Riviera and French News Thursday 2nd February 2017

UPDATE 18:00

Train - Todays train strike is causing serious disruption to local train services with only one out of four trains running between Marseille and Les Arcs and one out of two between Marseille and Nice. TGV services are not effected.

Court - The Alpes Maritime Assize Court has been hearing the case today of a cleaning lady accused of murdering her four year-old son. She’s accused of drowning the boy, then attempting suicide by turning on the gas to start a fire which destroyed the building on Rue Comboul in Nice back in January 2014. The prosecution say she did it to avoid going to jail for fraud and becoming separated from her son.

Fillon - More pressure will be mounted on Francois Fillon tonight when a French TV  documentary will include an interview with his Welsh wife, Penelope, in which she says she was never her husbands assistant. The scandal around the leading presidential candidate claims Ms Fillon was paid €1m for acting as his assistant.


Rugby -Elliot Daly has been named on the wing for England's Six Nations opener against France on Saturday, with the in-form Jack Nowell on the bench. Nowell missed two days of training this week for personal reasons. Gary Ringrose is to make his debut for Ireland against Scotland on Saturday, with many hailing him as the new Brian O’Driscoll. The 22 year old will wear Brian’s famous number 13 jersey and is regarded as a player with a mature head and someone who’ll be able to handle the limelight and media attention.

Football - FIFA has given the green light for Bassem Srarfi to transfer to OGC Nice from Club Africain. It follows approval from the Tunisian Federation yesterday. And former Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard has announced he is retiring after a 21-year professional career. The 38-year-old, spent last year with New York City in Major League Soccer in the US, and before that made 649 appearances for Chelsea and won 106 England caps.

Formula 1 - Former Mercedes technical boss Paddy Lowe has joined Williams, and is set to become a shareholder and a director of the company. Lowe will have a seat on the board and be given responsibility for all technical aspects of the group.


The chief executive of Ralph Lauren is to step down after less than two years in the post. Stefan Larsson, a former head of Gap's Old Navy division, was appointed chief executive of the firm in late 2015. He will leave on 1 May with a $10m pay settlement after disagreements with founder and chairman Ralph Lauren over the direction of the brand.

German prosecutors are investigating Deutsche Boerse bank boss Carsten Kengeter over possible insider trading. It’s alleged he bought around 4.5m euros of stock in his own company just over two months before the German exchange announced merger talks with the London Stock Exchange. The bank have denied the claims.

UPDATE 07:00

Woman falls in front of train - A woman has died after falling in front of an oncoming train at Toulon train station. The incident occurred on Wednesday afternoon bringing traffic to a halt in the region. Police have launched an enquiry. 

Regional Train Strike - The regional train network will experience disruption  today due to strike action. The strike is expected to last until 8am Friday morning  with only one out of four trains circulating between Marseille and Les Arcs and one out of two between Marseille and Nice.

Policeman wounded in Marseille - A policemen in Marseille has been wounded by a driver who deliberately ran into him during a police check. The incident happened on Wednesday as officers attempted to carry out a check on the vehicle. The driver fled the scene. Police have launched at investigation. 

Bouygues Telecom network failure - Bouygues Telecom has experienced a network failure in Nice. The operator announced that the network had been down since late Wednesday morning and into the evening due to work being carried out. Recent work has affected several internet providers in the region including Free, SFR and Bouygues.

Minors travelling abroad - French minors travelling abroad unaccompanied by their parents must have an authorisation to leave the country. The law which came into effect as of January 15th this year is part of the prevention of radicalisation and the fight against terrorism. The authorisation can be obtained from the prefecture or at the website

Closure of a Mosque in Aix-en-Provence - A mosque in Aix-en -Provence has been closed as part of the state of emergency. The closure which was carried out on Wednesday came after authorities reportedly found evidence of radicalisation. Some twenty mosques and presumed extremist  prayer rooms have been closed since the state of emergency was established after the attacks of November 13th 2015.

Cable Car project for Monaco - The Monaco Minister of State Serge Telle, has confirmed that progress is being made for the project of an intra-urban cable car stretching from the Jardin exotique to Fontvieille and Monaco-ville. The aim would be to reduce road congestion in the Principality. While the mayor of La Turbie, Jean-Marc Raffaele, spoke at the beginning of the year of a possible cable car serving Monaco, Minister of State, Serge Telle evoked on Wednesday a purely Monegasque track. A project that would remain within the national borders "easily achievable and that could be completed in four years”.

Social Housing in the Var - The mayor of Le Lavandou in the Var, Gil Bernardi has announced plans to stop social housing in the town until “the State plays its part”. Bernardi said 82 social housing units had already been created in the municipality and that Le Lavandou would not substitute for other cities which are lacking social housing.  

Speed Radar – Motorists in the Var have been notified that a new speed radar has been placed on the D98 in La Londe.  Vehicles travelling westbound towards Le Lavandou and Hyéres must respect the 90 km speed limit.

Gluten Free Pizza – Due to popular demand you can now have a gluten free pizza. Baptiste Vannini located on the Port of Nice has just launched his pizza made from corn flour, rice and potato starch.


