French and Riviera News Friday 17th January 2020


Strikes - Protests against pension reforms continued on Thursday but figures were down compared to previous weeks. The rallies came on the 43rd day of strike action that has disrupted transport and cost France 1 billion euros, with rail operator SNCF bearing the brunt.

Opponents of President Emmanuel Macron's proposed pension overhaul kept up pressure on the government Thursday with a sixth interprofessional strike in Paris and other French cities.

In Nice members of several unions gathered at the main train station for a torchlit march through the city. Three more protests are reportedly planned for next week.

Meanwhile teachers protesting changes to the baccalaureate are threatening not to supervise or correct the school exams which start on Monday for a six-week period. However, the Minister of Education has said the number of teachers involved is quite small and disruption would be minimal.

Body of a 50-year-old woman discovered in the Var - Firefighters in the Var, who were called to intervene following a house fire have discovered the body of a 50-year-old woman. Firefighters were called to the house in Puget sur Argens at around 6pm on Thursday. An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of death and whether it was linked to the blaze.

 “Zero smoke stopover” in Toulon - As of next summer, passenger ships in the port of Toulon will have to use fuels whose sulfur content does not exceed 0.1%, as soon as they enter the area. The news of the “Zero smoke stopover” was announced on Thursday by the president of the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur Renaud Muselier. The new regulations will even apply to stopovers of less than two hours and will be enforced as soon as vessels enter the port. Toulon is following in the footsteps of Cannes and Nice which have already introduced such measures.

Nice football club fined 2,000 euros - OGC Nice has been fined 2,000 euros by the LFP (League de Football) after children accompanying the players before kickoff sported father Christmas hats. The incident occurred on December 21st as OGC prepared to play Toulouse at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice. The LFP reportedly had a problem with the size of the hats.

The son of the “Lord of the Rings” author J.R.R. Tolkien dies aged 95 - Christopher Tolkien, the son of "The Lord of the Rings" author J.R.R. Tolkien, has died at the age of 95 after being admitted to hospital in Draguignan in the Var on Wednesday.  

Born in Leeds, England, on November 21, 1924, Christopher Tolkien grew up in Oxford. He was an accomplished academic in his own right and was a lecturer at the University of Oxford. For the time being, no date has been confirmed for his funeral, which should take place in the Var region where Christopher Tolkien, naturalized French, had expressed the wish to stay.


Man convicted to 30 years in prison released after seven – A man convicted for femicide to 30 years in prison by the Assize Court of the Pyrénées-Orientales on October 25th, 2017 will be released for lack of "reasonable time" concerning the holding of his trial on appeal. In 2013, Ramon Cortes had shot his ex-partner Rosine Roig in the head because she left him. Sentenced to 30 years in prison on October 25, 2017, his lawyer at the time immediately decided to appeal.

The legal reason for his release is that the Montpellier Court of Appeal did not sufficiently take into account the obligation to judge within a "reasonable time".

Ramon Cortes has therefore been released under judicial supervision and will have to appear twice a day in a gendarmerie designated by the Court of Appeal pending his second trial.

France wants Netflix, Amazon to invest 25% of revenue locally - France wants streaming services like Netflix and Amazon to invest a quarter of their sales in local productions. Up until now, broadcasters and cinemas have tended to be the ones to subsidise local content. Now France wants to shift the burden to streaming firms, which have faced fewer demands in the past.

Those offering a wide variety of programming will have to invest at least 16 percent of their revenues in local content, and streaming sites that offer mostly TV series and films, a category including both Netflix and Amazon, will have to put at least 25 percent of their revenues to local productions.

Survey - According to a new survey French people are less interested in news and consume less of it, with 71 percent of respondents saying they don't trust news outlets to accurately report their concerns. The public's interest in traditional media has fallen so low that only 59 percent of people say they still have a slight interest in what the media report, while four out of ten people have stopped consuming news altogether.

The findings were published in the annual Trust Barometer for 2019 by Kantar polling institute for the daily La Croix and represent an eight-point dip.

Report on sexual assaults in France - A report published by the ministerial statistical service of internal security (SSMSI) In France has shown that 2019 was marked by a sharp increase in the number sexual assaults, with figures showing an increase of 12% compared to last year. The continual increase in sexual assaults showed the number of rape cases increase by 19% and other sexual assaults, including sexual harassment increasing by 8%

A full report, with consolidated data for 2019, will be published at the end of March.

