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Riviera and French News Thursday 6th April 2017

Local

Hervé Pizzinat, the headmaster of the Alexis de Tocqueville high school in Grasse, has received France’s highest honour, the Légion d'Honneur today. The school was the scene of a shooting by a pupil three weeks ago.  The headmaster confronted the armed pupil and tried to enter into a dialogue with him, to give other pupils the chance to reach safety.  The award was presented by the French Education Minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem. Monsieur Pizzinat dedicated the award to the pupils and the educational team at the school.

Strike action by several unions is set to affect some flights operated by Air France’s HOP! Airline tomorrow and Saturday.
The airline says that some flights may be cancelled. On some other flights they may be forced to limit the number of passengers on board which would mean they may not be able to honour all reservations.
Customers affected by the cancellation of their reservation will be informed the day before departure by SMS or e-mail, so you are advised to make sure your contact details are up to date.  If you think you might be affected, you can get information, including details of how to change your booking, at the website www.hop.com

The organizers of the Nice Jazz Festival have announced the main acts we’ll be able to see at this year’s festival, which is taking place from the 17th to the 21st of July.  The main star will be Herbie Hancock.  Other headline acts include Mary J Blige and De La Soul.  Last year’s Nice Jazz Festival was cancelled because of the July 14th attacks.

 

National

Chemical-weapon Attack - France, Britain and the US have presented a draft resolution to the UN Security Council condemning Tuesday's suspected chemical-weapon attack. The resolution calls on the UN's Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to report quickly on its fact-finding mission on the attack that killed at least 70 civilians. Twenty children were among the dead, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, and at least another 100 people were being treated in some in a critical condition.

Panama Papers - According to reports in Le Monde newspaper. French magistrates are investigating 26 individuals or institutions suspected of hiding huge sums of money in tax havens and tax authorities are looking into 416 suspected tax dodgers in an inquiry sparked by last year's Panama Papers revelations. Five top magistrates are looking into the 26 "targets" suspected of involvement in money-laundering schemes that passed cash through Panama, the Seychelles, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore in an effort to dodge French tax authorities.

Business

All but one of the 10 members of the US Federal Open Markets Committee voted to raise interest rates last month because of the strength of the economy. Minutes from the Fed’s last policy meeting also showed that “some participants viewed equity prices as quite high,relative to standard valuation measures”. The US central bank bought Treasury and mortgage-backed securities during and after the financial crisis to help keep interest rates low in an effort to encourage firms to take on staff and to boost economic growth. In the minutes,the Fed said that “provided the economy continues to perform about as expected,most participants anticipated that gradual increasesin the Federal Funds Rate would continue”. The Committee also judged that a change to reinvestment policy would be likely appropriate later this year.

The owner of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Kenco Coffee is to buy the US sandwich and bakery chain Panera Bread for 7.5 billion dollars.JAB Holdings,which also controls the coffee brands Douwe Egberts as well as the luxury shoe maker Jimmy Choo and the beauty firm Coty,is owned by the billionaire Reimann family. It paid 1.35 billion dollars to acquire Krispy Kreme last year. Panera Bread was formed 36 years ago,under the name Au Bon Pain,with one outlet in Boston.The firm bought the Saint Louis Bread Company in 1993,adding 20 branches and then changed its name to Panera Bread in 1997. It now has more than 2,000 restaurants across the United States and employs around 100,000 people with annual sales of 5 billion dollars.

And-The Australian consumer watchdog is suing Apple after alleging that it used a software update to disable iPhones which had cracked screens repaired by 3rd parties. In a court filing on Thursday,the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said that Apple “bricked”-or disabled 100’s of iPhones with a software update and then refused to unlock them on the grounds that customers had had their devices serviced by non-Apple repairers. The ACCC says that “consumer guarantee rights under the Australian Consumer Law exist independently of any manufacturers warranty and are not affected because a consumer has goods fixed by a third party”. Apple has so far refused to comment.

Sport 

Golf-The world number one and Masters favourite Dustin Johnson has sustained a lower  back injury following a fall at his rental home near Augusta on the eve of the tournament. The player’s agent says that Johnson “fell on the stairs and landed hard on his back”.He said that he still hoped to play in the tournament. The first major of the year gets underway at the Augusta National at 2pm French time this afternoon. Heavy rain washed out the par 3 tournament yesterday but although it’s expected to be cloudy today,play shouldn’t be interrupted with a high of 17 degree Celsius forecast.

Football-Chelsea have maintained their 7 point lead at the top of the English Premier League thanks to a 2-1 win over Manchester City in the big game at Stamford Bridge last night. Second placed Spurs kept up the pressure with a 3-1 win at Swansea  while 3rd placed Liverpool could only manage a 2-2 draw with Bournemouth. In the other results Hull beat Middlesbrough 4-2.Southampton beat Crystal Palace 3-1 and Arsenal were 3-0 winners over West Ham. In the English Championship last night,Newcastle returned to the top of the table thanks to a 1-0 win over Burton Albion while Huddersfield moved a step closer to securing a playoff place with a 3-0 win over Norwich. In the Scottish Premiership the champions Celtic drew 1-1 with Partick Thistle.Kilmarnock and Rangers drew 0-0.Motherwell and Hamilton drew 0-0 and St Johnstone beat Hearts 1-0.

Tennis-Jeremy Chardy has replaced Gilles Simon in the French team to play Great Britain in the Davis Cup quarter-final in Rouen tomorrow. France are also without Gael Monfis,Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Richard Gasquet  while Great Britain are without Andy Murray. The 3 day match is being played on clay.

Racing-The three day Grand National meeting gets underway at Aintree today. The final line-up for the big race on Saturday will be announced shortly after 11am French time this morning. Definitely Red is the current favourite at 10-1 with More of That and Cause of Causes both at 12-1. The average odds of a Grand National winner since the turn of the century are around 28-1.

Weather

Clear skies with light easterly or variable winds. Top temperature 21 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 12 degrees on the coast and 7 degrees inland with clear skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Fine and sunny with highs of 19-22 degrees.

Finally

A Canadian couple have been left speechless after winning the lottery for a third time, scooping almost £5 million.

Barbara and Douglas Fink had already won the lottery in 1989 and 2010, but bagged their biggest jackpot so far with their most recent win.

The couple, who live in Edmonton, Alberta, said they will use the £4.9 million to support their daughters and grandchildren, as well as buying a new house.

Mrs Fink released they had triumphed again in the Western Canada Lottery after checking the ticket while her husband was out of town, and immediately tried calling him.