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Riviera and French News Thursday 2nd March 2017

UPDATE 18:00

LeBonCoin - A man has received six years in prison from the court in Grasse for robbing a seller he met on the Le Bon Coin website. The 40 year old man posed as the buyer of a car, but when he met the seller, he threatened him with a weapon before stealing the vehicle. Also in Grasse Court, a prison inmate has had his sentence extended by two years for making terrorist threats to guards and his cellmate. The man denied the charges and after sentencing, shouted in the court that the judge was crazy.

Fillon - President of the General Council for the Alpes-Maritimes, Eric Ciotti, has called for the Republican Party to unite and support Francois Fillon. It follows serveral high-profile resignations from the presidential campaign after it was announced Monseuir Fillon is have to face court magistrates over the ‘fake pay’ scandal.

Prostitution - Two men have been sentenced by the Criminal Court of Monaco for involvement in a prostitution ring. One was found guilty of pimping, another for transporting clients in his taxi. They were sentenced for up to three months plus a fine.

BUSINESS

Eurozone inflation has risen above 2% for the first time in four years. However, despite hitting the magic 2% rate, analysts don’t expect the European Central Bank to alter its current stimulus programme, as much of the rise was down to a spike in energy prices.

In the US, Donald Trump's administration has signalled a new and aggressive approach to international trade, promising to use all possible leverage to encourage other countries to give US producers fair reciprocal access to their markets. They say their aim is to enhance, not restrict, trade and competition.

Snapchat is set to make its debut on the New York Stock Exchange today with a better-than-expected market valuation of $24bn, despite never having turned a profit. The parent company, Snap Inc, has priced 200 million shares at $17 apiece. An estimated 158 million people use Snapchat to send photos to friends which disappear a few seconds later.

SPORT

Formula 1 - Williams have been forced to cancel their pre-season tests today because of damage sustained in a crash yesterday when novice driver Lance Stroll spun into the barriers. Williams say they aim to be back on track for the start of the second and final test next Tuesday.

Rugby - England number eight Billy Vun.ipola is set for a shock early return to action for Saracens against Newcastle this weekend, boosting his hopes for a Six Nations call-up. The 24-year-old, capped 32 times by England, has been out of action since November with a knee injury.

Golf - The International Olympic Committee has warned it will move the Tokyo 2020 golf event from its planned Japanese course if they do not start admitting women. Currently, the Kasumigaseki Country Club does not allow women to become full members or play on Sundays.

Tennis - At the Dubai Championships, Roger Federer is out and Andy Murray is through to the next round. Federer was beaten in straight sets by a Russian qualifier, while Murray sailed safely through to Round 3.

UPDATE 07:00

Terror Attack - A couple from Antibes have appeared before the court in Grasse for falsely  declaring that they were present on the Promenade des Anglais at the time of last July’s  terrorist attack. The couple had attempted to claim compensation from the Guarantee Fund for Victims of Terrorism. Authorities later unmasked the couple who had previously made a similar claim for the attack at the Stade de France in Paris. The couple had reportedly already been sentenced in February 2016 for up to six years in prison for having claimed to be victims of the Paris attack. Both had been ordered to pay 30,000 euros in damages. The couple at first thought they had been successful in duping the authorities after the Guarantee Fund paid them a total of 60,000 euros.

“Open Sky” - Plans for work to begin by the end of the year on "Open Sky" a giant open-air shopping center in Valbonne have come under attack from some locals. The shopping center will reportedly include 20,000 m² of offices, a 10,000 m² hotel, 5,000 m² of restaurants, 3,000 m² of conference rooms, 20,000 m² dedicated to leisure and culture, and three levels of underground car parks.

Extra-curricular Activities in Schools - The local council in Nice has announced plans to change the school timetable as of September, with plans to eliminate the current extra-curricular activities which last 45 minutes and take place at the end of each day. The extra-curricular activities were a controversial measure which was introduced three years ago and considered costly and useless by the municipality of Nice.

Gendarmes-de-Saint-Tropez - A man has been sentenced to 210 hours of community service after he and a friend dressed as the “Gendarmes de Saint-Tropez” broke into a  house in the Hauts-de-France in 2015. The incident reported by La Voix du Nord Newspaper said the pair had been celebrating at the end of carnival two years ago almost to the day when they attempted the robbery. The accused had pleaded drunkenness as he had no recollection of events.

