French and Riviera News.Wednesday October 23rd 2019

Severe weather-Both the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var are forecast to experience severe weather from this evening as a large storm system moves over the region.

Meteo France says that as much as two months of rain could fall in some areas over the next 48 hours accompanied by strong winds with hail and  thunderstorms.

People are advised to stay away from coastal paths because of big swells and motorists are being advised to stay off the roads unless journeys are essential.

The worst of the weather is expected to hit the region overnight tonight and into Thursday.Friday is expected to be better.

 

Parts of the Bouches-Du-Rhône and westernmost areas of the Var have already been battered by heavy storms which are moving in an easterly direction towards the Côte d’Azur.

Trains out of Marseilles Saint Charles station had to be halted due to a power cut provoked by stormy weather and flights to Marignane airport had to be diverted to Nice.

A lightning strike started a fire at a flea market in the city’s second arrondissement causing it to be evacuated.There are no reports of any injuries.

Widespread localised flooding has also been reported amid heavy downpours of rain with 35 millimeters falling in the centre of Marseilles in just a few minutes and 60 millimeters registered in neighboring Cassis.

 

Sirens call-Residents in Nice are advised not to be alarmed at lunchtime today when emergency sirens will be tested across the city.

The devices are tested monthly and there will be more noise than usual this time with six new sirens being added to the city’s civilian alert system.

 

 

Zika virus-Health authorities have revealed that they’ve identified another species of mosquito which can carry the Zika virus after another case of the disease was confirmed in Hyeres in the Var.

There have now been two confirmed cases of the virus in the department with health authorities reporting that both patients were contaminated in August.

Until now ,experts had thought that only the Aedes Aegypti mosquito which is normally found in the tropics transmitted the virus but the two recent cases appear to confirm that the infection was transmitted by Aedes Albopictus which has been detected as having a presence in 51 departments across the country including the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var.

Eradication of the insects is practically impossible although authorities do regularly spray areas with high mosquito populations.

Prevention is still the only certain way to avoid being bitten and particular attention should be paid to any stagnant water lying around even in the bottom of flower pots.

The recent wet weather coupled with mild temperatures for the time of year means that there are still plenty of the insects around and they only stop breeding when the thermometer falls below 10 degrees.

 

Farmers protest-Farmers from the Var have been taking part in a national day of protests against “agri-bashing” which they say is damaging the image of the business as well as increasing unwanted food imports and distorting competition.

Some 50 tractors took part in “Operations Escargot” across the department on Tuesday including on the A57 motorway into Toulon.

Farmers are also unhappy about growing regulation on the use of pesticides and say that they feel “demonised” by environmental groups.

The protests are part of a growing European farmers movement which has seen demonstrations take place in a number of countries.

Farmers say that they feel threatened by the Extinction Rebellion movement which is calling for a transition to a plant-based food society and wants to see an end to the animal and fisheries industries.

 

Sunshine on the water-A solar farm constructed to float on an man made lake in the Vaucluse department has started producing electricity for the first time.

The development near Orange has taken 10 years to develop and is the first solar farm of its kind in France.

The rest of the area has been developed into a wildlife reserve which is attracting many species of birds and other animals.

It’s hoped that the new solar farm will be able to generate up to 17 megawatts of power to supply more than 4,700 households.

The technology of floating the solar panels allows the water to cool them rendering them between five and ten percent more efficient than standard solar installations.

 

In National News.

 

Grizzly murder trial-A 55 year old woman has gone on trial in Toulouse for the murder and dismemberment of a work colleague in 2016.

Sophia Masala has admitted to killing 53 year old Maryline Planche and disposing of her body parts in the Canal du Midi in the south of the country.

The motive appears to be jealousy.

Police have established that the victim was killed on the 12th of May 2016 inside her Toulouse apartment.Her body parts were found strewn along the banks of the Canal  and Masala later confessed to the murder and told authorities that she had buried her victim’s head in a flowerbed.

Co-workers say that Masala had “a hateful obsession” with Maryline Planche  who was well regarded at the firm where both worked.

Masala has a previous conviction for embezzlement from her previous employer at the University of Montpellier.

She denies that the murder was premeditated and faces life imprisonment.Sentencing is due to take place on Friday.

 

Pensioners plight-A UK Parliamentary Committee has been told that British pensioners living in France and other parts of the European Union are struggling to make ends meet and fear future hardship because of Brexit.

Jeremy Morgan QC told a House of Lords Justice Sub-Committee that pensioners living in the EU and relying partially or exclusively on UK pensions have already suffered an important decrease in their incomes because of the falling value of sterling since the Brexit referendum.

A further blow came last month when the government said that it would not give a lifetime guarantee to index-link pensions should the UK leave the EU without a deal.

Morgan said that many people had moved in good faith to rural France because they could make their pensions go further and that some are now in desperate straits through no fault of their own.

It’s estimated that there are some 220,000 UK pensioners living in the EU and Morgan said that the situation needed to be resolved.

 

Come back and stay ? The French government has abandoned its tourism targets for 2020 blaming Brexit and months of yellow vest protests.

France had hoped to attract 100 million visitors next year but has now downwardly revised the target but hopes to reach it in 2022.

