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Riviera and French News Wednesday 18th January 2017

UPDATE 18:00

Robbery - A one million euro jewellery robbery has taken place in Cannes. It happened when a man entered the Harry Winston Jewellery Store on the Croisette after 11 this morning and threatened staff with a gun and a grenade. It’s believed the robber got away with over thirty diamond pieces. Technical police are examining the scene.

Earthquake - Central Italy has been hit by yet another series of earthquakes today, five months after major earthquakes in the same area last summer, claimed 300 lives. The 5.7 magnitude quake hit at 10.15 this morning, with shockwaves felt 100km away in Rome, where the underground system has been shut as a precaution. Although no deaths are reported, snowfall over the last 36 hours is hampering rescue efforts.

Court - There were incredible scenes in the courthouse in Nice today when the accused in a murder case slashed his wrists in the office of a judge. The 37 year old, accused of a gang-shooting in Ariane in 2015, produced a hidden blade during a discussion in the judges office, and proceeded to slash his wrists while proclaiming his innocence. The office was described as a bloodbath. The man is recovering in Pasteur Hospital in Nice.

Cold - Due to the current cold spell Monaco has called for all consumers in the Principality to reduce electricity consumption between 6pm and 8pm today. The Alpes Maritimes council are also working to prevent the risk of over-consumption and possible power cuts by turning off some road lighting as part of the “Plan Grand Froid”. Meteó France say the worst of the cold spell should be over by the weekend with temperatures returning to normal by Saturday.

Flu - New figures show the Cote d’Azur is the worst affected area with the ‘flu which is sweeping France. Flu is considered at epidemic level when incidences reach 179 cases per 100,000 inhabitents. Currently in the PACA region, there are 733 cases per hundred thousand.

BUSINESS

A stock market rally following Donald Trump's election has helped Goldman Sachs profits to soar in the three months to December. The US investment bank posted net profit of $2.15bn in the fourth quarter, up from $574m for the same period in 2015. For the full year, Goldman reported a 9% fall in net revenues to $30.6bn and a 22% jump in net profit to $7.4bn.

Outgoing US Vice-President, Joe Biden, has told financiers at Davos that the world's wealthiest do not pay enough tax. He also warned Russia would try to meddle in European elections this year. He joked that when he leaves office on Friday, he would start to say what he really thinks. For example, he would like to see tax money pay for every US student to attend college for nothing. The $6bn a year cost would have a greater knock-on impact on the economy.

Shares in the international publishing group Pearson have fallen by 30% after the company warned of a big fall in sales in its US education business. The company said profits for 2017 could drop by £60m and it would cut its dividend for shareholders. The group is to sell its 47% stake in the book publisher Penguin Random House to bolster its finances.

SPORT

Tennis - Britain's Dan Evans stunned seventh seed Marin Cilic by knocking him out of the Australian Open with a 3-6 7-5 6-3 6-3 win. It is the second time the 26-year-old British number three has beaten a player ranked in the world's top 10. Fellow Brit Andy Murray has also progressed to the third round with a convincing 6-3 6-0 6-2 win against 19-year-old Russian Andrey Rublev. Frenchman Jeremy Chardy is out of the Australian Open after being beaten in straight sets by Kei Nishikori. Jo Wildred Tsonga has a better day as he beat Dusan Lajovic in straight sets.

Football - Manchester United winger Memphis Depay looks increasingly likely to join French club Lyon this month. Lyon have made three bids, the most recent being 17m euros, and though United are yet to accept, talks are thought to be ongoing. Everton have rejected a bid from Italian side AC Milan to take winger Gerard Deul-o-feu on loan for the remainder of the season. However they are waiting to see if Milan will come back with a new offer.

Formula 1 - Liberty Media shareholders have voted to approve the buyout and takeover of Formula One. The process which took place yesterday in Colorado, included issuing new shares to fund the acquisition of the sport and rename its media group to 'Formula One Group'. The FIA has called an extraordinary meeting of its World Motor Sport Council for later today to discuss F1's acquisition before the governing body formally gives its green light.

UPDATE 07:00

Cold Spell - Most schools remain closed in Corsica today for a second consecutive day due to the current cold spell with low temperatures and icy conditions. Nice recorded a low of -1.7 degrees on Tuesday morning, a record for almost five years. Meanwhile the Alpes Maritimes council decided to turn off some road lighting in the region as part of the “Plan Grand Froid” in order to prevent the risk of over-consumption and possible power cuts. Due to the current cold spell Monaco has called for all consumers in the Principality to reduce their electricity consumption today between 6 and 8pm.

Robbery - Police are investigating a robbery which took place on Monday evening at a Relais and Chateaux restaurant in Grasse. The thieves reportedly managed to empty the contents of a jewellery display worth an estimated 180,000 euros.

Petition - Swimmers on the beaches of the Reserve in Nice have set-up a petition to stop local authorities from closing one of the staircases which gives access to the sea. A dedicated following of locals regularly swim all year round in the area- a unique spot for a daily dip even when temperatures drop.

Tax reduction -Some households that pay their income tax on a monthly basis will be entitled to a tax reduction. The new measure which was announced last summer should benefit a total of five million taxpayers in France. The tax break concerns couples earning up to 3,400 euros net salary and single people earning up to 1,700 euros.  
 

Help - Listeners of Riviera Radio, We need your help! The refugees in Ventimiglia are desperately in need of certain items of clothing.At the moment the men need trainers sizes 40 to 46, warm cardigans, coats, hats, gloves, scarves, belts, socks,  backpacks, sleeping bags and small to medium sized  jeans. As the days and nights are getting very cold, the need increases! The women need trainers sizes 38 to 41 and  coats. They also need hotel size shampoo, body wash and moisturizer!To find out more please email Confine.solidale@gmail.com & Refugeeaidcotedazur@gmail.com. There is a drop off point for MONACO Beau Rivage, 9, Ave D'Ostende and Valbonne.

