French and Riviera News Tuesday 19th March 2019

Local

Strike Action - Due to national strike action today the region’s transport will be disrupted and some schools closed. Unions have called for strike action from both private and public sector workers. Transport and education services are expected to be particularly affected. Lines 1 and 2 of the Nice tramway will not be running and bus services will be severely disrupted. Bus services around Sophia Antipolis are reported to be suspended and train services will be disrupted. 

Accident Villeneuve Loubet - A two year old has been taken to hospital in Nice after being hit by a car in Villeneuve Loubet. The accident happened as his parents were helping the toddler out of their car which was parked on the roadside at Marina Baie des Anges. The toddler ran onto the road and was hit by a vehicle which failed to stop. Doctors later confirmed that the boy who had suffered a blow to the head was in a stable condition.

Ban - The Prefecture of the Alpes Maritimes has extended, for the third time, the ban on bonfires in the region. 120 hectares of forest land has already been destroyed in the region since March 6th. Due to particularly dry conditions the ban remains in place until April 1st.

Tour de France - The organizers of the Tour de France have announced that the first two stages of next year’s race will start in Nice with a hilly start for competitors covering 170kms around Nice before descending to sea level and the Promenade des Anglais where the finishing line will be placed. The Tour de France has started in the South of France six times previously, presenting a challenge for riders with mountainous routes from the start. 

Italian Films in Nice - 2000 people are expected to attend the celebrations of Italian cinema taking place in the Magnan area of Nice until the 30th March.16 films are part of the programme including some unreleased in France, but all are recognized at French, Italian and international festivals. More than 50 screenings for the general public and school children will take place.

Historic visit to Monaco - Ahead of the historic visit of the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping to Monaco, several security measures have been announced over the weekend. On Monday the government warned of disruptions to parking and circulating in some streets in the Principality along with the closure of the Condamine Market and the Oceanographic Museum on Sunday.

The Chinese President's official visit to the Principality took shape after His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco met with Xi Jinping in Beijing last September. The arrival of the President in Monaco is part of a tour of Europe. The Elysée has confirmed that President Macron will be meeting his Chinese counterpart in Beaulieu-sur-Mer. The two leaders are scheduled to have a private dinner at the Villa Kérylos on Sunday evening meeting again in Paris the following day for official meetings and a state dinner.

Work of Art - The Brazilian Street artist Eduardo Kobra has created a fresco on the theme of the environment which is to be displayed on the ramparts of the Fort Antoine here in Monaco. The project blessed by Prince Albert II of Monaco was the initiative of the Association Brazil Monaco Project. 

National

Violence in Paris - The French government has announced that it will replace the Paris police chief and ban rallies in some areas of the capital following violent protests on Saturday. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the authorities would act as soon as "radical groups" were identified in the worst-hit areas. About 10,000 people took part in the protest, a marked increase compared with similar recent ralliesThe Paris Ile-de-France Chamber of Commerce says that 91 businesses were hit, nearly all of them suffering serious damage. The mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo is to meet with the French Prime Minister today.

Homeless in Paris - Paris city council has announced that  3,641 homeless people are sleeping rough in the capital. Nearly 600 people live in railway and subway stations. Of the 3,641 homeless people surveyed, four out of ten are between 40 and 54 years old and three out of ten are between 25 and 29 years old. More than half of are women.

TGV Geneva and Paris - A TGV traveling between Geneva and Paris has hit two gas bottles which had been placed on the tracks in the department of Ain. The incident which did not cause an explosion or any injuries led to the network being interrupted on Sunday afternoon. Police believe it to be a deliberate attempt to cause "damage using explosives" and have launched an investigation. The incident occurred around 3 pm, as the TGV approached at low speed (about 80 km / h). Seeing an obstacle on the track, the driver activated the emergency braking but could not prevent the train from colliding with the bottles.

Mona Lisa - This year marks five hundred years since the death of the Italian painter Leonardo da Vinci and his famous painting the Mona Lisa is at the heart of a Franco-Italian controversy. A book on the subject asks, how did the masterpiece become French property? According to the author during the winter of 1516, at the age of 63, Leonardo da Vinci crossed the Alps. Disgraced in the eyes of the Medici, the Italian master became close to King Francis I of France, following their meeting a year earlier in Bologna. In his luggage was The Mona Lisa along with other works of art. In return for 700 crowns of gold each year from the King, Da Vinci gave the painting to King Francis. Making it part of the royal collection which was nationalized during the Revolution. To this day rumors suggest that the Mona Lisa was stolen by France. In Italy, some rumors accuse Napoleon of abducting the masterpiece and more recently, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini joked about the idea of ​​"taking over" the Mona Lisa from the French. It would not be the first time as in August 1911 the masterpiece was stolen by an Italian thief who was arrested two years later in 1913 after he tried to sell the canvas to an antique dealer.

