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Riviera and French News Thursday 23rd March 2017

UPDATE 18:00

Attack - The so-called Islamic State group has said it was behind yesterday’s attack on London. The attacker was British-born and known to the police but was not part of the current intelligence picture. Four people are dead as a result of the attack with the forty injured including three French school-children, an Irishman and two Americans. Prince Albert has written to Queen Elizibeth to express the condolences of the people of Monaco with the United Kingdom following the terror attack there yesterday.

Rugby Rape - Three of the six FC Grenoble rugby players accused of rape after a game two weeks ago have been exonerated. The claim had been made by a 21 year old woman who met the players in a nightclub after a match in Bordeaux.

Baby - A couple from Mougins, charged with excessive shaking of their two month old baby, have been indicted for assault. They were reported to police by doctors at Lenval Hospital in Nice, when the baby was brought there for treatment.

BUSINESS

At least four major American firms have pulled advertising from Google after their brands were appearing next to YouTube videos promoting extremist views and generating revenues for the creators. AT&T, Verizon, car rental company Enterprise and pharmaceutical giant GSK, have withdrawn all non-search advertising, costing Google millions of dollars.

The trade benefits to the UK, of belonging to the European Union have been ‘largely imaginary’, according to a report from Civitas. Its analysis argues that exports from non-EU countries to the single market have grown faster than the UK's.

Apple is facing scrutiny in New Zealand following reports it paid no tax for at least a decade. Apple New Zealand's parent company is registered in Australia and the two countries have a treaty where tax is only paid in one jurisdiction. Apple said they paid their tax in Australia and the arrangement was legal.

SPORT

Formula 1 Ferrari are Lewis Hamilton’s favourites to win the Formula 1 world title as the new season starts in Australia this weekend. Although Hamilton's Mercedes team have dominated for the past three seasons he feels pre-season testing suggested Ferrari have bounced back. Meanwhile, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel said Mercedes were the team to beat and that they were doing their best to catch up!

UPDATE 12:00

Prince Albert has written to Queen Elizibeth to express the condolences of the people of Monaco with the United Kingdom following the terror attack there yesterday.

"It was with a deep emotion that I learnt of the criminal attack on Westminster’s bridge and Houses of Parliament yesterday.
The People of Monaco, my Family and I wish to express our most heartfelt and sincere condolences to Your Majesty and the People of the United Kingdom at these somber times.
Let me assure Your Majesty of our deep sympathy and our prayers for the victims and their families."

Seven arrests have been made in raids following the Westminster Attack that left four dead, a woman in her 40’s, a man in his 50’s, PC Keith Palmer and the attacker. 29 other people were injured and seven are in a critical condition.

UPDATE 07:00

Westminster Bridge Attack - Three French high school pupils are among the  injured following Wednesday’s attack on Westminster Bridge in London. Two of them are reportedly suffering from severe fractures. The three were amongst a group of high school students on a school trip visiting London from the Lycée Saint Joseph de Concarneau in Brittany. The student’s parents were flown to London last night by the French military air force. Speaking about the attack in which at least four people were killed and 40 people injured the French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve expressed “solidarity with our British friends, horribly attacked, full support for the injured French students, their families and friends. French President François Hollande sent a message of support to London saying “Terrorism affects us all. France knows how the British people are suffering today. Theresa May addressed her “thoughts” to the victims and their families before chairing an inter-ministerial Cobra crisis meeting in the evening. The attack, described by Scotland Yard as “terrorist” occurred on the same day that Belgium was commemorating the attacks which had left 32 dead in Brussels a year ago to the day.

Refugees - Three volunteers belonging to the “Roya Citoyenne Association” have been arrested by the Italian authorities for giving food and drink to refugees near Ventimiglia. 250 meals are regularly distributed to the migrants by the association but the city of Ventimiglia recently passed a decree prohibiting the distribution of food and drink to migrants.

Grasse - The headmaster of the school in Grasse, who was shot after intervening to protect students during last week’s shooting, is to be recommended for the Legion of Honour. Secretary of State, Juliette Méadel, said he showed exceptional courage and avoided further bloodshed. When we see acts of bravery like that, it is not only obvious give him the Legion of Honor, but we also set it up for that reason.

Rape - Six rugby players are in police custody in Grenoble after a complaint of rape. The complaint was made by a young woman who met the players after a Bordeaux-Bègles match on March 11th and followed them to their hotel. The players include two Irish, two New Zealanders, one Australian and a Frenchman. In a statement, FC Grenoble Rugby Club said they are deeply affected by the events which do not correspond to the values they hold.

