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French and Riviera News Wednesday 1st November 2017

Local

Fire in the port of the Pointe-Rouge in Marseille - Two men have been injured after a fire broke out in the port of the Pointe-Rouge in Marseille. Fifty firefighters were at the scene shortly after 5pm on Tuesday battling the blaze with flames of up to 10 meters high and reportedly up to twenty boats on fire. An investigation has been opened to determine the cause of the fire.

Paperwork moves online - The Administration centre of the Alpes Maritimes has closed its doors for the last time which means getting up at the crack of dawn and facing traditional long queues to complete your car registration papers is to soon become a thing of the past, as the service goes online. Other documents are soon to follow suit with driver’s licenses, identity cards and passports all being dealt with online.

Changes in November – Meanwhile other changes as of November include the cost of visiting a doctor in France will rise for certain patients with complex health problems or for those who require a more thorough consultation. From November 19th France's La Poste will deliver packages on Sunday via its Chronopost service in 14 of the biggest cities, plus Paris and the Ile de France region and France's annual winter truce begins today, a truce between landlords and tenants which means no one can be evicted until April next year.

Drought - The general secretary of the Alpes-Maritimes Prefecture Frédéric Mac Kain, has announced crisis measures due to the drought currently affecting the region. Mac Kain said “it’s an unprecedented situation for 40 years and while it’s not a dramatic situation it is a disturbing one". New measures could be taken next week depending on the changing weather with emergency measures  to help farmers who have been severely impacted by the crisis. Among the measures that affect the general public: the washing of cars and boats is prohibited throughout the department.

Botanical Centre Monaco - Prince Albert of Monaco has inaugurated the Exotic Garden’s new botanical centre. Designed by architects Fabrice Notari and Rudy Ricciotti, the new Botanical Centre includes 900m2 of greenhouses and an additional 1,000m2 of shelter plus 200m2 for staff premises. The complete redesign took two years and is part of a rapidly changing urban landscape. Starting next spring, the pedestrian area that runs along all the greenhouses will be freely accessible and, from September 2018, guided tours will be offered in addition to visits to the Exotic Garden and the Observatory Cave.

National

State of Emergency - France's state of emergency comes to an end today being replaced by an anti-terrorism law that was signed in this week by French president Emmanuel Macron. The new laws have faced criticism from French and European rights groups, who say the country will now effectively be living in a "permanent state of emergency" with legal weapons handed to police and local authorities, the power to close mosques, search homes and restrict movement of individuals. The government insists the powers represent a "true balance between necessary security for our citizens and the protection of individual liberties".

French economy - Official data published on Tuesday has shown that the French economy has clocked up solid growth in the third quarter suggesting that recovery in the eurozone's second-biggest economy remains on track. The national statistics institute INSEE said in a statement that gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.5 percent in the three months to September. Over the last 12 months France's economy has grown by 2.2 percent, the healthiest rate since 2011.

Paris Climate deal - A new UN report has revealed that the countries that signed the 2015 Paris climate deal have failed to live up to their national goals to reduce global warming. The report comes just days before the next world climate conference in Germany. The review warns that pledges made so far only cover one-third of the cuts needed by 2030 to keep temperature levels at below 2.0°C.

Paternity leave petition - A group of high-profile French men have signed a petition demanding the right to longer paternity leave to enable them to better support their partners. 58,000 people have signed the petition addressed to Emmanuel Macron, and two of his ministers, calling for the 11 days leave awarded to new fathers be extended to six weeks and made obligatory.

Cross to be removed – France's highest court has demanded that a cross overhanging a statue of former Pope John Paul II be removed from a square in a town in the northwestern region of Brittany, provoking anger among those who believe France's Catholic heritage is being destroyed. The Conseil d'Etat or State Council says that the presence of the cross goes against the 1905 French law which officially separates church and state. 

Business

Sources close to Apple have hinted that the firm could drop chips supplied by Qualcomm in future iPhone and Ipad products. The change would affect products released in the autumn of next year although Apple could change course before then according to reports. The two sources for the story have declined to be named after saying that they are not authorised to talk to the media. Apple has been in dispute with Qualcomm over a change in supply arrangements which has seen the chip maker stop providing some software for the tech giant to test its chips in iPhone designs. The Wall Street Journal first reported the story on Monday with analysts saying such a move by Apple would not be totally unexpected. Qualcomm shares fell by 6.7 percent on the news while Apple shares rose by 1.4 percent.