Business

The dollar has weakened this morning on growing expectations that the US Federal Reserve will shift to a more accommodative policy this week amid concerns about slower economic growth.

The dollar index,which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies was hovering at a near two week low earlier this morning after hitting a three month high on the 7th of March.

The dollar has weakened over the past few days on expectations that the Fed will strike a more dovish tone at its two day policy meeting which starts in Washington today.

Most analysts expect the central bank to leave interest rates on hold and stick to its “patient” approach to monetary policy.

Elswhere-the Bank of England is expected to leave interest rates unchanged on Thursday amid deep uncertainty over the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

 

The Australian Prime Minister has called for global restrictions on social media following the Christchurch mosque attacks.

Scott Morrison says that he wants leaders to discuss the issue at the upcoming G20 meeting.

The attacks at two Christchurch mosques left 50 people dead  while the gunman live-streamed the carnage for 17 minutes on Facebook.

A number of prominent politicians including the British Home Secretary Sajid Javid have called on social media firms to take action to stop extremism on their channels.

A growing group of advertisers are also saying that they intend to pull marketing from social media platforms until they get their act together.

 

And-Paris has topped a list of the world’s most expensive cities alongside Hong Kong and Singapore.

It’s the first time that three cities have shared the top ranking in the 30-year history of the annual Economic Intelligence Unit survey which compares prices in 1343 cities globally.

The French capital is the only eurozone city in the top ten.

The survey compares the cost of common items such as bread and then tracks whether prices have gone up or down by comparing them to the cost of living in New York which is used as a benchmark.

Paris has been in the top 10 since 2003 and is described by the report’s authors as being “extremely expensive to live in”.

Sport

Football-The Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi says that he’s “shocked and delighted” to be called up to the England squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.

The 18 year old has yet to start a Premiership game for Chelsea but has been used in a substitutes role more frequently in recent weeks.

England host the Czech Republic at Wembley on Friday and then are away in Montenegro next Monday.

Formula 1-Sebastian Vettel has said that he expects new Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc to “push him hard” all season.

Vettel and Leclerc finished 4th and 5th in the opening Grand Prix of the season in Melbourne on Sunday  and the young Monegasque driver was told to stay behind Vettel in the closing stages of the race as he was gaining rapidly.

Vettel said that he expected Leclerc to put a lot of pressure on for the whole season.

Rugby Union-The Wales coach Warren Gatland has said that his side “can bring home the World Cup” by playing as well as they have for the past year.

The coach,who’ll step down after the World Cup in Japan in November was speaking at a civic reception to honour the team after Wales won the Six Nations Grand Slam with an emphatic win over Ireland on Saturday.

Wales are now ranked second in the world behind New Zealand and Gatland said that he knew his players wouldn’t go down to anyone without a fight.

Cycling-Team Sky are set for a new sponsorship from Britain’s richest man.

The satellite broadcaster said that it was ending its 10 year commitment to the team at the end of this year.

The revamped outfit is to be named Team Ineos-after the chemicals giant owned by the billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Sir Jim has been in talks with Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford for several week.

Ineos is the UK’s largest privately owned firm and posted annual pre-tax profits of 2 billion pounds in 2018.

Weather

Mainly fine with light to moderate variable winds.

Top temperature 17 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 8  degrees on the coast and 4 degrees inland  with clear skies.

Wednesday and Thursday-Mainly fine .Highs of 16-18 degrees.

Finally 

Scientists have claimed that due to the way our brains are wired poeople don’t become fully ‘adult’ until their 30s. 

Prof Peter Jones, of Cambridge University, said: “What we’re saying is that to have a definition of when you move from childhood to adulthood looks increasingly absurd.

 

“It’s a much more nuanced transition that takes place over three decades". “There isn’t a childhood and then an adulthood. People are on a pathway, they’re on a trajectory.”

The claims could imply that the stroppy confusion of classic comedy character Kevin the Teenager sticks with us into our 30s, according to  scientists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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