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French and Riviera News Wednesday 28th March 2018

Local

Private beaches in Juan Les Pins - Eight private beaches in Juan Les Pins have been ordered to demolish their businesses within the next three months. It was reported on Tuesday that their request for “extra time” had been refused by the court. The beach restaurants which have occupied part of the public domain without the right had been hoping to operate this summer.

“Action Coeur de Ville” - Vallauris, Grasse, Draguignan and Brignoles are part of 222 French towns which have been chosen by the French government to be given millions of euros in renovation work.  The "Action Coeur de Ville" plan will see €5 billion spent on rejuvenating the centres of 222 medium sized towns across the country over the next five years. Town authorities will be able to use the cash on a number of development projects, including housing, transport, education, culture and sports offerings.

Sainte Devote Rugby Tournament - Sixteen teams from 13 countries are to participate this Saturday the 31st March in the Saint Devote Tournament at the Louis II Stadium here in the Principality. The event is organised by the Monegasque Rugby Federation in collaboration with the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation to celebrate rugby and its different approaches. The day will include an U12-category Tournament, the Saint Devote Challenge, and Tots Rugby, which is an introduction to rugby for children from three to five.

National

Memorial service - A national memorial service is due to take place in honour of the French police officer who died saving the lives of hostages in a supermarket siege by an Islamist gunman. Arnaud Beltrame, was killed after he traded places with one of the captives following a shooting spree in southern France on 23rd March. President Emmanuel Macron will lead the ceremony in Paris today.

Girlfriend on Islamist gunman under formal investigation – Meanwhile French investigators have placed the 18-year-old girlfriend of the Islamist gunman under formal investigation. The woman, told investigators that she converted to Islam when she was 16. She was on a watchlist of potential radicals but denied "having been informed of or associated with the deadly plans of her boyfriend”.

School - Children in France will start school at the age of three instead of six, under new reforms announced by President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday.  The change will give France one of the lowest compulsory school starting ages in Europe. The move will only affect a small number of children, as the majority of French families already choose to send their children to school at three. Government figures show that only 2.4% of children are not enrolled at that age.

Changes which will be introduced in April - Several changes are to come into effect in France in April including the introduction of energy cheques which is a new system designed to help those with modest incomes pay their energy bills, the new government's "health book" or "carnet de santé" which contains the latest medical advice for children will be introduced and from April 1st when dealing with customer service staff at banks and insurance firms, it's likely you'll be asked for an electronic signature instead of the traditional hand written one. This is part of an initiative to increase the use of electronic forms and contracts in the financial sector. 

Monoprix - Meanwhile Monoprix, one of France’s top supermarket and household item chains, has announced it will start selling some of its products to Amazon Prime customers in Paris later this year. It is a first for France, where online grocery sales lag far behind the United States and Britain. The announcement looks set to shake up the retail market in France, which has been hard hit by the growth of online and organic grocery sales.

Business

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg's decision not to appear before MPs has been described as "astonishing" by the committee chairman who invited him to attend. Damian Collins, the head of a parliamentary inquiry into fake news, urged Mr Zuckerberg to "think again". Facebook and Cambridge Analytica are at the centre of a row over harvesting personal data. Mr Zuckerberg has apologised for a "breach of trust", but said he will not appear in front of the inquiry.

Gold castings of the hands of South Africa's first black President Nelson Mandela have been sold for $10m in bitcoin. The Canadian crypto-currency exchange firm Arbitrade bought four casts from South African businessman Malcolm Duncan. The firm said it planned to launch a global "Golden Hands of Nelson Mandela" tour to educate young people about the anti-apartheid icon's life. This is the first time artefacts of Mr Mandela have been sold in bitcoin.

And – Fast food giant McDonald's is to start phasing out plastic straws from its UK restaurants and says it is "really close" to the point where all its packaging can be recycled. The company, which has around 1,300 restaurants around the country, will start a trial in May to use paper straws instead of the normal plastic ones. McDonald's has around 3.7 million customers every day, with 90% of the UK population visiting one of its restaurants in the average year.

Sport

Football – Kylian Mbappe scored twice as France beat World Cup host Russia 3-1 in a friendly on Tuesday. The French visitors dominated a Russian team weakened by injuries and Mbappe scored the opener in the 40th minute. For the French, it was a welcome recovery after last week's 3-2 loss to Colombia, which ended their seven-game winning run. Meanwhile England were denied a second successive friendly victory by a late Italy penalty awarded by the video assistant referee at Wembley. Here’s more from BBC sport

Matt Phillips scored his first international goal as Scotland earned their first win of Alex McLeish's second spell in charge against Hungary.

Cricket - Australia captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft will be sent home from South Africa for ball-tampering in the third Test in Cape Town. However, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland says head coach Darren Lehmann was not involved in the controversy and will remain in his post.

Boxing – Anthony Joshua says he "has no fear" of Joseph Parker but his opponent's desire to improve himself has inspired him to take the fight seriously. WBA and IBF world heavyweight champion Joshua meets WBO title-holder Parker at Cardiff's Principality Stadium on Saturday.

Weather

Cloudy with some sunny intervals highs of 17 degrees in Antibes and Menton, 16 degrees in Nice reaching 21 degrees in Rayol Canadel in the Var with a moderate south easterly wind.  This evening lows of 7 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 10 degrees in the Var with cloudy skies.

The outlook for Thursday and Friday. Clouds clearing to make way for sunshine on Thursday in the Var with highs of 17 degrees possibility of rain in Nice and the Alpes Maritimes. Friday rain across the region with highs of 16 degress.

Finally 

A new study has found that going to a gig does you more good than spending hours doing yoga…..

Experts came to the conclusion after volunteers were fitted with heart rate monitors, split up and sent to a Paloma Faith gig, a yoga session or to walk their dog.

tests carried out before and after the activities - all of which are known stress-busters - found those who enjoyed 20 minutes of a Paloma Faith gig had a higher level of 'wellness' than other participants.

By contrast the volunteers who took part in a 20 minute yoga session increased their wellbeing by just 10 per cent.

And those who walked their dog saw only a seven per cent hike in their happiness.

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