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Riviera and French News Monday 13th February 2017

UPDATE 18:00

Shooting - A dramatic shooting on the streets of Nice this morning has taken the life of a 36 year old drug trafficker. The man was well known to police and shot in a similar style to his former boss who was murdered two years ago by two gunmen on a scooter.

Avalanche - At least four people have died in an avalanche at the ski resort of Tignes, with five others rescued this afternoon. IT’s believed a 400-metre wide avalanche, fell on the nine French people skiing in an off-piste area during the busy half-term holidays. This is the 13th and most serious accident this year.

Weather - High winds and heavy seas are affecting the Cote d’Azur today with the waterfront road between La Siesta in Antibes and Marina-Baie-des-Anges at Villeneuve-Loubet being shut to traffic for the remainder of the day. Meteó France has issued a yellow weather alert for the region saying strong winds could gust of up to 70km/h between now and tomorrow morning.

Poll - A poll over the weekend shows Francois Fillon losing ground to Marine Le Pen in the presidential election. The poll shows the embattled Fillon would secure 58% of votes while M Le Pen climbs to 42%. If M Fillon is forced to withdraw from the election due to the scandal surrounding payments to his wife, this years election could be thrown wide open.

BUSINESS

Swiss voters have rejected a reform of the country's corporate tax system. Currently, foreign firms have a special status in Switzerland, where they can avail of tax rates lower than those for domestic firms. Switzerland is trying to balance the system by increasing taxes on internationals and lowering domestic rates, plugging the difference with federal funds. However, the plan was rejected by 59% of voters at the weekend.

Hundreds and thousands of Euro are being lost every day to online romance scams. In the scams, criminals pose as potential matches and contact people on Facebook or on dating platforms. After a period of correspondence ,and sometimes phone contact, they start asking for money using various excuses. For Valentines Day tomorrow, people are warned to be wary of any request for money from any online friend, and to Google search ‘online romance scams’ so they will know the signs to watch for.

UPDATE 07:00

Weather Alert - Meteo France has issued a yellow weather alert for the Alpes Maritimes and the Var. Strong winds are forecast with gust of upto 70km/h. The alert is in place from 11am this morning to 3am Tuesday morning.

Couple found dead - A couple have been found dead in their house in Fayence. The couple who were in their thirties were discovered on Sunday afternoon. One witness spoke of hearing two loud bangs around 5am on Sunday morning. The circumstances remain unknown as police continue to investigate the scene. 

Skier Dies in Avalanche - A thirty year old skier has died in the Hautes-Alpes after being swept away by an avalanche. The accident occurred shortly before 4pm on Saturday two other skiers escaped unharmed.

Protest - The former Brazilian model Juliana Marques has posed naked in front of the city hall in Avignon. The model who is a member of the Peta Pet Association had painted her body in that of a tiger and was protesting against the treatment of circus animals. The association demonstrated in the city centre on Saturday.

Cable Car in Toulon - A new refurbished cable car offering panoramic views has reopened in Toulon. Launched for the first time in the 1950’s the new cabins will run from Toulon to the summit of Mount Faron. The new service opened on Saturday after two years of work and an investment of 500,000 euros.

Al Jarreau - The legendary American Jazz singer Al Jarreau has died at the age of 76. Al Jarreau received seven Grammy awards and was one of the few international jazz stars who regularly appeared at festivals on the Côte d’Azur taking part in the Jazz in Juan and the Nice Jazz Festival on several occasions as well as performances in Monte Carlo. He died in hospital in Los Angeles a few days after announcing his retirement due to exhaustion.

National

Francois Fillon - François Fillon has said he will "fight to the end". Fillon who was at a rally on the Indian Ocean island of the Réunion on Sunday said “I am being attacked 24 hours a day but I also receive countless messages of support”.  The comments came following news in the French press that judges could order action against him this week. Fillon and his family are under investigation but have not been charged.

Childhood Obesity - France is defying an upward trend in global childhood obesity with rates throughout the country stable or declining, although higher levels still persist in children from lower income families. Obesity levels in France among children aged 9 to 10 years has remained steady, even falling in some cases, according to a recently published study by the French Ministry of Health. According to the study, 18.1 percent of French children were considered overweight, and 3.6 percent obese. These rates are significantly less than the European average, and show a consistent drop since 2008.

