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Morning News Wednesday 3rd May 2017

Local

Final Television Debate - The two Presidential candidates Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron are to participate in a final debate on French television this evening. The tradition started in 1974 with the exception of 2002 when Jacques Chirac refused a face to face meeting with Jean Marie Le Pen. The much anticipated debate will be aired on France 2.

Siren Testing - Test are to be carried out at noon today on the warning siren located on the Esterel Gallery building in Mandelieu-la-Napoule. Locals have been informed by the authorities not to panic. The sirens will go on to be tested every first Wednesday of the month. 

Monte Carlo Opera - The Monte Carlo Opera has announced its programme for next season and I went along to  yesterday's press conference. With The season starting on September 21st September, an opening gala will take place followed by a number of operas including “Adriana Lecouvreur” which is a four part opera about the French actress and a role which was later interpreted by Sarah Bernhardt when it was made into a film. Sarah Bernhardt inaugurated the Monte Carlo Opera on the 25th January in 1879. The new season offers something for everyone including the young ,with special performances and subscriptions on offer. For more information go to www.opera.mc

National

Arrests - French authorities have detained five men and seized weapons in anti-terrorist operations across France, five days before a tense presidential runoff. The suspects are aged between 18 and 24. The prosecutor’s office said they were picked up in operations on Tuesday in three locations: near the Normandy city of Rouen, in Villeneuve d’Ascq near Lille in northern France, and in Roanne in central France. It is not clear whether the arrests had any link to the presidential election.

Presidential Elections - The results of a survey among voters of defeated far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon spells bad news for Emmanuel Macron with two-thirds saying they will abstain in the second round runoff, rather than vote for him to help block Marine Le Pen. The consultation was carried out after the first round of the French presidential election which saw Melenchon pick up 19.5 percent of the vote which equated to just over seven million ballots. To the anger of many on the left and indeed frontrunner Emmanuel Macron, Melenchon has refused to urge voters to block Le Pen's path to the Elysée by backing Macron. Although he has said told his followers not to vote for Le Pen.

Trial - The trial of six people over the publication of topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge in 2012 has been told that Prince William found the incident “particularly shocking” given the battles his mother faced with paparazzi photographers before her death. As the hearing over the alleged breach of privacy got underway on Tuesday, the prince’s lawyer called for “very large damages” and the imposition of a “significant fine”.

Theft - An art dealer in Paris has filed a complaint for theft after forgetting a picture worth €1.5 million euros in a taxi. The dealer, who was not identified by police, was supposed to meet an art collector in the French capital's 11th district last Thursday. He hailed a taxi and put the painting in the boot -- but then apparently "forgot" about it, police said in a statement. He tried to locate the cab again but by Saturday he filed a complaint of theft with police.

Business

Apple has reported a fall in iPhone sales . The tech giant said that it sold 50.8 million iPhones in the first quarter-a 1 percent fall on the same period last year. The company says that the fall was the result of a “pause” as customers wait for a new phone which will be unveiled later in the year. The slowing iPhone sales were offset by a rise in services including Apple Pay,iCloud and the App Store which recorded an 18 percent rise in sales to 7 billion dollars. Apple reported a 4.6 percent increase in revenue to 52.9 billion dollars-slightly below analysts’ forecasts. Apple shares fell by 2 percent on the news in after-hours trading.

Large US vehicle manufacturers have reported declines in new car sales for April in a sign that the long boom that lifted auto industry sales to record highs last year may be losing steam. The drop in sales last month followed worse than expected sales in March. Two straight weak months has heightened Wall Street concerns that the industry is now into a downward swing after a nearly uninterrupted boom that started at the end of the Great Recession in 2010. Car sales have dragged on US first quarter GDP with the economy growing at 0.7 percent according to an advance estimate published by the Commerce Department last Friday.

And-Italy’s troubled flagship airline Alitalia has gone into administration following formal approval from the Italian government. Alitalia says that its flight schedule will continue to operate normally while administrators decide whether the firm can be turned around. The Italian government has given the airline more than 7 billion euros in aid over the past decade but it could fold without more support. Last week,Alitalia employees voted against a plan to cut jobs and salaries that would have allowed it to secure new funds. Italian shareholders and Etihad,which owns 49 percent of the firm had been keen to recapitalise and finance the plan with 2 billion euros but without the agreement of workers,it couldn’t go ahead.

Sport

Football-Ronaldo was the man again as Real Madrid beat Athletico Madrid 3-0 in last night’s European Champions League semi-final first leg tie. The Portugal star scored a hat-trick as his side took a commanding lead in the tie with the second leg to come. It’s a big night for Monaco who face Juventus in their Champions League semi-final first leg game at the Stade Louis Deux.Kick off is at 8.45 tonight and the match is a sell-out.

Rugby Union-The Lions captain Sam Warburton may return to action before the tour of New Zealand. Warburton has been out of action after picking up a knee injury last month that ruled him out for 6 weeks. However,his recovery is going well and he may be able to play for his club side Cardiff Blues before the end of the season.

Tennis-The two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has returned to the practice court as she continues to come back from a career-threatening hand injury. The 27 year old Czech star suffered damage to the tendons and nerves in her left hand after being stabbed by an intruder at her home last December. She’s had a long period of rehabilitation but on Tuesday was seen practicing at the Monte Carlo Country Club  and has said that she has a chance of making the French Open which starts on May the 28th.

Weather

Partially cloudy with light south westerly winds. Top temperature 19 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 11 degrees on the coast and 6 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

Thursday and Friday-Sunshine and possible showers tomorrow,partially cloudy on Friday.Highs of 17-19 degrees.

Finally

A Norwegian billionaire has promised to give "the lion's share" of his money away. Kjell Inge Roekke, a former fisherman who made his fortune in the oil industry, will begin by funding a research ship that will remove plastic from the ocean. It will operate in partnership with the environmental organisation WWF.

He joins other billionaire philanthropists including Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Mark Zuckerberg. Mr Roekke has an estimated wealth of $2bn (£1.6bn).