French and Riviera News Tuesday 11th December 2018

Local

Yellow Vest movement - French President Emmanuel Macron has spoken to the French people for the first time since the start of Yellow Vests protests three weeks ago.

He recognised anger and indignation on the part of low-paid families, pensioners and the handicapped and offered some concessions to their demands, notably a rise in the minimum wage. With over 4,000 people having been arrested since the protests started on 17 November, Macron condemned the vandalism and attacks on the police during the protests.

The government has already scrapped the rise in the green tax on fuel planned for the beginning of the year. He said he was declaring an "economic and social state of emergency". Emmanuel Macron said that he is "partly responsible" for the "insufficient response" to the so-called yellow vest protests that have hit the country adding that he recognised the anger of the protesters was "deep" and "shared by many people".

In response to Macron’s televised speech "yellow vests" in the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes failed to be convinced adding that it was not enough and they planned to continue protests.  Meanwhile a poll on LCI last night showed that 54% of French wish to see the “yellow vest” movement stop their protest against the government.

Arrests made following yellow vest protests - Six people have appeared in court in Grasse and three of them, two men and one women have been sentenced to six months in prison for events which happened on Saturday in Antibes on the sidelines of a gathering of yellow vest protesters.

Student protests - Students unions have planned to take action today in protest against overcrowded classes and the government reforms to higher education.  Philippe Vincent, Secretary General of the National Union of National Education Management Staff (SNPDEN), said it remains uncertain of how protest would affect some of the 4,000 high schools across France due to the fact that students are rallying on social networks reportedly referring to it as “black Tuesday”. 

Migrant rescue organization SOS Méditerranée has announced its intention to start operations again as soon as possible with a new ship. Their previous ship, the Aquarius, which has been docked in Marseille, has had problems securing a country of registration and has been accused of the "illegal treatment of illegal waste ", a situation that SOS Méditerranée describes as political pressure.

National

UN migration pact - As France joined other countries in adopting the United Nations migration pact at a conference in Morocco on Monday, right-wing critics sought to set the government’s endorsement of the pact against the discontent of yellow vest protesters. Approved on Monday at the start of a two-day conference in Marrakesh the pact is billed as the first international document on managing migration. But the UN’s top official sought to counter anti-immigrant populist sentiment around the pact after the United States and 15 other countries, most of them in Europe, either opted out or expressed concerns that it would undermine national sovereignty and increase immigration from African and Arab countries.

Tetanus - In a report published today by Public Health France figures have shown that tetanus still kills. The disease has infected 35 people between 2012 and 2017, eight of whom died. Since 1940, tetanus has been part of mandatory vaccines and since last June it’s one of the eleven compulsory vaccines to be administered before the age of 18 months.

Business

A Chinese court has ordered a ban on the sale of several older Apple iPhone models for violating two patents of the chipmaker Qualcomm.

The preliminary ruling by the court is the latest step in the continuing battle over intellectual property between the two firms.

Qualcomm has claimed victory but Apple says that all of its iPhone models remain on sale in China.

The disputed patents relate to software with the court finding that Apple had violated programmes that relate to photograph resizing and  how apps are managed on a touch screen.

Qualcomm says that Apple continues to benefit from its intellectual property while refusing to pay compensation while Apple said that the attempted ban was another “desperate attempt” by Qualcomm whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world.

 

Sterling has fallen sharply on the foreign exchanges as the British Prime Minister Theresa May pulled the meaningful vote in Parliament on her deal to leave the European Union and returned to the continent for more talks.

The pound fell as low as 1 US dollar 25 cents as the news broke and one euro 10 cents as MP’s were denied a vote tomorrow on the deal with Mrs May heading for an almost certain heavy defeat.

The key issue remains the Irish backstop which members of Mrs May’s ruling Conservative party as well as large numbers of opposition MP’s say means that the UK will be tied into a customs arrangement with the EU without being able to unilaterally withdraw at a time of its own choosing.

It seems unlikely that EU leaders will give any more ground on the issue although there may be some soothing words and another non-binding paragraph inserted into the withdrawal agreement.

The vote on the deal in Parliament is therefore not likely to take place until January.Analysts say that they expect sterling to drop as low as 1 US dollar 23.7 cents over the coming days and to below 1 euro 10 cents.

 

Sport

Football-It’s crunch time for Liverpool and Spurs in the European Champions League tonight with both sides needing a win and relying on other results if they’re to make it through to the knockout phase.

Liverpool need to beat Napoli 1-0 or by two clear goals in Group C to make it through although they could also qualify if Paris St Germain don’t beat Red Star Belgrade.

In Group B Spurs face the daunting challenge of winning at Barcelona  and they need to match the result from the game between Inter Milan and PSV which the Italian side are firm favourites to win.

There was one game in the English Premier League last night.Everton and Watford drew 2-2.

Cricket-England have named an unchanged 16 man squad for their three Test match tour of the West Indies.

Joe Root’s side beat Sri Lanka 3-0 in their last Test series and the selectors have kept faith with the same players.

England have only won one Test series in the West Indies since 1968.The last tour in 2015 ended in a 1-1 draw.

Rugby Union-Ireland’s Robbie Henshaw is unlikely to be fit before the side’s 6 Nations opener against England on February the second.

The 25 year old centre is struggling with a serious hamstring injury and is set to be out for another 8 weeks.

Weather

Clear skies with light easterly or variable winds.

Top temperature 16 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 9 degrees on the coast and 4 degrees inland with clear skies.

Wednesday and Thursday-Sunshine and showers tomorrow with a high of 13 degrees.Rain on Thursday with some snow over the high ground.Highs of 9-12 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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