French and Riviera News Monday 6th January 2020

Local

Strike action - As many people return to work and school today some disruption is expected on the region’s rail network due to strike action. Traffic is expected to be almost normal on Tuesday as talks between the French government and unions are set to take place. However, a new day of national mobilization has been announced for Thursday 9th January. Union leaders have called for a show of strength from workers in the public and private sectors and a blockade of refineries, threatening fuel shortages. Unions have called for nationwide protests on Thursday and Saturday.

On Sunday police fired teargas at demonstrators in Paris’s Gare du Nord station, used by tourists taking the Eurostar service.

Meanwhile several thousand people demonstrated on Saturday in Paris demanding the withdrawal of government’s pension reform. Demonstrators, some wearing yellow vests, marched carrying banners and chanting for French President Emmanuel Macron to scrap his reform project.

And in Marseille, a few hundred people demonstrated, while in the southwestern town of Toulouse dozens of Yellow Vests, who have been demonstrating since November 2018 against the government's reforms, entered a station while some occupied tracks in support of the striking railway workers.

Demonstrations and strikes against French plans to reform the pension system entered their 31st day on Saturday, leaving the previous 1986-7 record of 28 consecutive days of strikes behind.

Marineland - The Anti Captivity Group the GAC has gathered in front of Marineland in Antibes following the news that a dolphin died after being born at the park on January 1st. The baby dolphin is reportedly the 46th death in park since its creation in 1970. On Sunday activists blocked the entrance to the park which was closed for the annual holidays calling for an “end to the captivity of marine mammals in the park”.

Prom Classic - This year’s Prom Classic in Nice has been hailed a success. 9,600 runners participated in the 10km run on Sunday on the Promenade des Anglais. Organisers had this year for the first time launched the “run and date” allowing single people to meet each other while participating in the race. Out of the 9,600 participants 2,500 took part in the “run and date” described by some as “better than any dating app”.

National

French President offers help to Australia - French President Emmanuel Macron has offered "immediate operational assistance" from France to Australia to fight the fires currently ravaging the country. In a tweet on Sunday Macron offered help against the fires "to protect the population and preserve biodiversity. "

“The Pope of Beaujolais” dies - Georges Duboeuf has died at the age of 86. Duboeuf became famous for turning an ordinary red wine known as "Beaujolais nouveau" into a global phenomenon in the 1980s. 

Thanks to his relentless promotion of the wine its release date on the third Thursday of November came to be known and celebrated worldwide as Beaujolais Nouveau Day.

This earned him the nickname of "the Pope of Beaujolais". Duboeuf suffered a stroke on Saturday afternoon in his home near Lyon and died soon after.

Notre Dame Cathedral - The French general overseeing the reconstruction of Notre-Dame Cathedral says the Paris landmark remains in a precarious and unsafe state, more than nine months after it went up in flames. Gen. Jean-Louis Georgelin told French reporters on Sunday that  “Notre-Dame has not yet been saved. There is an extremely important step ahead, which is to remove the scaffolding that had been built around the spire."

Business

Shares have slipped in Asian trade this morning with both gold and oil rising in light of the increasingly bellicose threats being issued against each other by the United States and Iran.

Tensions have been ratcheted up since a top Iranian general , Qasem Soleimaini was assassinated in a US drone strike at Baghdad Airport last Friday in what the Pentagon said was a “defensive action”.

Gold has now hit a 7 year high with investors scurrying to safe havens while oil prices have hit four month highs.

Investors are becoming increasingly concerned that war could break out in the Middle East again.

On Sunday ,Washington said that it had detected a heightened state of alert by Iran’s missile forces while President Trump warned that the United States would strike back “perhaps in a disproportionate manner” if Iran attacked any American person or target.

Gold prices have hit 1,579 dollars this morning while Brent Crude is up by nearly 1.5 percent to 70 dollars and 06 cents.

 

The costs of the proposed new high-speed rail link between the north and the south of England are “out of control” according to the deputy chair of the review panel.

