French and Riviera News Wednesday 13th February 2019

Local

Hospitals - The mayor of St-Raphael, Frédéric Masquelier, has appealed for action to help save hospitals in the Var region. Masquelier has spoken out about the lack of doctors, along with the drop in the number of beds available which is pushing patients to seek medical care in the Alpes Maritimes and resulting in the closure of some services in hospitals in Frejus, Draguignan and Saint Tropez. Speaking on Tuesday the Mayor said he would “tackle the problem head on in order to meet requests from dedicated staff who are invested to do their utmost in providing the best possible care”.

Schools - French MP’s have voted for an amendment which was presented by Eric Ciotti which would make it mandatory to have the French flag in all classrooms. The presence of the French and European flags and the words of the national anthem would be mandatory in all French schools, from nursery to high school.

Meanwhile on Tuesday it was announced that as part of the reforms an amendment has been made for same-sex parenting whereby school forms will no longer bear the words “father and mother” but instead “parent 1 and parent 2”.  

Ban - The Prefecture of the Alpes Maritimes has banned all field and garden fires until March 4th. Amongst a long list of measures in the decree, it is prohibited to burn all waste, including green waste, or to smoke in forests or on scrubland or on roads crossing those areas.  It is also prohibited to use fireworks or to light cooking fires without permission of the local mayor. Any offender is liable to a fine of 450 euros. The current drought conditions have made vegetation particularly sensitive to fire.

National

Man arrested after disappearing with security van - A security van driver who disappeared on Monday morning with his van containing about one million euros has been arrested in Amiens. According to reports, he is suspected of having carried out the hijacking himself. Police have launch an investigation.

Channel Tunnel - Under a proposed European Commission law trains will be allowed to use the Channel Tunnel for three months if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The planned legislation, will give the UK and France time to renegotiate the terms under which the railway service operates. The law must be agreed by the European Parliament and EU member states. Britain leaving the EU with no deal is the default position on 29 March unless a withdrawal agreement can be approved.

School children strike for climate change - School children are going on strike on Friday to protest against a lack of action to tackle climate change. Up to 70,000 schoolchildren are taking part in 270 towns and cities worldwide. In the UK around 40 Youth Strike 4 Climate protests are expected, following in the footsteps of Greta Thunberg, a Swedish schoolgirl who held a month-long solo protest over the issue outside of her country's parliament.

International Wine Organisation - The International Wine Organization has published figures which show that wine consumption in France has dropped dramatically in recent years.  French wine drinkers now consume over twenty per cent less than they did in 2000.  On average, each French adult drinks 51.2 liters of wine annually, according to data from 2016.

Barking - The mayor of Feuquières in northern France has issued a ban on excessive dog barking in an attempt to put an end to noise pollution. Dog owners in the village face a €68 euro fine for "prolonged or repeated barking". The Mayor Jean-Pierre Estienne says the ban is in response to dogs "barking day and night" and creating "an unbearable situation" in the village. Offenders (or more specifically, their owners) will receive a fine for each complaint made against them. The ban which came into effect on Monday has been criticised by animal rights activists.

Business

According to US President Donald Trump a second government shutdown is unlikely after lawmakers agreed to a deal to fund the federal government. Mr Trump's remarks come after a political row over border security funding which shuttered a quarter of the US government for 35 days. The deal still needs to be approved by Congress and signed by the president.

All flights in and out of Belgium have been cancelled for a day due to strike action. Strike action started at 10pm on Tuesday and will run for 24 hours.  The day of national strikes, called by Belgium's three major trade union federations, follows a disagreement over wage growth, which is limited to 0.8% for the next two years.

UK firms have accused the government of leaving them "hung out to dry" in the event of a no-deal Brexit.With less than 50 days until 29 March when the UK is due to leave the EU, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) says 20 key questions remain unresolved.

Sport

Cricket - England's captain Joe Root says the 232-run third Test victory over West Indies was "massive" and will give them confidence going into a huge summer which includes an Ashes series. Root added that "Winning four out of six games is a big improvement on last winter”. Perhaps the only blight on England's day was a disappointing fielding display, with three relatively simple catches dropped.

Football – Manchester United were overpowered by Paris St-Germain at Old Trafford on Tuesday after losing 2-0. In the other champion league game last night Roma beat FC Porto 2 - 1

And - The chairman of Cardiff football club says the club will be "honourable" with Nantes over the £15m transfer for Emiliano Sala, and has defended withholding a payment. Reports have confirmed that the French club are threatening legal action, but they are seeking "clarification" on the issue. Sala's body was recovered from the wreckage of a crashed plane last week.

Formula One - Daniel Ricciardo says his decision to leave Red Bull and join Renault for 2019 “feels right”. The Australian had been agonising over a decision on his future for months. His decision came as a surprise as Renault were often lapped by Red Bull last season, when Ricciardo won two races. Ricciardo, though, remains confident he knew what he was doing. He was aware then, as now, that he was likely to have to deal with a short-term drop in performance. The switch was about the long-term.

Rugby Union – England’s Mako Vunipola has been ruled out of the rest of the Six Nations with an ankle injury. The 28-year-old, one of England's best performers so far in the championship, suffered ankle ligament damage in Sunday's 44-8 win over France at Twickenham.

With Leigh Halfpenny declared fit and Vunipola ruled out, Wales fans will feel a little more positive about their chances of halting the English juggernaut.

Weather

Clear skies and sunshine 14 degrees in Nice, 15 in Antibes reaching 16 degrees in Saint Tropez and Rayol Canadel in the Var with a moderate easterly wind. This evening going down to -2 degrees along the coast in the Var and 3 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes.

The outlook for Thursday and Friday is much the same with clear skies and highs of 17-18 degrees.

 

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