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French and Riviera News Wednesday 11th April 2018

Local

Strikes - 30% of Air France flights have been cancelled today as several staff unions continue strike action for a second consecutive day. Air France was forced to cancel scores of flights on Tuesday as pilots, cabin crew and ground staff pursued a strike action aimed at securing higher pay. Tuesday saw a number of factors add to flight cancellations and delays at Nice International airport including additional strike action from the German company Lufthansa and bad weather conditions.

Stirke impact on local events - Both rail and air strikes have had an impact on events being held in Cannes with hotels this week reporting a drop of between 10 and 15% compared to previous figures for this time of year. Reed Midem the organizer of the first edition of the “CannesSeries Festival” also confirmed attendance was hit  by strike action will concern to the  threat to future events due to complications in travel arrangements caused by strike action, which is expected to last until June.

Petition against price of berths in Port Vauban - A petition has been launched against the hike in rates at Port Vauban in Antibes. According to reports berth prices have doubled in the last ten years. The petition launched in March has so far gathered over 400 signatures.

Four day week returns to schools in Marseille - The city council of Marsielle has voted for the return of the four-day week in schools in the city. The announcement came on Tuesday during a debate on new childcare arrangements. The changes are to come into effect as of September, much to the delight of many parents, which during a recent survey showed 83% in favour of returning to the four day week stipulating that the current school rhythm is not compatible with their professional life.  

Protest against reforms to French justice system - Lawyers from the Bar of Grasse have organized a march in Cannes today at 2pm. The march which is in protest at government reforms to the French justice system will also see other legal professionals take part such as magistrates and court clerks.  

Allergy sufferers to remain vigilant in the Var - The National Network of aerobiological monitoring has warned that the Var region has been place on a high risk this week due to possible allergic reactions to cypress pollen. Placed on an orange alert by the RNSA allergy sufferers are advised to remain vigilant.

Cannes Film Festival - The French Minister of Culture has announced that for the first time Saudi Arabia is to participate in the 71st edition of this year’s Cannes Film Festival in May. Mainly a symbolic participation including a selection of short films, the move aims to allow interaction with Saudi filmmakers and representatives of the industry. The announcement came while the Saudi Crown Prince was on an official visit to Paris this week.

Meanwhile this year’s festival will also see young moviegoers invited to the red carpet for the first time with a special three day pass for those aged between 18 and 28. Candidates are invited to send a letter of motivation explaining their “love of cinema” and will be selected by a special committee. For more information on how to apply online go to www.festival-cannes.com

National

France will retaliate if evidence emerges according to government spokesman - French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux has said that France will retaliate against the regime of the Syrian President if evidence emerges that it was behind a recent suspected chlorine gas attack. Speaking to French media on Tuesday Griveaux added "If the red line has been crossed, there will be a response.” France has repeatedly warned that evidence of the use of chemical weapons in Syria is a "red line" that would prompt French strikes on Syrian government forces.

Macron causes uproar with comments about relations between the state and the church - Remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron that he wanted to repair church-state ties have caused uproar sparking allegations that he was tampering with France's longstanding secular tradition. The Church and the state were for centuries virtually indistinguishable in France, but the 1789 Revolution marked the first step by republicans to exclude religion from government affairs, codified in a 1905 law separating the two. Macron, who prides himself on tackling difficult issues head-on, told a meeting of bishops this week that he hoped to repair relations with the Church through a "dialogue of truth".

Uber – In a fresh setback for the US ridesharing firm Uber the EU's top court has backed the right of member states like France to ban the service without notifying Brussels. The European Court of Justice ruled in favour of France's ban of the UberPop service on Tuesday, which links amateur drivers with customers. Uber France is currently facing criminal proceedings in a court in the northern French city of Lille for its UberPop service.

Auction in Paris - The skeletons of an allosaurus and a diplodocus are up for auction in Paris today, marketed as hip interior design objects for those with big enough living rooms. An Italian expert from the auction house said  "The fossil market is no longer just for scientists, Dinosaurs have become cool, trendy -- real objects of decoration, like paintings," he went on to cite Hollywood actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicolas Cage who are fans of such outsize prehistoric ornaments.

