French and Riviera News Wednesday 20th March 2019

Local

Mayor of Nice calls for ban on all protests - Following the national call by the yellow vest movement to demonstrate in Nice at the weekend, marking Act 19 of demonstrations, the Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has asked Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and the Minister of the Interior Christophe Casternar to ban all gatherings in the city. The movement launched the call at #Nice06 on social media on Tuesday.

After scenes of violence on Saturday in Paris during protests gatherings are already banned on the Champs Elysee in Paris the Place Pey Berland in Bordeaux and La Place du Capitol in Toulouse. Estrosi fears a repeat of Saturday’s violence and called for the ban. His request is currently being examined.

Bardot - In an open letter to the prefect, former French actress Brigitte Bardot has attacked the people of the Reunion accusing them of mistreating animals and describing them as a “degenerate population with barbaric traditions”. Bardot’s remarks have been condemned by the French minister of overseas Annick Girardin who in response says that “if the letter is authentic, the prefect of the Reunion will file a complaint”. It is not the first time the animal activist and has caused controversy. In 2008 Bardot went on trial for insulting Muslims. At the time prosecutors asked that the Paris court hand the 73-year-old former sex symbol a two-month suspended prison sentence and fine her 15,000 euros for saying the Muslim community was “destroying our country and imposing its acts”. Since 1997 Bardot has been fined four times for inciting racial hatred.

Strike action - Demonstrations have been held by unions in Nice. Tuesday saw people gathering in the city in protest against the level of pensions and wages and the lack of purchasing power.  According to police, about 1,500 demonstrators were present in front of the city’s main train station, but other estimates put the number at about 2,000 to 3,000. The protestors marched to the place Garibaldi. Demonstrations took place throughout France, with the CGT union saying 50,000 people were protesting in Paris, although local media put the number at about 17,500.

Tribute to student stabbed in Marseille - A minute’s silence has been observed on the campus of the university at Aix-en-Provence in memory of a student who died at the weekend.  21 year old Marie-Bélen Pisano died on Sunday night after being stabbed in Marseille, at the exit of La Timone metro station. It’s thought that the perpetrator had been attempting to steal her mobile phone.

Top high school - With a success rate of 95.4% in the 2018 baccalaureate, the Henri-Matisse high school in Vence has been ranked 4th among the best public high schools on the French Riviera. According to figures published the success rate is up from 87% in 2017 to 97% for those studying at ES level and 95% against 83% in 2017 for those studying at L level.

The PACA region has released 100,000 euros to help communities affected by oil pollution after the collision of two ships on October 7th last year. Eleven coastal municipalities were affected by the pollution.

Historic visit - His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene will welcome the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping to Monaco on Sunday. With ceremonies and many events planned, the two heads of state will also participate in a bilateral meeting in the presence of Chinese and Monegasque officials. Together they will discuss economic issues and the environment. The  historic visit shows the strong bonds of friendship uniting the Republic People's Republic of China and the Principality since 1995, and is the first state visit of a Chinese President in the Principality of Monaco.

National

French rapper - French rapper Nick Conrad has been found guilty of incitement to violence and given a suspended €5,000 (£4,280) fine. Conrad was on trial over an online music video entitled Hang White People. The rapper who is self-produced, was virtually unknown to the French public before he released the video last year calling for white babies to be killed. Conrad has said he will appeal.

Bonus - The French government has announced that two million employees in France have received from their employer an exceptional tax-free bonus of, on average, 450 euros. The measure had been introduced in December in response to the “yellow vest” crisis. The bonus was granted "in more than 200,000 establishments", and "more than 40% of the total amount paid was in companies with less than 50 employees", The figures provided by the government are not final, however, since companies have until March 31 to sign a collective agreement on the payment of this bonus.

Business

A jury in the United States has found that Bayer’s Roundup weedkiller product was a “substantial factor” in causing a man’s cancer.

The jury in San Francisco ruled unanimously that Roundup had contributed to causing non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 70 year old Edwin Hardeman.

Bayer has strongly rejected claims that the glyphosate-based product is carcinogenic.The German pharmaceutical giant said that it was “disappointed” with the jury’s decision.

The next phase of the trial will consider Bayer’s liability and damages.

Bayer acquired the Roundup product as part of its 66 billion dollar takeover of Monsanto and stressed strongly that it should not be held liable for Mr Hardeman’s cancer.The firm said that it firmly believed that science confirms that glyphosate-based herbicides to not cause cancer.

 

A report by Reuters says that Boeing has reshuffled its top engineers amid the crisis involving 737 Max aircraft.

Reuters says that the firm has brought in a new vice-president of engineering and dedicated a top executive to aircraft investigations.

The report says that the changes were announced in a company e-mail sent on Tuesday.

The management reshuffle comes as the United States ,Canada and the EU said that they would be seeking their own guarantees over the safety of Boeing 737 Max aircraft,complicating plans to get the planes flying again after they were grounded in the wake of two crashes that killed more than 300 people.

Boeing says that the plane’s anti-stall system which has been one focus of crash investigators,needs a software update.

 

And-The President of the European Commission has come under fire for dismissing concerns that controversial art storage facilities may be enabling money laundering.

Jean Claude Juncker  has been criticised by MEPs who are concerned about allegations made about “freeports” which are tax-exempt warehouses for storing high-value goods near to ports and airports.

MEPs sitting on a special European Parliament committee on finance crime and tax evasion found that freeports could enable money laundering because the circumvent normal international rules on transparency.

Mr Juncker’s spokesman said that he had “tirelessly and personally” pursued an agenda against money laundering and tax evasion.

Sport

Football-There are two international friendly games tonight ahead of a raft of Euro 2020 qualifying matches over the next few days.

Germany play Serbia and Wales face Trinidad and Tobago.

Formula 1-The ex Formula 1 star Jolyon Palmer has said that Valtteri Bottas is “no longer Lewis Hamilton’s wingman” and is “ in it to win it”.

Writing on the BBC website,Palmer says that the Finn  sent a message of intent to the rest of the field,including Hamilton with an emphatic victory at the opening Grand Prix of the season in Melbourne last Sunday.

Palmer goes on to say that Bottas is a changed man  and has “more edge than he’s ever seen in his career”.

The next Grand Prix is in Bahrain on the 31st of March.

Cricket-Players’ shirts will feature their name and squad numbers for the first time in the Ashes series between England and Australia this summer as the sport attempts to make team members more identifiable and to encourage greater engagement in Test cricket.

Names and numbers have been in use for some time in limited overs and Twenty20 cricket and the ICC wants to give the Test form of the game a boost to encourage more people to watch and take part.

In addition ,the world’s top 9 sides are to take part in a new championship over two years with the top two teams meeting in the final in 2021.The first Test of the Ashes will be the first game in the new competition.

Rugby Union-The incoming Wales coach Wayne Pivac has said that a new defensive coach has already been appointed to replace Shaun Edwards.

Current coach Warren Gatland and the rest of his staff will step down after the World Cup and Pivac  said that talks had taken place with Edwards to remain but that he had been “under pressure” from the  Wigan Rugby League side.

Edwards has since said that he is still a “free agent” and is considering his options.

Pivac said that he had been “disappointed” by the comments.

Weather

Clear skies  with light south easterly variable winds.

Top temperature 17 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 8  degrees on the coast and 3 degrees inland  with clear skies.

Thursday and Friday-Clear skies with highs of 18-20 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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