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Riviera and French News 7th February 2017

UPDATE 18:00

Bandstand - A petition against the removal of tributes to victims of the Nice attacks, left at the Jardin Albert Premier band stand, has been dismissed by the President of the Association ‘Promenade des Anges’ Juliette Quatorze. Emilie Littlejohn described the petition as solely to create controversy. She said the decision to move the tributes to storage in St Laurent du Var was taken with a number of victim groups and the Mayor of Nice. The reason being the objects are becoming mouldy after months outside during the winter, and added that the move is temporary, with a potential permanent memorial being considered. Meanwhile, new figures from INSEE suggest tourist numbers visiting France have experienced a strong rebound despite the recent attacks. In the last three months of last year, tourist nights were up 4% over the same period in 2015.

Court - Ten years in prison could be facing a pizza delivery man from Cagnes-sur-Mer, who is accused of stabbing his ex-girlfriend in 2014. He had attacked his girlfriend in the past and after they split, she was stabbed multiple times in the neck, lungs and heart. In front of the Alpes-Maritimes Assize Court, prosecutors asked the judge to charge the man with attempted murder and sentence him for ten years.

Fillon - A public spat has begun between Francois Fillon and the British journalist who interviewed his wife in 2007 in which Madame Fillon said she was never her husbands assistant, despite drawing a near €1m salary for the job. The presidential candidate said the journalist had made contact saying how shocked she was excerpts from the interview were used out of context. However, the journalist, Kim Willsher of the Guardian tweeted "No Mr Fillon! The quotes on Envoyé Special were not taken out of context. The report did not shock me. Stop attributing incorrect statements to me."  M Fillon has since published emails from the journalist which run contrary to her Twitter denial. While the row continues online, latest polls show Francois Fillon is no longer the presidential forerunner and now likely to crash out in the first round of voting in April, leaving far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and rising star Emmanuel Macron, a centrist, to battle it out in May's presidential runoff vote.

BUSINESS

Thirty more US technology firms have signed a brief opposing President Trump's immigration ban saying the ban "inflicts significant harm" on their businesses and is unconstitutional. It brings the total number involved to 127 with Tesla, Adobe, HP and Evernote joining tech giants Apple, Facebook and Microsoft as signatories.

Oil giant BP has seen their profits double in the last three months of 2016 on the back of cost-cutting and higher oil prices. The figures were however below some analysts' forecasts, and BP shares fell 2% at the start of trading in London.

Lloyds Banking Group, the owner of HBOS, is to review cases of customers affected by a fraud involving two ex-employees who were jailed last week. The bank has been under pressure to pay compensation after it was accused of reacting too slowly to complaints from victims of the scheme. The fraud took place before Lloyds Banking Group took ownership of HBOS.

SPORT

Football - Leicester City have given their unwavering support to manager Claudio Ranieri despite the fact the current Premiere League champions are just one point above this years relegation zone. Ranieri had been under pressure after a run of just two wins in their last 15 Premier Leagues games.

Formula 1 - McLarens CEO, Jost Capito, has left just five months after being head-hunted to join the team. Capito who was appointed by former boss Ron Dennis looks like the latest victim of McLarens decision to split with Dennis.

UPDATE 07:00

Band Stand - A petition has been launched against the relocation of the souvenirs left at the band stand located in the Jardin Albert-1er in Nice following the Nice attack. The band stand had become a memorial for those killed in the Nice Attack. The Mayor of Nice and the “Association Promenade des Anges 14 July” had planned to move the objects from the band stand to a location in Saint-Laurent-du-Var on Thursday. The petition launched on Monday on the website change.org has already gathered 400 signatures.

Strike Action - More than two hundred parents and teachers have demonstrated in Nice against plans to adopt new measures for the next school year. Teaching unions and parents called for strike action on Monday with protests taking place throughout the Alpes Maritimes.Unions are protesting against the lack of posts for specialised teachers and the closure of some classes.

Fall from scaffolding in Antibes - A 40 year old man has suffered  concussion after falling two meters from  scaffolding. The accident occurred at 4pm on Monday at the port-Vauban in Antibes. The man was reportedly cleaning the hull of a boat when, for reasons not yet known, the boat slipped off the dry dock. The victim was taken to hospital in Nice.  

Road Works – The RD123 at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin will be closed from Wednesday to Friday this week for essential works. A detour will be in place in both directions, from Gorbio Valley through to Menton.

National

Police Officer Charged - A French police officer has been charged with the rape of a youth in a high-rise Paris suburb who was severely injured after allegedly being sodomized with a baton. Three other officers were also charged with assault over the arrest of a 22-year-old man on Thursday during an identity check in a multi-ethnic housing estate, north of the capital. The four officers have been barred from the force over the incident.