Paul Bocuse restaurant has lost one of its stars - The Paul Bocuse restaurant, near Lyon, has lost its third Michelin star two years after the death of the chef. The restaurant has had three stars since 1965. According to the, director of communications for the Michelin Guide, "the table remains excellent but according to the results of table experiments carried out by Michelin Guide inspectors throughout 2019, the restaurant is no longer at the level of the third star. "

Chef Paul Bocuse died in January 2018 at the age of 91. He received his first Michelin star in 1958, the title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France in 1961, followed by a second star in 1962 and a third in 1965. In just seven years, he had reached the top.


China's economy grew last year at the slowest pace in almost three decades.

Official figures show that the world's second largest economy expanded by 6.1% in 2019 from the year before - the worst figure in 29 years.

The country has faced weak domestic demand and the impact of the bitter trade war with the US.

The government has been rolling out measures over the past two years in an attempt to boost growth.

It comes after almost two years of trade tensions with the US - although hopes of a better relationship with America have seen improvements in manufacturing and business confidence data.

Microsoft has pledged to remove "all of the carbon" from the environment that it has emitted since the company was founded in 1975.

Chief executive Satya Nadella said he wanted to achieve the goal by 2050 .

To do so, the company aims to become "carbon negative" by 2030, removing more carbon from the environment than it emits.

That goes beyond a pledge by its cloud-computing rival Amazon, which intends to go "carbon neutral" by 2040.

"When it comes to carbon, neutrality is not enough," said Microsoft president Brad Smith.He said that the carbon in our atmosphere has created a blanket of gas that traps heat and that is changing the world’s climate.

And-The boss of Flybe has confirmed the airline is in talks with the government over a loan, but says the financial support would not constitute a bailout.

Mark Anderson told Flybe staff the firm had had a few "difficult days" this week but it still had "a great future".

He said the company's turnaround plan had started to work and that with more time it would be making a big profit.

Rival airlines have called for more details of the government's role in helping Flybe to be made public.

They argue that support for the troubled regional carrier may contravene competition rules.


Cricket-England just edged day 1 of the 3rd Test against South Africa in Port Elizabeth.

England won the toss and decided to bat on a flat pitch and although South Africa managed to restrict the run rate ,the tourists had reached 224-4 at stumps.

No batsman has made a half century yet but Ben Stokes and Ollie Pope are looking solid and play resumes at 9am French time.

Football-In the English Premier League this weekend.

On Saturday Watford play Spurs.Arsenal host Sheffield United.Brighton play Aston Villa.Manchester City play Crystal Palace.Norwich face Bournemouth.Southampton play Wolves.West Ham play Everton and Newcastle play Chelsea.

On Sunday Burnley play Leicester and Liverpool play Manchester United.

Tennis-The director of the Australian Open says that the tournament will start on time in Melbourne despite smoke from bush fires in the city resulting in very poor air quality.

Craig Tiley says that there’s a lot of speculation over whether the tournament will start on time or not  but that the Open “is happening”.

Some players have been complaining about breathing difficulties during the qualifying rounds at Melbourne Park and play has been delayed.

Tiley said that the players welfare was his principal concern.

Rugby Union-The race for the last 8 of the European Champions Cup will conclude over the weekend before the break for the 6 Nations.

The final round of pool matches will be played tomorrow and on Sunday with Saracens ,Northampton ,Gloucester ,Glasgow and Ulster all bidding to grab one of the 3 remaining places in the quarter finals.

Exeter ,Leinster ,Racing 92 ,Toulouse and Clermont Auvergne are already through.


Overcast with rain this afternoon ,clearing before nightfall.

Light variable or south westerly winds and a high of 14 degrees.

Overnight lows of 9 degrees on the coast and 4 degrees inland with clear skies.

The weekend-Mainly fine with highs of 13-15 degrees.


According to a survey by the Red Cross more than half of millennials fear a nuclear attack somewhere in the world within the next decade.

The poll of 16,000 young people also showed that 47 per cent believe World War Three is 'more likely than not' in their lifetime.

The Red Cross used online panels, face to face interviews and telephone interviews to reach people in 16 countries.

The most striking result came in reply to the question: 'In your opinion, how likely or unlikely is it that nuclear weapons will be used in wars or armed conflicts anywhere in the world within the next 10 years?'

Some 54 percent said they felt it was likely such weapons would be used.



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