Corsica - French President Emmanuel Macron has said that he will not recognise Corsican as an official language. Speaking in Bastia on Wednesday the President also rejected another demand by Corsican nationalists for a special residency status to prevent property speculation by outsiders. Macron did however promise more investment and said he was open to transferring more powers to local authorities. In response to his speech the Corsican regional government leader Gilles Simeoni said Mr Macron had "missed an opportunity" to develop a new relationship with the island.
Mayor of Nice – Meanwhile during an interview on LCI the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has confirmed that he has no intention to leave the Republican political party in order to join another. In reference to his decision to not support any candidate for the presidency of the party he confirmed that he had not “wished to interfere”. Speaking on LCI on Wednesday evening he added that he remains in accordance with the French President Emmanuel Macron on a number of topics especially concerning Corsica.
Health Service - Figures published on Wednesday have shown that a third of public health establishments in France are in excessive debt, including Nice hospital. Some of the largest French hospitals in Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse and Nice are concerned with the debt increasing from 9.8 billion euros in 2003 to 29.3 billion in 2016.
Bin collections - The Mayor of Avignon, Cicile Helle has called for an urgent solution to be found in dealing with bin collections on the outskirts of the city. As strike action entered its 6th consecutive day on Wednesday the situation has deteriorated dramatically in terms of public safety. Helle has requested that the Prefect of the Vaucluse starts to negotiate with unions in order to find a solution to the problem.
Paris - Connections between the Cote d’Azur and Paris have been severely affected for a second consecutive day on Wednesday evening, due to snowfall in the capital. The snow, which is the heaviest in thirty years, has crippled bus, train and airline services. Flights to Nice from Paris Orly and Charles de Gaulle were cancelled, and there were delays of up three hours on high-speed TGV services. While the weather alert has been lifted this morning by Meteo France forecasters say that even lower temperatures are expected causing heavy snow to freeze making conditions even more treacherous.
French Farmers - French farmers have blocked main roads leading to the country's fourth largest city, Toulouse. Traffic came to a standstill on Wednesday as farmers protested against the government's plans to reduce the number of agricultural areas that qualify for farming subsidies from the European Union. The farmers warn that “villages could die” if their voices are not heard.
French Defence budget - The French government has announced plans to spend 295 billion euros on its armies between 2019 and 2025, with the objective of increasing defense spending to 2% of GDP by 2025. The French defense budget, of 34.2 billion euros in 2018, will benefit from an increase of 1.7 billion euros per year until 2022, before introducing steps of 3 billion per year from 2023. The Ministry of the Armed Forces also plans to create some 6,000 civilian and military posts by 2025, including 3,000 within five years.
State visit - US President Donald Trump has invited France's Emmanuel Macron to visit Washington in April - the first state visit of Trump's term in office. The American leader was so impressed by his own state visit to France last year that he proposed holding a Bastille-Day-style military parade in Washington. Macron is expected to visit the US capital on April 23rd. While nearly two million Britons have signed a petition against Trump being invited on a state visit to their country, his trip to France did not see much protest and, although Macron and Trump differ on issues such as climate change, the French president insists their friendly relations are good diplomatic practice.
Three Americans - The three Americans who foiled the train terror attack in France in 2015 have returned to Paris where the Clint Eastwood film about their heroic actions opened on Wednesday. Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler, who play themselves in "The 15:17 to Paris", were reunited at the screening in the French capital and were joined by emergency services who had tended to the injured after the attack.
Asian shares have been skirting near 6 year lows this morning with bond yields creeping up towards four year highs with investors concerned that the cheap borrowing costs enjoyed by many firms over a long period of time may be coming to an end as inflation spikes.
On Wednesday,US congressional leaders reached a two year federal budget deal to raise spending by almost 300 billion dollars.
Although the deal was a rare show of bipartisanship,the amount of extra money being borrowed has raised alarms about the spiralling deficit which is set to lead to further selling of US government bonds.
Analysts say that the expected boost from President Trump’s planned tax cuts coupled with increased deficit spending could overheat growth and accelerate inflation to levels not seen in over a decade.
21ST Century Fox has said that it still expects UK approval of its proposed takeover of Sky despite a provisional finding that the deal is not in the public interest.
Fox chief executive James Murdoch said that the firm was still working with authorities to resolve concerns over the deal.
Mr Murdoch was speaking during a conversation with financial analysts to discuss the firm’s quarterly earnings.
Last year,Fox struck a deal to sell some assets,including Sky to Disney.
The deal will leave the firm more focused on news and sports but still needs to be approved by regulators in the US and elsewhere.
And-Parts of the UK that backed Brexit would face the heaviest financial hit as a result of leaving the EU according to estimates by government officials.
The forecasts,which have already been seen by MP’s model a 15 year impact of the UK staying in the single market,doing a trade deal with the EU or leaving without an agreement.
They suggest that England,the North East and West Midlands would see the biggest slowdown in growth.
The government said that the model did not represent its policy and added that the forecasts did not consider the outcome being sought in negotiations.
Last week,the Eurosceptic MP Jacob Rees-Mogg accused Treasury officials of “fiddling the figures” to make all options but remaining in the EU look bad”.
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The rising Leinister star Jordan Lamour is set to be named in Ireland’s 6 Nations squad for the match against Italy on Saturday.
The 20 year old has already scored 6 tries in 14 Leinster appearances this season after making his debut for the team in September.
Lamour is likely to be on the bench but is tipped to come on at some time during the game.
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt will have to make at least one change to the side that beat France in Paris last weekend with Josh van der Flier out with a knee ligament injury.
The Scotland forwards coach Dan McFarland says that the team will not change their style of play despite losing heavily to Wales on the opening weekend of the tournament.
France visit Murrayfield on Sunday and McFarland says that Scotland must stick to their principles.
He said that it was no use being conservative as conservative teams don’t win great championships.
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Football-Spurs are through to the 5th round of the FA Cup in England after beating Newport County of League 2 in last night’s 4th round replay at Wembley.
They’ll now play Rochdale in round 5 on the 18th of February.
Cricket-Australia have beaten England by 5 wickets in opening Tri-nations Twenty20 tournament in Hobart.
England batted first and made 155-9 from their 50 overs but a century from Glenn Maxwell in total of 161-5 from 18.3 overs gave Australia the win.
The next game is between Australia and England at the MCG on Saturday.
India have beaten South Africa by 124 runs in the third one day international in Cape Town.
India batted first and made 303-6 from their 50 overs before bowling the home side out for 179 in 40 overs.India have won the series and have a 3-0 unassailable lead.
Winter Olympics-Record cold temperatures are expected for the start of the games in Pyeongchang with the mercury sliding to -25 degrees Celsius.
Athletes have been reporting warping skis and severe wind chill ahead of the opening ceremony tomorrow.
Pyeongchang is considered to be one of the coldest regions of South Korea and is half a mile above sea level.
The coldest Games on record was at Lillehammer in Norway in 1994 where a temperature of -11 degrees was recorded.
Mainly fine with light,variable winds in the Alpes-Maritimes and moderate westerly winds in the Var.
Top temperature 14 degrees.
Overnight lows of 4 degrees on the coast and -5 degrees inland with a sharp frost and clear skies.
Friday and the start of the weekend.Clear skies with highs of 12-13 degrees.
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