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French and Riviera News.Wednesday June 6th.

Begging-The Mayor of Nice is to draft new local laws to target aggressive begging in the city.

Christian Estosi says that the problem is growing and becoming widespread and he says that organised gangs are using children as a means of getting money out of members of the public.

He’s calling on the state prosecutor to sanction new laws which will prevent begging at car-park pay machines,cash machines,tramway stops and at areas frequented by tourists.

 

Shots fired-Gunshots have been heard in the Closerie area of Toulon for the second time in three days.

Police say that the latest incidents occurred last night although no-one saw the perpetrators.

Shots were heard in the area on Monday night.The Closerie has a history of violence and is a well known area for gangs.

The Mayor of Toulon,Hubert Falco has called for police reinforcements.

 

Drug seizures-Police in Italy have seized a large quantity of narcotics that were destined for the Cote d’Azur market.

Officers in Ventimiglia have made 6 arrests with two of those apprehended French nationals.

During raids in the town 18.5 kilos of heroin and 645 grams of cocaine were seized along with a quantity of cannabis resin and 25,000 euros in cash.

 

Cyclist injured-A cyclist has been airlifted to hospital after colliding with a vehicle at the entrance to the village of Grimaud in the Var.

The accident happened on Tuesday morning with the man thrown to the ground after hitting a car for an as yet unknown reason.

Emergency services from Cogolin attended the scene and the victim was then airlifted to hospital in Toulon.No details have been released about his condition.

 

Extra long trains-The SNCF has said that it will ensure that extra long regional trains will be in service for the next round of strike action which is due to get underway later this week.

Passengers have been complaining about overcrowding during the strikes and at the end of May,a train was stranded at Nice Riquier station for more than an hour because of the reduced service and because the train was too full.

The new ‘jumbo’ regional services have a capacity of 1,800 people which should help to prevent too much overcrowding.

 

Weather woes-Tourism figures for April in the south of France have come in lower than expectations,mainly as a result of the poor weather we’ve been experiencing so far this year.

Visitors looking for clear skies have been avoiding the Cote d’Azur on the back of what’s been one of the soggiest starts to the year for decades.

Official figures show that hotel occupancy was down by 5 percent in April compared with last year while private villa and apartment rentals fell by 11 percent.

Numbers of passengers coming through Nice Airport were down by 11 percent and public sector strikes by rail workers and air traffic controllers also kept visitors away.

 

Supermarkets for sale-Two Carrefour supermarkets in the Var are to be sold as part of group restructuring.

The supermarkets which were part of the Dia budget chain before being taken over by Carrefour are located at Le Pradet and Bregaillon near La Seyne sur Mer.

Unions have criticised the sale which they say is the thin end of the wedge and will put jobs at risk.

 

Summer sales-The dates of this year’s summer sales in the Alpes-Martimes have been announced.

The sales will start on the 14th of July and last until the 14th of August with bargain hunters advised to brave the crowds and get in early to grab the best deals.

Most other parts of France including the Var will see the sales start earlier on the 27th of June.

The dates for the summer sales in Monaco are yet to be announced by the government.

 

In National News.

 

Rain,rain go away-Large parts of France have once again been lashed by severe storms and heavy rain as the poor start to the summer continues.

16 departments have been under a severe weather warning with thunder and lightning accompanied by torrential rain and hail affecting some areas.

Since the middle of May,France  has been battered by a series of storms which have even affected the normally reliably  sunny south.

On Tuesday,a 35 year old man was found dead in his car in the Eure in Normandy after the vehicle was submerged in flood water.

Vineyard owners in the south west and the Champagne region have seen thousands of hectares destroyed and tourism has been affected as visitors look for destinations with more settled weather.

 

 

Embarrassed-The implication of President Macron’s “right hand man” is causing some embarrassment to the Elysee Palace following promises of a “squeaky clean” government in the run-up to last year’s election.

Mr Macron’s chief of staff Alexis Kohler is being investigated for violations of conflicts of interest laws following an official complaint lodged by the non-profit anti-corruption body AntiCor.

He’s accused of influence peddling  while representing the French state at the board meetings of Les Chantiers de l’Atlantique/STX France in 2010 despite having family ties to the agency’s major client,the Swiss-Italian shipping giant MCS.

The Elysee Palace put out a statement on Monday claiming that the allegations are baseless but the story will be a blow to Mr Macron who ran on a ticket promising tighter ethics rules for officials in an effort to restore public trust in politics following several years of high-profile scandals.

 

Allez les Bleus-President Macron has wished the French football team success as they prepare to jet off to the World Cup Finals in Russia.

Mr Macron paid a visit to the national side’s training squad in Clairefontaine on Tuesday where he told the players that all of France was behind the team.

He said that the French side was part of those who are helping to restore the country’s confidence and promised to “come and find them” when and not if the reach the quarter finals of the competition.

