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Riviera and French News Wednesday 22rd March 2017

UPDATE 18:00

London - One woman is dead and up to a dozen catastrophically injured after an attack on the UK’s parliament shut down London’s Westminster today. It started just before 3pm when a dozen pedestrians were knocked down on Westminster Bridge by a car. Then the driver got out and ran towards the Houses of Parliament, where he attacked a policeman. As he approached a second officer, he was shot by armed officers. Parliament was immediately shut down and the Prime Minister evacuated to Downing Street where there is a heavy police presence. Police say they are treating the incident as terrorism until they know otherwise.

Grasse - The headmaster of the school in Grasse, who stepped in front of the student taking shots, is to be recommended for the Legion of Honour. Secretary of State, Juliette Méadel, said he showed exceptional courage and avoided further bloodshed. When we see acts of bravery like that, it is not only obvious give him the Legion of Honor, but we also set it up for that reason.

Rape - Six rugby players are in police custody in Grenoble after a complaint of rape. The complaint was made by a young woman who met the players after a Bordeaux-Bègles match on March 11th and followed them to their hotel. The players include two Irish, two New Zealanders, one Australian and a Frenchman. In a statement, FC Grenoble Rugby Club said they are deeply affected by the events which do not correspond to the values they hold.

BUSINESS

Luxury goods group Hermes has reported record profits for 2016, boosted by sales of its handbags. The French company, best known for its €9,000 Birkin bags and €350 silk scarves, posted a 13% rise in profits to 1.1bn euros. Chief executive Axel Dumas said Hermes did better than expected last year but remained cautious given the uncertain environment.

US shares have tumbled once again in early trading, after Wall Street yesterday suffered its worst day of the year. Investors are fretting about whether President Donald Trump will be able to deliver promised tax cuts, and moving from overvalued shares to more safe investments such as gold.

SPORT

Rugby - Scotland prop Willem Nel has signed a three-year contract extension at Edinburgh, keeping him at the Pro12 club until May 2020. The South Africa-born 30-year-old qualified through residency in 2015 and has 15 caps.

Football - Tonight England will play their first international  since Gareth Southgate was made full-time manager. The game is a friendly against Dortmund in Germany. Also tonight Scotland play Canada in Edinburgh.

Local News 11:00

EDF - The French electricity supplier EDF has announced that many customers and former customers have received or will receive regularization notifications for 2014 to 2015. The billing comes as a result of a decision by the State Council which "considers the level of changes in regulated sales tariffs to be insufficient”. According to reports the adjustment is estimated at approximately 30 euros for some 60 million consumers. For more details on the recalculation of tariffs visit the EDF website.

Education - Four out of ten lycées in the Alpes Maritimes region have shown successful baccalauréat results for 2016. Figures show a success rate of 91.6% for 2016 which means an increase in the performance in both the public and private sectors.

National

Belgian Attack - Belgian leaders, victims and families of those who died in the March 22 coordinated suicide bombings on the Brussels airport and subway marked today the first anniversary of the attacks that the killed 32 people. King Philippe and Queen Mathilde joined Prime Minister Charles Michel at the airport, where two suicide bombers blew themselves up in the departure hall during the morning peak travel period on March 22, 2016. Silence fell at 7:58am (0658 GMT), the exact time the airport attack began a year ago.

Case to be dropped against French soldiers - Prosecutors in Paris have called for the case to be dropped against French soldiers facing allegations they raped children in the Central African Republic while on a peacekeeping mission. France opened a first probe into the child rape allegations in 2014 concerning French soldiers deployed in Central African Republic to restore security after months of violence between rebels and militia fighters. Reports emerged about troops' alleged involvement in sexual attacks and giving children food and sometimes small amounts of money for sexual services. At the time six French soldiers were questioned but none were charged and all denied committing any sexual abuse.

Riviera Breakfast News 

Local 

Suspended Prison Sentence - The Monaco prosecutor requested a 15 day suspended prison sentence to be given to a 37 year old Muslim woman who was found guilty of insulting a member of Monaco’s post office staff by shouting “Monaco belongs to Allah, you are going to pay for it and Islam will take care of that”. The incident which occurred in October last year has been brought before the criminal court in Monaco. The woman reportedly declared in court that her comments were her convictions and not threats. A court decision will be delivered next Tuesday. 

Fake Medication - The manager of an offshore company based in Mauritius and the manager of a company located in Nice have appeared before the Criminal Court of Marseille for trafficking fake medication between China and Europe. The drugs were reportedly manufactured in China and were prescribed for heart problems, schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.
 

Election - A survey of voters in the PACA region puts Marine le Pen at the front of the presidential pack with 35% of people here voting for her in the first round. Trailing behind is Emmanual Macron with 20%. Should the two go head-to-head in the second round, the winner is too close to call, with 51% of people surveyed preferring Le Pen over 49% for Macron.

