French and Riviera News.Thursday April 25th 2019

Weather-Heavy rain and thunderstorms have been causing problems around the region with a number of avalanches reported in mountain areas.

There’s been localised flooding in some places and in the Var electricity was cut to some households in the Sainte-Maximin area after a tree fell on a power line.

The worst weather of the day came in the area between Rians and Frejus in the Var with emergency services called out more than 100 times to deal with flooding in underground carparks and cellars.

Flights at Nice Cote d’Azur airport have also been disrupted by low cloud and fog.

The weather should be better today but more rain is forecast for Friday before clearing up ahead of the weekend.

Meanwhile,the Moyenne Corniche has been closed between Cap d’Ail and the avenue Hector Otto after a wall that engineers were trying to repair collapsed.The road closure is set to cause huge delays at peak times and the area is best avoided.Diversions are in force.

 

Prince Albert-The Princely Palace of Monaco has confirmed that Prince Albert II underwent a surgical procedure on Wednesday to remove a benign growth on the back of his scalp.

The Palace has stressed that the operation which required a number of stitches was routine and will not affect the Prince’s schedule.

The operation was carried out in Monaco and Prince Albert will need to wear a dressing over the wound to protect the stitches.

Prince Albert has a busy programme over the next few days.He’s in Normandy today to open a new exhibition at the Dior museum in Granville dedicated to his mother ,the late Princess Grace of Monaco and he’s back in the Principality over the weekend to take part in the first Monaco Oceanographic festival.

 

Anzac Day-The annual Anzac Day commemoration is taking place in Antibes today with two services at the Fort Carre.

The services are followed by a reception at the Duke pub in Antibes where there’ll be an Australian theme.All are welcome to attend.

 

Train disruption-Commuters between Menton and Nice have suffered severe disruption to services after a train broke down at Eze on Wednesday  afternoon.

The train broke down in the middle of the track at 4.30pm just as the busiest period of the day was getting underway.

The SNCF was forced to cancel many services and replace others with replacement buses.

It wasn’t until the middle of the evening that the broken down train was removed.Services are now back to normal.

 

Tree under threat-A much loved tree in Juan les Pins which was once painted by Pablo Picasso is under threat after contracting a fungal disease.

The tree,a stone pine which is native to Portugal and Spain , stands in a former public space-the Bastide de la Vergne which is now on private land owned by a British couple.

The local authority says that it can’t act without the permission of the owners who are reported to have not visited their property for two years.

Local residents have urged for the tree,which is a well known local landmark to be saved if possible.

Several old trees in the area were cut down some years ago including a 300 year old blue cedar.

 

New Prefect-The new Prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes has been named.

Bernard Gonzalez replaces George -Francois Leclerc who’s moving to the Seine-St-Denis in Paris.

Mr Gonzalez is 61 and married with 2 children.He describes himself as a “passionate cyclist”. He’s moving from the Maine-et-Loire department where he’d been the Prefect for the past two years.He’s also had spells as Prefect of the Vaucluse , Lot and Ardeche departments.

Mr Gonzalez was previously part of the French Defence Ministry where he worked under both both Presidents Valerie Giscard d’Estaing and Jacques Chirac.He was also on the staff of the Interior Ministry during the Presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy.

 

Adieu Dick-The Nice born French singer Dick Rivers has died at the age of 74.

Rivers whose real name was Herve Forneni was born in Nice in 1945.

He rose to fame in the 1960’s with his group “Les Chats Sauvage” who had a big hit with Twist a St Tropez in 1961.

Dick Rivers always said that his biggest influence was Elvis Presley.He was awarded a French gold disc in 1967 for the hit song Viens me Faire Oublier.

He’d been suffering from cancer.

The Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi said that the music of Dick Rivers represented an age of “optimism ,youth but also of rebellion”.He said that he would be missed “in Nice and all over France”.

 

Roquebrune Fire-8 people have been forced to move out of their apartments after fire broke out in at a block in Roquebrune Cap Martin.

Firefighters say that the fire at 65 Avenue des Orchidees started in the basement and was caused by an electrical fault.

The blaze quickly spread to the upper floors of the building with 6 people including several children rescued by firefighters using a high ladder.

The entrance hall of the building was destroyed in fire but the flames were prevented from getting into any of the apartments.

 

 

No Finish Line-The second ‘no finish line’ charity jogging event is underway in Nice with organisers hoping to raise thousands of euros for worthy causes.

No finish line which was a Monaco concept initially is open to everyone and participants can run or walk around a 1 kilometre circuit that’s been set up on the Quai des Etats Unis in Nice.