Francois Fillon - French presidential candidate Francois Fillon has apologised for the "error" he made in hiring his wife as a parliamentary aide while denying she was paid for a fake job."I apologise to the French people," Fillon told a press conference, on Monday admitting it was an "error" and that he regretted it "deeply". Fillon went on to announce he would not pull out of the election, due to take place in April and May, adding: "A new campaign starts this evening." Fillon, a former prime minister, called the news conference after members of his own center-right party, The Republicans, urged him to quit the race to give the party time to find a replacement candidate.

Business

30 more technology firms have signed a document opposing US President Donald Trump’s immigration ban,bringing the total to 127 companies. The latest firms to sign the legal brief include Tesla,Adobe and HP. The legal document states that the immigration ban “inflicts significant harm” on their businesses and is unconstitutional. The original document was filed in Washington on Sunday and includes the name of both Facebook and Google. The Trump administration says that the immigration ban is legitimate and has asked an appeals court in San Francisco to overturn the temporary injunction granted over the weekend. Whatever the ruling today,the battle looks set to end up in the US Supreme Court.

The US TV maker Vizio has agreed to pay 2.2 million dollars to settle allegations that it unlawfully collected viewing data on its customers. The US Federal Trade Commission said that the firm’s smart TV technology had captured data on what was being viewed on screen and transmitted the information to the company’s servers. The Federal Trade Commission said that the information was then transferred to third parties. The data collection started in February 2014 and homed in on more than 11 million televisions. It’s not the first time that smart TV’s have raised privacy concerns.In 2015 it emerged that Samsung’s models were transmitting potentially sensitive voice data without users’ knowledge.

And-Ryanair says that it’s reviewing its free second carry-on bag allowance because some customers are “abusing” the system. The company says that it’s a victim of its own “niceness” and some customers have been taking bags onboard of up to three times the allowed size. The airline stressed that reducing the number and size of carry-on bags was just one of a number of initiatives that it was studying and that no decision had yet been made.

Sport

Athletics-The IAAF has announced that it’s extending Russia’s suspension from international competition to this summer’s World Championships. The sport’s governing body says the ban is being extended as a result of state-sponsored doping but added that individual Russian athletes who can prove they are clean may be able to compete under a neutral banner. Russia was suspended by the IAAF in November 2015.The decision to extend the ban was taken at the organisation’s council meeting here in Monaco last night.

Rugby Union-Tributes have been paid to the former South Africa captain Joost van der Westhuizen who’s died from motor neurone disease at the age of just 45. Van de Westhuizen was regarded as one of the finest scrum-halves in the history of the game and won the World Cup with South Africa in 1995. The President of South Africa Rugby,Mark Alexander said that “he’d be remembered as one of the greatest Springboks-not only of his generation,but of all time”. The former England head coach Sir Clive Woodward said that he’d been “deeply saddened by the news”.

Cricket-The England Test captain Alastair Cook has resigned after 5 years in the job. Cook captained England in a record 59 Tests and secured Ashes victories in both 2013 and 2015. He admitted to having “questions” over his role during the 4-0 series defeat against India at the end of last year. Joe Root and Stuart Broad are the frontrunners to succeed him.

Formula 1-Nico Rosberg has said that he would have liked to see Fernando Alonso replace him at Mercedes. Rosberg retired after winning the world championship last year and has been replaced by Valtteri Bottas.He says that Alonso would have been a good choice to replace him as “there would have been fireworks with Lewis Hamilton”. He added that as a fan it would be “nice” but for the team it “wouldn’t work”.

Weather

Partially cloudy with light,variable winds.

Top temperature 15 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 9 degrees on the coast and 5 degrees inland with some showers possible in the Var.

Wednesday and Thursday-Rain on the coast and snow over the high ground.

Finally

Tonight your brain will shrink by a huge 20 per cent researchers have revealed. Brains shrink by nearly 20 per cent when we sleep so it can keep up its strength to continue to learn new things.  Our brain's get significantly smaller when we sleep

Sleep, the activity we spend one third of our lives doing, has been found to provide a time when the brain’s synapses rest and prepare for the next day so they can be strong and receive new input. This reset of the brain in known as “synaptic homeostatsis” and is needed so brains do not become overloaded and burn out. 

Study co-author Dr Chiara Cirelli of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Sleep and Consciousness, said: “Sleep is the perfect time to allow the synaptic renormalisation to occur because when we are awake, we are 'slaves' of the here and now, always attending some stimuli and learning something.

Sleep is required for us to store more information

The papers published by journal Science also offer evidence that we sleep to forget some of the things we learn each day and sleep deprivation stops the brain’s ability to form new memories.