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French and Riviera News Tuesday 13th February 2018

Local

Fire - Fifty firefighters have intervened in the North West of the Var after nearly four hectares of land were destroyed by fire. The blaze broke out on Monday afternoon on the hills behind Saint-Martin-de-Pallières. The fire service managed to control the blaze despite strong winds, the cause is still to be determined. 

Drugs seized - Customs officers in Menton have seized more than a ton and a half of cannabis resin with a street value estimated at 11 million euros. In one of the biggest drug seizures  in the Alpes Maritimes for the last ten years, customs discovered the drug hidden in a truck at a motorway toll on the A8 motorway. The vehicle was heading towards Italy.

Dead body found in the Var river - Police continue to search the Var River for clues after the body of a 40 year old man was found on the river bank on Sunday. Specialised divers searched the area on Monday near the village of Utelle as part of the ongoing investigation to determine the cause of death.

Election - Stéphane Valeri has won a landslide victory in elections for Monaco’s National Council which were held here in the Principality on Monday. Just over 70% of the population took to the polls, with an unprecedented 21 of the 24 seats in the parliamentary assembly going to Valeri’s ‘Primo’ party.

Dump - A resident on Avenue des Mimosas in Cagnes-sur-mer has placed ads on Le Bon Coin offering to rent his balcony, which features unobstructed views of an illegal dump across the road. The resident is hoping the ad will draw attention to the illegal dumping facility and the danger it presents to residents.

National

Former budget minister on trial - The retrial of France's former budget minister Jerome Cahuzac has begun after he was handed a three-year jail sentence for tax fraud in one of the biggest scandals of Francois Hollande's presidency. Cahuzac resigned in 2013 after becoming a source of huge embarrassment to then president Hollande given that the minister's job was to crack down on tax dodgers. A plastic surgeon before entering politics, Cahuzac was found guilty in 2016 of funnelling cash into a Swiss bank account from the lucrative hair transplant clinic he ran with his ex-wife. The 65-year-old appealed his three-year sentence, prompting a full re-trial that could see Cahuzac risk up to five years in prison and a 375,000 euro fine. His former wife Patricia Menard, who held an account in the Isle of Man that was also used in the fraud, was sentenced to two years in prison.

Johnny Hallyday - The children of French rock star Johnny Hallyday have contested his will after he left everything to his fourth wife Laeticia and their adopted daughters. In a statement, actress Laura Smet said she was "stupefied and hurt" after learning she had been left nothing from her father's estate. His biological son David is also contesting. The singer, who was hugely popular in his native France, died in December aged 74 from lung cancer.

French rugby team – France’s rugby team's flight back from Edinburgh following their Six Nations defeat by Scotland has been delayed so that squad members could be interviewed as potential witnesses to an alleged sexual assault. The plane carrying the French team was halted by police on Monday on the tarmac and several players were taken off. The flight was delayed by two hours before leaving at 1:00pm local time.

Miracle - Bernadette Moriau has once again found the use of her legs and for the Catholic Church, it is neither due to chance nor to medicine. The church has recognized a 70th miracle in Lourdes with the healing of Moriau, a 79-year-old nun. Moriau had been affected since the end of the 1960s by a syndrome which prevented her from walking. According to the Church, the miracle occurred on July 11th, 2008. But the confirmation was announced on February 11th, 2018 by the Bishop of Beauvais Jacques Benoît-Gonin.

Business

The world’s largest online retailer Amazon is to cut hundreds of jobs at its global headquarters and overseas operations.
The news,which was first reported by the Seattle Times will see Amazon shed jobs to focus on streamlining its consumer retail business.
Amazon says that it will “work hard” to offer affected staff new roles.
The company said that it was expecting “small reductions” in a couple of places and aggressive hiring in others.
Last year,Amazon reported profits of around 3 billion dollars on global sales of 178 billion dollars.
At the end of December,the company employed more than 560,000 full and part-time workers-an expansion of more than 65 percent from the previous year.

21st Century Fox has pledged to keep Sky News independent and continue funding the loss-making channel for 5 years as it bids to overcome UK regulatory concerns over its attempted 15.7 billion dollar takeover of Sky.
Fox said that it would establish a fully independent board for Sky News to ensure that the firm could not influence its output.
Last month,the UK regulator said that Fox’s deal to buy the 61 percent of Sky that it doesn’t already own should be blocked unless a way could be found to reduce the influence that Rupert Murdoch could wield through owning the Sun,Times and Sunday Times newspapers.
Lawyers and analysts say that guaranteeing the independence of Sky News could be a way to gain the approval from the regulator.
Fox is subject to a partial takeover from Walt Disney that wants to buy its film and TV studios as well as its cable business and international assets including Sky.
The deal would leave Fox with its news and sports channels in the US as well as its publishing business.

And-A German regional court has found that some of Facebook’s data consent policies are invalid.
A German consumer group had argued in court that five of Facebook’s app services were switched on by default with the relevant privacy settings hidden.
The judgement issued by the Berlin regional court agreed and ruled that Facebook had not done enough to alert people to the fact that it had “pre-ticked” several privacy settings.
Privacy rights campaigners are claiming a victory but Facebook says that it will appeal.

Sport

Winter Olympics-Germany still tops the medals table on day four of the Games in Pyeongchang.
Germany has  4 gold medals in a total haul  of 7 with the Netherlands in second place with 3 gold medals and Norway in third with 3 golds.
Earlier today the US snowboard sensation Chloe Kim produced a brilliant display to claim gold in the women’s halfpipe.
Kim won with a score of 98.25 on her final run to win by 8 and a half points.
Afterwards she said that she “just wanted an ice cream”.

There are 8 gold medals on offer today including in cross country skiing,short-track speed skating and the women’s Luge.

Football-Chelsea got back to winning ways in the English Premier League last night with a 3-0 victory over rock bottom West Brom at Stamford Bridge.
The win moves Chelsea back into 4th place in the table above Spurs


The European Champions League knockout phase gets underway tonight.
Basel host Manchester City and Juventus are at home to Spurs.Both games kick off at 8.45 French time.

Rugby Union-The England prop Joe Marler says that he’s been given a “stern warning” about his discipline by coach Eddie Jones.
Marler is available for selection again after serving his latest ban and he says that the coach’s patience is “wearing thin”.
Number 8 Nathan Hughes and James Haskell will also be available for selection in the Calcutta Cup game against Scotland at Murrayfield a week on Saturday after recovering from injury and completing a ban respectively.

Ireland’s Robbie Henshaw has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament.The Leinster centre dislocated his shoulder after scoring his second try against Italy in Dublin last weekend and has undergone surgery.

Weather

Partially cloudy with moderate north westerly winds and a high of 11 degrees.

Overnight lows of 5 degrees on the coast and -3 degrees inland with a widespread frost.

Wednesday and Thursday -Mainly fine with a high of 11-12 degrees.

Finally 

According to a new poll by Groupon and Opinium Research, nearly one in four French people would prefer to spend Valentine's Day night at home with their pet rather than celebrating the 'most romantic day of the year' with their lover. 

And if you're competing with a hamster for your partner's affections then you're in real trouble.  45 percent of hamster owners say they'd prefer to spend a night in with their pet instead of with their partners. 

And it isn't only on Valentine's Day that the French are choosing their pets over their love lives.  The poll also showed that 39 percent of French people find their pet funnier than their other half and 52 percent of them say their pet is more likely to cheer them up if they're feeling blue. 

 

 

 

 

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