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Riviera and French News Tuesday 21st March 2017

UPDATE 18:00

Bomb Scare - Traffic in Cannes is returning to normal after a suspicious car was discovered containing gas cylinders near the train station. Police had sealed off roads and evacuated nearby residents. An investigation proved it was simply a cylinder on the back seat of a car and not like a similar incident where a car was found with gas cylinders in Paris last September kicking off a terror alert.

Migrant - The body of a migrant has been discovered between Ventimellia and Menton, after he attempted to make the border crossing on a deadly coastal path. An investigation is thought to reveal he attempted the deadly crossing at night before falling in the dark.

Mosque - The Court of Appeal has decided not to order the demolition of the mosque in Frejus. The demolition was demanded by the National Front as there were irregular construction conditions. However, the court has handed a fine of €5,000 to the Muslim Association for not having the correct permits.

Election - A survey of voters in the PACA region puts Marie le Pen at the front of the presidential pack with 35% of people here voting for her in the first round. Trailing behind is Emmanual Macron with 20%. Should the two go head-to-head in the second round, the winner is too close to call, with 51% of people surveyed preferring Le Pen over 49% for Macron.

BUSINESS

The CEO of the French construction group Vinci, has said they will not participate in the building of any wall on the US border with Mexico. He said the decision was not a value judgment on the United States. Earlier this month, the French government expressed dissatisfaction at the French group LafargeHolcim, who said they are happy to supply cement for the controversial border.

Goldman Sachs are the latest bank to confirm they are moving hundreds of jobs away from London to bulk up their European presence. The banks European CEO said they will start moving staff over the next 18 months before Brexit comes into effect. Meanwhile, rising food and fuel prices have pushed UK inflation to its highest rate in over three years. The latest Consumer Price Index has jumped to 2.3%, up from 1.8% in January.

SPORT

Football - Manchester United defender Phil Jones has pulled out of the England squad to face Germany on Wednesday, and Lithuania on Sunday, after picking up an injury in training. Manager Gareth Southgate has no plans to call up a replacement but will assess his options after the friendly with Germany. Meanwhile Ireland's injury crisis deepened today with striker Daryl Murphy becoming the fifth player to be ruled out of Friday's World Cup qualifier against Wales in Dublin. The Newcastle United forward has a calf problem and has returned to the club for treatment.

Rugby - Aaron Mauger says he’s devastated by Leicester's decision not to appoint him as head coach. He had been in charge since Richard Cockerill was sacked in January but has been replaced by ex-Tigers coach Matt O'Connor. And Huw Jones is facing five months off after tearing a hamstring in Scotland’s Six Nations victory over Italy. Surgery means he will be out of action for Scotland's summer tour and any hopes of selection for the British and Irish Lions' tour of New Zealand.

Tennis - Two time Wimbledon champion, Petra Kv.itova, has regained the use of her racquet hand after the knife attack at her home in December. However there is still no concrete date for her return with doctors saying she will be out of competitive tennis for at least six months.

UPDATE 07:00

Presidential Election - France’s main presidential candidates rounded on the far-right Front National’s Marine Le Pen in the first televised debate on Monday night, with the independent centrist Emmanuel Macron accusing her of lying and seeking to divide the country. The three-and-a-half-hour live debate between the top five candidates saw Le Pen and Macron repeatedly exchange verbal blows. Polls suggest Le Pen will get the most votes in the first round, but Mr Macron will defeat her in the run-off. The other three candidates in Monday's debate were centre-right contender Francois Fillon, and left-wingers Benoit Hamon and Jean-Luc Melenchon. All five traded punches on the big issues for France, including jobs, terrorism,immigration and the country's place in Europe.

The Blue Whale Challenge - Police authorities in the Var are campaigning against a new craze which is affecting young teenagers - “The Blue Whale Challenge”. The game which appeared on Russia’s social network two years ago proposes to attempt 50 dangerous challenges which must be filmed. The challenges range from lying on a railway track as a train approaches to walking on the edge of bridges or other high buildings.At the end of the challenge participants are asked to wake up every night and listen to sad music. Authorities fear that the “challenge” is driving young teenagers to depression and even suicide. The prevention campaign hopes to inform and deter youngsters from being drawn into what can only be described as a form of cyber harassment.

