French and Riviera News Friday 17th May 2019


Strike action on Italian train network – The Italian train network has announced strike action today with trains from France towards Italy expected to terminate at Menton for much of the day.  It’s expected that there will be some disruption along the line from Les Arcs to Ventimiglia with cancellations possible. You can get more information about specific trains on SNCF’s website 

Dispute between VTC drivers and taxis drivers - VTC unions and taxis unions are to meet with the region’s Prefect today following clashes between the two professions at Nice International airport this week. There were reports of complete chaos following taxi drivers blocking the access to both terminals followed by VTC drivers repeating the action on Wednesday. Taxis drivers had threatened further action on Thursday but finally agreed to suspend action adding that further disruption would depend on the outcome of today’s meeting.

With the 72nd Cannes Film Festival in full swing, around 5,000 transport vehicle drivers have come to the Côte d'Azur from Paris and other regions. While it’s completely legal, taxi drivers consider it to be unfair competition.

Speed limit on French roads - The president of the departmental council of the Alpes-Maritimes has welcomed a decision from Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on the speed limitation on French roads. In a statement released on Thursday the Prime Minister announced that he is willing to leave it up to the presidents of the departmental councils to decide whether to implement the 80km speed limit.  The controversial law enforcing the speed limit, has been in force since July last year.

Road works - The section of the Moyenne Corniche is to reopen this evening. The road located above Monaco has been closed to traffic since April 24th after a wall collapsed.  Traffic will be alternated with a further closure planned for the 3rd June lasting four days. The town council has announced that further repairs are needed with the bulk of the work being carried out at a later date and lasting more than two months. The closure has, until now caused long delays in the area. Motorists are advised to use an alternative route if possible.  

Carioca in Cannes - Do you know how to dance the carioca?  The people of Cannes do after having organised a flash mob in the streets of Cannes on Thursday to mark the 25th anniversary of the French film “La cité de la peur”. 150 people participated in the event dedicated to the cult film on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival in collaboration with the Palais des Festival.

Monaco exhibition - A unique exhibition capturing the love story between Princess Grace and Prince Rainier has been officially opened by His Serene Highness Prince Albert II Monaco. The exhibition entitled ‘Monaco, 6 May 1955. The Story of a Meeting’ is on at the State Rooms of the Palace of Monaco and captures the first meeting between American actress Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III of Monaco. This year marks the 90th anniversary of Grace Kelly. The exhibition is on until 15th October.


Unemployment at a 10-year low - French President Emmanuel Macron has received a boost from figures showing unemployment at a 10-year low. But at 8.7 percent, the jobless rate in France is still much higher than in other European heavyweights. Macron, has made cutting unemployment his main domestic priority and it has fallen gradually from 9.4 percent when he took office in May 2017.

VivaTech startup summit - French President Emmanuel Macron has kicked off the three-day VivaTech startup summit in Paris with a call for cooperation and multilateralism in the tech sector. His comments come after US President Donald Trump declared an IT emergency amid Washington's 5G standoff with China. Macron warned, in reference to the battle over 5G between the US and China, that "when it comes to 5G, we are being very careful over the access to the technologies in this network in order to preserve our national security".

On the list of highly anticipated innovations at VivaTech is flying car prototypes, which have become a regular attraction at the annual expo, created in 2016.

On Wednesday, European aerospace giant Airbus and Paris underground operator RATP announced will study the viability of adding flying vehicles to the city's urban transport network.

Homeopathy - After studying 1,200 homeopathic medicines, the High Health Authority has announced that it considers that homeopathic granules are insufficient and that the granules which are currently reimbursed up to 30% should no longer be reimbursed. Several months ago France’s Minister of Health raised the issue which has long caused controversy between doctors pro and anti-homeopathy with 124 doctors reviving the debate by calling homeopaths "charlatans ». Laboratories such as world leader in the sector Boiron now have until June to answer the HAS a move which Boiron says will threaten a thousand jobs. 

French doctor under criminal investigation - A criminal investigation has been launched against a French doctor over the poisoning of 17 people. Frédéric Péchier, an anaesthesiologist, has already been investigated for seven other cases of poisoning, in total leading to nine deaths. Mr Péchier denies all allegations, and faces a life sentence if found guilty.

