French and Riviera News Thursday 23rd November 2017


Russian senator arrested - Moscow has protested at the arrest of billionaire senator Suleyman Kerimov. Kerimov was detained upon arrival at Nice International airport on Monday night and was still being questioned on Wednesday over alleged tax evasion involving the purchase of luxury properties on the Cap d’Antibes. His detention has prompted angry Russian MPs to pass a resolution branding the arrest a violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, urging Moscow to press for his release. 51-year-old Kerimov holds a diplomatic passport, though he is not believed to have used it when he flew in to Nice on personal business on  Monday. Listed by Forbes magazine as Russia's 21st richest person with an estimated net worth of $6.3 billion (5.4 billion euros), Kerimov made his fortune during the privatisations that followed the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Water - The regional Health Agency (ARS) has informed the town council of Tourrette-Levens that the town’s tap water is unfit for consumption. The announcement was made on Wednesday afternoon after authorities found a contamination of the water network thought to be caused by a bacteria that could cause gastroenteritis. It is also stated that "for any food use, water should be boiled for ten minutes". Authorities have confirmed that the contamination affects only Tourrette-Levens, and bottled water has since been delivered to the town hall - test continue to be carried out.

Dartout appointed Prefect of the PACA region - It was announced on Wednesday that Pierre Dartout has been appointed Prefect of the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur. Dartout who was previously the Prefect of the Nouvelle Aquitaine replaces Stéphane Bouillon. Born in Limoges in 1954 Pierre Dartout has a long political career behind him. A former classmate of François Hollande at ENA, he was already Prefect of the Var between 2004 and 2007.  Speaking to local media he said the “PACA is a region with multiple challenges: tourism, security and housing. I look forward the challenge.”

Meanwhile the court in Aix-en Provence confirmed on Wednesday that Dominique-Claire Testart had been handed a three years prison sentence. The former sub-prefect was considered by the judges to being part of a corruption pact with her husband Marcel Gélabert - who died on March 1, 2017 -, and was the owner of the Mas d'Artigny in La Colle sur Loup, a luxury hotel restaurant, which is now closed. 

Works on the region’s train network - Due to work being carried out on the region’s rail network this weekend trains between Les Arcs-Draguignan and Cannes La Bocca will not be running from Friday 11.30pm to Sunday 5.30pm. The service to Nice will also be interrupted from 9pm on Saturday to 9am on Sunday. The SNCF has advised its customers to postpone any travel arrangement or opt for another mode of transport.

Winner - A 58-year-old English woman has won the jackpot without knowing anything about football, betting 1.70 euro on a combination of 12 games and won 651,000 euros. While her son and her husband watched the football on TV, she decided to spice up her afternoon by betting on all games. The Brit saw her bet multiplied by 382.941.


Discrimination study - A study on discrimination in France published today has shown that those applying for car insurance and bank loans are less likely to obtain a positive answer and encounter higher rates if they are from a poorer neighbourhood with only 78% obtaining a positive response. The study showed that businesses for banking and insurance were moving away from the principle of equal treatment of potential customers.

“Chilli Pepper Challenge” - Parents in France have been asked by police to tell their children about the dangers of a new hazardous game being played by young people that involves spicy chilli peppers. Gendarmes in Pas-de-Calais, northern France have decided to warn parents in a bid to stamp out the latest social media "challenge" that teenagers have taken to playing. The Gendarmes say the "chilli pepper game" is steadily growing in popularity on social media sites like Facebook and in school playgrounds. Essentially it involves pupils sneaking the most spicy chilli peppers into school, crushing them in their hands and then rubbing them into the mouths or eyes of unsuspecting victims.

Food for thought - Paris restaurant has begun serving up classic French cuisine to diners in the nude. Located in southwest Paris, O'naturel, is the French capital's first nudist restaurant. Diners are presented with a list of rules outlining what is expected of them in terms of behaviour -- any voyeurism or exhibitionism likely to shock is not tolerated and only teenagers (who must be accompanied by an adult) are allowed to keep their clothes on in the dining room. 


