French and Riviera News Wednesday 8th January 2020

Local

Pension reform - The French government has announced plans to prevent the blockade of oil depots and refineries ahead of Thursday’s national day of strike action. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has asked Prefects throughout France to mobilise police to prevent blockades. The Prime Minister said that he didn’t think there would be any supply shortages.

The CGT union called for blockades of oil facilities on Tuesday right through until this Friday, but M. Philippe said that, while protests are legal, such blockades are illegal. The Prime Minister has also announced that he’s invited social partners to a meeting on Friday to discuss proposals for financing pension reform put forward by the CFDT union.

Locally, it’s been announced that the urban Envibus network serving Sophia Antipolis and Antibes won’t be running this Thursday. Bus services in Nice will be severely disrupted and the tramway won’t be running. As far as train services today are concerned, on the Grasse - Cannes - Nice – Vintimiglia line, about 65% of services should run and on the Marseille to Nice line 50% of services should operate. Nationally, 3 out of 4 TGV trains should operate on average.

Missing since New Year’s Eve - The ex-boyfriend of a young woman from Toulon in the Var who was reported missing on New Year’s Eve is being questioned by police. Laëtitia Hemery has not been seen since New Year’s Eve and is believed to have spent it with her ex-boyfriend Mikael. According to reports she had previously filed a complaint against her ex companion for domestic violence towards her and according to her family her ex-boyfriend Mikael “had beaten her in the past” and her mother had alerted police on several occasions. The ex-boyfriend has denied the accusations and as the investigation continues police in the region are heavily mobilized to find Laetitia.

Monaco figures - Figures published recently have shown that in Monaco there have been fewer births and deaths but more marriages in 2019.

The first baby of the year 2020 in Monaco, was little Madeleine the fruit of a Swedish couple and the top 5 most attributed names in 2019 were Charlotte, Valentina, Jade, Victoria and Mila for girls and Léo, Gabriel, Raphaël, Mattéo and Louis for boys.

Finally, the number of divorces dropped slightly with 70 divorces recorded in 2019 (compared to 78 in 2018), all nationalities combined.

Siren testing - Fire stations across the region are to tests their sirens today at noon. The procedure is normally carried out on the first Wednesday of every month but due to the first Wednesday of January falling on the 1st “New Year’s Day” it has been rescheduled for today.

National

Australia bushfires - French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has announced that France will mission five experts to Australia in order to help fight against the gigantic forest fires which ravage the country and is ready to send more people if necessary.

The "five experts" sent on site will offer support to the Australian authorities”. In a statement on Tuesday Castaner added that “the small team will be there today in Australia" and "will be able to determine with the Australian authorities how to further strengthen the human resources" provided by France.

Blacklist - France has formalized the update of its blacklist of non-cooperative states and territories in tax matters which now includes thirteen compared to seven previously.

France’s economy Minister announced on Tuesday that four countries Anguilla, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, and Seychelles were added to the list "because of their shortcomings in the exchange of information with France".

French publisher halts sales - French publisher Gallimard has said it was halting sales of books by a writer accused of raping children. France's publishing house told French media that it was the first time in its 140-year history that it had taken such a radical step. 

Award-winning essayist Gabriel Matzneff is under investigation after a leading French editor detailed in print how he seduced her when she was 14. Gallimard said they were recalling all the journals the 83-year-old had written under its imprint since 1990.

Jacques Dessange dies - French hairdresser and founder of the famous international hairdressing group as well as a favorite amongst the stars Jacques Dessange has died at the age of 94. Born in 1925 in Sologne, Dessange opened his first salons in 1954, attracting the sympathy of personalities by inventing the "hair-styling" before developing an empire present in 43 countries.

Business

Oil prices have risen sharply again after at least two airbases housing US troops in Iraq were targeted with ballistic missiles.

Brent Crude jumped by 4.5 percent on the news and safe haven assets such as gold and the Japanese yen were also up sharply.

