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Riviera and French News Friday 17th March 2017

Local

School Shooting – France’s education minister has said that a school shooting, which left three students and a headteacher wounded, appears to have been a "crazy act" carried out by a teenager obsessed with firearms. The 16-year-old suspect opened fire at Tocqueville high school, in Grasse, on Thursday afternoon. Several people were injured in the panic. The suspect, who was reportedly armed with a rifle, two handguns and two hand grenades, was arrested "very quickly" after launching the attack. The local prosecutor has confirmed the shooting had "no link" to terrorism. However, President Francois Hollande said France should remain "vigilant" and stay under a state of emergency. France remains under a state of emergency after a string of deadly attacks in the past 18 months.

House Fire - Two people have suffered severe burns and one person has been slightly injured after a violent fire broke out in the early hours of Thursday morning in Toulon. According to reports those injured had become trapped behind the anti-burglary grids attached to the windows. The two victims were taken to hospital in Toulon.     

Prisons - The workers union at the prison “La Farlede” in Hyeres called for strike action on Thursday in protest of poor working conditions and the extent of overcrowding in prisons. Protesters blocked the access to the prison for most of the morning on Thursday. Meanwhile unions also protested in front of the Baumette prison in Marseille – the totally outdated prison is expected to close by the end of the year.

Record Breaker - Eric Barone will this morning attempt to break his previous record by riding at more than 223km/hour on a mountain bike on a track at the ski resort of Vars in the Hautes-Alpes. The 57year old was forced to postpone his first attempt due to bad weather conditions.                  

National

IMF - Official say that a letter bomb which exploded at the International Monetary Fund office in Paris on Wednesday was sent from Greece. The IMF employee who opened the letter received hand and face injuries, and staff were evacuated. Greek far-left group the Conspiracy of Fire Cells claimed responsibility for sending that device.

Royal Visit - Prince William and his wife Kate will meet President François Hollande and launch an initiative called ‘Les Voisins’ or The Neighbours to foster closer relations between the two countries. The young royals’ official visit to Paris today, comes months before the 20th anniversary of the death of William’s mother Diana in a car crash in the French capital. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will also host a black-tie dinner at the British Embassy and attend a Six Nations rugby match between France and Wales at the national stadium on Saturday.

Business

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has asked regulators to examine Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox's takeover bid for Sky. In a statement to parliament, she told MPs that media regulator Ofcom and competition regulator, the CMA, would be asked to investigate the deal. 21st Century Fox is offering £11.7bn for the 61% stake in Sky it does not already own. The company said it was "confident" the takeover would be approved. Critics of the merger, which gives 21st Century Fox access to Sky's 22 million customers in Europe, fear it will mean Rupert Murdoch has too much control of the UK media.

The London market hit new record highs on Thursday as investors reacted to Wednesday's interest rate rise by the US Federal Reserve. Analysts also said there was some relief in the market at the defeat of the anti-immigration Freedom party in the Dutch election. The benchmark FTSE 100 rose 47.31 points to a record closing high of 7,415.57.

And - The UK government is to reject calls for a Scottish independence referendum before Brexit after Theresa May said "now is not the time". The prime minister said the focus should be on getting the best Brexit deal for the whole of the UK. Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said Nicola Sturgeon's demand for a vote by the spring of 2019 would be rejected "conclusively". Ms Sturgeon said blocking a referendum would be a "democratic outrage".

Sport

Football – Manchester United edged a nervy encounter with Russian minnows FC Rostov at Old Trafford to reach the Europa League quarter-finals with a 2-1 aggregate victory. 

In the Premier League this week-end on Saturday Crystal Palace play Watford, Everton v’s Hull City , Stoke City will play Chelsea, Sunderland play Burnley, West Ham play Leicester City and Bournemouth play Swansea. On Sunday Middleborough play Manchester United, Tottenham play Southampton and Manchester City will play Liverpool.

Cheltenham - Nichols Canyon was the big winner as jockey Ruby Walsh and trainer Willie Mullins claimed four races on a day dominated by the Irish at Cheltenham. Nichols Canyon shocked odds-on favourite U / no/ what /I /mean / harry to win the Stayers' Hurdle, after Yorkhill won the JLT Chase and Un De Sceaux landed the Ryanair Chase. Walsh completed the first Cheltenham four-timer for a jockey on Let's Dance. He now boasts a record 56 Cheltenham Festival wins. Irish-trained horses won six of the day's seven races, with the four wins for Walsh and Mullins coming in at combined odds of 179-1 which cost bookmakers an estimated £10m.

Cycling -  British cyclist Josh Edmondson has told the BBC he broke the sport's rules by secretly injecting himself with a cocktail of vitamins when riding for Team Sky. The 24-year-old, who was on the team's books in 2013 and 2014, also said he had severe depression after independently using the controversial painkiller Tramadol.

Weather

Clear skies and sunshine across the region. With highs in land in the Alpes Maritimes of 23 degrees and 17 degrees in Nice. In Saint-Tropez and the Var highs of 22 degrees with a moderate westerly wind and possible gusts of upto 50km/hour. This evening going down to 8 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 5 degrees in the Var.

The week-end fine and sunny across the region with similar temperatures to today and a moderate to strong wind in the Var.

 

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