graves were tagged with Nazi symbols. On the same day, thousands of people joined rallies across France in support of the Jewish community.

Meanwhile Republican MP Eric Ciotti of the Alpes Maritimes has announced plans to introduce a bill in the fight against anti-Semitic acts on social networks. Ciotti announced on Wednesday a bill to combat the problem by making it obligatory to provide personal identification and a statement of responsibility when opening a social media account, on platforms such as Twitter or Facebook. Ciotti believes the measure would mean that any anti-Semitic messages would be immediately identifiable. Ciotti also wishes a crackdown on the removal of such tweets or messages, which by law should be carried out within 24 hours failure to do so leads to a 375,000 euros which the MP would like to see increased to 37.5 million euros.

Marseille Airport website hacked - The commercial website for Marseille airport has been the victim of a cyberattack during which banking data was stolen. According to local reports bank card data was stolen from those making reservations with the airports car park facilities. Airport management has not yet specified the dates of the attack or the number of customers concerned. A mail has been sent to all users of the online service.

Nice Carnival - The director of the Nice Carnival has apologized to nearly 300 spectators who were left disappointed on Wednesday after being unable to access the event due to long queues and security measures. A refund has been offered with the possibility to return at a later date. Those concerned need to go to the Nice Carnival website.  

Scottish six car team - A team of six classic cars have made it around the Monte Carlo Classique circuit, having driven all the way from Scotland and then back again. Departing from Clydebank on Wednesday 30th January. The cars passed through Banbury en route to Monte Carlo, where they completed the rally on 2nd February.

Royal twins first visit to Africa - Monaco’s royal twins, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques, have visited Africa, their mother’s homeland for the first time. The visit was captured by Princess Charlene on her instagram account.  They enjoyed seeing animals in the wild on a trip that also included an event with The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation. 

National

Flu Epidemic - According to figures published by Public Health France on Wednesday so far the flu epidemic in France has claimed 2,800 lives. 87% of deaths have been among people aged 75 and over. The Epidemic is believed to have reached its peak with the number of cases decreasing.

National debate - One million contributions have been collected on the website of the national debate which was organized in response to the "yellow vests" crisis. The spokesman of the government, Benjamin Griveaux, announced on Wednesday, that the one million-contribution mark on the digital platform had been reached. More than 4,000 meetings have already been held half of the 8 000 that are registered and which will be held by mid-March. The main concerns expressed have been on education, health and transport services along with employment opportunities. Launched on January 15th, the national debate, will end on March 15th.

Benalla - A French Senate committee has said three members of President Emmanuel Macron’s inner circle should be investigated for withholding information about former bodyguard Alexandre Benalla. The committee also recommended Benalla should be prosecuted for perjury. Benalla lost his job on Macron’s presidential staff after it was revealed last July that he had roughed up protesters at a May Day march in Paris while illegally wearing police equipment. Macron and his office faced accusations of orchestrating a cover-up, and in detailing results of a seven-month inquiry into the incident, senators said they had found “major flaws” in the government’s response.

Student reprimanded for wearing make-up - Students have gathered support on social media for a secondary school student in south western France who has been reprimanded for wearing make-up at school. Alexis, a student at the Lycée Bellevue in Albi in the Tarn region, has been summoned twice by the management of his establishment, about the makeup he wears. The reactions on Twitter have been numerous with more than 11,000 likes and nearly 8,000 retweets. In support of their fellow student other students turned up wearing make-up on Tuesday and plan to repeat the protest today.

Business

Reuters says that China and the United States have started to outline commitments in principle on the thorniest issues in their ongoing trade dispute,marking the most significant progress towards ending the 7 month old row.

Reuters says that sources “familiar with the negotiations” had said that a broad outline of what could make up a deal is starting to emerge from the talks as the two sides push for a settlement by the 1st of March.

The report says that negotiators are drawing up  6 memorandums of understanding on structural issues including forced technology transfer and cyber theft, intellectual property rights, services and currency.

The sources said that the process had become “a real trade negotiation” and that the participants are planning to reconvene in Washington sometime next week.

 

The Swiss banking giant UBS  has been fined 3.7 billion euros for tax fraud by a court in Paris.

The court ruled that UBS  had illegally helped French clients to hide billions of euros from the country’s tax authorities  between 2004 and 2012.

UBS said that it had consistently contested any wrong doing and would appeal against the ruling.

The bank accepted large fines following similar cases in the United States in 2009 and in Germany in 2014.

As well as the fine,UBS has been ordered to pay 800 million euros in damages to the French state.

 

And-Laura Ashley has warned investors that it will post lower profits than it had previously forecast for the financial year.

The firm also said that it made no profit at all for the last 6 months of 2018 as sales fell by 4.2 percent.

The company said that trading conditions “had been difficult” and that while fashion sales had increased, furniture and decorations fell.

Laura Ashley shares fell by 22 percent in London on the news before recovering to end the day down 5 percent-valuing the company at 22 million  pounds.

 

Sport

Football-Manchester City have beaten Schalke 3-2 in the first leg of their European Champions League round of 16 tie.

City were trailing two-one and had Otamendi sent off before coming back to win through late goals from Sane and Sterling.

Last night’s other tie ended Athletico Madrid 2 Juventus 0.

There was one game in the English Championship last night.Derby lost 1-0 at home to Millwall and in a Scottish Cup 5th round replay Rangers thrashed Kilmarnock 5-0 to set up a quarter final date at Aberdeen.

Round of 32 ties are being played in the Europa League tonight.Arsenal face Borisov trailing 1-0 from the 1st leg while Chelsea take a 2-1 advantage into the second leg of their tie against Malmo.

Celtic visit Valencia trailing 2-0 from the first leg.

Cricket-England have completed their highest ever one day international run chase to beat West Indies by 6 wickets in Barbados.

West Indies batted first with Chris Gayle setting the match alight with a typically swashbuckling  135 in his side’s total of 360-8.

It was a tall order for England but they got there with  centuries from Jason Roy and Joe Root in total of 364-4 to take a one nil lead in the five match series.

Formula 1-Daniel Kvyat  was quickest on the third day of pre-season testing in Barcelona.

The Toro Rosso driver set the fastest time followed by Kimi Raikkonen in the Alfa Romeo and Daniel Ricciardo in the Renault.

Williams finally made it out on to the track after an enforced absence that Claire Williams described as “embarrassing”.

Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton was quoted as saying that Ferrari look “a lot better” than last season.

Golf-Steve Stricker will captain the United States when  they try to reclaim the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits next year.

The 51 year old was on the winning side as a player in 2008 and also played in the 2010 and 2012 defeats to Europe.

Ireland’s Padraig Harrington will captain Europe.

Weather

Clear skies   with light  variable winds.

Top temperature 16 degrees.

Overnight lows of 8 degrees on the coast and 3 degrees inland with clear skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Mainly fine with highs of 15-17 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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