French and Riviera News Tuesday 29th May 2018


Rail Strike - As a second consecutive day of strike action by French rail workers continues today the French government has agreed to absorb 35 billion euros of debt from the state railway SNCF in an attempt to end nearly two months of strikes. Luc Berille, the head of the UNSA union, said that the state had proposed taking on 35 billion euros of the SNCF's 46 billion euros of debt, starting with 25 billion as soon as 2020.

Accident in Saorge - Christine Sic involved in the accident in the village of Saorge on Monday has died in hospital as a result of her injuries. Her partner Serge Franca who died at the scene was the deputy mayor of Saorge. Villagers have expressed deep sadness following the tragic accident in which their son was the only one to survive.

House fire in Antibes - A mother and her son have suffered serious burns after their deep fat fryer caught fire. The incident occurred shortly after 9pm on Monday in their apartment in Antibes. Both were taken to hospital in Antibes and were later transferred to a special burns unit in Toulon. The apartment located in the 6th floor was completely destroyed by the blaze.

Smoking - According to a survey published this week France has seen a sharp fall in the number of people smoking daily, with one million fewer lighting up from 2016-2017. Public Health France said that it’s the first time in 10 years that such a drop has been seen with an important decline in smoking among teenagers and those on low incomes. However figures also showed that more people smoke in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region than anywhere else in France. France’s health Minister welcomed the news saying that with a younger generation being less inclined to smoke the battle against smoking related illnesses was on the right track. The government plans to increase the price of a packet of cigarettes to 10 euros the packet by 2020.

Tourist - The Lonely Planet guide has included Provence in its Top 10 Most Beautiful Destinations in Europe, describing the sweetness of life here and an invite to hedonism. Founded in Australia in the seventies, the Lonely Planet is now published in eight languages worldwide.


Hero - Mamoudou Gassama the migrant who scaled a four-storey Paris apartment bloc with his bare hands to save a child on Monday has been honoured by French President Emmanuel Macron and offered citizenship. Two days after his daring Spiderman-style rescue -- viewed millions of times online Gassama was received by Macron at the presidential palace. During the meeting, Macron also proposed that 22 year old Gassama, who has been living illegally in France and working in construction after arriving in the country in September last year, joined the French fire service.

Pollution - A study carried out by the IECP has shown that residents in the Fos-sur-Mer in the Bouches de Rhone are overexposed to pollution generated by the industrial activity of the Etang de Berre, one of the most important industrial areas of Europe. The study suggests that there is a potential "cocktail effect" which is still poorly known to research. A study published earlier this year had already revealed that pollutants such lead were present at high doses in food, especially meat, produced in the region of the industrial-port area of ​​Fos-sur-Mer.

World Cup - Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud scored his 31st goal for France as Didier Deschamps' side prepared for the 2018 World Cup with a comfortable victory against the Republic of Ireland on Monday night. France have two more World Cup warm-up matches remaining - against Italy on Friday and the USA on 9th June. Les Blues open their World Cup campaign against Australia on 16th June.


The French billionaire industrialist Serge Dassault has died at the age of 93.
Mr Dassault led the Dassault group after his father’s death in 1986.It has interests in numerous firms in the  aviation and defence sectors and also owns the French daily newspaper Le Figaro.
Mr Dassault was one of France’s richest men and regularly ranked high on the billionaires lists of both Bloomberg and Forbes.
His most recent estimate of wealth was between 26 and 27 billion dollars.
He was also interested in politics and had served as a centre-right wing senator and also as the Mayor of a Paris suburb.
Mr Dassault is reported to have died after suffering a heart attack on Monday at the headquarters of the Dassault Aviaton Group.

The European Union is proposing a total ban on single use plastics to help protect marine life.
The proposals aim to outlaw many common plastic items including straws,cotton buds,cutlery,balloon sticks and drink stirrers.
An effort to ensure that all plastic bottles are collected for recycling by 2025 is also to be started.
The plan needs to be approved by all 28 EU member states as well as the European Parliament before it can be passed.

And-European financial markets were hit on Monday with analysts suggesting that the latest political wranglings in Italy might simply delay a future populist government that wants to renegotiate key eurozone debt agreements.
On  Monday,the Italian President Sergio Mattarella asked the former IMF economist Carlo Cottarelli to form a new government after efforts by the country’s two populist parties to form a coalition collapsed.
Mr Cottarelli  is known as “Mr Scissors” in Italy because of his philosophy of cutting public spending.
The two populist parties say that they will reject Mr Cottarelli’s nomination in Parliament which will lead to fresh elections in September.


Tennis-Novak Djokovic is through to the 2nd round of the French Open after coming through his first round match against Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil in straight sets.
Bad weather at Roland Garros interrupted play at times on Monday with top seed Rafael Nadal’s match against Simone Bolelli of Italy delayed with the Spaniard two sets up but trailing 3-0 in the third.
Former champion Stan Wawrinka is out.He lost in 5 sets to Guillermo Garcia Lopez of Spain.
In the women’s event the 8th seed Petra Kvitova survived a scare to come through her first round match against Veronica Cepede Royg in three sets.The second seed Caroline Wozniacki also had a tough match against Danielle Collins of the United States before coming through 7-6 6-1.
Former world number one Victoria Azarenka lost to Katerina Sinkakova.

Football-Liverpool have agreed an initial 39 million pound  deal with Monaco to sign midfielder Fabinho.
The 24 year old Brazil international is expected to move to Anfield in July.A further  4 million pounds could be added in performance-related bonus payments.

Formula 1-The Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says that Max Verstappen is trying “too hard” and needs to learn from team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
Verstappen has made mistakes in all 6 races this season and Horner says that he has an abundance of talent and has had some “harsh lessons” so far this year.
He added that a modified approach would benefit the Dutchman and he only has to look at the car next door to him to find the right way forward.

Cricket-The Lancashire opener Keaton Jennings has replaced Mark Stoneman in the England squad for the second Test against Pakistan at Headingly.
Stoneman only scored 13 runs in two innings in the 9 wicket defeat in the first Test at Lords.Jennings last played for England in the series victory over South Africa last August.
The second Test starts on Friday with England needing to win to draw the series.


Partially cloudy with some showers inland and light variable winds.

Top temperature 24 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 18 degrees on the coast and 16 degrees inland with cloudy skies.

Wednesday and Thursday-Sunshine,showers and the possibility of some thunderstrorms.Highs of 21-24 degrees.


A champion cheese chaser has smashed the record for the most wins in Gloucestershire's death-defying cheese rolling race.

30 year old Chris Anderson says he now has "nothing to prove" after scooping his 22nd Double Gloucester cheese in 14 years.

The professional soldier, who doesn't even like the taste of Double Gloucester, tumbled down Cooper's Hill in Brockworth to get his hands on an 8lb wheel of the cheese.

He broke the record held by fellow dairy-devil Stephen Gyde, who boasted 20 cheeses before retiring in 2009 to focus on being a father.

Mr Anderson won the first and third of three races on Monday, with thousands of spectators turning out to watch the centuries-old tradition.






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