For every kilometre covered , one euro will be raised for a number of charitable causes including child cancer and underprivileged and handicapped youngsters.

More than 3,000 people have signed up so far and anyone can enter simply by going to the circuit.It costs 12 euros to enter for adults , 10 euros for students or 6 euros for children under 10.A ten euro refundable deposit will also be taken for use of the microchip that’s needed to count the laps.

The event will end on Sunday.

 

In National News.

 

No return-The French State Council has rejected an appeal by families of people who left France to join Islamic State forces in Syria.

The ruling comes after the  government said that there would be no mass repatriation of French nationals in Syria and that a decision to allow the children and relatives of jihadist fighters to return home would be made on a case-by-case basis.

As many as 1,700 French nationals are thought to have travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight with Islamic State between 2014 and 2018.Some 300 are believed to have been killed in combat.

Hundreds of French fighters and their families are now being held in camps controlled by Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic forces.

 

Macron-The nation will be watching tonight as President Macron gives his long awaited reaction to the results of the Grand Debate.

Mr Macron was due to speak at the start of last week but the event had to be cancelled in the wake of the Notre Dame Cathedral tragedy.

The French President will answer questions from a number of journalists during a live television event at the Elysee Palace.

There have been reports that Mr Macron will announce tax cuts for middle and working class families but will warn the French people that they must work harder.

Rumours suggest that the President will announce an end to the 35 hour working week and will raise the possibility of increasing the retirement age although this has been denied by the Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

An even greater effort to clamp down on tax evasion is also expected and Mr Marcon is also expected to warn of the dangers posed by extreme-right wing politics in the run-up to the European elections.

 

Business.

 

Facebook says that its setting aside 3 billion dollars to cover the potential costs of an investigation by US authorities into its privacy practices.

The social media giant added that the final cost could be as high as 5 billion.

Facebook announced total sales for the first quarter were up by 26 percent to 15.08 billion dollars.Monthly users rose by 8 percent.

The figures narrowly beat market expectations and investors brushed aside the costs of the US government investigation with the firm’s shares up by nearly 10 percent in after-hours trading.

Facebook shares are up by nearly 40 percent in the year to date-vastly outperforming the broader market.

 

The electric carmaker Tesla has reported a loss of 702 million dollars for the first quarter and has predicted further losses for the current quarter.

Tesla said that it was on track to return to profit in the third quarter  adding that it plans to deliver between 360,000 and 400,000 vehicles this year.

The firm’s cash pile shrunk to 2.2 billion dollars in March-a loss of 1.5 billion over three months as it repaid a 920 million dollar bond.

Tesla’s chief executive Elon Musk suggested on Wednesday that the firm might seek to raise more cash from investors in the near future.

Shares in the company are down by 22 percent so far this year.

 

And-The budget airline Easyjet has banned the sale of nuts on all flights to help protect passengers with allergies.

The airline is also banning passengers from eating nut products if someone on board has an allergy to them.

Nut policy differs among different airlines although they all say that they cannot guarantee a nut free environment.

Easyjet says that it recommends that passengers inform them of their allergy at the time of booking which will allow for the information to be passed on to cabin crew operating the flight.

 

Sport.

 

Football-Manchester City have moved back to the top of the English Premier League with 3 games to go after beating rivals Manchester United 2-0 at Old Trafford last night.

City are one point clear of Liverpool but appear to have the easier run in.

Also last night Arsenal missed out on the chance of returning to 4th place after losing 3-1 at Wolves.

 

Formula 1-Honda is bringing its first engine upgrade to this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix which should give both Red Bull and Toro Rosso.

Honda says that the early introduction of the upgrade is a result of a “quality control” issue with the previous engine which led to Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvytat retiring during the last race in China.

The upgrade could improve Red Bull’s chances of securing a win at the Baku circuit which effectively has the longest straight on the calendar.

 

Tennis-Andy Murray says that he’s cautiously optimistic about a summer return as he continues to recover from hip surfacing surgery.

The  three-time grand slam winner’s mother Judy Murray said that it’s still early days and he’s not yet doing impact work but the signs are good.

The 31 year old had initially thought that the operation meant that he wouldn’t be able to play professionally again.

 

Weather.

 

Partially cloudy with moderate easterly winds.

Top temperature 18 degrees Celsius.

Clouding over this evening with rain spreading across the region again with a low of 13 degrees.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Rain giving way to sunshine and showers tomorrow.Mainly fine on Saturday.Highs of 18-20 degrees.

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