Business

The Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned against a “cold war mentality” in comments being seen as an attempt to calm a trade row with the United States.

Speaking at the Boao Forum for Asia,Mr Xi pledged to open up parts of China’s economy and cut import tariffs on cars as well as to relax requirements for foreign firms investing in China.

Mr Xi gave no time line as to when the changes would happen  and made no specific reference to the current trade spat with the US.

However,he called for “openness”  and said that human society is facing a major choice to open or close,to go forward or backward.

President Trump is yet to respond.

The European Commission is investigating several firms involved in sports media rights.

Officials raided the offices of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Network in London on Tuesday and are reported to have seized documents relating to sports media rights.

Fox says that it’s cooperating with the inquiry which is focused on whether firms may have violated EU anti-trust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices.

Sports broadcasting is a huge business in the EU and the United States with networks spending billions of euros to secure exclusive rights to show events.

It’s not yet clear which other firms may be involved in the investigation although the EU has confirmed that several companies had received “unannounced inspections”.

And-Volkswagen has said that its chief executive Matthias Mueller could be replaced as part of a widespread management shake-up.

The German carmaker says that it’s considering “further evolving its leadership structure”.

Mr Mueller became chief executive in September 2015 following the diesel emissions scandal.

Reports suggest that the firm’s current head of the VW brand Herbert Diess could replace him.

 

Sport

Football-Liverpool are through to the semi-finals of the European Champions League following a 2-1 win on the night over Manchester City giving them a 5-1 win on aggregate.

The shock of the night came at the Olympic Stadium in Rome where Roma beat Barcelona 3-0 on the night to take the tie on the away goals rule and move into the semi finals.

The other two quarter final ties are being played tonight.Bayern Munich play Sevilla leading 2-1 from the first leg while Real Madrid host Juventus with a 3-0 advantage from the first leg.

In the English Championship last night Fulham moved into the automatic promotion places with a 1-0 win over Reading while Cardiff slipped to third place after a 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa.

In the other results Bristol City beat Birmingham 3-1.Burton Albion were thrashed 5-0 at home by Hull.Ipswich beat Barnsley 1-0.Nottingham Forest went down 1-0 at home to Brentford.Preston beat Leeds 3-1.QPR beat Sheffield Wednesday 4-2.Sheffield United beat Middlesbrough 2-1.Sunderland and Norwich drew 1-1 and Bolton lost 2-0 at home to Millwall.

The leaders Wolves will win automatic promotion if they beat Derby tonight.

Athletics-Australia are still well in front in the medals table on day 7 of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Australia have 50 gold medals in a total haul of 130 with England in second place on 24 gold medals and India in third place with 11.

A little earlier this morning England beat New Zealand to move into the last 4 of the netball competition while Australia took gold in the women’s synchronised 3 meter springboard diving event.

There are medal events in boxing,gymnastics,athletics and bowls today.

Formula 1-McLaren have restructured the management of their team following the first two races of the season.

Zak Brown has now been put in formal charge of the Formula 1 programme with a new title of chief executive officer of McLaren Racing.

The racing director Eric Boullier will now report directly to Mr Brown.

McLaren have made a much better start to this season although questions have been asked as to why the team ditched previous engine partner Honda in favour of Renault.

Fernando Alonso is currently fourth in the drivers’ championship but the signs are that the cars are still well off the pace of the frontrunners.

Weather

Overcast with rain and  moderate to strong north easterly winds across the region.

Top temperature 13 degrees.

Overnight lows of 11 degrees on the coast and 9 degrees inland with more rain and scattered thunderstorms.

Thursday and Friday-Rain and thunderstorms tomorrow,cloudy with more rain on Friday.

Finally 

When Lionel Messi scores another wonder strike, the city of Barcelona literally shakes.

Scientists have a seismometer installed close to the Camp Nou stadium and it picks up the telltale vibrations every time the crowd celebrates a goal. There is a clear spike in the data as fans jump up and down.

 

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