France are in Group  C with Australia,Peru and Denmark.They play their first match against Australia on a week on Saturday.

Business.

 

Rupert Murdoch is facing a 22 billion pound battle with the US cable giant Comcast for control of Sky TV after the UK Culture Secretary Matt Hancock cleared the way for Fox to take over the firm as long as it sells off Sky News to avoid infringing media plurality regulations.

Mr Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has been waiting for the outcome of an enquiry into its bid for Sky for some time and on Tuesday,Matt Hancock told Parliament that a sale of Sky News to Disney or another third party would be enough to allay concerns about the media mogul’s influence.

While Fox was waiting for approval,Comcast moved in with its own bid for Sky  which trumped Mr Murdoch’s long-standing offer.

Shares in Sky rose by 0.3 percent on the news on Tuesday to 13.54 pounds suggesting that investors think that the bidding process still has a long way to run.

 

The head of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs has defended his estimate of the cost to businesses of the post-Brexit customs system favoured by leading advocates of a split from Europe.

Jon  Thompson told MP’s on Tuesday that a technology based system which has been dubbed “max fac” would cost businesses a similar amount to leaving the EU without a deal.

Mr Thompson said that the high frequency of transactions meant that firms would still need to fill in customs forms.

He said that HMRC had calculated costs on a bottom-up approach,looking at the costs incurred for each transaction.

He added that there would also be extra costs on the EU side because UK export declarations would need to be matched by EU import declarations and vice versa.

 

And-A senior Canadian government official has said that he expects major disagreements over US metal tariffs at this weekend’s G7 summit in Quebec.

The tariffs have infuriated both Canadian and European Union leaders and the unnamed official said that he expected discussions at the summit would turn quickly to trade.

President Trump will attend the summit imposed import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium on Canada,Mexico and the EU last week for what he says are reasons of “national security”.

G7 finance ministers who met last week rebuked the US for imposing the tariffs which is set to lead to a showdown at the leader’s meeting this weekend.

 

Sport.

 

Tennis-The world number 72 Marco Cecchinato has shocked Novak Djokovic by beating him in 4 sets to reach the semi-finals of the French Open in Paris.

The Italian held his nerve after taking a two set lead before Djokovic struck back in the third and he then took the 4th set and the match following an epic tiebreak to win 6-3 7-6 1-6 7-6.

It’s the first time that the 25 year old has reached the semi-final of a Grand Slam.

Elsewhere Dominic Thiem beat the second seed Alexander Zverev to reach the last 4 and set up a meeting with Cecchinato.

In the women’s event Sloane Stevens beat Daria Kasatkina in the quarter finals to set up an all American semi-final against Madison Keys.

 

 

Football-Teams competing in the World Cup Finals have been putting in final training before they jet off to Russia for the start of the tournament.

Spain,Brazil,Portugal and Germany are among the favourites and the hosts Russia could do quite well on their home patch.

Meanwhile FIFA has filed a complaint against the ticketing website Viagogo over what it says are the firm’s “opaque and deceptive” practices.

FIFA has warned that it will cancel any tickets identified as having been purchased through the Swiss-based website.

It says that its fighting ticket resales to “prioritise the safety and security” of fans.

 

 

Cricket-Jake Ball has been added to England’s squad for the one day series against Australia.

The 27 year old Nottinghamshire seamer comes in for Chris Woakes who’ll miss the start of the series with a right quad strain.Ben Stokes will also be missing with a hamstring problem.

 

 

Formula 1-McLaren have said that they’re expecting a tough weekend at the Canadian Grand Prix where the Giles Villeneuve circuit is not expected to favour their cars.

The Montreal circuit is dominated by straights and slow corners which are expected to expose McLaren’s two biggest weaknesses.

Fernando Alonso says that they could have a chance if the weather turns bad but he’s expecting it to be difficult.

McLaren are currently 5th in the constructors championship after 6 races with Alonso in 7th place in the drivers’ championship.

 

 

Weather

 

Sunshine and showers with the odd rumble of thunder this afternoon and light variable winds.

Top temperature 24 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 18 degrees on the coast and 15 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

Thursday and Friday-Rain with some brief sunny periods tomorrow,showery on Friday.Highs of 22-24 degrees.

 

Finally.

 

The new chairman of the airline industry has caused controversy with comments about women.

Akbar Al Baker, International Air Transport Association chair and chief executive of Qatar Airways, said his job could only be done by a man.

"Of course it has to be led by a man, because it is a very challenging position," Mr Baker said.

He made the comment at IATA's annual meeting, where improving diversity at airlines was a big theme.

The comments reportedly drew groans and gasps from those present, and Mr Baker later appeared to try to clarify his comments.

He said Qatar Airways was the first carrier in the Middle East to have female pilots and that the company had women in senior roles.

"So we actually encourage women. We see that they have huge potential in doing senior management positions," he said.

Mr Baker also said that he would welcome a female leader, providing he could train her up.

 

 

 

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