French and Riviera News Friday 3rd January 2020


Pension Reform - The leader of France's hardline CGT union has urged all workers to join pension strikes that have crippled public transport for the past four weeks, as a showdown with President Emmanuel Macron enters a second month.

However, rail traffic is expected to be slightly less disrupted today with significant improvements over the weekend as many return to work and school on Monday. On average two out of three TGVs will be running and one out of two regional trains will be operating.

Meanwhile as the dispute over pension reform continues, French junior economy minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher has described plans by some members of the CGT trade union to block the nation's oil refineries between 7th and 10th January as "illegal" and "outside the rights conceded to strikers".

Also critics of the French government’s pension reform have spoken out against the nomination for the Legion d’Honneur of Jean-Francois Cirelli, the head of the French branch of American asset management company BlackRock, which critics say will benefit from the pension reform.The company has been accused of pushing for a privatisation of the country’s redistributive pay-as-you-go pension scheme, replacing it with US-style private pension funds.

Action against the pension reform – Action against the pension reform continues in some cities in France. On Thursday 2,000 people walked through the city centre of Marseille carrying candles in a gathering against the reform and in Paris three people were arrested and two others were slightly injured on the sidelines of an undeclared rally.

And musicians from the Paris opera orchestra have held an outdoor concert outside the Bastille opera house to protest against President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed pension reforms. They say they often work extremely long hours and often at weekends, and do not want to have to retire at an older age.

Man accidentally shoots young woman - A man remains in police custody in Montpellier after accidentally shooting a 22-year-old woman in his car on Wednesday. The man explained to investigators that he wanted to "impress" his friends with a weapon that he believed to be unloaded. Already known to police for drug trafficking the man was in possession of a 9mm automatic pistol without a license. He told police he had the gun as "he felt threatened since his cousin had been shot in the context of a settling of accounts in Avignon,". The investigation continues.

Road accident - One person has been slightly injured in a car accident on the A57. The accident occurred this morning at the junction between the A57 and the A570 in the direction of Vidauban. Emergency services were at the scene shortly after 5am and have warned this morning’s motorists of fog in the region which could hinder visibility.

Man caught changing barcodes in supermarket - A 29-year-old man from Marseille has been arrested and placed in police custody after security guards at a supermarket in Grasse caught him changing the barcodes on several products in the store. The man was caught in the act by security guards as he changed, effectively the price tags, on bottles of fine wine and a coffee machine. The fake barcodes indicated a significantly lower price than the genuine ones. The individual is to appear before the criminal court in Grasse.

Missing person - Police in Draguignan in the Var have launched a missing person appeal following the disappearance of 14-year-old Téo Comte Rousseau. The young man is reported to have fled the children’s home where he was staying on November 18th. Described as being of slim build with short black hair Téo was last seen wearing a dark tracksuit and jacket. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the police on

Debate - As Nice city council launched a debate on Thursday as to whether heaters should continue to be used on bar and restaurant terraces due to the climate emergency, the mayor of Nice Christian Estorsi has described it as “a brutal decision”. In a statement released on Thursday Estrosi spoke of the city’s work on the “good conduct charter” which is linked to the quality of the environment such as zero plastic, energy saving and selective sorting yet such a move would in his view have “a negative impact on the restaurant and hotel industry. Threatening more than 10,000 jobs”.  The subject will be tackled further by the Metropole Council for climate.

OGC Nice - Scott Brooks has been appointed “senior grounds man” at OGC Nice. Nice football club has welcomed the former grounds manager of Saint George’s Park National Football Centre of the English football federation. Brooks career has seen him spend almost ten years at Arsenal passing through Tottenham and now here in Nice. Brooks will now participate in the maintenance and development of the training grounds of the OGC Nice, in order to offer optimal working conditions to the men of Patrick Vieira



An Interpol arrest warrant has been sent to Lebanon for the former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn who escaped from Japan via Istanbul earlier this week.

