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Riviera and French News Wednesday 19th April 2017

Local

Terrorist Plot - French police have arrested two men suspected of plotting an attack just five days before the first round of France's presidential election. The suspects, aged 23 and 29, were arrested by French domestic intelligence service agents in the southern city of Marseille on Tuesday. More info click here.

Migrants electrocuted  - Two seventeen year old migrants have been electrocuted on the roof of a TGV train at Nice Saint Roch train station. Both received a strong electric shock when they mounted the roof of the train on Monday evening. One  suffered serious burns to his legs and the second was slightly injured. Both were taken to the Pasteur Hospital in Nice.

Polling Stations - With the first round of the presidential election taking place this Sunday voters are reminded that the majority of polling station will close at 7pm however 16 communes in the Alpes Maritimes will close an hour later at 8pm they are Antibes, Cagnes-sur-mer, Cannes, Menton, Nice, Le Cannet, Grasse, Mandelieu,  Mouans-Sartoux, Mougins, Saint-André-de-la-Roche, Saint-Laurent-du-Var, Valbonne, Vallauris, Vence and Villeneuve-Loubet

Coastline - Local councils in the Var have called for action to be taken to tackle the problem of beach erosion. According to reports 432km of coast is in danger in a region where one third of the population lives on 10% of the Mediterranean coast. Officials are hoping to find a strategy to protect the coastline which is bordered by 215 cliffs and 27 towns are exposed to coastal risks such as erosion and marine submersion.

The Dilbar - The largest yacht in the world the Dilbar has resumed its berth at Port Vauban in Antibes. The superyacht owned by a Russian billionaire is estimated to be worth 600 million dollars.

Dolphins - A group of dolphins has been observed and filmed in the bay of Menton. The amazing sight was recorded on Easter Monday when several dolphins were spotted in the waves by a nearby sailing boat.   

National

French Elections - A survey published on Tuesday by Ifop has shown that the top four candidates for the first round of the upcoming French presidential election are separated by a very small margin. According to the survey Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron leads the ratings on 23 per cent ahead of far-right leader Marine Le Pen (22 per cent), communist-backed Jean-Luc Mélenchon (19.5 per cent) and the Les Republicains leader François Fillon (19 per cent). The poll further underlines the unpredictable nature of the election. Compared to the poll conducted ten days ago by the same agency, Macron has remained stable on 23 per cent while Le Pen has lost two points and Mélenchon and Fillon have gained 0.5 point each. With just four days left before the campaigning ends and a big section of voters still undecided, all the candidates have gone into  campaign overdrive.

UK General Election - Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to hold a snap general election on June 8th has meant that British voters who have been in France for over 15 years will once again be denied their say, after being promised they would have a vote. Last year the Tory government announced it would introduce a bill to scrap the unpopular 15 year-limit on expat voting rights in time for the next general election. But after the Prime Minister made the shock announcement, it’s clear the limit will not be ditched in time, Christopher Chantrey Chairman of the British Community Committee of France told The Local: "There is little hope now of the promised Votes For Life Bill being passed before the registration deadline for the June 8 election. So once again, hundreds of thousands of UK citizens will be unfairly deprived of their chance to vote.

Business

Share prices in London nosedived on Tuesday but the pound soared after the British Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap general election for June the 8th. The FTSE 100 had opened lower before Mrs May’s announcement owing to falls in commodities because of lower iron ore prices but the negative sentiment increased following news of the general election as the pound rose strongly meaning lower profits for many companies listed on the index who make their revenues overseas. Sterling has continued to rise in Asian trade this morning amid speculation that the UK general election could deliver a more market-friendly outcome in the country’s divorce from the European Union. Analysts say that Mrs May’s gamble is likely to buy her more time as well as room to manoeuvre in the Brexit negotiations as she will depend less on the fringe groups within her Conservative party. Safe-haven assets have remained popular this morning with bonds and gold climbing ahead of the first round of the French Presidential election on Sunday.

The International Monetary Fund has said that the global economy could be at a “turning point” and seems to be gaining momentum. Writing in the IMF’s new World Economic Outlook report,the organisation’s chief economist  says that global growth this year could  reach 3.5 percent-up from the  3.1 percent forecast last year. However,the IMF has warned of headwinds that could weaken its global projections.Among the dangers highlighted in the report are the possibility of protectionism and “trade warfare”.

And-The tycoon Vijay Mallya has been bailed in London on security of 650,000 pounds after appearing in court. Mr Mallya was arrested on Tuesday by Metropolitan Police on behalf of authorities in India who are seeking his extradition. The tycoon is facing charges of financial irregularities at the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines. He’s said to owe banks 600 million pounds but denies any wrongdoing.

Sport

Tennis-Novak Djokovic won on his return to the ATP Tour with victory over Gilles Simon of France in his opening match at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters on Tuesday.The world number two came through in 3 sets 6-3 3-6 7-5 to move into round three but seemed to still be suffering from an elbow injury that’s been causing him problems over the past few weeks. Elsewhere,the 7th seed Jo Wilfred Tsonga was beaten by fellow Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in three sets  and the 11th seed Lucas Pouille of France beat Ryan Harrison of the United States 6-2 6-4. Play starts on the Court Rainier III at 11am again with the second round match between the 3rd seed Stan Wawrinka and Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic and then world number one Andy Murray is on court for his second round match against Gilles Muller of Luxembourg. Out on the Court des Princes the action starts with the second round match between the 9th seed Tomas Berdych and Tommy Haas and that’s followed by the second round match between Jeremy Chardy of France and the 5th seed Marin Cilic. If you’re driving in to attend the tournament then please use one of the numerous carparks on the port area,many of which will offer a flat parking rate for the day on presentation of your match ticket.There’s a free bus shuttle service running from the port to the Monte Carlo Country Club. The easiest way in though is by train with special services operating from all main line stations to just by the Monte Carlo Country Club. Some tickets are available online by going to www.montecarlotennismasters.com

Football-Leicester City have been knocked out of the Champions League at the quarter final stage by Athletico Madrid. Leicester drew 1-1 on the night at the King Power Stadium but Athletico go through 2-1 on aggregate. In last night’s other quarter final tie Real Madrid beat Bayern Munich 4-2 after extra time to go through to the semi-finals 6-3 on aggregate. Tonight,it’s a big night for Monaco as they host Borussia Dortmund at the Stade Louis Deux leading 3-2 from the first leg while Barcelona host Juventus trailing 3-0 from the away leg.

Rugby Union-The British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland will announce his squad for the tour of New Zealand later today. The England skipper Dylan Hartley looks set to miss out on one of the 3 hooker places available  but Sam Warburton of Wales is expected to be named as captain despite suffering a recent injury which will keep him out for 6 weeks. Gatland and his coaching team held a final selection meeting on Tuesday.40 players are expected to be announced in the squad at 1pm French time this afternoon.

Weather

Clear skies to start,clouding over in the Alpes-Maritimes later with the chance of some thunder and rain this afternoon.

Moderate westerly winds with a high of 19 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 10 degrees on the coast and 6 degrees inland with clear skies.

Thursday and Friday-Clear skies with highs of 18-20 degrees.

Finally

Stargazers will be looking to the skies on Wednesday as an asteroid up to a mile wide will pass Earth 1.1 million miles away. The asteroid, known as J025, will be the largest to come this close to our planet for the past 13 years.

It will be just five times as far away from Earth as the Moon is - a close pass in cosmic terms. But we can all breath easy, as NASA says there is no chance it will hit Earth.

The object, discovered in 2014, will not be visible to the naked eye but it will be bright enough to be seen through a home telescope for one or two nights from Wednesday.