French and Riviera News.Wednesday July 17th 2019

Motorway drivers-Police in the south of France have again highlighted growing numbers of cases of dangerous driving on the region’s motorways.

Authorities are drawing attention to a number of illegal practices from speeding to overtaking on the inside lane and tailgating.

Cases of motorists using a mobile phone while driving or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are also rising.

Statistics show that nearly a third of fatal motorway accidents are caused by dangerous driving and motorists in the south of France have the unenviable reputation of being the worst offenders in the country.

 

Hiker dead-The body of a 50 year old French hiker who’d been missing since Monday has been found on the Italian side of the Mercantour Park.

The woman ,from La Gaude had set out on a challenging mountain walk last Saturday and was last seen alive en route on Monday.

A company of Alpine CRS police had been leading the search for the missing woman.The cause of death has not yet been established.

 

 

Tower block-A dilapidated tower block on a social housing estate in Saint Laurent du Var is to be demolished in November.

The Point du Jour 4 tower will be pulled down at a cost of 3 million euros to make way for modern development.

Local authorities have wanted to pull the block down for 20 years but the correct finance was not in place.

The demolition will be paid for by the Saint Laurent du Var town council and the Metropole Cote d’Azur regional authority.

 

Bogus gardeners-Police in the Var are warning residents to be on their guard against bogus gardeners who’ve been knocking on doors offering to trim tree branches or clear green waste.

Authorities in the Esterel area say several people have been duped over the past few days and that the men-usually two or three at time use the opportunity to rob householders once they’ve gained access to a property.

Most of the victims so far have been elderly.

Police say that anyone who suspects they’ve been ripped off should call 17.

 

 

 

Partial eclipse-Stargazers have been treated to a partial lunar eclipse as the Sun,Earth and Moon lined up together.

The partial eclipse ,which was visible across France resulted in 65 percent of the moon’s surface falling into the shadow of the earth. The  moon’s surface also turned a deep shade of red.

The partial lunar eclipse coincided with the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11 to the moon on the 15th of July 1969.

The 50th anniversary of the Moon landing is on Saturday.

 

Happy ending-The 10 year old boy who was struck by lightning while swimming with his parents in the sea off Golfe Juan on the 7th of July has been discharged from hospital.

The accident occurred during a sudden storm and the boy went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to the Lenval Children’s Hospital in Nice.

He was placed on a ventilator but was able to breathe normally again after a few days.

Paramedics and staff at a private beach at Golfe Juan have been praised for their swift action.

 

In National News.

 

Resignation-The French Environment  Minister Francois de Rugy has resigned with immediate effect.

Mr de Rugy has been the subject of media revelations over the past week which suggested that he’d held lavish dinners with giant lobsters and 500 euro bottles of wine on the menu while he was speaker of the French Parliament.

It was also revealed that he’d ordered his official residence to be redecorated at the expense of the taxpayer to the tune of 63,000 euros.

In a statement ,Mr de Rugy said that his ability to defend himself and carry out his ministerial duties was incompatible.He continues to deny any wrongdoing.

Mr de Rugy will be replaced by the Transport Minister Elizabeth Borne.

 

Fine particles-The French National Agency for Health Security has said that the numbers of fossil fuelled vehicles on the roads must be reduced to save lives.

Fine particles of various noxious substances in the air are considered to be responsible for 42,000 premature deaths annually with the suburbs of large cities including the capital Paris particularly hazardous.

The Agency says that the switch to electric vehicles must be sped up and older ,more polluting vehicles should be taken off the roads as soon as possible.

Improvements in filters on model diesel vehicles has been making some difference to the amount of fine particles released into the atmosphere but the agency says that it’s still not enough to improve air quality to any great extent.

The report recommends that the government invests heavily in public transport and green technology and that people should be encouraged to walk or bicycle wherever possible.

 

Tapie appeal-The Paris prosecutors office has said that it will appeal the decision to clear the maverick businessman Bernard Tapie in the Credit Lyonnais Adidas case.

Mr Tapie was awarded 403 million euros by an arbitration panel in 2008 after he sued the bank claiming that his sale of the Adidas sportswear company had been undervalued.

Earlier this month the high court in Paris ruled that he along with the former French Finance Minister and outgoing managing director of the IMF Christine Lagarde did not have a case to answer.

Reports also suggest that the award by arbitration was set up by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy as thanks for Mr Tapie’s support for his 2007 election campaign.

No date for the appeal has been set.

 

Holiday costs-Fuel accounts for some 25 percent of the holiday budget of most French people according to statistics published by the Environment Ministry.

The price of petrol is rising again and is up by 2 to 3 cents per litre in most garages compared with the end of last week.

The average cost of diesel at the pumps is now at 1 euro 42.27 cents with  unleaded 95 at  1 euro 52 .07 cents and unleaded 98 at 1 euro 58.52 cents.

The increases are in line with recent rises in the price of crude which is  being affected by tensions  in the Gulf ,production cuts in Russia and growing US stockpiles. Currency fluctuations are also playing a part.