National

Francois Fillon - The French conservative Presidential candidate, Francois Fillon, has suffered new setbacks in his campaign as he faces a formal investigation over a fake job scandal involving his wife. He denies any wrongdoing. Foreign affairs spokesman Bruno Le Maire criticised the candidate for breaking his pledge to step aside if he was put under formal investigation. Mr Fillon says he has been summoned to appear before a judge on 15 March, just two days before the deadline for candidates to submit their final applications.

French Artist - French artist Abraham Poincheval emerged "a little stunned" on Wednesday from a week entombed inside a 12-tonne rock and thanked it for having made him feel "so welcome". Forty four year old Poincheval, had difficulty walking as he was helped from the stone onto a chair before being taken away for a medical examination. Poincheval's extreme performance in a Paris art museum has become something of a sensation in the French capital. Crowds gathered at the Palais de Tokyo to watch him inside through an infra-red camera. Hundreds tried to talk to him through a crack in the rock, with the artist telling AFP that some had read him poetry, played guitar or told him about their dreams and nightmares. Dubbed France's most extreme artist, he will now attempt to become a human hen later this month and hatch a dozen eggs by sitting on them for weeks on end.

Business

Financial firms were the big winners from Wednesday’s surge on Wall Street with JP Morgan Chase and American Express both rising by more than 2.3 percent. Shares have been climbing strongly since Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States on investor optimism about deregulation. Mr Trump’s address to Congress on Tuesday night didn’t go into any great detail about his plans for the economy although he once again promised to cut taxes and boost infrastructure spending. Investors were also cheered by growing signs that the US Federal Reserve is planning to raise interest rates later this month.A hike in the Fed’s key rate would signal that the central bank is becoming increasingly confident in sustained economic expansion.

The owner of the online messaging app Snapchat has priced its shares at 17 dollars ahead of today’s listing on the US stock market. The floatation values Snap at 24 billion dollars-although the company has never made a profit. Snapchat,which is extremely popular with teenagers,allows users to send images and messages which then vanish. The shares were more than 10 times oversubscribed and will list on the New York Stock Exchange today. However,there are concerns that the IPO will give shareholders no voting rights-an unprecedented feature which has increased suspicions that other high-valuation companies may follow suit and leave investors with little say over company operations.

And-One of London’s tallest buildings has been sold to Chinese investors for around 1.15 billion pounds. British Land and Oxford Properties,which both own 50 percent of the wedge shaped skyscraper known as the ‘Cheesegrater’ have exchanged contracts with CC Land. The Chinese company is run by the property magnate Cheung Chung-Kiu who holds just over half of its shares. Officially called the Leadonhall Building,the tower was completed in 2014 and has achieved record rents for the City of London.

Sport

Football-Manchester City are through to the quarter finals of the FA Cup in England after coming from behind to beat Huddersfield Town of the Championship 5-1 at the Etihad last night. City will be away at Middlesbrough in the last 8 with the tie to be played on March the 11th. The Barcelona manager Luis Enrique says that he’s to step down at the end of the season because he needs a “rest”. The 46 year old has been in charge of the Catalan giants for 3 seasons and won the European Champions League as part of the treble in his first year in charge. Last year he guided the team to a domestic double. Ronald Koeman and Michael Laudrup are among the early favourites to succeed him.

Formula 1-Ferrari impressed again as pre-season testing continues in Barcelona. Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes set the fastest time of the week but Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel was only a little bit slower and there appears to be growing confidence inside the Maranello outfit. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was third quickest  which bodes well as the team are known to have been running with a detuned engine and have a number of new aerodynamic parts which will appear for the first time next week.

Rugby Union—The England captain Dylan Hartley says that he should have reacted quicker to Italy’s tactics in last Sunday’s 6 Nations game at Twickenham. The England pack were confused for much of the first half after Italy refused to contest the breakdown and nullified the offside line. Hartley says that he’s still “learning” and takes full responsibility for the team’s failure to adapt quickly. Chris Robshaw is back in training as he recovers from a shoulder injury. The former England captain has missed the entire 6 Nations so far but is unlikely to be fit enough to feature in either of the final two games against Scotland and Ireland.

Tennis-Roger Federer is out of the Dubai Championships. The Australian Open champion was beaten by the Russian qualifier Evgeny Donskoy in 3 sets. Andy Murray made it into round 3 safely after beating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in straight sets 6-2 6-0.

Weather

Clear skies with moderate to strong south westerly winds across the Var. Top temperature 19 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 9 degrees on the coast and 4 degrees inland with clear skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Mainly fine tomorrow with a high of 16 degrees.Rain on Saturday.