National

Manuel Valls - An 18-year-old has been arrested for apparently hitting former prime minister Manuel Valls. Valls was on an election tour in Brittany on Tuesday when the incident happened. A security guard seized the youth and pushed him back against a fence and then forced him to the ground. Police said later that the youth was aged 18 and had been detained. Valls will reportedly be pressing charges speaking to local reporters shortly after the incident he said: “I have never been afraid of having contact with French people. Democracy can never mean violence.”

Brexit - France’s finance minister Michel Sapin has claimed that the British government is "improvising" its handling of Brexit. His comments came on Tuesday as Prime Minister Theresa May prepared to give a major speech on the issue. Michel Sapin said it was clear that Britain had been caught by surprise by the vote to leave the European Union. Sapin said he believed that the apparent lack of a plan to see through Brexit showed that some members of the government "did not want (Brexit) and that it has created debates within the government which are clearly very difficult".

Business

The British Prime Minister Theresa May has said that the UK “cannot possibly” remain in the single market as staying in would mean “not leaving the EU at all”. In a keynote speech on Brexit on Tuesday,Mrs May promised to push for the “freest possible trade” with other countries and warned that any attempt by the EU to punish the UK would be “an act of calamitous self harm”. The British government is set to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to start official negotiations to leave the EU at the end of March. Mrs May said that it was not her intention to “undermine” the EU or the single market but she warned about a “punitive” reaction to Brexit and said that she was equally clear that “no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain”. Reaction to Mrs May’s speech has been mixed.The opposition Labour Party said that the Prime Minister’s plans posed “enormous dangers” while in Europe the German Foreign Minister said that it was good to see a little more “clarity” over Britain’s plans. In France Le Figaro newspaper said that “even if she’s not calling it hard Brexit,that’s the direction that Mrs May is taking the UK in while the Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad said that Mrs May’s speech had not just been “a bit of Brexit-but the full whack”. Meanwhile,the pound had its best day in 8 years against the dollar following Mrs May’s speech. Official figures showing that headline UK inflation rose to 1.6 percent-a level that might usher in higher interest rates boosted sterling. Dealers say that the rise was also helped by a weakening dollar. Sterling also rose against other major currencies including the euro where it reached 1 euro 15.7 cents.

And-British American Tobacco has agreed a 49.4 billion dollar takeover of US rival Reynolds to create the world’s largest listed tobacco firm. BAT has been in talks with Reynolds for several months about buying the 57.8 percent stake that it doesn’t already own. The deal brings together some of the tobacco industry’s best known brands including Rothmans,Dunhill,Lucky Strike and Camel.

Sport

Tennis-The 5th seed Kei Nishikori is into the 3rd round of the Australian Open in Melbourne after seeing off Jeremy Chardy of France in straight sets. Jo Wildred Tsonga of France is through.He beat Dusan Lajovic in straight sets while in the women’s event the 13th seed Venus Williams is into round three following a 6-3 6-2 win over Stefanie Voegele. The women’s top seed Angelique Kerber is also through to the third round following a straight sets win over Carina Witthoeft. Andy Murray is in action in the night session a little later in his second round match against Andrey Rublev.

Football-There were several third round replays in the FA Cup in England last night with a couple of upsets. AFC Wimbledon of league 1 lost 3-1 at home to non-league Sutton United  while Lincoln City-also non-league beat Ipswich Town of the Championship 1-0. In the other results Blackpool were 2-1 winners at Barnsley.Burnley beat Sunderland 2-0.Bristol City were 1-0 winners at Fleetwood Town and Crystal Palace beat Bolton Wanderers 2-1. There are three more replays tonight.Newcastle play Birmingham,Plymouth host Liverpool and Southampton play Norwich.

Rugby Union-Alun Wyn Jones has been named as Wales captain for the 6 Nations as replacement for Sam Warburton. Coach Rob Howley has named 7 uncapped players in his squad for the tournament which starts next month. Warburton captained Wales for 6 years but could find himself starting on the bench as he struggles to find his best form. The Scotland coach Vern Cotter is set to name his 6 Nations squad today. This year’s tournament will be Cotter’s last in charge of Scotland who have definitely made progress under his leadership. The Scots start their 6 Nations campaign at home to Ireland on February the 4th.

Weather

Clear skies with light to moderate variable winds.

Top temperature 11 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 4 degrees on the coast and -2 degrees inland with a widespread frost.

Thursday and Friday-Clear skies with a high of 13-14 degrees.

Finally

Rudeness is often considered by the rest of the world to be as typically French. A 2012 survey by Skyscanner revealed users ranked France as the number one rudest country for travellers and a thread on the travel site Tripadvisor is packed full of complaints about French rudeness. But co-writer Julie Barlow of ‘The Bonjour Efffect’ believes  it is all one big misunderstanding?

 “The root of the problem is not that the French are rude, it’s that we don’t understand the codes of French conversation," Basically French society has different codes of behaviour and standards of what is considered polite. In day to day interactions with the French, you could be breaking any number of those rules without even knowing it.

The good news is that to get back in the good books of the French doesn’t require years of formal etiquette training, just a few simple guidelines to follow.

The most simple one starts with ‘B’ and ends in ‘R’, and it was probably the first word you ever learnt in French. The word ‘Bonjour’ is frequently disregarded, or used improperly by foreign visitors to France.

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