Extraordinary Science Lesson - Students in La Gaude have had an extraordinary science lesson given by the French astronaut Thomas Pesquet. The lesson which was given by Skype from the international space station was part of a project launched by France’s education minister.  230,000 pupils, in 10,000 schools across France participated in this unique experience.
 

Employment Forum- The 3rd edition of the Red and Black Employment Forum takes place in Nice on Thursday. This year’s event which brings together potential employers and job seekers will be offering 1,500 job opportunities in the region. The event will be held at the Allianz Riviera from 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Garden Festival - The first Public Garden Festival is to take place in Nice. Five other cities are to participate in the event which has been launched by the Alpes Maritimes region. Antibes, Cannes, Grasse and Menton are yet to confirm their participation. The event aims to promote the green spaces in each city and will take place from April the 1st to May the 1st.

National

French Interior Minister - The French interior minister Bruno Le Roux has been forced to resign in a row over employing his teenage daughters as parliamentary assistants during the school holidays. Le Roux stood down hours after the financial prosecutor’s office announced they were putting him under preliminary investigation. Meanwhile French presidential candidate Francois Fillon's legal problems deepened on Tuesday, with financial prosecutors expanding a probe into payments to his family to suspected "aggravated fraud, forgery and use of forgeries”.

Rich List - France is home to 39 billionaires with a combined wealth of $245 billion dollars, according to the latest Forbes magazine billionaire’s ranking. Around half of the French names on the list gained their riches via family inheritance rather than starting their own company. None of France's entrants to the list founded tech companies. Instead, it was heirs and heiresses of long-standing luxury, cosmetics and engineering companies.

Business

Banks were among the worst casualties of Tuesday’s slide on Wall Street with Bank of America down by 5.77 percent and Goldman Sachs losing 3.72 percent. The S&P 500 registered its biggest one-day-sell-off since before Donald Trump’s election victory while the Russell 200 index of smaller firms also fell sharply. Analysts say that the sell off is a result of reduced confidence that Mr Trump’s pro-growth policies including financial deregulation and tax cuts will come into force any time soon. Investors are said to be concerned that the President’s struggle to push through his healthcare legislation may be a sign that he’ll face setbacks delivering his proposed corporate tax cuts.

A senior executive from Goldman Sachs has said that the firm will move jobs away from London and “bulk up” its European presence  by “hundreds of people”. Richard Gnodde,who’s the bank’s European chief executive says that it will begin the process before the UK leaves the European Union. Goldman is set to boost its presence in other European cities over the next 18 months. Other banks based in London have also said that they’ll move jobs after Brexit. The British Prime Minister Theresa May is due to officially notify the EU next Wednesday that the UK is leaving.

And-French prosecutors have opened an investigation into claims that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles broke diesel emissions tests. Regulators have been looking into allegations that some of the firm’s cars exceeded emissions limits. Fiat says that its diesel vehicles fully complied with emissions regulations.It’s already facing investigations in the UK and the US.

Sport

Football-England play their first international since Gareth Southgate was given the manager’s job on a permanent basis tonight. England travel to Dortmund to play the old enemy Germany with Gary Cahill handed the captaincy. Lukas Podolski will captain Germany as he win’s his 130th and final international cap. Also tonight Scotland play Canada at Easter Road in Edinburgh.

Formula 1-Fans are eagerly awaiting the start of the new season which gets underway in Melbourne on Sunday. The Australian Grand Prix will be the first chance that the sport’s new owners will get to show that they intend to put the excitement back into Formula 1 and that there will be more competition between the drivers’. The cars this year have wider tyres and modified chassis which should generate more downforce and speed. Lewis Hamilton goes into the new season as favourite to win his 4th drivers’ championship and Mercedes still appear to be the team to beat.

Rugby Union-The Scotland and Stormers centre Huw Jones is facing a lengthy lay-off after tearing a hamstring in the 6 Nations victory over Italy. Jones will miss Scotland’s summer tour and the injury also ends his chances of making the Lions’ squad for the tour of New Zealand.

Racing-The favourite Minella Rocco has been withdrawn from the Grand National on April the 8th. The horse was 8-1 favourite for the big race after finishing second to Sizing John in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last week.Trainer Johnjo O’Neill says that there’s no problem but it’s been decided that it’s best not to proceed. 79 horses remain in the field at the latest stage after 16 were withdrawn on Tuesday.A maximum of 40 will be allowed to run.

Weather

Mainly fine with light,variable winds. Top temperature 17 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 12 degrees on the coast and 10 degrees inland with rain spreading across the region.

Thursday and Friday-Rain tomorrow with a high of 15.Sunshine and showers on Friday with a high of 17.

Finally

People using the lavatory in Tiantan Park in Beijing - one of the city's main tourist sites - will only receive a 60cm serving of paper after they have conducted a facial scan. After meting out the toilet roll, the software will deny the same person paper within nine minutes of their first scan, reports said.

Authorities acted after a growing number of visitors to public toilets in China have raided the dispensers and taken the paper back home.

 

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