EDF - The French electricity supplier EDF has announced that many customers and former customers have received or will receive regularization notifications for 2014 to 2015. The billing comes as a result of a decision by the State Council which "considers the level of changes in regulated sales tariffs to be insufficient”. According to reports the adjustment is estimated at approximately 30 euros for some 60 million consumers. For more details on the recalculation of tariffs visit the EDF website.

Education - Four out of ten lycées in the Alpes Maritimes region have shown successful baccalauréat results for 2016. Figures show a success rate of 91.6% for 2016 which means an increase in the performance in both the public and private sectors.

Meteo France - Meteo France has warned that heavy rainfall and the risk of thunderstorms is forecast throughout the region over the next few days. After almost three weeks of drought, the last rainfall in Nice was on March 4th the bad weather is expected to last until Sunday.

National

Paris - Paris has been ranked as the seventh priciest city in the world in a new cost of living study, that concluded only alcohol and tobacco offer value for money in Paris.The French capital has retained the dubious honour of being the most expensive city in the EU, according to the latest Worldwide Cost of Living Survey from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Singapore topped the rankings ahead of Hong Kong and Zurich - Europe's most expensive city.

Hermés - Hermés has pushed its annual profits for last year to above one billion euros for the first time ever thanks to a jump in sales of its trademark leather bags. The French luxury goods maker said its 2016 net profit hit 1.1 billion euros, a 13 percent jump from the previous year.The company said in February that sales had hit a record 5.2 billion euros

Business

Reuters is reporting that the feeling on Wall Street is that the ‘Trump Trade’ could soon turn into a ‘Trump Tantrum’ if the new US administration’s healthcare bill stalls in Congress. Today’s vote on a replacement for Obamacare could prove to be a litmus test which could give investors another reason to sell. The feeling is that a stalling healthcare bill could mean uphill battles for other Trump proposals with signs suggesting that the President and Republican Congressional leaders are losing the battle to get enough support to pass it. Reuters says that strategists have been cautioning for weeks that markets are pricing in a scenario where nothing goes wrong with Mr Trump’s agenda and that there could be a bumpy ride ahead. At least four major US corporations have pulled advertising from Google amid a row over extremist content. The London Times has reported that firms including Verizon,AT+T,the car rental company Enterprise and the pharmaceutical giant GSK have all withdrawn their non-search advertising from Google. Major brands are increasingly unhappy about being placed next to YouTube videos promoting extremist views-generating revenue for their creators. Google has apologised and promised better tools for advertisers. The row started in the UK earlier this week and now appears to have caught the attention of the US advertising industry. It could develop into a major problem for the internet giant as it seeks to reassure clients that their advertising is not funding hate groups.

And-The Swiss bank UBS is to start charging customers who deposit more than a million euros as negative interest rates continue to hit profits. The annual charge of 0.6 percent will come into force in May. UBS already charges for large accounts held in Switzerland by companies and some wealthy clients. A bank spokesman said that the new charge reflects the increasing costs seen across the industry of reinvesting cash from deposits in money and capital markets as well as the continued extraordinarily low and negative interest rates in the euro area and increased liquidity regulations.

Sport

Football-Lukas Podolski scored a spectacular second half goal to sink England and round off his international career in style as Germany came out 1-0 winners in last night’s friendly in Dortmund. Podolski scored with a rising left foot drive on 69 minutes which gave the England keeper Joe Hart no chance. England had a few chances with Adam Lallana hitting the post and Dele Ali seeing his shot blocked at point-blank-range. It was England manager Gareth Southgate’s first defeat since he took over from Sam Allardyce. Also last night,Scotland laboured to a 1-1 draw against Canada at Easter Road,Edinburgh.

Rugby Union-The Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones has been ruled out for 6 weeks after picking up a shoulder injury during Saturday’s defeat against France in Paris. The 31 year old will undergo surgery  and will require a 6 week period of rehabilitation. He’s been tipped as a candidate to lead the British and Irish Lions on their tour of New Zealand. The Lions coach Warren Gatland will name his squad for the tour on April the 19th.

Golf-Rory McIlroy has been beaten by world number 68 Soren Kjeldsen in his opening group match at the World Golf Championship Match Play in Austin,Texas. McIlroy  went down 2&1 to the Dane and must now win his remaining Group 3 games to have a chance of reaching the last 16. Meanwhile,the defending champion Jason Day has pulled out of the Championship to be with his mother who has lung cancer.

Weather

Overcast with rain and moderate north easterly winds.

Top temperature 15 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 12 degrees on the coast and 10 degrees inland with more rain.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Rain tomorrow and for most of Saturday too.

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