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French and Riviera News Tuesday 27th March 2018

Local

Official expelled from Russian consulate in Marseille - The French government has announced that four Russian diplomats are to be expelled including an official at the consulate in Marseille. The move comes as various countries announced on Monday they were making the move in solidarity with the UK in response to the nerve agent attack. The UK announced it was expelling 23 Russian diplomats earlier this month following the attack and since more than 20 countries have backed the UK in what is thought to be the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history. Russia denies any role in the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter, in Salisbury, southern England. The pair, remain in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

Firefighters ambushed in Nice - MP Eric Ciotti has condemned an attack which was carried out on the emergency services in Nice on Monday evening.  The incident occurred after Firefighters were called to the Bon Voyage district shortly after 8pm following reports that a fire had broken out in the basement of a building. Upon arrival at the scene the firemen were assaulted by a group of thugs. No injuries were reported and an investigation has been opened.  

Murder - Eight people are to face trial for the murder of Monaco’s 77 year-old billionaire Hélène Pastor,who was shot after visiting her son at hospital in Nice in 2014. After a four year investigation, prosecutors feel they have enough evidence to convict the eight, including Madame Pastor’s son-in-law, who is charged with placing a contract on her life. The case will take four weeks to be heard in detail. It was announced on Monday that the trial will begin on September 17th in Aix-en-Provence.

Strike - Air France staff have announced more strike action, on top of stoppages due this Friday. The extra two days of strikes will happen just after Easter, on Tuesday April 3rd, with a second day of protest on Saturday 7th.

National

Tribute – It’s been announced that French President Emmanuel Macron is to lead a national tribute on Wednesday to Arnaud Beltrame, the policeman who was killed last week after he swapped himself for a hostage during the attack at a supermarket near Carcassonne. Speaking to French media on Monday his mother Nicolle Beltrame said she was proud of his actions, and did not feel hate towards his killer. She said  "Arnaud would not have wanted us to give up," adding  "I'm here to honour him, so that his act has some purpose, that we're a bit more human and a bit more tolerant."

Student demonstrations - Students in Lille have called for a nationwide demonstration on Wednesday against Macron’s university reforms and what they called the heavy-handed treatment of student demonstrators. Protests over Emmanuel Macron’s university reforms threaten to spread to faculties across France after outrage following the violent breakup of a student sit-in in Montpellier by masked men with bats and sticks on Thursday. Under Macron’s plans, the lottery system would be wound down and the hardest-pressed universities would be allowed to select students on merit.

French public debt under 3% - France has reported a public deficit of 2.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017, below the EU limit of 3.0 percent for the first time in a decade. The INSEE national statistics agency also reported 2%  growth in 2017, France's highest in six years. The deficit figure, is a sign that the Eurozone’s second-biggest economy is experiencing a rebound under President Emmanuel Macron. In 2016, the deficit stood at 3.4 percent of GDP.

Waiter - A waiter in Canada fired for "aggressive" and "rude" behavior towards other staff says his behavior wasn't out of line, he's simply French. Guillaume Rey has filed a complaint with British Columbia's Human Rights Tribunal against his ex-employer and its parent company over his dismissal. He argues his sacking is discrimination and French culture "tends to be more direct and expressive". But the restaurant says Mr Rey's behaviour violated workplace policy.

Business

The US Federal Trade Commission has said it will investigate Facebook over how private data on millions of users was given to Cambridge Analytica. The social network has been criticised for letting the firm scoop up data on 50 million users. The information is believed to have been used to help Donald Trump's 2016 campaign for US president.

The oldest gun manufacturer in the United States, Remington Outdoor, has filed for bankruptcy in the wake of slumping sales. The firm, founded more than 200 years ago, filed for bankruptcy protection to cut a deal with its creditors. The filing comes amid fresh demands for greater gun control in the US. A shooting at a Florida high school in February has revived the debate on gun control, and on Saturday hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets of US cities.

And - Australian billionaire James Packer has received much public praise since quitting his gaming empire due to mental health reasons. His resignation has also prompted discussion about mental health at the top of business. Mr Packer, stepped down as a director of Crown Resorts Limited last Wednesday.

Mr Packer became one of Australia's richest people after his father, prominent media tycoon Kerry Packer, died in 2005.

Sport

Cricket - Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan is "pretty sure" Australia were ball-tampering during their 4-0 winter Ashes series victory. Australia opening batsman Cameron Bancroft admitted the offence during this week's Test loss to South Africa. Captain Steve Smith, who knew about the plan in advance, has been banned for one Test and stood down as skipper of his Indian Premier League team. However, he insisted it was "the first time this has happened".

Football – Holland bounced back in the best way possible with a dominant display against the Euro 2016 champions Portugal winning 3-0 on Monday. Meanwhile England forward Raheem Sterling has urged fans to "give love" to the team going into this summer's World Cup in Russia. England have three more warm-up games before the tournament, starting with Italy at Wembley tonight. Other international friendlies tonight include Hungary against Scotland, Germany v’s Brazil and Spain play Argentina.

In the English premier league West Ham co-owner reportedly used club to avoid paying £700,000 in tax. 

Tennis – British number one Johanna Konta has been knocked out of the Miami Open in the fourth round by three-time champion Venus Williams.

Weather

Sunshine across the region with highs of 16 degrees and a moderate north westerly wind. Clouding over by late afternoon with lows of 7 degrees along the coast this evening.

The outlook for Wednesday and Thursday becoming increasing cloudy tomorrow with rain forecast in the hills and highs of 15 degrees. Clearing by Thursday with sunshine and highs of 16 in the Alpes Maritimes and 18 degrees in the Var.

Finally 

A new £8,000  robot called Henry not only boasts ‘superhuman sexual performance’, but he's also apparently good at cracking jokes.

At 6ft tall with a rippling six-pack and brooding dark looks, this droid can also welcome his owner home and discuss their favourite TV show or film, creators say.

He can even woo them with romantic phrases and words to their favourite love poem or song.

Costing between £8,000 and £11,000 ($11,000 – $15,600) depending on optional extras – he is the world’s first ‘companion’ robot aimed at females. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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