Fillon Scandal - French presidential candidate Francois Fillon is facing mounting pressure to quit the presidential race. The scandal surrounding Fillon claims that his Welsh-born wife Penelope was paid large sums over a number of years for "fake jobs". A French television documentary “Envoyé Special” is to be aired this evening in which Penelope Fillon reportedly talks of “never being her husband’s assistant” during the 45 minute interview to a British newspaper which was given in May 2007.


The US Federal Reserve has said that the jobs market and economic activity have continued to strengthen as it announced that it was leaving interest rates on hold. In its first meeting since Donald Trump became President,the Fed voted unanimously to keep its benchmark interest rate in a range between 0.5 and 0.75 percent. The US central bank said that “measures of consumer and business sentiment have improved of late” but added that “gradual rate increases” were still planned. The Fed also said that inflation will rise to 2 percent over the medium term  but did not give any indication of its thoughts on the growth boosting plans of President Trump. Mr Trump has promised to stimulate the economy through tax cuts,spending and deregulation.

Facebook has beaten Wall Street estimates for earnings and revenue as it announced quarterly figures showing strong growth in its mobile ad business. The social media giant said that profit for the 4th quarter came in at 3.57 billion dollars-more than double the 1.56 billion it reported for the same period in 2015. Total revenue soared to 8.81 billion dollars-up from 5.84 billion at the same time last year. Facebook’s core business continues to power ahead with mobile advertising accelerating.It now accounts for 84 percent of all revenue-up from 80 percent a year ago.

And-Volkswagen has agreed to pay 1.2 billion dollars to fix or buy back 78,000 diesel vehicles in the US to settle more emissions-cheating claims. The deal still needs regulatory approval and if rejected could see the firm saddled with a bill of as much as 4 billion dollars. Meanwhile,the car components firm Bosch which supplies VW,has agreed to pay 327.5 million dollars to the owners of affected cars in the US. The proposed settlement for cars with 3 litre engines are the last major hurdle for VW to overcome over the emissions scandal.


Rugby Union-George Kruis is out of England’s first 6 Nations game against France at Twickenham on Saturday with a knee ligament injury. The 26 year old Saracens lock suffered the injury in training on Tuesday and will see a specialist today to determine its severity. Courtney Lawes and Joe Launchbury are now expected to start together in the second row with Maro Itoje at blind-side flanker. Coach Eddie Jones will announce his starting line-up for the match later today. Gary Ringrose will make his debut for Ireland against Scotland on Saturday with many in the game hailing him as the new Brian O’Driscoll. The 22 year old will wear the number 13 jersey and is regarded as a player with a mature head and someone who’ll be able to handle the limelight and media attention. The Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has been careful not to throw Ringrose into the spotlight too soon but he’s now considered to be ready for a starting place in the line-up and great things are expected of him.

Football-Manchester City thrashed West Ham 4-0 at the London Stadium last night to join Liverpool on 46 points in 5th place in the English Premier League. In the other results last night Manchester United were held to a 0-0 draw by lowly Hull while Stoke and Everton drew 1-1. In the English Championship last night Newcastle United missed out on the chance of regaining top spot after drawing 2-2 with QPR.Leeds were 2-1 winners at Blackburn Rovers and Fulham were 2-0 winners at Burton Albion. In Scotland last night Celtic beat Aberdeen 1-0.Hearts beat Rangers 4-1 and Partick Thistle lost 1-0 at home to St Johnstone.

Cricket-India have beaten England in the third T20 international to wrap up the series. India made 202-6 from their 20 overs with England only managing 127 from 16.3 overs. India won the match by 75 runs and take the series 2-1. New Zealand are playing Australia in the second one day international at Napier but the rain has prevented any play so far.It looks like the match might be abandoned.

Formula 1-The former Mercedes technical boss Paddy Lowe has joined Williams and is set to become a shareholder and a director of the company. Lowe is to have a seat on the board at Williams and is expected to be given responsibility for all technical aspects of the group. The 54 year old is one of the most highly respected figures in Formula 1 and will start his new job as soon as Mercedes give the go ahead.


Partially cloudy this morning with rain developing this afternoon and moderate easterly winds.

Top temperature 15 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 11 degrees on the coast and 9 degrees inland with rain and scattered thunderstorms.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Unsettled with some sunny periods and more rain at times.


Ancient continent lost for 200 MILLION years is discovered by scientists. A prehistoric continent lost for 200 million years has been discovered underneath Mauritius after volcanic eruptions spewed out ancient secrets.

The landmass has been uncovered by researchers at the Witwatersrand University, in South Africa, who examined crystals freshly expelled from a volcanic eruption on Mauritius. 

Famed as an idyllic getaway location, the island in the Indian Ocean is thought to have formed part of the ancient micro-continent Mauritia, which was created when India and Madagascar broke away from each other. 

Mauritia is thought to have been part of the Gondwana supercontinent - which later became Africa, India, Australia and Antartica. 




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