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Riviera and French News Friday 20th January 2017

UPDATE 18:00

Rally Death - The start of this weekends Monte Carlo Rally has been marred by the death of a spectator. The 50 year old victim from Spain had crossed the spectator line to stand at a road exit and take photos. It was at that corner that New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon car lost control and toppled over, hitting the man violently. He was evacuated by a civil security helicopter to the Pasteur Hospital in Nice but despite the best efforts of the medical team, he unfortunately died. The driver of the car, is a hugely experienced driver who won 2016 Rally Argentina and has competed in sixty rallies around the world.

Mayor - The Mayor of Bar-sur-Loup has been sentenced to eight months in prison for the sexual harassment of a town hall secretary. The case was taken after the Mayor made comments to the woman including ‘you should show more neckline’ or ‘come to work with nothing underneath’. The Mayor was also given a fine of €7,500.

Avalanche - Two days after it was buried in an avalanche, eight people, including two children, have been found alive in Italy's Rigo-Piano Hotel.  The deep avalanche buried the hotel, after several earthquakes in the central Abruzzo region on Wednesday. At least four people have been confirmed dead, and about 20 are still missing.

Chef - The best Chef in the world could come from Nice! Matteo Mansi, chef and manager at Northern Nice’s L'Auberge de Théo Restaurant in Rimiez, is on a shortlist of just 12 chefs for the International Catering Cup 2017 being held in Lyon, where two juries will select their choice for Best Chef in the World.

BUSINESS

At the World Economic Forum in Davos the UK Chancellor has acknowledged that Brexit uncertainty may have caused some firms to delay investment. However, he also said that for some foreign firms, the UK had become a buying opportunity, partly due to the fall in the pound. He added that the UK economy had confounded many sceptics by being resilient in 2016.

Growth in China's economy has slowed down, with growth last year two percentage points behind the year before. Although the figures are in line with Beijing's growth target, many observers have been saying that the country's growth was actually much weaker than the official data suggests, with the leader of one Chinese province admitting GDP data was faked for several years. China is a key driver of the global economy and a growth slowdown is a major concern for investors around the world.

Heineken is in negotiations with Japanese group Kirin to buy its Brazilian beer business.  It’s reported Heineken could pay $870m for the Brazilian brewer, a big discount from the $4bn it was valued at in 2011.

SPORT

Tennis - At the Australian Open, Dan Evans and Andy Murray are both through to the last 16. It’s the first time in 15 years Britain has had two men in the fourth round of a Grand Slam since Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski reached round four at Wimbledon in 2002. Top seed Andy Murray made short work of Sam Querrey, winning 6-4 6-2 6-4 in just two hours, while Dan Evans, beat Australian Bernard Tomic 6-3 7-6 7-6. Evans next match is against Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Rugby  - Scotland prop WP Nel has been ruled out of the Six Nations campaign because of a neck injury. He had been included in the 37-man squad, however a scan revealed the Edinburgh tight-head damaged a disc in his neck during a Challenge Cup tie against Harlequins. Scotland start their Six Nations campaign at home to Ireland on the 4th of February before travelling to France eight days later. There are two games in the European Champions Cup tonight. Castres play Leinster and Montpellier play Northampton. While Leinster are already through to the quarter finals, the three other sides are still in with a chance of progressing depending on the results tonight.

Football - In the English Premier League this weekend; on Saturday Liverpool play Swansea in the lunchtime game and then its Crystal Palace against Everton, Stoke face Manchester United and Manchester City play Spurs. On Sunday; Southampton play Leicester, Arsenal host Burnley and Chelsea face Hull.

UPDATE 07:00

Monte Carlo Rally - The start of the 85th edition of the Monte Carlo Rally has been marked by the death of a spectator. The 50 year old spectator from Spain was killed after being hit when the car of New Zealand driver Hayden Paddon came off the road shortly after 8.30pm on Thursday. According to reports the victim had moved into an area which was not intended to accommodate the public.

Avalanche - The search for survivors of an avalanche at a mountain hotel in Italy has gone into the night, with up to 35 people buried under rubble and snow. Two bodies were recovered from the ruins of the hotel, where rescuers battled the elements to reach the site. Searchers said they had not given up hope of finding survivors despite finding no signs of life. The avalanche struck on Wednesday after multiple earthquakes in the region.

Cold Spell - A homeless man has been found dead in the gardens of the Acropolis in Nice. Fireman found the man on Thursday morning. Authorities believe that the recent drop in temperatures are responsible, police are investigating. The cold spell saw temperatures drop in both the Alpes Maritimes and in the Var where on Thursday morning Meteo France recorded -1 degree in Hyéres and -5 degrees in Frejus.