Tocqueville Lycee - Education authorities in the region have announced that a strong police presence as well as a team of psychologists will remain at the Tocqueville Lycee in Grasse following last Thursday’s shooting.  The measures were put in place after three students and a head teacher were wounded in what France’s education minister called at the time a “crazy act” carried out by a teenager obsessed with firearms.

Cannes Film Festival - It has been announced that Italian actress Monica Bellucci will head the opening ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival this year. The Festival which will celebrate its 70th year will take place from Wednesday 17th May to Sunday 28th May. The 52 year old actress was a member of the jury at Cannes in 2006.

Tourism Award - The island of Saint Honorat which is located just opposite Cannes has been awarded with the “Tourism Quality Label” for its services in hospitality. Some 100,000 tourists visit the island each year.

National

Sexual Abuse - The investigative website Mediapart has claimed that twenty-five French bishops covered up sexual abuse by 32 Catholic priests for years. The abuse, which continued after 2000 when the church claimed to have tackled the problem, reportedly affected 339 victims.

UBS - Banking giant UBS is to face trial in France accused of organising a massive tax-fraud scheme that hid some 12 billion euros from French tax authorities in Swiss bank accounts. The bank denies the charges, which have been filed after an attempt at a plea bargain broke down.

New Law - This week it will become mandatory for children in France to wear helmets while riding bicycles. The new law comes into effect on Wednesday and will affect all children under the age of 12 - even if they're just passengers on the bike. Failure to do so can result in a fine of €90 for the parents. 

Business

The founder of Microsoft,Bill Gates has once again topped the Forbes Rich List in which the number of billionaires in the world has risen  by 13 percent to 2,043. Mr Gates has a fortune of 86 billion dollars according to the list-up from 75 billion last year.The investor Warren Buffett is second on the list with a fortune of 75.6 billion dollars. US President Donald Trump slipped by 220 places on the list to 544th with a fortune of 3.5 billion dollars.Forbes says that a 1 billion dollar fall in his wealth was due to the slow US property market. Others in the top 10 include the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos ,the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the co-founder of Oracle Larry Ellison.

The billionaire philanthropist David Rockefeller has died at his home in New York at the age of 101. Mr Rockerfeller was the last of his generation in the famed family and was the grandson of the co-founder of Standard Oil John D Rockefeller. David Rockefeller had been at the helm of the family fortune and controlled both its philanthropic and business interests. He served in the US Army during World War 2 before working at Chase Bank which later became JP Morgan Chase. He became president of the company in 1961 and was named chief executive in 1969.He was also part of the project that led to the World Trade Center in New York City.

And-The world’s largest retailer Wal-Mart is to launch an investment arm to expand its e-commerce business in partnership with retail start-ups,venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. The plan will be led by Marc Lore,who’s Wal-Mart’s e-commerce chief. The venture,which is called Store No.8 will work with start-ups specialising in areas that include robotics,virtual and augmented reality,machine learning and artificial intelligence.It will be based in Silicon Valley.

Sport

Football-Reports suggest that the Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is keen to stay on in his role despite the club’s exit from Europe and another season without major honours. Wenger has been coming under pressure to step down and said on Saturday that he ‘knows his future’. A decision as to whether he’ll be awarded a one year contract extension or not is due to be taken over the next few weeks.

Cricket-The third Test between India and Australia has ended in a draw. The tourist’s held off the Indian spinners to bat out the final day and end on 204-6 in their second innings. The series is tied at 1-1 with one Test remaining.

Rugby Union-3 England players are on a shortlist of 12 for the 6 Nations player of the tournament award. Owen Farrell,Maro Itoje and Joe Launchbury all make the list. Last year’s winner,the Scotland back Stuart Hogg is also on the list along with team-mate Finn Russell. Conor Murray and CJ Stander represent Ireland with the Wales scrum-half Rhys Webb and hooker Ken Owens also included. Two French players-Camille Lopez and Louis Picamoles make the list,as does the Italy captain Sergio Parisse. Voting is open to the public on the 6 Nations website and closes at noon today.

Weather

A cloudy start-brightening later with light,variable winds.

Top temperature 18 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 12 degrees on the coast and 8 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

Wednesday and Thursday-Fine tomorrow,clouding over during the evening.Rain on Thursday.