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Riviera and French News Tuesday 28th February 2017

UPDATE 18:00

Lake - The body of a man in his forties has been discovered in the watery bottom of a quarry in Plan-de-la-Tour in the Var. The body was tied up and the man died of gunshot wounds.

Identity - From next week, people applying for a national French identity card, will have to supply their finger prints as well as the usual proof of ID documents. The new biometric card is designed to be more secure and less prone to identity theft. The card will remain free to obtain and is valid for fifteen years.

Stab - Police are hunting a man who stabbed a 30 year-old man in the back last night. The incident happened about 8 O’Clock in a pedestrian zone in central Nice. The injured man is recovering in hospital.

Mayor - The Mayor of La Gaude has resigned following allegations of income and inheritance tax evasion. Although he handed in his resignation yesterday, he will continue to carry out his duties as a regional councillor as he has now paid his outstanding taxes.

Fake - As investigations continue into presidential candidates Francois Fillon and Marine Le Pen over fake jobs, a new survey shows almost one in five French MPs in the National Assembly employ family members. The survey also showed only six women MPs employ their partner, against 45 male MPs do so.

BUSINESS

The French economy grew by 1.1% last year. Figures from INSEE also show GDP is up slightly, household consumption is on the rise, and French companies continue to invest in their business’s as production increases, particularly in the construction sector. Imports have fallen but at a lower rate than exports. INSEE say growth in the French economy is expected to increase by 0.4% in the first and second quarter of this year.

Sir Philip Green has made a voluntary payment of £363m to settle the pension schemes of his collapsed retail company BHS. The settlement means the billionaires legal matters and claims from the Pensions Regulator have now been withdrawn.

Vietnam's low-cost carrier Vietjet, known for its bikini PR stunts, has hit the maximum 20% in its trading debut on the Ho Chi Minh City stock market. The airline is thought to soon overtake national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines in market share. Investor interest has been driven by the pace of growth in the domestic airline market in Vietnam, one of the fastest in Asia.

SPORT

Football - Leicester City have climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone with a 3-1 win over Liverpool last night. It was their first match since Claudio Ranieri was sacked as their manager. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says his team had a "bad start, bad middle and bad end" to the game. 

There are three games tonight in the English Championship with the leaders playing each other. Leaders Brighton face second placed Newcastle while  Aston Villa play Bristol City and Blackburn face Derby.

Formula 1 - Day Two of pre-season testing continues in Barcelona today with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton saying his new car looks 1,000 times better than any other this year!  McLaren and Red Bull are hoping for better results today after reliability problems yesterday.

Rugby - Sale Sharks are to sign Scotland and Glasgow back row forward Josh Strauss on a three-year deal from next season. The South African born forward becomes Sale's first new signing for the next season.

UPDATE 07:00

Cars destroyed - Four cars have been destroyed in a fire that started on the avenie de la Rostagne in Antibes. Police say that the fire started in a Renault Kangoo at around 9pm last night and quickly spread to 3 other vehicles parked nearby. It took fire fighters several hours to bring the blaze under control which also destroyed a tree. The cause of the fire is yet to be determined.

Travellers camp fire - Police in the Var are investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed several caravans at a travellers site on the chemin de Peyrat in Grimaud. Authorities were called to the scene on Sunday afternoon after 6 caravans and a number of mobile homes caught fire causing extensive damage. The Gendarmerie at Grimaud is handling the investigation.

Murder trial - The trial has started in Nice of a man accused of murdering his brother. Hamid “K” who’s a 54 year old Frenchman of Tunisian origin is accused of stabbing his brother Karim to death on the 4th of October 2014. The trial at the Alpes-Maritimes Assize Court is expected to last for several days.

Mayor resigns - The Mayor of La Gaude has resigned following allegations of tax evasion. Michel Meini is due to appear in court within the next few weeks accused of not paying income and inheritance tax.He handed his resignation to the prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes on Monday. Mr Meini will continue to carry out his duties as regional councillor. It’s understood that he has now paid his outstanding taxes.

National News

Le Pen - A former aide to the far-right French Presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has claimed that he was recruited for her campaign team using a bogus European Parliament contract. Gael Nofri says that he was recruited in 2012 on a European Parliament contract as a way for the Front National to avoid declaring campaign spending. The party is already under investigation for the alleged misuse of European Parliament  funds. Mr Nofri has since resigned from the FN and is currently a municipal councillor in Nice for the Republicans Party. The latest opinion polls suggest that Marine Le Pen will win the first round of the French Presidential election vote in April but that she would lose to either Emmanuel Macron or Francois Fillon in the second round.

