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Riviera and French News Tuesday 7th March 2017

UPDATE 18:00

Avalanche - After this morning’s avalanche at Tignes authorities have confirmed that all skiiers are now safe and no victims were claimed. The avalanche struck at 10am, crashing down on a medium level blue slope, sweeping several skiiers away. A major rescue operation was immediately launched and survivors are being cared for at the resort. Last month, Tignes was the scene of another avalanche which claimed the lives of four snowboarders.

Strike - An Italian train strike on Wednesday is expected to impact local French services in the Alpes Maritimes. Up to 30 trains are expected to be cancelled, especially between Menton and Ventimiglia from 9am to 6pm. Meanwhile, the French air traffic controllers strike has led to over 50 flights to and from Nice Cote d’Azur airport being cancelled today. Air France, British Airways and Easyjet flights are the hardest hit. Passengers have been told to check with their airline before travelling.

Storm - Last nights storm saw some record winds blowing across the Var with the highest speed recorded by Meteó France ,being 174 km/h at Cézaire-sur-Siagne around midnight. Fire serices were called out 130 times last night to deal with fallen trees and other storm damage.

Troadec - The brother-in-law of the Tro.adec’s has admitted, a row over gold coins, is what led him to murder both parents and their two children. He used a crowbar to commit the murders before he cut up the bodies, burning some parts and burying others.

Open Sky - Support is gathering against the giant ‘Open Sky’ shopping centre to be built on the edge of the A8 motorway in Valbonne. Although the Mayor of Valbonne supports the project, a petition against it, has already gathered 6,000 signatures.

BUSINESS

Latest figures, show Brazil has been in recession for two years, the deepest economic decline since records began. Last year the economy contracted by 3.6%, after the country was hard hit by the fall in commodity prices and an internal political crisis, that has undermined investor confidence.

Ford Motors credit business, which offers vehicle finance to customers across Europe, is considering shifting its operations to Germany, in a move to continue serving their European base after Brexit. It’s understood keeping operations based in a remaining EU member state, will be necessary for Ford to continue its business across Europe, if the UK loses it’s passporting rights.

SPORT

Football - Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has accepted a three-match ban for violent conduct against Bournemouth's Tyrone Mings during Saturday's 1-1 draw at Old Trafford. It means he will miss Monday's FA Cup quarter-final at Chelsea and the Premier League games against Middlesbrough and West Brom.  Leicester City’sCraig Shakespeare’ has been confirmed permanent manager until the end of the season. Originally Claudio Ranieri's assistant, Shakespeare has been caretaker boss since the Italian was sacked in February.

Formula 1 - At pre-season testing in Barcelona today, the quickest lap of the morning was set by Williams driver Felipe Massa on the super-soft tyres, 0.174secs quicker than Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull, using the ultra-soft tyre. Mercedes Lewis Hamilton was third fastest. Meanwhile, McLaren and engine partner Honda, continue to have problems, changing the re-designed engine after finding an electrical problem, and using a slower engine which kept them almost 3 seconds off the pace. Honda said it has an upgraded engine that it is planning to use for the first race of the season in Australia in two weeks time.

UPDATE 07:00

Breaking News -  Several people are feared to have been caught in an avalanche in the French ski resort of Tignes. Witnesses said "a lot of people" had been buried, a police spokesperson said. Media reports said the avalanche had hit skiers. Tignes said that it appeared to have been set off by a group of skiers higher up.

Weather Alert - An orange weather alert remains in place for the Alpes Maritimes, the Var and Corsica until 10am this morning. Météo France forecast violent winds and severe storms in 31 departments across France on Monday as nearly 260,000 households were without electricity and one man was killed in the Dordogne when a tree fell onto his car.

Air Traffic Control Strike - As the French air traffic controllers five day strike continues flights to and from the UK are among more than 1,000 likely to be cancelled this week. Flights to France as well as those crossing its airspace are affected including UK flights to and from Italy, Switzerland and Spain. Brest and Bordeaux control centres are striking until 7pm on Friday, with the action in the south of France running from 5am today until 5am on Friday. Passengers have been told to expect delays and to check with their airliner before travelling.

Strike Action - Meanwhile several other professional sectors in the region are reportedly planning strike action this week to defend their working conditions. The regional train network has announced possible delays and cancellation and some hospitals and schools may be affected.

“Open Sky” - The giant open-air shopping centre “Open Sky” which is planned to be built on the edge of the A8 motorway in Valbonne has come under further attack this week. While the mayor of Valbonne supports the project which is expected to open in 2020 a petition has already gathered nearly 6,000 signatures.

National

Troadec Investigation - The brother-in-law of a Frenchman missing along with his wife and two children for over a fortnight has admitted killing all four of the family. Pascal Troadec and his wife Brigitte, both 49, and their 21-year-old son Sebastien and daughter Charlotte, 18, have been missing since February 16th. Police searches at the couple's home in the western city of Nantes found traces of blood. On Monday the brother-in-law, who has not been named, admitted killing the family in a row over an inheritance.

Presidential Elections – Leaders of the French centre-right have unanimously backed presidential candidate Francois Fillon after an emergency meeting. Mr Fillon, once the front-runner, has lost much of his support after being told he faces formal investigation for embezzlement. He denies the charges and has refused to step aside. Meanwhile Former Prime Minister Alain Juppe has ruled himself out as an alternative rightwing candidate for his party colleague. At a press conference in his hometown of Bordeaux, on Monday Juppe said that the election was being held in "confused" conditions but "confirmed for a final time that he would not be a candidate to be president of the republic."

Yves Saint Laurent - A new publicity campaign featuring painfully thin models in "degrading" poses for the French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent has sparked outrage with calls for it to be banned. The poster campaign across Paris of a reclining woman in a fur coat and fishnet tights opening her legs, and another of a model in a leotard and roller skate stilettos bending over a stool, caused fury on social media. The French advertising authority said most of the complaints it received were from people who saw the images as an "incitement to rape".

Business

According to figures - prices in the UK are now rising at an annual rate of more than 3% in the latest evidence of economic fallout from the EU referendum. The sharp jump implies that real incomes are falling for the first time since 2014 - the clearest sign yet that households are being squeezed as a result of the decision to leave the EU.

And - Shares in Snap, the owner of Snapchat, slid 12% on Monday to close below the price at which they started trading just last week in New York. Analysts have given mixed views on the future of Snap, debating whether it can emulate the success of Facebook. It remains unclear whether Snap can expand beyond its core base of young users, or how it will fare in many international markets in a competitive social media environment.

Sport

Football – Chelsea beat West Ham 2-1 to go 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League. In other Premier League matches Manchester City will play Stoke City on Wednesday.

Rugby Union – Wales wing George North has been warned about his form before Friday's Six Nations match against Ireland. Defence coach Shaun Edwards highlighted the right wing, as an area of recent defensive weakness for Wales. After successive losses to Scotland and England, Wales will name their team to face Ireland on Wednesday.

Formula One – French engine expert Gilles Simon has left his role as a consultant to Honda's struggling Formula 1 programme. Simon, who previously worked for Renault, Ferrari and governing body the FIA, had been with Honda since they announced their return to F1 in 2013.

Weather

An orange weather alert remains in place for the region until 10am with moderate to strong winds and gust of up to 60 km/hour.

Clear skies in the Alpes Maritimes, with highs of 18 degrees going down to 10 degrees this evening. Highs of 16 degrees in the Var with moderate north westerly winds.

Wednesday and Thursday – Fine and Sunny highs of 17 degrees in Nice and 20 degrees in Saint Tropez.