The dollar has slipped in Asian trading this morning suffering its worst falls in 5 months while bonds made a comeback on speculation that the US Federal Reserve might not tighten policy as aggressively as previously thought.
The dollar’s decline came after the minutes from the latest meeting of the Federal Open Markets Committee showed that “many participants” were concerned that inflation would stay below the bank’s 2 percent target for longer than expected.
The minutes echoed comments from Fed chair Janet Yellen that she was uncertain about the outlook for inflation.
Markets have already priced in an interest rate move to between 1.25 and 1.5 percent in December but there are suggestions that the Fed may slow rate increases next year with a peak of 1.75 percent at the end of 2018.

The British Finance Minister Phillip Hammond has painted a downbeat picture of the UK economy as he delivered his budget statement to Parliament on Thursday.
Mr Hammond said that the economy is expected to grow more slowly than previously thought and that productivity levels remained “stubbornly flat”.
He said that growth until 2021 was expected to be lower than previously predicted in March.
The Chancellor said that 3 billion pounds would be spent on planning for Brexit and that the government would prepare for “every possible outcome”.
He also earmarked an extra 2.8 billion pounds for the National Health Service and scrapped stamp duty for first time home buyers as long as the value of the property doesn’t exceed 300,000 pounds.
A new diesel  tax is to be imposed for new vehicles that don’t meet the latest emissions standards while fuel duty will be frozen.
Duty on beer,wines and spirits is also being frozen while the price of a packet of 20 cigarettes will increase by 28 pence.

And-Shares in the travel firm Thomas Cook have fallen after it reported a sharp drop in earnings at its UK businesses.
Earnings at the firm’s UK division fell by 40 percent in the year to the 30th of September to 52 million pounds.
Rising hotel prices,the fall in the pound and competition in the Spanish market all affected trade.
Shares in Thomas Cook fell by 13 percent on the news.


Cricket-It’s day 1 of the first Ashes Test between Australia and England in Brisbane.
The tourists won the toss and decided to bat on a slow pitch offering little for the bowlers and they made a good start.
After losing opener Alistair Cook for 2 in the third over Mark Stoneman and James Vince guided England to 59-1 at lunch.
There was a rain delay after the break but when play resumed,England had moved on to 101-1 midway through the afternoon session with Vince on 57 not out and Stoneman on 42.

Football-There were 8 games in the European Champions League last night.
In Group A CSKA beat Benfica 2-0 and Basel beat Manchester United 1-0.
In Group B PSG thrashed Celtic 7-1 and Bayern Munich were 2-1 winners at Anderlecht.
In Group C Chelsea guaranteed a place in the knockout phase with a 4-0 win at Qarabag while Athletico Madrid beat Roma 2-0 and in Group D Juventus and Barcelona drew 0-0 and Sporting Lisbon beat Olympiakos 3-1.

In the Europa League tonight Nice are at home to Wagerem in Group K while Everton host Atalanta in Group E.Arsenal are away at FC Koln in Group H.

There were three games in the English Championship last night with the leaders Wolves opening up a 4 point lead at the top of the table thanks to a 4-1 win over Leeds.
In the other games Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday drew 2-2 and Middlesbrough beat Birmingham 2-0.

Formula 1 –Robert Kubica will test for Williams in Abu Dhabi following this weekend’s Grand Prix as he looks to make a return to the sport 7 years after a serious rally accident nearly cost him his life.
The test is a final evaluation process to see if the Pole can handle a modern Formula 1 car and return to the sport.

Rugby Union-Sean Maitland has been named in the Scotland team to play Australia at Murrayfield on Saturday.
The wing comes into the side along with Simon Berghan at prop and second row  Grant Gilchrist.
Ryan Wilson also gets the nod at number 8.


Mainly fine with light variable winds.

Top temperature 16-17 degrees.

Overnight lows of 10 degrees on the coast and 5 degrees inland with clear skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Cloudy with some rain in the Alpes-Maritimes overnight into Saturday.Wet on Saturday morning,clearing during the afternoon.




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