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Riviera and French News Wednesday 1st February 2017

UPDATE 18:00

Flu - The death rate across France, increased by 18,000 people, over the months of December and January. Many of the extra deaths are being attributed to the flu virus which swept the country. Of the 1,061 cases admitted to intensive care, 110 of the 140 deaths were for patients 65 years or older.

Strike - Strike action is expected on the regional rail network tomorrow.  The train strike officially commences at 7pm this evening with drivers back to work at 8am on Friday morning. Severe disruption is expected with just one in four trains operating between Marseille and Les Arcs, and one in two between Marseille and Nice. TGV services to Paris are not affected.

Prison - A prisoner in Grasse has tried to escape by faking a suicide in his cell.  During a routine inspection , a guards noticed a body on the cell floor with what looked like blood surrounding it. When he entered to investigate and discover it was a mannequin surrounded by grenadine, the prisoner jumped out of his hiding place, attacking the guard with home made blades. The prisoner, who was subdued and detained, was due for release next month.

Fillon - It’s emerged François Fillon's British wife was paid nearly a million euros for allegedly fake jobs. The amount is far more than the €500,000 originally alleged. Even though she was drawing a salary for working with her husband, as his parliamentary assistant, reports say Penelope Fillon had no security pass or email account at the National Assembly. Meanwhile, National Front leader Marine le Pen, is to have her salary slashed as the EU recover €300,000 paid to her assistant. Ms le Pen had used the European money to pay the assistant who worked at the party's headquarters in Paris and not at the assembly.

BUSINESS

The ending of EU roaming charges has moved a step closer after a provisional deal in the European Parliament. The EU hope that from next summer, people travelling in Europe will be able to roam like at home, by making calls, sending texts and using mobile data on the same rate as in their home country.

Apple has reported its first rise in sales in nine months after strong Christmas sales of the iPhone 7 brought in net sales of $78.4bn for the last three months of 2016. Some analysts have attributed the sales boom to the disasterous failure of Samsungs exploding Note 7, leaving the premium market open to Apple. Apple shares have risen 3% in after-hours trading.

Volkswagen has agreed to pay at least $1.2bn to fix or buy back 78,000 diesel cars in the US, to settle more emissions-cheating claims. The deal is still subject to approval. Without it, VW could be forced to buy back all of the cars, costing it about $4bn.

SPORT

Rally - The Historic Monte Carlo Rally has been won by Germans Michel Decremer and Albert Bel in a 2000 Opel Ascona. The competitors, who gathered on Port Hercule in Monaco this morning, were all drivers and cars who had participated in the Monte-Carlo Rally between 1955 and 1980.

Athletics - Russia have been stripped of their 4 by 400m relay silver medal from London 2012 after sprinter
Antonina Krivo-shap-ka tested positive for a steroid. The ruling means Jamaica and Ukraine will be promoted to silver and bronze respectively behind the United States.

Rugby - In the run up to the Six Nations this weekend, England’s George Kruis is having medical tests today on his injured knee which could keep him out of the opening game with France on Saturday. An injury also means Welsh lock Luke Charteris is out for the game with Italy and Taulupe Faletau is still rated as doubtful with his knee injury. For Ireland, Johnny Sexton has lost his battle with a calf injury and will miss Ireland’s opener against Scotland while Munster flanker Peter O’Mahony is also out with a hamstring problem.

Football - There are 3 games in the English Premiere League tonight. West Ham play Manchester City; Manchester United take on Hull and Stoke host Everton.

UPDATE 07:00

Train Strike – There will be strike action on the  regional train network as of Thursday. The SCNF has said that one in four trains will be operating between Marseille and Les Arcs and one in two between Marseille and Nice. The strike is expected to continue until Friday morning. The high speed TGV service between Paris and Nice will not be affected.

Animal Protection  - An online petition for animal protection has gathered more than 3,000 signatures. The petition launched by the French federation for animal rights was set up following a film which was released of a dog owner badly treating an animal in a dog center in the Alpes Maritimes. The federation is calling for an independent body to be set up to supervise people who work with animals.

Historic Monte-Carlo Rally - The results of the Historic Monte Carlo rally will be published today as the cars which took part gather on the port of the Principality. The competitors are from many different European cities and have all participated in the Monte-Carlo Rally between 1955 and 1980.

Tramline - Due to work being carried out line 2 of the tramway in Nice part of the René-Cassin boulevard, west of Nice will be temporarily made one way eastbound. Motorists are advised to use the Promenade des Anglais or the Voie Rapide as an alternative route. The disruption is expected to last three months. 