Lord Berkeley says that the high-speed line linking London to the north of England will cost over 108 billion pounds and its benefits are overstated.

He said that he believed that MPs had been “misled” about the price of HS2 which was set at 55 billion pounds in 2015.

The government says that Lord Berkeley’s report represents his “personal view” and his criticisms have also been rejected by a group of northern politicians and business leaders.

Trains are due to start running between London and Birmingham on HS2 in 2029 but won’t reach Leeds or Manchester until sometime in the 2030’s.

 

And-Bosses of the UK’s leading firms will be paid more within three days this year than the average employees annual wage according to a new report.

Data compiled by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development along with the High Pay Centre think tank suggests FTSE 100 chief executives who started work on the 2nd of January will have been paid more than the average wage of 29,559 pounds by 5 pm this afternoon.

The report says that high pay will be a major issue this year as this is the first year that publicly listed firms with more than 250 employees must disclose the ratio between chief executive pay and that of their average workers.They are also legally bound to explain the reasons for executive pay ratios.

Sport

Cricket-England are in charge heading into day 4 of the second Test against South Africa in Cape Town.

On day 3 the tourists had reached 218-4 in their second innings after having bowled South Africa out for 223.

England lead by 264 runs with Dom Sibley on 85 not out and have a great chance of squaring the 4 match series which South Africa lead 1-0.

Football-There were several ties in the third round of the FA Cup in England on Sunday.

Charlton lost 1-0 at home to West Brom.Chelsea beat Nottingham Forest 2-0.Barnley were 3-1 winners at Crewe.Middlebrough and Spurs drew 1-1.QPR beat Swansea 5-1.Sheffield United beat non-league Fylde 2-1.Bristol Rovers and Coventry drew 2-2.Northampton were 4-2 winners at Burton Albion.Derby County beat Crystal Palace 1-0.Liverpool beat Everton 1-0 and West Ham were 2-0 winners at Gillingham.

There’s one tie tonight.Arsenal play Leeds.

In the FA Women’s Super League on Sunday Bristol City were 1-0 winners at Manchester United.Chelsea beat Reading 3-1.Arsenal beat Birmingham 2-0.Brighton beat Liverpool 1-0 and Manchester City were 4-1 winners at Spurs.

Rugby Union-There were 2 games in the Gallagher Premiership in England on Sunday.Exeter stay top of the pile thanks to a 45-28 win at London Irish and Wasps were beaten 35-31 at home by Northampton.

Motorsport-The double Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso finished 11th on stage 1 of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia.

Alonso is making his debut in the event for Toyota and trying to become the first Formula 1 world champion to win it.

Alonso was more than a quarter of an hour slower than stage winner Vaidotas Zala on the 752 kilometer stage.

Today’s second stage is 393 kilometers between Al Wajh to Neom.

Weather

Clear skies with light variable winds.

Top temperature 15 degrees.

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

Tuesday and Wednesday-Mainly fine  with highs of 13-15  degrees.

Finally 

An Amazon driver has reportedly refused to hand over a Christmas  bottle of sherry to a 92-year-old grandmother because she didn't have ID. 

Carl Johnston, 41, ordered the £8.50 bottle of Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry for his grandmother Louise Wilkinson as a Christmas present.  But when it arrived at her house in Seaham, County Durham, the delivery driver said he couldn't give it to her because she had no proof she was old enough. 

The same driver attempted to deliver the parcel again the next day, when the elderly woman showed him her bus pass, but he still refused to accept it.  Mr Johnston was astounded and says he will now have to apply for a refund and buy another bottle to give to her in person. 

Amazon lists a number of forms of photographic identification it will accept as proof of age. 

The rules read: 'By placing an order for one of these items you are declaring that you are 18 years of age or over.'

'Valid photographic ID and a signature of the recipient will be required upon delivery for all customers. 

'If the recipient is not over the age of 18 and has not been able to show valid photo identification, the item will be returned to Amazon for re-delivery the following day.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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