Poll - According to a poll published on Thursday more than a third of French people have a good opinion of France’s right wing party the National Rally which has reached its highest level of popularity in the last ten years.  The survey showed that despite its popularity it is still predominantly perceived as a movement "with racist ideas”  and "dangerous for our economy”. With regards to Europe the study showed that the idea of a coalition between the National Rally and the League of Matteo Salvini in Italy is perceived as bad news by more than 6 out of 10 French people.

Architect of  the Louvre Pyramid dies - Chinese-born American architect Ieoh Ming Pei designer of the Louvre pyramid, has died at the age of 102. He was behind many buildings of different styles in the United States and China, but remained famous for designing the Louvre Pyramid.

French star of the post war period dies - The singer and former editor of the magazine Mick Micheyl as well as interpreter of the song “Un gamin de Paris” has died at the age of 97. A star of the post-war period in France born Paulette Michey in Lyon in 1922, she was one of the great stars of French song after the war. “Un gamin de Paris” has become a timeless standard, notably taken by Yves Montand, and the musicians of the streets of Montmartre continue to interpret for tourists in search of "the spirit of Paris".


Tensions have again increased between China and the United States after Beijing said that it would retaliate to what it said were Washington’s attempts to restrict international trade by Huawei.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that Beijing opposed countries imposing unilateral sanctions on Chinese companies and would take action.

On Wednesday ,the Trump administration effectively blocked Huawei products from being used in US networks citing a security risk.

The order does not specifically mention any firm but it’s widely believed that Huawei is the target.

The Chinese firm denies that it’s a security risk and has offered to discuss the issues with the United States.


Sony and Microsoft have formed a partnership on video game streaming despite the fact that they’re fierce rivals.

Reports say that Sony will use Microsoft’s Azur Cloud Service to host its upcoming PlayStation streaming service.

Microsoft has also been trialling a streaming service for its Xbox brand.

The two firms say that they’ll be working together on semiconductors and AI apps.

Sony and Microsoft have been bitter rivals  in gaming since the launch of the first Xbox console  in 2001

However ,Microsoft is keen to increase its competitiveness with Amazon Web Services and Sony also needs to move into streaming full ,high quality games over the internet.


And-The UK is to scrap international landing cards for all passengers.

Landing cards are currently filled in  by passengers arriving by air or sea from outside the European Economic Area but from Monday the practice will cease.

The UK Border Force says that the change will help to meet “the challenge of growing passenger numbers” although unions say that it will weaken immigration controls.

Passengers from outside the EEA will now be able to use e-Gates at UK borders as much of the data collected by paper landing cards is now available digitally.


Golf-Brooks Koepka holds a one shot lead heading into the second round of the USPGA at Bethpage Black ,Long  Island ,New York.

The defending champion was in sparkling form as he fired a first round 7-under par 63 to lead by one shot from world number 119 Danny Lee of New Zealand.

England’s Tommy Fleetwood is in third place on 3 under.

The US Masters champion Tiger Woods had a disappointing round of 72 putting him on 2 over  and Rory McIlroy also struggled with his only birdie coming on the 18th as he also finished on 2 over.

Tennis-Australia’s firey star Nick Kyrgios has forfeit his second round match at the Italian Open after another emotional outburst.

Krygios was in the deciding set of his match against Casper Ruud of Norway when he was given a game penalty for swearing.

He then kicked a bottle ,threw down his racquet ,hurled a chair onto the court ,picked up his bag and walked off the court.

Later he said that he’d let his “emotions” get the better of him.

Formula 1-The sport’s owners are in talks to stage a Grand Prix in Morocco.

If it comes off ,it will be the first Formula 1 race staged in Africa since the 1993 South African Grand Prix.

Formula 1’s commercial manager Sean Bratches said that Morocco had made the approach  to stage a race in Marrakech and that there is a “high degree of interest”.

Rugby Union-The Guinness Pro 14 playoff semi final is being played between Glasgow Warriors and Ulster tonight.Kick off is at 8.35 French time while tomorrow in the Gallagher Premiership in England  it’s the final round of games ahead of the playoffs.

Exeter and Saracens are the top two heading into the final weekend with Gloucester and Northampton completing the top 4.Harlequins  have a chance of pipping Northampton to 4th place if they beat  Wasps and Northampton lose to Exeter.


Overcast with outbreaks of rain around lunchtime and some sunny periods this afternoon.

Moderate to strong easterly winds developing with gusts of up to 60 knm/h across the Var.

Top temperature 18 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 14 degrees on the coast and 11 degrees inland with scattered showers.

The weekend-Sunshine and showers with highs of 16-18 degrees.













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