French and Riviera News Tuesday 16th April 2019

Local

Notre Dame de Paris - Following the tragic fire which has destroyed part of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, the president of Alpes-Maritimes Charles Angel Ginésy and MP Eric Ciotti have announced in a statement, released on Monday the regions participation in the reconstruction of the historical site.

The fire engulfed the medieval cathedral at around 6.30pm on Monday evening, resulting in the 850 year old Gothic building’s spire and roof collapsing with the main structure, including the two bell towers, being saved. According to reports a firefighter has been seriously injured while tackling the blaze.

President Emmanuel Macron cancelled his planned televised speech on Monday evening following the news of the fire calling it a "terrible tragedy".

Thousands of people gathered in the streets around the cathedral, observing the flames in silence. The cause of the fire is not yet clear. Officials say it could be linked to the renovation work.

Meanwhile One of France's richest men is to donate 100 million Euros towards the rebuilding of Notre-Dame. In a statement given to the French newspaper Le Figaro, billionaire François-Henri Pinault, said he hoped the money would help to "completely rebuild Notre-Dame". Pinault is the chairman and CEO of the Kering group, which owns such brands as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen.

Measles - The World Health organization has announced that the number of measles cases reported worldwide in the first three months of 2019 has tripled compared with the same time last year. The organization also explains that the number of cases has increased in recent months, including in countries with high overall immunization coverage - particularly in Israel, Thailand, Tunisia and the United States - as the disease spreads rapidly among groups of unvaccinated people. In New York, the Mayor declared a state of health emergency in four zones and ordered a mandatory vaccination campaign. Infectious outbreaks have also been reported in France this year, as in Saint-Tropez in the Var.

Missing person – Police have launched an appeal following the disappearance of Marie-Pascale Sidolle, a resident of Roquemaure in the Gard who has not been seen since Sunday. Sidolle was lasted spotted leaving the car park at the Henri Duffault hospital in Avignon, where she worked, shortly after 6.30pm. Described as having dark brown hair and blue eyes Sidolle was at the time driving a white Renault Twingo registered AE 066 JQ. Any information that may be useful in tracking down Sidolle’s whereabouts can be given directly to the police in Roquemaure on 04.66.82.82.22

SNSM in Saint Tropez left with no internet – Due to a dispute with the telephone provider Orange it’s been reported that the SNSM sea rescue service in the port of Saint Tropez has been left without any internet connection, leaving rescue volunteers relying on their mobile phones during interventions. Since March 2018 the SNSM has been trying to settle a dispute with the provider over outstanding invoices, leading to the internet operator suspending the line. The situation now means that the rescue service is unable to receive calls on their landline and can’t use the internet making it difficult both at sea and for administrative purposes. In response to the situation the SNSM rescuers have launched an appeal on their face book page. There are 25 rescue workers at the SNSM in Saint Tropez on call from CROSSMED 24/7 assisting vessels which get into difficulty in the Gulf. In 2018, 70 rescue operations took place and 122 people were rescued. 

Power cut – A power cut has left the neighbourhood of Cimiez in Nice without electricity. The incident happened on Monday afternoon shortly after 3pm after a power cable was accidentally torn off during works being carried out on the Boulevard de Cimiez. The local electricity board reported that 1,200 households were affected by the blackout as technicians attempted to fully restore the sector by early evening.

Cyclist suspended – The International Cycling Union the UCI has announced that the Colombian cyclist Jarlinson Pantano has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for doping. Pantano, stage winner in the 2016 Tour de France was suspended immediately by his team following the tests which were carried out two days after the end of the Tour de Haut Var on February 26th by the CADF, the anti-doping foundation of the UCI.

National

Trade talks - European Union countries have overruled France and given the green light for Brussels to open trade talks with Washington as soon as possible. The EU's 28 member states have been struggling for months to agree on a mandate to open the talks. But EU ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday approved a mandate to negotiate "an agreement limited to the elimination of tariffs for industrial goods only". The ministers said the mandate would exclude agriculture products, which EU trade Minister Cecilia Malmstrom said amounted to a "red line" for Europe. US officials have said farm products should be included.

Death threats - Police in France are investigating after a teenager was targeted with online death threats after posting a "joke" tweet about the Hajj. The Twitter user, known as "Hugo", uploaded a photo with a reference to the television game show InZeBoite. InZeBoite is a family television programme on the Gulli channel, which features two competing teams and a ‘Black box’ maze. The tweet sparked dozens of insults and threats from Internet users, who claimed it showed a lack of respect for Islam. Some said they wanted to physically attack the teenager at his home or at school. Following the death threats, Hugo tweeted on Sunday morning saying he had never intended to offend anyone. Both tweets have since been deleted. Many people reached out to Hugo with messages of support, using the hashtag #JeSoutienHugo.

Business

Jet Airways - The Indian airline Jet Airways has failed to secure emergency funding from its lenders. The company, which last week suspended all international flights, has extended the cancellation period until Thursday. Thousands of passengers have been stranded due to the firm's lack of funds. Jet now has debts of more than £900m.

VW - Former chief executive of the carmaker Volkswagen has been charged in Germany over his involvement in the company's diesel emissions scandal. Martin Winterkorn and four other managers have been charged with fraud. Winterkorn is already facing criminal charges in the US. The 71-year-old resigned soon after the scandal erupted in September 2015.

Amazon - Consumer group Which? has claimed that the online retail giant Amazon's website has been flooded with fake five-star reviews for products from brands it has never heard of. The investigation claims that top-rated reviews on popular items such as headphones, smart watches and fitness trackers were dominated by unknown brands, thousands of these were unverified meaning there was no evidence the reviewer bought the product. In response Amazon said it was using automated technology to weed out false reviews.

Sport

Football – Some of the leading stars of world football have taken to social media to express their grief and sadness after seeing the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. PSG forward Neymar posted a drawing of fictional character Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, crying alongside the words: 'Pray for France'. 

Meanwhile in the English Premier League Arsenal have climbed back into the Premier League top four with victory at Watford with a 1-0 victory.

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and captain Jordan Henderson have laid a wreath at the Anfield memorial on the 30th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. A minutes silence was held on Monday as players and staff all took their time to read the tributes that had been paid to the 96 fans that lost their lives in 1989.

Meanwhile Liverpool are currently top of the league and have been backed to be crowned Premier League champions this season by the man who knocked them off their perch. Legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes the Reds will reign supreme over Manchester City once the season is over come May. Ferguson's belief is because he backs United to take points off City when the two teams meet at Old Trafford on April 24.

There is one Premier League match tonight Brighton play Cardiff with an 8.45 kick off French time.

Golf - US president Donald Trump has said he will award Tiger Woods with The Presidential Medal of Freedom - the highest civilian award in the country - after his Masters victory. 

His triumph saw him consign years of injury problems and personal issues to the past and while Woods has always been considered a legend of the sport, victory on Sunday cemented his place among the present day circle of golf's leading players. 

Formula OneLewis Hamilton has said “he is not getting carried away with his championship advantage” after moving to Formula One's summit for the first time this season.

Following his victory in China on Sunday, Hamilton moved six points clear of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, and is 31 ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, his rival for the past two seasons. Hamilton, celebrated his latest triumph by making the 6,500-mile journey from Shanghai to Los Angeles on Sunday evening.

Weather

Rain forecast across the region this morning clearing by this afternoon with highs of 17 degrees and a moderate south easterly wind. This evening going down to 8 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for Wednesday clear skies and sunshine with highs of 17 in the Alpes Maritimes reaching up to 22 degrees in Saint Tropez and the Var. Thursday remaining much the same becoming increasingly cloudy by the afternoon.

 

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