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Riviera and French News Tuesday 21st February 2017

UPDATE 18:00

Terrorists - Three men, suspected of planning a terrorist attack, were arrested today. One in Marseilles, the other two in Clermont-Ferrand and Paris. Police believe the three were at an advanced stage of a planned attack.

National Front - Marine Le Pen is at the centre of controversy today for refusing to wear a veil at a planned meeting with  the Mufti of the Lebanese Republic in Beirut. Meanwhile investigators looking into an alleged fake jobs scam by the National Front, has raided the party's headquarters near Paris. The party said this was the second raid in a year, in the same offices, for the same allegations, which confirms that the first raid amounted to nothing. Investigators are trying to determine whether the National Front used European Parliamentary funds to pay for 20 of its members officially employed as parliamentary aides, while continuing to work for the party elsewhere.

Monaco - Property prices in Monaco have reached record levels with half of new homes last year selling for over €10m. The government statistics office says the current value of homes are running at over €41,000 a square metre. That’s more than twice the price of Manhattan co-op or a luxury home in London.

BUSINESS

Shares in HSBC have fallen considerably after the bank reported a steeper-than-expected fall in annual profits, which are down 62% on last year. HSBC attributed the fall to a string of one-off charges including the sale of its operations in Brazil.

Internet giant Yahoo is to be sold to Verizon for $350m less than originally agreed. The original deal was marred after Yahoo admitted cyber attacks affecting more than a billion customers. Verizon will now buy the business for $4.5bn.

The Bank of England says it has made big improvements in its ability to forecast the UK economy. The Bank's chief economist acknowledged that economic forecasting errors had been made in the past, especially at the time of the 2008 financial crisis.

SPORT

Football - AS Monaco face Manchester City in tonight’s Champions League clash with over a thousand Monaco fans are in Manchester for the game. Although Manchester are favourites to win, it will be a tough fight as AS Monaco, with 76 goals in 26 games, are currently the top scorers across Europe's biggest leagues, and also at the top of the French Ligue 1. Kickoff is at 8.45 French time.

Rugby - Richard Cockerill says he wants to bring direction, leadership and steel into his Edinburgh side when he takes over as head coach from next season. Cockerhill has just signed a two year deal to coach the club with is languishing in the Pro12's lower reaches.

UPDATE 07:00

Nice Carnival - Motorists in Nice are reminded that due to the Nice Carnival, which runs until Saturday 25th February traffic is limited in the Massena and Old Nice area. Today restrictions will start at 6pm until half past midnight.

Allergy Alert - The National Allergy centre has placed the region on red alert. Over the last few day the Alpes-Maritimes has been hit by a high pollen alert due to the regions Cypress trees. The high pollen alert is expected to last until the end of March.

Cycle Challenge - Axel and Andréas from Nice have cycled across South America in 49 days beating the current record. In three months the men travelled 11,000km crossing five countries. The challenge beat the record by nine days and raised money for the French firefighters association.

Traffic Jams - According to a recent study French motorists spent on average 23 hours in traffic jams last year with Marseille ranking second after Paris with a total of 29 hours. Parisians hold the record with more than 65 hours spent waiting in traffic.

National

Emmanuel Macron - More than 3,000 French voters are expected to attend Central Hall in Westminster today as French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron brings his campaign to London. With nine weeks to go before the first round of a wide-open contest, the former investment banker and economy minister is seeking votes in London’s French community, estimated at 300,000 people, many of them relatively young, globally minded and in principle open to his message.

Spiderman - A robber nicknamed "Spiderman", who stole five masterpieces from a top Paris museum, has been sentenced to eight years in prison. Vjeran Tomic and two accomplices were also fined a 104 million euros on Monday over the robbery of five paintings from the Musée d’Art Moderne in 2010.

Business

The German Finance Minister has said that the institutions in charge of Greece’s bailout have reached a “common position” on how to proceed. Last week,the International Monetary Fund said that Greece needed more time to pay its huge debts before the next rescue funds could be released but the European Central Bank appeared unwilling to go much further. The comments by Wolfgang Schaeble now appear to suggest that the deadlock over the next steps may have been resolved. In its most recent assessment of the Greek economy,the IMF said that the country “cannot grow out of its debt problem”It added that Greece would need “substantial” debt relief from its European partners to restore debt sustainably.

The owner of Burger King and Tim Hortons appears close to a deal to acquire Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen. Sources close to the matter have said that Restaurant Brands International is keen to introduce Popeye’s Louisiana-style fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits to an international clientele and has valued the deal at 1.7 billion dollars. A deal could be announced before the end of this week. Popeye’s started trading 45 years ago as a Southern-fried ‘chicken on the run’ restaurant in New Orleans.Since then,it’s expanded to a chain of more than 2,000 restaurants with 1,600 in the United States.

And-The owner of the Snapchat app has been trying to persuade London money managers to invest in its IPO amid a backdrop of concern about its growth prospects,valuation and corporate governance. Snap Incorporated,which has yet to make a profit,is targeting a valuation of between 19.5 and 22.3 billion dollars from listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Investors attending a meeting in London on Monday are reported to have been disappointed that there were no projections of the firm’s future revenues or advertising share.

Sport 

Football-Arsenal are through to the quarter finals of the FA Cup in England after beating non-league Sutton United 2-0 in last night’s 5th round tie. Arsenal’s reward is a last 8 home date against non-league Lincoln City which should,on paper almost certainly guarantee them a place in the semi-finals. There’s European Champions League action tonight with Manchester City at home to Monaco in the round of 16 and Bayer Leverkusen against Athletico Madrid.

Formula 1-Sauber have become the first team to reveal their car for the new season. The C36 gives the first indications on how teams will approach major rule changes coming into force which are aimed at creating faster,more dramatic cars. The car has a delta-shaped front wing and a lower,wider rear wing and bigger tyres. The new cars also feature a wider and revised floor area which should enable them to generate much more downforce.

Rugby Union-Mako Vinipola  has been included in a 28 man squad for England’s 6 Nations match against Italy on Sunday. The 26 year old Saracens prop has been out for two months with a knee injury but returned for his club last weekend and played for 71 minutes. England are looking to extend their winning run to 17 matches on Sunday. Six Scotland players have been declared fit for Saturday’s meeting with Wales at Murrayfield. Flankers John Barclay and John Hardie and hooker Fraser Brown have all recovered from knocks sustained in the defeat against France while loose forward Ryan Wilson has recovered from illness. The backs Sean Maitland and Mark Bennett have both recovered from knocks picked up with their clubs last weekend.

Weather

Clear skies with light south westerly or variable winds. Top temperature 16 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 9 degrees on the coast and 5 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies and some mist and fog forming.

Wednesday and Thursday-Quite cloudy on the coast tomorrow,fine inland.Clear skies across the region on Thursday with a high of 14-16 degrees.