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Riviera and French News Thursday 30th March 2017

UPDATE 18:00

Raid - A spectacular police raid at dawn this morning has yielded a cache of weapons and explosives in Cap d’Ail near Monaco. A 29 year-old, with a history of violence, drugs and theft, was arrested at the scene.

Weather - The Riviera was hit by an unusual weather phenomenon today when a blanket of fog rolled along the entire coast from Menton to Antibes around lunchtime. Meteó France say the condition is extremely rare and caused by unusually warm seas colliding with the air.

Racism - Racist attacks across France decreased significantly last year despite the increase in terrorism and an influx of refugees. Police say on average they deal with nearly 800 complaints a month but that figure is down significantly. Official figures show anti-Muslim or Semitic actions or threats have fallen between 40% and 60%. However, it’s estimated only one in five such attacks are reported.

BUSINESS

Lloyd's of London has announced they will establish a new European subsidiary in Brussels so it can continue its European business after Brexit. The company's continental business generates 11% of its premiums. They said they chose Brussels as they wanted a jurisdiction with a reputation for regulation.

The US economy grew faster than initially estimated in the final quarter of 2016, up 2.1%, two percentage points higher than estimated. However, that was still lower than quarter three and has not affected the annualised growth rate of 1.6%, which is the slowest since 2011. It’s thought this will make it more difficult for President Donald Trump to meet his pledge to lift GDP growth to 4%, through tax cuts and infrastructure spending.

SPORT

Football - FIFA has opened proceedings against Wales full-back Neil Taylor after he broke Ireland's Seamus Coleman’s leg in a tackle in last Friday's World Cup qualifier in Dublin. Taylor will be suspended for the qualifier in Serbia in June and FIFA could yet extend his one-game ban.

The English Premier League is cracking down on illegal streaming. They’re working with police and internet service providers in the UK and abroad to protect their broadcasts. The UK high court has already granted an order allowing four of the UK’s biggest ISP’s to block access to illegal servers.

Rugby - Chris Ashton says he still has a burning desire to play for England but decided, that after his ban for biting, it was time to move to France. The Toulon-bound Saracens wing said obstacles on both sides meant he accepted his Test career was over.

UPDATE 07:00

Kidnapping - Police in Clermont-Ferrand have released a kidnapping alert after a five year old boy was reported missing on Wednesday afternoon. Vincente, about 1 meter tall with short chestnut hair, brown eyes, wearing glasses, a pajama top with the logo “Cars” on it and blue underpants is reported to have been kidnapped by his father Jason Lopez. Lopez is described as a man of Mediterranean type with brown eyes, short black hair and a short beard. Both are believed to be travelling in a black BMW or Mercedes vehicle registered in the Puy de Dôme (63). Anyone with any information is asked to contact 197.

Police Search - A 75 year old woman has been found by police between the domain of Courmettes and the village of Tourettes-sur-Loup. The woman a Monaco resident had been missing since Tuesday after setting out for a walk in the area. According to reports she had suffered a fall and fractured her ankle spending the night outside. She was airlifted by helicopter rescue services on Wednesday morning and taken to hospital in Cannes.

EuroVelo - EuroVelo has announced plans to set up a cycling route to cross Europe. The route from Spain to Greece would pass through the Var, the Côte d’Azur and Monaco. The new route “EuroVelo8” will be one of 15 routes which will cross Europe in 2020 under EuroVelo which is a European cycling network initiated by the European Cyclists’ Federation. The 100% bike network of 75,000 kilometers across 43 European countries is still under construction, but is already well advanced on some of its routes.

Cannes Film Festival - The official poster for this year's Cannes Film Festival has sparked an outcry over claims that Italian actress Claudia Cardinale's thighs had been airbrushed to make them thinner. French media claimed that the photograph had been tampered with. The photo is taken from 1959 and show’s Cardinale swirling her skirt on a rooftop in Rome. The actress, now 78, said in a statement released by the festival that she was honoured to feature on the poster for its 70th anniversary year.

 “Riviera” - The series “Riviera” produced by Sky has injected 21 million euros of direct benefit to the local economy according to reports. After 140 days of filming since last summer, the shooting of Riviera's first season ended a few weeks ago. The 10 episodes of this big budget series were exclusively shot on the Côte d'Azur, between Menton, Cannes and Nice.

Elton John - It has been announced that Elton John will be giving a one-off concert on December 6th here in Monaco. The legendary singer/songwriter just celebrated his 70th birthday and last played at the Monaco Yacht Club in 2016 at an private concert. For reservations go to  http://www.gdp.fr/fr/node/196

National

French Presidential - French Socialist party presidential candidate Benoît Hamon has called for the country’s divided left to join forces following the decision by former Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls to switch sides in next month’s election. After weeks of speculation, Valls announced he was supporting Emmanuel Macron, breaking a signed agreement to back his party’s elected candidate. The decision sparked anger and Hamon, who polls suggest is set for a humiliating fifth place in the first round of the vote on 23 April, said the defection was “another great blow to democracy”.