Representatives from Facebook,Twitter and Google have faced hard questioning at a US Senate panel on crime and terrorism during which they were asked why they’d missed political advertising bought with Russian money. US lawmakers are considering new legislation for social media firms as a result of alleged Russian meddling in last year’s Presidential election campaign. All three firms have pledged to tighten advertising policies and guidelines. On Monday,Facebook admitted that up to 126 million of its users in America may have seen Russian backed content over the past two years. Legislation already in force for television,radio and satellite could now be extended to cover social media platforms. Facebook,Twitter and Google all say that they are increasing efforts to identify bots and spam as well as making political advertising more transparent.

And-Burberry’s chief creative officer is to leave the firm after 17 years. Christopher Bailey had been chief executive of the fashion firm until 2014 when he moved to his current role. No reason has been given for his departure except for the fact that he’ll leave next year. Burberry is in the middle of a cost cutting drive and wants to save 100 million pounds by 2019. The company is also working on revamping its product line after disappointing sales in recent times and some experts labelling it as somewhat predictable and déjà vu.

Sport

Football-Manchester United beat Benfica 2-0 at Old Trafford in last night’s European Champions League Group A game and now need just one more point to qualify for the knock-out phase after the other game ended Basel 1 CSKA 2. In Group B Celtic’s European adventure is over after they lost 2-1 at home to Bayern Munich while PSG thrashed Anderlecht 5-0. Chelsea’s patchy form continued with a 3-0 away defeat at Roma in Group C with the other game ending Athletico Madrid 1 Qarabag 1 while in Group D Olympiakos drew 1-1 with Barcelona and Sporting drew 1-1 with Juventus.

There are 8 more ties tonight. In Group E Liverpool host Maribor and Sevilla play Spartak Moscow. Group F pairs Napoli against Manchester City and Shakhtar Dontesk with Feyenoord. In Group G Besiktas host Monaco and Porto play Leipzig and in Group H it’s Borussia Dortmund against Apoel Nicosia while Tottenham host Real Madrid.

There was a full programme in the English Championship last night with the leaders Sheffield United slipping up at QPR in a 1-0 defeat.Wolves replace them at the top following a 2-0 win at Norwich City and in the other results Burton Albion lost 4-2 at home to Barnsley.Cardiff beat Ipswich  3-1.Fulham lost 2-0 at home to Bristol City.Middlesbrough were 3-1 winners at Hull.Leeds lost 2-1 at home to Derby.Sheffield Wednesday beat Millwall 2-1.Sunderland and Bolton drew 3-3 and Reading beat Nottingham Forest 3-1.

In the Scottish Premiership last night Hibs were 3-0 winners at Kilmarnock.

Rugby Union-South Africa have been recommended to host the 2023 World Cup ahead of Ireland and France. The World Rugby Council will meet in London on the 15th of November to take a final vote. South Africa were endorsed after reviews of each host candidate evaluation.World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said that South Africa had been identified as a clear leader based on performance against the key criteria.

Cricket-England’s James Vince has said that Australia’s players could end up “turning on each other” with their controversial pre-Ashes remarks. The Australian captain Steve Smith has said that it would be “nice” to win the series 5-0 while batsman David Warner has said that England should expect “war”. Vince says that they’re putting pressure on themselves to come out and perform from the word go.He added that a few of the England player think that the comments could backfire on Australia if it doesn’t go well for them early and that they could turn on each other. The first Test starts in Brisbane on November the 23rd.

Weather

Clear skies with light  variable winds. Top temperatures 21 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 12 degrees on the coast and 8 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

Thursday and Friday-Partially cloudy with highs of 19-21 degrees.

Finally 

Would you recognise an alien? Scientists suggest that extra-terrestrials may be shaped by natural selection and could 'look like us'
They're regularly depicted in science fiction blockbusters as other-worldly, monster-like beings. But a new study suggests that in reality, aliens could be more similar to us than thought.

The research indicates that aliens are potentially shaped by the same processes that shaped humans, such as natural selection, and that they may even 'look like us.'

Researchers from the University of Oxford have shown for the first time how evolutionary theory can be used to predict alien behaviour.

Their theory supports the argument that foreign life forms undergo natural selection, and like us, are evolving to be stronger over time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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