France remains the most popular tourist destination in the world attracting 89.4 million visitors last year.

However , yellow vest protests which have often degenerated into violence at the weekends especially in Paris has been putting people off and less British people have been visiting owing to the weak value of sterling against the euro.

 

Business.

 

The founder of WeWork is reported to have signed a 1.7 billion dollar agreement to step back from the firm.

Adam Neumann is set to receive 1 billion dollars for his shares plus a 185 million dollar consultancy fee as well as a 500 million dollar line of credit.

The development comes as the board of WeWork is set to cede control of the firm to its largest investor Softbank.

The Wall Street Journal says that Softbank will buy billions of the firm’s shares which will provide much needed cash as it continues attempts to expand and eventually float on the stock market.

The agreement with Japan’s SoftBank values WeWork at around 8 billion dollars-much less than previous valuations.

 

A takeover battle is developing for the food delivery firm Just Eat with the investment firm Prosus launching an all cash offer of 4.9 billion pounds in a bid to break up the merger bid by Dutch rival Takeaway.com.

Reports say that Prosus has held talks with Just Eat but has not reached terms and has now approached investors with a hostile takeover bid.

Prosus already holds stakes in the German food delivery firm Delivery Hero as well as iFood of Brazil and India’s Swiggy and says that it’s been interested in Just Eat for some time.

The Prosus offer is worth 710 pence per share and is a fifth higher than the all-share proposal already made by Takeaway.

Just Eat has rejected the bid and says that it will proceed with its deal with Takeaway.

Analysts say that the Prosus offer is audacious and could prompt Takeaway to up its bid.

 

And-UK government public sector borrowing has increased by a fifth during the first half of the year according to official figures.

Borrowing for the first six months to September has reached 40.3 billion pounds-up by 7.4 billion from the same period in 2018.

Borrowing for September was slightly lower than initially forecast at 9.4 billion dollars but still up from 8.8 billion last year.

The latest data raises doubts about Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid’s room to manoeuvre in next month’s budget.

 

Sport.

 

MA NOLANS RUGBY WORLD CUP REPORT.

The England coach Eddie Jones has said that all the pressure is on New Zealand ahead of Saturday’s World Cup semi-final showdown.
Jones also claimed that England’s training session on Tuesday had been “spied on”. He said someone was spotted in an apartment overlooking the training pitch but refused to speculate on who it might have been.he conceded that it could have been a Japanese firm but it “didn’t matter anyway”.
Meanwhile New Zealand are confident that skipper Kieran Read will be fit for the match.
Read has a tight calf and rode on a bike in the gym instead of training on Tuesday but coach Steve Hansen says that he’s 100% certain that the player will make it.
33 year old Read is aiming to win his third World Cup with the All Blacks.

The Wales fly-half Dan Biggar says that the side have two games to change their lives after reaching the World Cup semi final.
Wales were fortunate to come through their quarter final by a single point against France to set up a last 4 clash with South Africa on Sunday.
Biggar said that it was pleasing to be in Japan for another two weeks and that Wales had two games to potentially change the rest of our lives.

And-World Rugby has ruled that South African referee Jaco Peyper will not officiate one of the semi finals after mocking the sent-off France lock Sebastian Vahaamahina in a photo with Wales fans.
World Rugby says that the official recognises that posing for the picture was “inappropriate” and that he’s apologised.
The photo shows Peyper with his elbow raised into a fan’s chin hours after he sent off Vahaamahina for elbowing Aaron Wainwright of Wales in the quarter final.

Football-There were 8 games in the European Champions League last night.Paris St Germain thrashed Bruges 5-0 in Group A while Spurs had a big and much needed 5-0 win over Red Star Belgrade in Group B and Manchester City beat Atalanta 5-1 in Group C.
 

There are 8 more games tonight including Genk against Liverpool in Group E  AND Ajax against Chelsea in Group H.

 

In the English Championship last night Birmingham beat Blackburn 1-0.Millwall and Cardiff City drew 2-2.Preston and Leeds drew 1-1.QPR and Reading drew 1-1.Sheffield Wednesday beat Stoke 1-0.Brentford were 3-0 winners at Swansea  and West Brom and Barnsley drew 2-2.

 

Formula 1-Mercedes say that they’re expecting a difficult weekend at the Mexican Grand Prix and are playing down Lewis Hamilton’s chances of winning his 6th world title.

Hamilton needs to out-score team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 14 points in the race to win the world championship but Mercedes say that he’ll have his work cut out and the track in Mexico City doesn’t suit their cars.

Team boss Toto Wolff said that the remaining 4 races in the season are going to be difficult and he expects Mexico to cause the biggest problems.

 

Weather.

 

Becoming increasingly overcast with rain arriving during the afternoon.

Strong easterly winds gusting at up to 95 km/h in parts of the Var with the risk of coastal flooding in places.

Top temperatures 22=23 degrees.

Overnight lows of 17 degrees on the coast and 15 degrees inland with heavy rain and thunderstorms and a persistently strong easterly wind.

Thursday and Friday-Heavy rain and thunderstorms tomorrow ,clearing during the afternoon.Fine on Friday.Highs of 20 -23 degrees.

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