Asian stock markets have reacted negatively to the news with Japan’s Nikkae 225 down 2 percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong down 1.2 percent.

Iranian state television said that the attacks were in retaliation for the killing of the country’s top military commander Qasem Soleimani in a US drown strike last week.

The latest incident has again heightened concerns that the conflict between Iran and the US could escalate further.

Any increase in military exchanges could affect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz-the world’s busiest sea route for oil.Around a fifth of global supply passes through the Strait which connects the Gulf to the Arabian Sea.

Reuters says that it can reveal that Impossible Food is no longer trying to win a deal to supply McDonalds with plant based burgers.

Reuters says that Impossible Food has told it that it can’t produce enough of its imitation meat to meet the demand from the world’s biggest fast-food chain.

The development marks a new phase in the battle for market dominance among plant-based imitation meat makers.

Shares in Impossible Food’s biggest rival Beyond Meat surged by 12.5 percent on the news.

Impossible Food has said that there’s no point in trying to deal with McDonald’s until its scaled up production.

And-Customers of the foreign exchange service Travelex say that they feel “let down” after being left with no travel money while the firm attempts to deal with a cyber attack.

On Tuesday ,Travelex confirmed that it’s the victim of an ongoing ransomware attack with criminals demanding 6 million dollars in return for not deleting the firm’s computer systems or selling customer details online.

Travelex says that there’s no evidence that customer data has been compromised  and that it has taken all of its systems offline in a bid to beat the hackers.

Customers are reporting that their money orders are in limbo and that there has been little information or help provided by the company.

Sport

Cricket-England have beaten South Africa in a Test match in Cape Town for the first time since 1957 with victory in the second Test.

Ben Stokes was the England hero once again as he got something to happen on an otherwise lifeless pitch to take the last three South African wickets and give his side a 189 run victory.

Stokes was given the man of the match award for his performance that also included a scintillating 72 in England’s second innings which helped to lay the side’s platform for the win.

The series is now tied at 1-`1 with two to play.The third Test starts in Port Elizabeth on January the 16th.

Football-Manchester City were too good for rivals Manchester United in the semi final first leg of the League Cup in England last night.

City were 3-1 winners at Old Trafford with the second leg to come.

The second semi-final between Leicester and Aston Villa is being played tonight.

Formula 1-Max Verstappen has extended his contract wit Red Bull until the end of 2023.

The 22 year old Dutchman has been with Red Bull since he was promoted from feeder team Toro Rosso midway through the 2016 season.

He says that he believes in the team and wants to fight for a world title with them.

Meanwhile Formula 1 says that it’s monitoring the Australian bush fire crisis before the start of the season in Melbourne on the 15th of March.

Air quality in Sydney and Melbourne is at unhealthy levels as the fires rage in New South Wales and Victoria.

Formula 1 says that it’s in constant contact with the race organisers.

Meanwhile in tennis-The organisers of the Australian Open say that they don’t expect any delays to the start of the tournament on the 14th of January despite the ongoing bush fires.

Air quality in Melbourne is currently very unhealthy but the tournament organisers say that they’ve introduced “additional measures” to ensure that it can go ahead.

Weather

Clear skies with light variable or southerly winds.

Top temperature 17 degrees.

Overnight lows of 8 degrees on the coast and 1 or 2 degrees inland with a widespread ground frost and some mist and fog forming towards dawn in places.

Thursday and Friday-Clear skies tomorrow with a high of 15.Sunshine and possible showers on Friday with a high of 14 degrees.

Finally 

Peterborough  has been rated the worst place to live in the UK after it tipped a list of some of the most rundown areas in the country with residents describing the area as ‘draining’.

The annual survey listed Peterborough the worst for the second year running, while other places including Doncaster and Rochdale were also listed.

It is often said that home is where the heart is but inhabitants of the ten towns and cities on the list feel far from proud about the areas they call home.

Towns such as Blackpool, which is one of England’s most deprived towns, didn’t make the cut.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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