 

Foreign fags-A survey carried out for Public Health France has found that nearly 24 percent of smokers have bought their cigarettes outside France within the past month.

The survey found that more than 78 percent of smokers had purchased their cigarettes from a French outlet while duty free accounted for just 2.1 percent of sales.

Last year ,some 44 percent of smokers said that they’d bought cigarettes outside France over the previous 12 months.

Smoking rates have declined in France over the past year with latest data suggesting that 32 percent of adults smoke compared with a previous figure of 34.1 percent.

A government health campaign as well as the fact that a packet of 20 cigarettes is nearing 10 euros per packet are said to be factors in the falling numbers of smokers.

 

Business.

 

US markets ended lower on Tuesday after President Trump hinted that more tariffs could be applied to Chinese goods.

At the close the S&P 500 was down by 0.3 percent to 30 04 with the Dow Jones Industrials down 0.1 percent at 27 ,335 and the Nasdaq off 0.4 percent at  82 22.

 

The pound has sunk to a 27 year low against the dollar and a 6 month low against the euro as a result of market sentiment that whoever becomes the next British Prime Minister will be on a collision course with Brussels over the Irish backstop.

Both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have said that they’re prepared to take the UK out of Europe without a deal if necessary and that the backstop in its current form is dead.

Capital Economics has said that the pound could fall as low as 1 US dollar 15 from the current rate of 1 US dollar 24 if the UK was to crash out without a deal.

However ,if a deal is negotiated successfully then sterling could rise to 1 US dollar 40.

Mr Johnson in particular is taking a hard line on future negotiations and has said repeatedly that he will take the UK out of Europe come what may on the 31st of October.

However ,he may not have the parliamentary numbers to force through a no deal with growing opposition from some moderate conservative MPs including several current ministers who are set to lose their jobs if he becomes the next occupant of 10 Downing Street.

 

Ryanair has said that it will be forced to cut the number of summer flights that it operates next year because of further expected delays before the Boeing 737 Max jet is allowed to fly again.

The budget airline says that it could be as late as December before regulators clear the aircraft to return to the skies following two fatal crashes.

Ryanair said that it was awaiting delivery of 58 planes before next summer but was only expecting to receive only half of that number.

The firm said that it could also be forced to close bases as a result.

 

And-The world’s largest education publisher Pearson has taken the first step towards phasing out print books by announcing that its to make all its learning resources “digital first”.

Pearson says that students would only be able to rent physical text books from now on and that they would be updated much less frequently.

The firm said that it hoped the move would prompt users to buy its e-textbooks which are updated continually.

Pearson said that the edge of the digital tipping point had been reached and the future was in e-publication.

 

Sport.

 

Football-The Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said that the club will have to aim higher than finishing “third or fourth” in the Premier League.

The 46 year old former United striker replaced Jose Mourinho on the 19th of December and was appointed as permanent manager after an interim period on the 28th of March.

United’s form was patchy towards the end of last season and they failed to qualify for the Champions League.

 

Cycling-The riders are back in the saddle today for Stage 11 of the Tour de France following Monday’s rest day.

Julian Alaphilippe of France still holds the leader’s yellow jersey with a 1 minute 12 second advantage over the defending champion Geraint Thomas.

Today’s stage between Albi and Toulouse is 167 kilometers and isn’t too challenging although there are a couple of moderate climbs and the road layout has several nasty twists.It should be a sprint finish with the General Classification unlikely to change to any great extent.

 

Rugby Union-Billy Vunipola says that he regrets the impact on his team-mates of defending Israel Folau’s anti-gay comments and is determined not to disrupt England’s World Cup preparations.

Vunipola ,a devout Christian was warned by the Rugby Football Union in April foir his support of Folau’s twitter post which said that “hell awaits gay people”.

He said that he regretted upsetting team-mates at his club side Saracens  and promised there would not be any repeat while he’s on England duty.

 

Golf-Rory McIlroy has said that it would be hard not to burst into “tears of joy” if he won the Open Championship on home soil at Royal Portrush.

McIlroy set the course record of 61 at Portrush when he was 16 and  said that securing the Claret Jug at the 4th Major of the year would be “extra special”.

The Open Championship gets underway tomorrow morning with Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke teeing off first.

 

Netball-Northern Ireland have suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of New Zealand at the World Cup in Liverpool to end their hopes of a top 8 finish.

New Zealand won 77-28  with Maria Folau scoring 31 times and are now almost certain of making the semi-finals having leapfrogged Australia to go top of their group.

England are in action again today and will make the last 4 if they beat Trinidad and Tobago.

 

Weather.

 

Mainly fine in coastal areas,the chance of a shower inland later.

Light to moderate westerly winds and highs of 26-31 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 21 degrees on the coast and 17 degrees inland with clear skies.

Thursday and Friday-Fine in coastal areas ,showers inland.Highs of 26-30 degrees.

 

 

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