PACA Region - The French paper L’Express has published its annual list of the best cities in France to live and work. The survey shows that  cities in the South East are by far the best. Nice comes third out of the 21 cities in the South East after Saint Etienne and Clermont Ferrand, Toulon is 5th and Aix-Marseille in 6th. Cannes is ahead of Antibes in 14TH place while Draguignan and Frejus Saint Raphael come bottom of the list 

National

Elections - Left-wing candidates took part in the last of three televised debates on Thursday ahead of Sunday’s primaries. As the race tightens, the seven candidates were desperate to score points ahead of Sunday’s first round of voting, which will narrow the field to just two. Polls suggests its candidate will fail to qualify for the second round of France’s presidential election on May 7th, slipping behind far-right leader Marine Le Pen and conservative Francois Fillon.

Easyjet - A French court has fined British low-cost airline Easyjet  €60,000 euros for reportedly having refused to allow a disabled passenger to board for “security” reasons. The criminal court in Bayonne, southern France heard that staff at the budget carrier refused to allow a 55 year old passenger, to board an Easyjet flight in Biarritz in July 2010 because he was “unaccompanied”. It was not the first time easyJet has fallen foul of French discrimination laws. In December 2015 the company was fined €70,000 for refusing access to three people with disabilities for the same reasons.

Vendée Globe - 39 year old Armel Le Cléac’h from Brittany has won the Vendée Globe. Le Cléac’h won on Thursday arriving at Les Sables d’Olonne at 4.30pm setting a new record for the 8th edition of the race in 74 days 3 hours and 35 minutes. Welshman Alex Thomson is expected to arrive this morning in second place.

Business

China’s economy grew by 6.7 percent in 2016,compared to 6.9 percent in 2015-its slowest pace of expansion for more than a quarter of a century. The figure is in line with the Chinese government’s growth target of between 6.5 and 7 percent but many observers say that the actual growth figure is much lower than the official data suggests. The country’s aim to rebalance the economy towards domestic consumption has led to major challenges for the manufacturing sector with layoffs-especially at large state-controlled sectors such as the steel industry. The Economist Intelligence Unit says that although there was a pick-up in growth in the 4th quarter,it’s not expected to last. The Chair of the US Federal Reserve has said that it would be a mistake to let the economy “run hot”. Speaking on Thursday,Janet Yellen said that the US central bank should continue to raise interest rates slowly or risk harm to the recovery. With unemployment running at 4.7 percent and inflation nearing the Fed’s 2 percent target,the central bank is expected to raise interest rates 3 times over the next 12 months. Ms Yellen has warned again that a delay in tightening monetary policy could drive up inflation and force the Fed to raise interests in response.That could set the economy reeling and is avoidable if rates are increased gradually.

And-The British Prime Minister Theresa May says that she’s had “positive discussions” with big banks about keeping jobs in the City of London. In an interview with the BBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos,Mrs May said that discussions had included why the banks’ had been attracted to London in the first place and “how we can build on that in the future”. Both HSBC and UBS have said that they plan on moving around a thousand jobs post Brexit but Mrs May said that there were “huge benefits” for investment in the UK which she said had a “fundamentally strong economy”.

Sport

Tennis-It’s day 5 of the Australian Open in Melbourne and so far today there have been 3rd round wins for the women’s top seed Angelique Kerber who beat Karolina Pliskova in straight sets,the 8th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova who beat Jelena Jankovic in three sets and Coco Vandeweghe of the United States who’s beaten Eugenie Bouchard of Canada in three sets. In the men’s event Stan Wawrinka has dropped the first set of his 3rd round match against Viktor Troiki and Andy Murray is on court for his third round match against Sam Querry of the United States.

Football-In the English Premier League this weekend. On Saturday Liverpool play Swansea in the lunchtime game and then its Bournemouth against Watford.Crystal Palace against Everton.Middlesbrough play West Ham.Stoke face Manchester United.West Brom host Sunderland and Manchester City play Spurs. On Sunday Southampton play Leicester.Arsenal host Burnley and Chelsea face Hull.

Cricket-India have beaten England by 15 runs in the second one day international in Pune to wrap up the series. India batted first and made 381-6 from their 50 overs including centuries from both Yuvraj and Dhoni. England made a good fist of the chase but fell just short despite a century from skipper Eoin Morgan.

Rugby Union-There are two games in Pool 4 of the European Champions Cup tonight. Castres play Leinster and Montpellier play Northampton. Leinster are already through to the quarter finals but all three other sides are still in with a chance of progressing depending on tonight’s results.

Weather

Partially cloudy with moderate easterly winds. Top temperature 13 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 6 degrees on the coast and 2 degrees inland with clear skies.

The weekend-Partially cloudy tomorrow with a high of 14 degrees.Rain on Sunday with a high of 12.

Finally

A woman has found her lost wedding ring in a flower bed 20 years after it went missing.  

Ann Westland, from Sunderland, was distraught when she lost the ring while digging in her back garden in 1997.

The garden was searched repeatedly and the 55-year-old even borrowed a metal detector from a friend but to no avail.  

That is until her husband, Ian, 59, spotted the gold ring among some snowdrop bulbs while he was gardening in September 20 years after it had slipped off his wife's finger.