French and Riviera News Tuesday 21st January 2020

Local

SNCF sale - The French rail network the SNCF has announced the sale of 5 million tickets for less than 35 euros. The move comes in an attempt to win back passengers after the strike. The tickets will go on sale from Thursday 23rd January and will be valid on all TGV Inoui and Ouigo until mid-April.

After weeks of strikes against pension reform, the railway company announced the sale on Monday. Speaking to French media the general manager of Voyages SNCF Rachel Picard specified that the tickets will be available for a week, "from January 23rd to 30th, for trips between now and mid-April, until the Easter holidays. "

Strike action – Meanwhile further strike action is expected from today until the end of the week. Unions have called for new mobilization on a national level. It’s been announced that  regional transport will be disrupted on Friday with no trams running in Nice, a limited bus service and the SNCF plans to operate 80% of regional trains.

Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier - Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and France’s minister of the Armed Forces will be in Toulon today to visit the French Navy aboard the flagship Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, which is the first French nuclear-powered surface vessel. According to a press release the visit has been planned ahead of the vessel setting off on a three-month mission.

Tributes have been paid to one of the major figures in the perfume industry who passed away at the weekend. Louis Peyron, who was 93 years old, was a professional chemist who made important contributions to advances in the perfume industry in and around Grasse over the past four decades.

National

Seven men arrested suspected of planning attack - Seven men have been placed in police custody suspected of planning a terror attack in France. French Police arrested the men aged between 28 and 38 in the port city of Brest in the Brittany region on Monday. Arrested as part of a judicial investigation for “criminal association” police are still to determine the exact level of “preparation” and the nature of the planned attack.

“A list” - French brands L’Oréal, Orange and Danone are helping lead the world on climate policy, after having been given top marks by the environmental risk-assessment group the CDP. Out of the 179 businesses on the “A-list” of companies demonstrating corporate transparency and action on climate change, 22 are based in France. France the birthplace of the Paris Agreement that took effect on 1st January – is home to the third highest number of A-list companies in the world, after Japan and the United States.

“Choose France” summit - Meanwhile French President Emmanuel Macron has faced criticism from protestors who demonstrated in Versailles as the “Choose France” summit began on Monday. Those protesting against the government reforms on criticized the choice of venue for the summit with some comparing “Macron to a French king”. Defending the decision France’s economy minister Bruno Le Maire said that holding the summit at Versailles was to attract businesses from around the world.

Ahead of the summit US giant Coca Cola announced 1 billion euros of investments in France over the next five years, joining pledges by other big investors.  

Business

Shares in Chinese drug makers have risen sharply today as concerns grow over a new virus spreading across the country.

Several pharmaceutical firms on the Shanghai and Shenzen stock exchanges have risen by their 10 percent daily limit following confirmation that the new strain of coronavirus can be passed from person to person.

The number of people infected tripled over the weekend and the first cases have been detected outside China.

The latest gains for pharmaceutical firms follow sharp rises yesterday but other stocks such as airlines ,tour and hotel firms have fallen.

Millions of Chinese people are preparing to travel both at home and abroad for the upcoming New Year holidays.

 

A report by Greenpeace has criticised the world’s leading financial institutions for providing significant support for the fossil fuel industry over the past 5 years.

The report highlights 24 banks which regularly have a presence at the World Economic Forum in Davos who Greenpeace says have provided 1.4 trillion dollars of financial support for the hydrocarbon sector since the Paris agreement set new emissions reduction goals in 2015.

Greenpeace says that the financial cooperation includes loans ,debt underwriting ,equity insurances and direct investment.

Entitled “It’s the Finance Sector ,Stupid ,the report also shows how some major insurers and pension funds that attend Davos annually are key supporters of polluting industries such as coal.

 

And-JP Morgan Chase and Co has become the latest investment bank to significantly expand its Paris hub as part of plans to relocate some services from London following Britain’s exit from the European Union.

The bank says that it’s planning to buy a new building in central Paris to house up to 450 staff in the coming years in order to allow it to keep operating in the European Union once the current direct access between the UK and the rest of the bloc comes to an end following the transition period in December.

The bank would have declined a move to Paris before 2016 according to its head of French operations but government employment law and taxation reforms led it to reconsider.

The expansion will make Paris JP Morgan’s second largest European base behind London where there are 10,000 staff.

 

Sport

Tennis-Both Kyle Edmund and Johanna Konta have been dumped out of the Australian Open in the first round.

British men’s number two Edmund was beaten in straight sets by the 24th seed Dusan Lajovic while Konta was beaten 6-4 6-2 by Ons Jabeur in the women’s competition.

Elsewhere ,there were first round wins in the women’s event for Karolina Pliskova ,Madison Keys and Belinda Bencic while in the men’s competition Rafael Nadal, Marin Cilic ,Milos Raonic and Fabio Fognini are through.

Cricket-The England coach Chris Silverwood says that the youngsters in the side stood up to be counted in the third Test victory over South Africa.

England registered their biggest overseas win in 9 years with an innings and 53 run victory and Silverwood said that he was immensely proud of how the younger players in the team performed.

2 year old Ollie Pope hit 135 not out in the first innings while another 22 year old ,spinner Dom Bess took his first Test five-wicket haul.

England lead the series 2-1 heading into the final Test in Johannesburg which starts on Friday.

Football-There are 6 games in the English Premier League tonight.

Aston Villa play Watford.Bournemouth host Brighton.Crystal Palace play Southampton.Everton face Newcastle.Sheffield United play Manchester City and Chelsea play Arsenal.

Formula 1-The sport’s commercial boss Sean Bratches is to leave his role at the end of the month.

Mr Bratches was one of three executives appointed when Liberty Media bought the sport from Bernie Ecclestone in 2017.

He won’t be replaced and Formula 1 said that he would continue to support the business in an advisory role in the United States.

Rugby Union-The England coach Eddie Jones says that getting the squad together will give a chance for the Saracens players to get what has been an emotional and difficult period off their chests.

Saracens will be relegated at the end of the season for breaching salary cap rules and Jones says that they’ll need to get “everything on the table and sort it out”.

There are 7 Saracens players in the 34 man squad along with 8 uncapped players.

Billy Vunipola is missing after breaking his arm again which is expected to keep him out for the entire 6 Nations while Jack Nowell is also out.

England will start a 7 day training camp in Portugal on Thursday.

Their first 6 Nations game is against France on the 2nd of February.

Weather

Partially cloudy with a moderate to strong north easterly wind gusting at up to 70 km/h in coastal areas of the Var.

Top temperature 15 degrees.

Overnight lows of 10 degrees on the coast and 8 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies and remaining windy in the Var.

Wednesday and Thursday-Partially cloudy with highs of 14-15 degrees.

Finally 

A team of researchers from Finland have developed a new computer system that can identify individuals not through their faces or finger prints, but simply by watching them dance.

For the experiment the team analyzed the movements of 73 participants as they danced to music in eight different genres, including blues, country, metal, reggae, rap, and more.

They developed a machine learning programme that would analyze 21 different points of articulation on each dancer’s body through a motion capture camera, and combined that data with some general information about each participant.

The team found that the machine learning program was able to accurately identify which of the 73 participants was dancing just by capturing their movements 94 percent of the time.

The team insists they don’t want their tools to be used for surveillance.

Instead, they hope it can eventually be used to give new insight into our understanding of music, movement, and even aging.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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