Farm protests - French farmers have criticised the government for failing to address the country’s ongoing milk crisis. Dairy prices have been falling since the European Union decided to scrap milk quotas in 2015 and many farmers say that they can no longer make ends meet. Some farmers are reported to be working 80 hours a week and are having to rely on the salaries of their partners to get by. A spokesman for French farmers said that the EU is to blame for scrapping milk quotas after 35 years,at a time when international demand was high. The problem  has been compounded since Russia banned EU imports in 2014 in retaliation for EU sanctions over its role in the Ukraine crisis and China turned elsewhere for its milk after buying up farms in Australia.

Business news

President Trump is set to seek what he’s described as a “historic” increase in defence spending although he’s already run into trouble with several Republicans in Congress. Mr Trump is proposing a 10 percent increase in the defence budget and aims to pay for the expansion by making cuts elsewhere,including to foreign aid. The Pentagon budget would be increased to 603 billion dollars under Mr Trump’s plan but there’s opposition in Congress from Democrats and some Republicans who say that the extra military spending will cripple important domestic programmes. Mr Trump is due to address both houses of Congress later today.

The price of average car insurance premiums in the UK is set to soar as a result of a government ruling. The Ministry of Justice has revealed a new formula for calculating compensation payments for those who suffer long-term injuries but industry experts say that it’s unnecessary and will simply result in higher insurance premiums across the board. The Ministry of Justice said that it had “no choice” but to change the compensation formula. The change could result in motorists paying 75 pounds more per year for their insurance premium on average with young drivers even harder hit.

The owner of Primark says that it intends to keep opening stores as profits continue to rise. Associated British Foods says that it opened 16 new Primark stores in the UK,Europe and the United States last year and has predicted that profits will jump by 11 percent in the 6 months to March the 4th. The chain is set to open new stores in London,Belgium,Spain and the United States over the next three months.

Sport

Football - Leicester City have climbed out of the English Premier League relegation zone with a 3-1 win over Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. It was Leicester’s first match since manager Claudio Ranieri was sacked and their first Premier League victory this year.
There are three games in the English Championship tonight with the leaders playing each other. Top of the table Brighton face second placed Newcastle at the Amex Stadium with the other games Aston Villa against Bristol City and Blackburn against Derby.

Rugby Union - World Rugby says that it’s too early to contemplate a rule change following England’s controversial game against Italy in the 6 Nations on Sunday. Italy didn’t engage at the breakdown for much of the game,nullifying the offside line and causing confusion in the England pack. The England coach Eddie Jones said after the match that it “wasn’t rugby” but the sport’s governing body says it could,for the time being only clarify the law rather than drastically change it.

Formula 1 - Mercedes and Ferrari set the pace on the first day of pre-season testing in Barcelona. Lewis Hamilton was quickest on the day followed by Sebastien Vettel in the Ferrari. Mercedes completed 152 laps with both their drivers with Ferrari also showing early reliability. McLaren and Red Bull had limited time on the track owing to recurring reliability problems.

Tennis - Roger Federer has won his first match since his victory in the Australian Open last month. Federer took just 54 minutes to see off Benoit Paire of France at the Dubai Championships. The world number 10 won 6-1 6-3 and will now face either Mikhail Youzhny or Evgeny Donskoy.

Weather

Overcast with showers this morning,clearing this afternoon with moderate south westerly winds. Top temperature 16 degrees Celsius. Overnight lows of 9 degrees on the coast and 4 degrees inland with clear skies. Wednesday and Thursday-Mainly fine with a high of 16 or 17 degrees.

And finally

An Australian grandfather has become a millionaire after cashing in a year-old lottery ticket he found while cleaning his car. The man, who has remained anonymous, bought the ticket in January last year. After finding the ticket  in a shopping bag this month, he checked his numbers online and realised he had won a A$1,020,496 (£630,000; $780,000) prize. "I'm glad I didn't just get the old bags and take them to the dump," he said in a statement. The winner, from the New South Wales  city of Newcastle, said he had been "a bit stupid" by forgetting about his ticket for 414 days. "I'm not worried that I could have had the money a year ago. At least I've got it now," he said. The man plans to spend the money on his children's house repayments, and on education for his grandchildren.