How Nicoise Are you? - According to an article in today’s Nice Matin ,if you remember the following five things then you really are from Nice. The Zygofolis amusement and water park which opened in 1987 and used to be situated alongside the A8 motorway at Saint Isidore dubbed “the machine of happiness”. The charm of Avenue Jean-Médiecin adorned with trees and covered with cars. The 50 hour bus journey which for 1,320 francs took you from Nice to Moscow and back in 1999. The bus station with its hanging gardens built in 1970 which has now become the Promenade du Paillon and finally the yellow Nice Matin logo which hung outside every newsagent in Nice.

National

Fillon - French presidential candidate François Fillon's wife was paid nearly a million euros for allegedly fake jobs, according to new media reports that also say two of his chidren were paid from public funds. It has emerged that Penelope Fillon had no security pass or email account at the National Assembly, despite being her husband's parliamentary assistant.

French Economy - France's economy grew by only 1.1 percent in 2016, lower than the government had predicted for the last full year of François Hollande's term as president. The figure is another blow to the Socialist government, which had predicted 1.4 percent growth.

Business

Apple has reported its highest ever quarterly revenue as sales of the iPhone 7 helped the firm to return to a growth in sales in the final quarter of 2016. In its first full quarter since the iPhone was put on the market,Apple reported net sales of 78.4 billion dollars-up by 3 percent on the same period a year ago. The company also set new records for sales of Macs,Apple Watches and services. The firm has suffered 3 quarters in a row of falling revenue before the iPhone 7’s release.Apple shares rose by 3 percent in after-hours-trading on the news.

Donald Trump has slammed the price of drugs as “astronomical” and has called on pharmaceutical firms to cut them. At a White House meeting with senior figures from the pharmaceutical industry on Tuesday,Mr Trump  told the firms to manufacture more of their products in the United States.He also vowed to help the industry by speeding up the approval of new medicines and cutting taxes. Drugmakers have been facing intense criticism from US politicians including Mr Trump over the high cost of new medicines and price hikes in some older generic drugs. Shares in Merck and Amgen rose by 1 percent on the news while Novartis rose by 2 percent.

And-The German Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected claims by a Trump advisor that Germany uses an undervalued euro to exploit trading partners. In an interview with the Financial Times,Peter Navarro,who’s the head of Mr Trump’s National Trade Council,said  that the euro is a German currency in disguise. However,Mrs Merkel said that Germany had always called for the European Central Bank to pursue an independent policy and added that her country would not influence the ECB. Mr Navarro also told the FT that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership TTIP between the US and the EU was ‘dead’.

Sport

Rugby Union-England’s George Kruis will undergo medical tests today on an injured knee that could keep him out of the 6 Nations opener against France on Saturday. The 26 year old lock picked up the injury in training on Tuesday and could be ruled out of the big Twickenham game. Meanwhile coach Eddie Jones is considering starting Maro Itoje in the back row for the first time.Itoje has been training in the blind-side flanker position and could be in line to replace the injured Chris Robshaw. The Wales lock Luke Charteris is out of the side to play Italy on Sunday. Charteris has sustained a slight hand fracture but he should recover in time to play in the second game in the tournament. Taulupe Faletau is still rated as doubtful with a knee injury. Johnny Sexton has lost his battle with a calf injury and will miss Ireland’s opener against Scotland on Saturday. The Munster flanker Peter O’Mahony is also out with a hamstring problem.

Football-Chelsea have extended their lead at the top of the English Premier League to 9 points following a 1-1 draw at Liverpool last night with Arsenal slipping to third place after a surprise 2-1 home defeat to Watford. Spurs move up to second place on goal difference even after only being able to manage a 0-0 draw at Sunderland. In last night’s other results Crystal Palace did their survival hopes good with a 2-0 win at Bournemouth.Burnley beat Leicester 1-0.Middlesbrough and West Brom drew 1-1 and Swansea beat Southampton 2-1. There are 3 games tonight.West Ham play Manchester City.Manchester United play Hull and Stoke host Everton. In the English Championship last night Wolves were 3-1 winners at Barnsley while Reading moved up to 3rd place in the table with a 1-0 win at Birmingham. In the other results Brentford beat Aston Villa 3-0.Bristol City and Sheffield Wednesday drew 2-2.Cardiff beat Preston 2-0.Derby were 3-0 winners at Ipswich and Nottingham Forest beat Rotherham 2-0.

Cricket-India play England in the final T20 international in Bangalore later today.The series is tied at 1-1.Play is due to start at 2.30 French time. South Africa play Sri Lanka in the second one day international in Durban.Play starts at 12.30 lunchtime.

Weather

Partially cloudy with moderate westerly winds.

Top temperature 16 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 10 degrees on the coast and 8 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

Thursday and Friday-Sunshine and showers tomorrow with more persistent rain developing during the afternoon.Starting wet on Friday,clearing during the afternoon.

 

 

 

 

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