Brexit - Many pro-EU Brits in France say their battle is only just beginning after the UK government triggered Article 50 on Wednesday. Toulouse based Ian Hayes-Fry from the Remain in France Together online community said that Wednesday “marked the end of the ‘phoney war’ and the beginning of a whole new Battle of Britain”. Many groups representing British citizens living in Europe are not ready to rely on Theresa May and the UK government to deliver the best deal to protect their rights and have vowed to step up their campaigning.

Business

British trade groups say that they want to hang on to the best possible access to the EU single market despite the triggering of Article 50 to leave the bloc by the UK government on Wednesday. In January,the British Prime Minister Theresa May made it clear that her plan was to leave the single market and possibly the customs union as well. Unless a new trade deal is put in place by the end of the two year negotiating period,UK companies will face tariffs on imports and exports with the EU as well as tighter customs controls and curbs on EU workers. Trade groups say that they need to know as soon as possible about the new relationship with the UK’s biggest trading partner.The Confederation of British Industry CBI says that if a new trade deal isn’t possible within two years then interim arrangements are essential. A report by the law firm Eversheds Sutherland has found that 80 percent of large British businesses are lobbying the government on the Brexit talks The director general of the CBI,Adam Marshall says that  instead of putting some firms ahead of others,ministers must “prioritise what’s best for UK companies across the board”.

EU regulators have blocked the London Stock Exchange’s  21 billion pound merger with the German Stock Exchange Deutsche Boerse. The European Commission says that the deal would have created a “de facto” monopoly for certain financial services. The LSE group has said that it “regrets” the decision  as it would have created a “world leading” financial markets company. Doubts had already been raised over the deal because of Brexit and where the joint firm would be based.

And-Lloyds of London is setting up a new base in Brussels to avoid losing business when the UK leaves the EU. Media reports say that the company will set out its plans at a press conference today. The insurer is said to have been weighing up different locations in continental Europe and fears that its business will be seriously affected post Brexit with 11 percent of its premiums being generated on the European mainland. Other UK based financial institutions are also planning to relocate part or all of their businesses in Europe. Several investment banks including Bank of America,Barclays and Morgan Stanley are considering relocating staff to Dublin,Frankfurt,Madrid and Amsterdam and HSBC is expected to move significant numbers of employees to Paris.

Sport 

Football-The English Premier League has launched its biggest crackdown yet on piracy with a series of moves to combat illegal streaming. The streaming of live football on the internet,bypassing providers including Sky and BT Sport,is seen as potentially fatally undermining the EPL’s business model and the firm is fighting back. The Premier League has now engaged with police forces across the UK and abroad and is collaborating with internet service providers as it seeks to protect its intellectual property ahead of new bidding on a broadcast deal with starts next year. A series of raids has been carried out in the North-West of England as well as in Belfast in Northern Ireland and Malaga in Spain with equipment seized. Earlier this month,the UK high court granted an order to allow the UK’s four biggest ISP’s to block access to entire online servers.

Cricket-The Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Irfan has been banned for a year failing to report  spot-fixing. The Pakistan Cricket Board says that the player twice failed to report approaches by bookmakers linked to spot-fixing. Irfan was one of three players suspended by the PCB following an investigation focused on the Pakistan Super League.

Rugby Union-The France lock Yoann Maestri has been fined 30,000 euros after accepting a misconduct charge for comments he made about referee Wayne Barnes following the dramatic victory over Wales in Paris. Maestri criticised the referee’s decision making following a chaotic end to the game.Half of his fine will be suspended until the end of next season.

Tennis-Johanna Konta is through to the semi-finals of the Miami Open after beating Simona Halep 3-6 7-6 6-2..She’ll now play Venus Williams in the last four.She beat the top seed Angelique Kerber 7-5 6-3.

Weather

Clear skies with light variable winds.

Top temperatures 20 degrees Celsius on the coast and 22 degrees in places inland.

Overnight lows of 11 degrees on the coast and 9 degrees inland with clear skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Fine tomorrow with a high of 18-20 degrees.Sunshine and showers on Saturday with some more persistent rain in the Var.

Finally

Chimpanzees don’t like music and are most likely to leave the room if Justin Bieber comes on the radio.

Psychologists have discovered the great apes are not Beliebers and see music as just a type of noise. The find suggests that humans are the only animals to have evolved an appreciation for music, according to the researchers. 

Despite sharing 96 to 98 per cent of human DNA, chimpanzees have none of our appreciation for music, with fast-paced pop songs their least favourite compared to classical music like Beethoven and Mozart. 

While previous studies have suggested they find music relaxing, researchers at the University of York found it has no effect on their behaviour, aggression or grooming behaviour.

Interestingly, chimps at Edinburgh Zoo who played pop music including Justin Bieber and Adele’s Rolling in the Deep were more likely to leave their enclosure.

But they were less likely to leave when slower classical music was playing. It backs up previous research, which has found the animals appear to prefer classical music, but would rather have no music at all.