French and Riviera News.Friday December 28th 2018

Population drop-The populations of some towns and cities in the south of France is falling according to the latest data from the national statistics office Insee.

On the first of January 2016,the population of the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region was put at just over 5 million residents-an increase of 0.4 percent, in line with figures from the period between 2006 and 2011.

The Alpes Maritimes was the second most populous department in the region after the Bouches du Rhône but some major towns including Nice and Antibes saw the population decline.

Nice has been losing an average of 400 residents per year during the period between 2006 and 2016 with around 342,637 residents at the last count while the population of Antibes has fallen from 75,176 in 2006 to 73,978 in 2016.

In contrast the population of Cannes increased from 72,607 to 74,152 in the decade between 2006 and 2016.



Missing-Gendarmes in Puget Theniers have appealed for help in finding a man who’s been missing since the 13th of December.

Chafik Taghouzi was last seen leaving the home of friend in Saint-Laurent-du-Var at 10.30 pm.He left on foot without taking his car which was found outside.

He was reported missing on the 22nd of December and is described as being slim,one meter 75 tall with mid length dreadlocked light brown hair.

The 36 year old was wearing a black leather jacket,an orange tee-shirt and grey jogging pants when he was last seen.

Anyone with information is asked to call Gendarmes on 04 93 05 00 06.


Robbery-Police are investigating a robbery that took place at the Fred jewelers in Saint Tropez over the night of Christmas Day and the 26th of December.

Authorities have remained tight lipped about the enquiry so far and the amount stolen from the store which is opposite the Place des Lices has not been revealed.

Witnesses say that the main glass door entrance to the store was smashed by the thieves and reports say that the most valuable pieces had been removed from the shop windows and stored in the safe as part of normal overnight precautions.

Last January,Fred was the victim of an armed robbery during which a gang of 4 heavily armed men got away with several hundred thousand euros worth of jewels.



Yellow vests-Around 40 yellow vest protestors have attempted to enter the grounds of the French Presidential residence in the Var.

Protestors gathered in  Bormes les Mimosas on Thursday and staged a march to the gates of the Fort de Bregancon where they were stopped by a company of gendarmes.

Several of the demonstrators broke from the main group and attempted to enter the grounds of the Fort from adjacent fields but were again halted by police.

The Fort de Bregancon is used by the French President as a holiday retreat.It’s not clear whether Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte were in residence at the time.



In National News.


Motorists-Several changes will come into force for motorists in France on the first of January.

Although there is good news with the scrapping of the fuel tax as a result of the yellow vests protests,some owners of the mist polluting vehicles will insurance costs rise.

Owners of small,less polluting cars will receive supplementary tax relief depending on the distance driven to work and state aid for those on more modest incomes who wish to convert to environmentally friendly vehicles will double from 2,000 to 4,000 euros.

Young drivers will be able to reduce the length of their probationary period by taking a fee based 7 hour advanced driving course but everyone will pay more to use the motorway network with an average price increase of 1.9 percent.


Yellow vest employment effect-The government says that French firms have asked for a total of 43,000 staff to be put on to part time contracts since the start of the yellow vests protests in mid November.

The measure allows firms to limit losses and restore full time employment contracts when economic conditions permit.

On average ,retail sales have fallen by 25 percent since the start of the protests with shoppers staying away from city centres and retail parks.

The Banque de France estimates that the protests took 0.2 percent off fourth quarter GDP figures.




An early sell off on Wall Street on Thursday appears to have been sparked by  weak US consumer confidence data for December  although analysts cautioned that volatile share price movements were due,in part to thin holiday trading.

At one point the S&P 500 was down by 2 percent before staging a late rally.

Earlier on Thursday,European markets slumped on the first day of post-Christmas trading with the FTSE 100 in London down by 1.5 percent,the Dax in Frankfurt off 2.8 percent and the Cac 40 in Paris down by more than 1 percent.

Concerns over US-China trade tensions also resurfaced on Thursday with reports suggesting that President Trump is considering signing an executive order to ban the use of Chinese technology.


The European Union Technology Commissioner has said that tech firms must become more open about their use of data.

In an interview with the BBC on Thursday,Margrethe Vestager criticised tech giants for misusing data and failing to respect citizens’ rights.

She said that new EU rules governing what could be done with data offered consumers some protection but that there was a need for more concerted action.

She went on to say that it is becoming increasingly clear that the “bright and shiny” positive potentials of tech are at risk of being darkened by “forced misuse of data”,manipulation,supervision,no respect of the citizen and no respect of individual rights.



And-Vinci Airports of France has signed a deal  to acquire a majority stake in London’s Gatwick Airport for 3.67 billion euros.

Vinci will hold a 50.01 percent stake in Gatwick under the deal with the other 49.99 percent held by current owners Global Infrastructure Partners.

Gatwick is Europe’s 8th largest airport with total passenger numbers reaching 45.7 million this year.

The latest acquisition means that Vinci Airports will now control 46 airports in 12 countries with total traffic of 228 million passengers a year.




Football-There was one game in the English Premier League last night.West Ham came from behind to beat Southampton 2-1 at St Mary’s and move up to 9th place in the table.


The festive football bonanza continues this weekend with a full programme in the English Premier League.

On Saturday Brighton play Everton.Fulham meet Huddersfield.Leicester host Cardiff.Spurs play Wolves.Watford host Newcastle and Liverpool play Arsenal.

On Sunday Crystal Palace play Chelsea.Burnley meet West Ham.Southampton play Manchester City and Manchester United host Bournemouth.


Cricket-Australia are under the cosh on day 3 of the 3rd Test against India in Melbourne.

Earlier today Australia were dismissed for just 151 in reply to India’s first innings total of 443-7 declared.

India had reached 17-0 in their second innings in the third session of the day-a lead of 309.

The series is tied at 1-1.


South Africa have been set 148 to win the first Test against Pakistan at Centurion.

Pakistan were bowled out for 190 at the end of day 2 of the match with play on day three due to resume  at 9am French time.


Rugby Union-There’s one game in the Gallagher Premiership tonight.Northampton play Exeter while in the Guinness Pro 14 Connacht play Ulster.




Mainly fine with light southerly or variable winds.

Top temperature 14 degrees.

Overnight lows of 8 degrees on the coast and 4 degrees inland with clear skies.

The weekend-Mainly fine with highs of 14-16 degrees.


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