French Riviera local news Tuesday December 19th

Ice warning-Motorists inland are being warned of icy conditions on many of the region’s roads as night time temperatures fell well below freezing last night.

Falling rock is also causing problems in the Var,Tinee and Vesubie valleys with drivers warned to slow down and approach blind bends with caution.

Temperatures look like they could be sub-zero in many inland areas for several nights to come.


Gangland figure arrested-A 52 year old man suspected of being a leading gangland figure in Corsica has been arrested.

Jacques Mariani was arrested by police in the western town of Saint-Nazaire on Monday.He’s wanted in connection with allegations of extortion after demanding protection money from several businesses in the Bastia area.

Mr Mariani was jailed for life in 2008 for the murder of a young Corsican nationalist in 2001.He was freed on license in February and had been fitted with an electronic tag.

The suspect’s father Francois Mariani was a founding member of a notorious Corsica gang.He died in a warehouse explosion in 2009.


Cannabis seized-French police have arrested two people after 3 tonnes of cannabis resin was found inside a lorry transporting salad.

One of those arrested is a Spanish national and the other French.

Authorities discovered the drugs during a routine check near the Spanish frontier.More than 200 kilos of herbal cannabis was also seized.


Return of the vignette ?-Reports from Paris suggest that the government is planning to reintroduce the ‘vignette’ car tax as it looks for ways to fund road repairs.

The vignette was scrapped several years ago but with the cost of road repairs in France running at some three to five billion euros annually,the government is looking at fresh ways to finance the work.

One idea put forward by the Transport Ministry is a new tax on fuel but media reports say that the government is leaning more towards reintroducing a road tax with the cost of windscreen stickers priced at between 75 and 125 euros.

The Ministry will make firm proposals in the new year.


In National news.


Trial delayed-A court in Belgium has delayed until February the trial of the Paris attacks suspect.

Salah Abdelslam had been expected to face trial in the Belgian capital this week but the case has been delayed over a shooting in Brussels that led to his arrest.

130 people died during the deadly terror attacks in Paris in November 2015.

Abdelslam is the only surviving suspect.

The trial is now set to be held starting on Monday the 5th of February.


Who wants to be a millionaire ?- A third of the ministers in the government of President Macron are millionaires according to fresh information.

Details of the wealth of some of Mr Macron’s cabinet were published after they made declarations to the French transparency agency  HATPV.

The declarations have been obligatory since 2013 and although the proportion of wealthy ministers in the current government is roughly similar to those in the previous socialist administration,Mr Macron’s critics have seized on the details to accuse the President of ‘governing for the rich’.

The richest member of the cabinet is the Employment Minister Muriel Penicaud who declared assets worth 7.5 million euros.


Popularity contest-The approval ratings of  President Macron and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe have both risen sharply according to a new opinion poll.

The poll,carried out by Odoxa shows that the popularity of President Macron has risen by 9 percentage points to 54 percent this month with the popularity of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe up by 11 percent to 57 percent.

The poll coincides with data from the French National Statistics Office INSEE which shows that consumer confidence has risen sharply since October.



The row between the plane makers Boeing and Bombardier has intensified after the US manufacturer claimed that the Canadian firm receives massive subsidies.

Boeing has accused Bombardier of harming sales of its 737 aircraft and has appealed to the US International Trade Commission to support tariffs on its rival.

The company claims that Bombardier’s new C-Series jet is being sold below cost in the US because the Canadian firm receives subsidies.

However,Bombardier has accused Boeing of making money “hand over fist” from the 737.

The ITC will decide early next year if interim tariffs on the C-Series should be made permanent which could effectively close the US market to the Canadian firm.

Canada’s ambassador to the United States has warned that a ruling in favour of Boeing would not be the end of the matter.


Investors in the household goods giant Steinhoff will meet in London today to decide the fate of the firm.

Steinhoff owns 6,500 retail outlets in 30 countries including Poundland in the UK as well as the furniture chains Bensons  and Harveys.

Earlier this month the firm’s share price collapsed  following allegations of accounting irregularities.

Shareholders will decide whether to keep the firm going or sell off assets to recoup some money.

The company has been under investigation for alleged accounting fraud in Germany since 2015 and on the 7th of December,the auditors Deloitte said that it wouldn’t sign off on the firm’s latest results.


And-The European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs has said that there is a danger of “contradiction”  at the heart of the UK’s separation deal with the EU.

Pierre Moscovici  says that it’s difficult to see how an open border could be kept on the island of Ireland if Britain did not stay in a customs union.

In an interview with the BBC,Mr Moscovici said that if Britain did agree to a customs union arrangement then it could be barred from signing free trade agreements with other countries.

He said that the UK would  have to follow EU rules if that was the case.

Several leading members of Theresa May’s cabinet have made it clear that they do not want the UK to stay part of the customs union once it leaves the EU at the end of March 2019.


Athletics-The Daily Telegraph newspaper has reported that an agent linked to the world champion sprinter Justin Gatlin offered to supply performance enhancing drugs to undercover reporters.

The paper said that Robert Wagner made the offer after reporters had posed as representatives from a film company  wanting to make a sports film  who were looking for a coach to train their actor to look like an athlete.

The paper also says that Gatlin’s coach Dennis Mitchell told the reporters that athletes are able to get away with doping because the drugs they use can’t be detected by tests.

Both men deny the allegations.

The president of the IAAF,Lord Sebastien Coe has described the allegations as “serious” and anti-doping officials have launched an investigation.


Football-There was one game in the English Premier League last night.Everton continued their good form under Sam Allardyce with a 3-1 win at bottom of the table Swansea.


Cricket-The Australia captain Steve Smith has said that he would love to “whitewash” England as his side regained the Ashes and took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the 5 match series.

Australia thrashed England by an innings and 41 runs in the third Test in Perth and Smith says they’d love to win 5-0.

England will be attempting to regroup following the hammering with the 4th Test starting in Melbourne on Boxing Day.Captain Joe Root says that there’s no need for panic but admitted that his side had been totally outplayed.


Rugby Union-France’s all time leading scorer Frederic Michalak is to retire at the end of the season.

The 35 year old made 77 appearances for France before calling time on his international career in 2015.

He won three 6 Nations Grand Slams between 2002 and 2010  and played in three World Cups.

Michalak is currently playing for Lyon in the Top 14.He also had spells at Toulouse,Toulon and Sharks of South Africa.



Mainly fine with light to moderate easterly winds.

Top temperature 12 degrees.

Overnight lows of 5 degrees on the coast and -2 degrees inland with a widespread frost.

Wednesday and Thursday-Partially cloudy tomorrow with a high of 11.Clear skies on Thursday with a high of 13.


The first known interstellar asteroid may hold water from another star system in its interior, according to a study.

Discovered on 19 October, the object's speed and trajectory strongly suggested it originated beyond our Solar System.

The body showed no signs of "outgassing" as it approached the Sun, strengthening the idea that it held little if any water-ice.

But the latest findings suggest water might be trapped under a thick, carbon-rich coating on its surface.

The results come as a project to search for life in the cosmos has been using a radio telescope to check for radio signals coming from the strange, elongated object, named 'Oumuamua.





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