Turkey has also launched an investigation into Mr Ghosn’s escape after he hired a private security firm to leave Japan on a private jet which then touched down in Istanbul before he was transferred to Lebanon.

Mr Ghosn is now a fugitive from international justice.He says that he was forced to flee Japan to escape what he called a “rigged” justice system.

Sources close to the former Nissan chairman said that he had decided to go ahead with the escape plan because of delays to his trial and a strict ban on communicating with his wife.

The Interpol red notice was received by Lebanon’s internal security forces on Thursday and has not yet been referred to the judiciary.

Mr Ghosn is facing corruption charges related to financial crimes in Japan.

Volkswagen says that it’s in talks with a group of German motorists who are suing the car giant over the dieselgate scandal.

German drivers say that they were affected after VW “cheated” emissions regulations by installing unlawful “defeat devices” in its diesel cars.

Talks are said to be at an early stage and there is no guarantee of a settlement.

The class action against Volkswagen is one of the first of its kind in Germany.

The Federal Association of Comsumers which is leading the lawsuit said that it had agreed to keep the talks confidential.

And-Asian shares have fallen this morning while oil prices spiked after news emerged that US air strikes in Iraq had killed a top Iranian commander.

The Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani and a leading Iraqi militia commander were both killed early this morning in a US air strike on their convoy at Baghdad Airport according to the Pentagon.

Oil prices surged on the news with Brent Crude up more than 3 percent to 68 dollars 25 and West Texas Intermediate up by 2.75 percent to 62 dollars 86.

The incident has raised geo-political tensions and has overshadowed the seeming thaw in trading relations between the United States and China.


Football-Liverpool have stretched their unbeaten run in the English Premier League to a year thanks to a 2-0 win over Sheffield United at Anfield last night.

Mo Salah and Sadio Mane scored the goals that maintain Liverpool’s 13 opint lead at the top of the table with their first ever Premier League title seemingly all but in the bag.

There was one game in the English Championship last night with Wayne Rooney having a hand in both goals as he made his debut for Derby who beat Barnsley 2-1.

It’s FA Cup third round weekend in England.Among some of the interesting looking ties are Burnley of the Premier League against Peterborough United  and Watford against Tranmere Rovers tomorrow and Liverpool against Everton on Sunday.

Chelsea might have their work cut out as they host in form Nottingham Forest of the Championship while Sheffield United play non-league Fylde  and Gillingham host West Ham.

Cricket-The second Test between South Africa and England starts in Cape Town today with the tourists struggling with injury and illness.

England opener Rory Burns is out with an ankle injury after damaging it while playing football and paceman Joffra Archer has been ruled out with an elbow injury.

Mark Wood is unfit and spinner Jack Leach is still suffering from flu.

Play at Newlands starts at 9.30.South Africa lead the 4 match series 1-0.

It’s day 1 of the 3rd Test between Australia and New Zealand in Sydney.

Australia won the toss and decided to bat.They’d reached 216-2 midway through the third session of the day.

Rugby Union-The owner of Saracens Nigel Wray has stepped down as chairman with immediate effect.

Mr Wray first invested in the club in 1995 and regained full control in 2018 by buying back a 50 percent stake from the South African firm Remgro.

Last November ,Saracens were deducted 35 points and fined 5.36 million pounds following an enquiry into business dealings by Mr Wray with some players.

He said in a statement that it was time for the club to make a new start.

Tennis-Nick Kyrgios is to donate 200 Australian dollars for every ace he hits in events held at home this month to help those affected by bushfires.

Fellow Australians Alex de Minaur and John Millman have also pledged their support and the country’s cricketers are planning their own fund-raising efforts.

A minute’s applause for Australia’s embattled firefighters was held before the start of the 3rd Test against New Zealand in Sydney.


Hazy sunshine with light variable or westerly winds.

Top temperature 14 degrees.

Overnight lows of 7 degrees on the coast and 3 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

The weekend-Clear skies  with highs of 14-15  degrees.










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