Heart-shaped Oysters - France, the traditional land of romance has come up with a new romantic offering for Valentine’s Day - a heart-shaped oyster. Oyster farmer Christophe Guinaut has successfully cultivated a small quantity of oysters in the form of a heart for ten years. It all started as a love offering from his wife after she gave him an oyster in the form of a heart which had taken the shape by chance.

Business

The group leader of Samsung has appeared at the South Korean prosecutor’s office for the second time for questioning as part of wider probe into influence peddling that could yet topple the country’s President. Jay Y Lee has been accused,in his capacity as Samsung boss of pledging some 43 billion won-or 37.31 million dollars to a business backed by Choi Soon Sil- a friend of President Park in return for support for a 2015 merger of two Samsung companies. The funding included sponsorship for the equestrian career of Choi’s daughter who’s under arrest in Denmark pending an extradition request by South Korean authorities. President Park as well as Lee,Choi and the Samsung Group have all denied any wrong doing. President Park was impeached by Parliament in December with the South Korean Constitutional Court yet to rule whether the decision should be upheld. Swiss voters have rejected a plan to reform the country’s corporate tax system. 59 percent of voters rejected the reform in Sunday’s referendum on the issue.

Business leaders and politicians in Switzerland had supported the plan which aimed to prevent taxes rising sharply for foreign investors. The government will now need to find an alternative plan,which could result in higher taxation for multinational firms. Currently,Switzerland offers special status to foreign firms which allows cantons,or districts to offer them lower rates of tax than domestic firms. The OECD and other international organisations have deemed the system as unacceptable and Switzerland has promised to make reforms by 2019.

And-A BBC investigation has found that the supermarket chain Tesco is short-changing customers by overcharging them for promotions that have expired but are still being advertised on the shelves. A BBC reporter for the Inside Out programme found that shoppers were being overcharged at two-thirds of stores visited for the investigation. Multi-buy deals still on display,sometimes months after they’d expired were no longer being applied at the tills. Tesco has said that it will investigate  and double-check the accuracy of pricing in its stores.

Sport

Rugby Union-France saw off Scotland 22-16 at the Stade de France on Sunday to record their first win in this year’s 6 Nations Championship. Scotland battled hard but just came up short as France kicked 2 penalties in the last 10 minutes to take the 4 points.Scotland scored a loser’s bonus point but England lead the table with 8 points following their narrow win over Wales on Saturday while Ireland are in second place on 6 points as a result of their romp over Italy. There are no games next weekend but in two weeks time Scotland play Wales and Ireland host France with England at home to Italy.

Football-There were two games in the English Premier League on Sunday with the leaders Chelsea held to a 1-1 draw at Burnley while Leicester’s relegation worries increased after they were beaten 2-0 at Swansea. There’s 1 game tonight.Manchester City can up to second in the table if they win at Bournemouth. In the 5TH round of the Scottish Cup on Sunday,Hearts and Hibs drew 0-0 in the Edinburgh derby while Rangers beat Greenock Morton 2-1.

Tennis-The umpire Arnaud Gabas has had surgery on a fractured eye socket after he was hit by a ball during Britain’s Davis Cup win over Canada. The 17 year old Canadian player Denis Shapoalov hit the ball in anger,striking the umpire in the eye in the process.He was fined 6,000 dollars by the International Tennis Federation which said that his action had been “unacceptable”. The surgery was a success and Mr Gabas is now recovering at home.

Golf-Jordan Speith has won his 9th PGA title with victory in the AT+T Pro-am at Pebble Beach. The two-time major winner fired a final round of 70 to finish on 19 under par with fellow American Kelly Kraft in second place on 15 under.

Weather

Overcast with moderate to strong easterly winds-perhaps some bright spells this afternoon. Top temperature 15 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 12 degrees on the coast and 9 degrees inland with some outbreaks of rain possible.

Tuesday and Wednesday-Similar tomorrow with a high of 15 degrees.Fine on Wednesday with a high of 16-17 degrees.

Finally

A man had to be lowered nearly 100ft down the middle of a cathedral by firefighters after getting his foot stuck in rope while bell ringing. 

Ian Bowman, who was part of a touring group from Widecombe, Devon, may have broken his back and suffered a nasty cut to his head when he was dragged up a few feet from the ground and then fell to the bell tower floor high-up in Worcester Cathedral.

Crowds gathered as fire engines, blue lights flashing and sirens blaring, pulled up outside the cathedral as darkness fell on Saturday afternoon to bring the man, thought to be in his 50s, to safety.