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Riviera and French News Wednesday 15th March 2017

Local

MIPIM Cannes - Deputy Mayor of London Jules Pipe addresses the city’s needs the reality of Brexit becomes clear with parliament’s recent approval to go ahead and the triggering of Article 50 expected to happen at anytime now. Pipe stressed that one of the top initiatives will be to provide skills training to ensure a proper qualified workforce to meet the needs of London’s labor force. 
Dubai’s strong presence at MIPIM with Dubai’s 2 major developers Nakheel and Dubai Holding, each revealing ambitious new projects with Palm 360 for Nakheel and the Jumeirah Central for Dubai Holding.

Man Shot Dead - A 27 year old man has been shot dead in Avignon. The incident happened shortly after 3pm on Tuesday and is thought to be a “settlement of account” within a drug trafficking network. The victim was hit by four bullets and died shortly after arriving at a nearby hospital. 

Place Massena Closed - Place Massena in Nice was partially closed on Tuesday morning when a man climbed onto scaffolding at the Hotel Aston La Scala. According to police the man was apparently trying to attract public attention to various claims and wasn’t planning to jump from the scaffolding.

Cancer Week – To mark this week’s National Cancer week in France several organisations in the region have organized events including an information day on Saturday 18th March which will be held in Nice and Antibes at the “Espace Ligue”.  The day is intended to raise cancer awareness and also inform people of treatments available in the Alpes Maritimes. Cancer is the leading cause of death in France.  

“Open Sky” Shopping Centre - The petition against the new open-air shopping centre “Open sky” in Valbonne has collected more than 7,000 signatures. The petition was launched nine months ago on the site change.org. Those opposing the project have declared that it will not only cause too much road traffic in the area but will also ruin the natural setting of the Parc de La Valmasque.

Organic Olive Oil - The property of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie located near Correns in the Var has produced its first 100% organic virgin olive oil. Already known for its wine production the Château de Miraval has produced only 10,000 bottles which went on sale this month at 29 euros a bottle.

Lottery Winner - A pensioner on holiday in the region has won 5.5 million euros on the lottery. The jackpot was validated in Vence on February 15th. It's the second biggest lottery win of the year.

National

European ruling - Europe’s top court has ruled that workplace bans on the wearing of “any political, philosophical or religious sign” such as headscarves need not constitute direct discrimination. This is the court's first ruling on the wearing of headscarves at work. The ECJ's ruling was prompted by the case of a receptionist fired for wearing a headscarf to work at the security company G4S in Belgium.

Presidential Elections - French Presidential candidate Francois Fillon has been placed under formal investigation over an alleged diversion of public funds. The centre-right contender is suspected of paying hundreds of thousands of euros to his family for work they may not have done. Fillon denies any wrongdoing, but had earlier said he would quit the presidential race if placed under investigation. Until recently, he was the favourite to win the elections in April and May. But the former prime minister has now slipped behind far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron.

Dream come true - A young Frenchwoman with Down's syndrome has fulfilled her dream of presenting the weather on television after a Facebook campaign. 21 year old Melanie Segard hosted the forecast on France 2 on Tuesday evening after receiving support from more than 200,000 people. The campaign "Melanie peut le faire", or Melanie can do it, was set up by a French charity in an effort to promote awareness and inclusion.

Business

A leaked tax return shows that US President Donald Trump paid $38 million dollars in tax on more than $150 million dollar income in 2005. Two pages of the tax return were revealed by US TV network MSNBC, triggering an angry response from the White House. It said publishing the tax return was illegal. Mr Trump refused to release his tax returns during the election campaign, breaking with a long-held tradition. The two pages were a fraction of the complete return and did not include details of Mr Trump's income.

Social media firms in Germany could face fines of up to 50 million euros if they take too long to remove illegal content including fake news. Germany's justice minister has drafted a law that seeks to impose the fines as part of efforts to police toxic chat. The proposal requires sites to run 24-hour helplines and to delete flagged content within seven days.

And – A BBC investigation has found that lorry drivers moving goods in Western Europe for Ikea and other retailers are living out of their cabs for months at a time. Some drivers - brought over from poorer countries by lorry firms based in Eastern Europe - say their salary is less than three pounds an hour. They say they cannot afford to live in the countries where they work. One said he felt "like a prisoner" in his cab. Ikea said it was "saddened by the testimonies" of the drivers.

Sport

Football - Leicester City wrote another chapter in their remarkable story as they overturned a first-leg deficit to beat Sevilla 2-0 and reach the Champions League quarter-finals on a night of raw passion at the King Power Stadium.  This evening in the Champions League Monaco play Manchester City here in Monaco.

Rugby - French giants Racing 92 and Stade Francais, winners of the last two Top 14 titles, have announced a shock merger to create a 'super club' that leaves many top stars in limbo. Racing and Stade Francais are two of the biggest rivals in the French championship and the merger from next season came as a lightning bolt for European rugby.

Cheltenham - Second favourite Buveur D'Air stormed to victory in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on Tuesday. The Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old, a 5-1 shot, came home ahead of My Tent Or Yours (16-1) and Petit Mouchoir (6-1). The Queen Mother Champion Chase leads the billing at Cheltenham today. The Willie Mullins-trained Douvan is the overwhelming pre-race favourite. Douvan's nine rivals include Special Tiara, who finished third in the past two years, and Fox Norton and Sizing Granite, both trained by Colin Tizzard. Top Gamble, Garde La Victoire, Traffic Fluide, Gods Own, Simply Ned and Sir Valentino complete the 10-strong field.

Weather

Clear skies and sunny across the region. In the Alpes Maritimes highs of 17 degrees in Nice, 19 in Antibes and 20 degrees in Saint Martin-du-Var. In the Var highs of 21 degrees in Rayol Canadel and 20 degrees in Toulon and Saint-Tropez. This evening temperatures will drop to 5 degress in the Var and 7 in the Alpes Maritimes with a light south westerly wind.

Thursday and Friday – Fine and sunny on Thursday with similar temperatures to today Friday bright sunshine with a moderate south westerly wind with gust of up to 40km an hour in the Var. 

Finally

According to official figures in the UK the number of over-65s tying the knot rose by more than half from 2009 to 2014. Couples tying the knot over the age of 65 increased by more than half from 2009-2014. Marriage rates in the age bracket went up by 56 per cent in men and 41 per cent in women, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for England and Wales.

The increase goes against a general decline in wedlock, with rates in 2014 below what they were in 2012.

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