French and Riviera News Thursday 12th December 2019

Local

Strike French unions have vowed to continue a nationwide strike as they dismissed the prime minister’s proposals on changing the pensions system. Unions have announced a day of national strike action on Tuesday 17th December following French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe’s speech and press conference on Wednesday. The Prime Minister gave details of the government’s controversial pension reforms saying that the changes would apply to those entering work from 2022 and would not affect those born before 1975.

Those opposing the reform accuse former investment banker President Emmanuel Macron of trying to roll back France's costly but highly cherished welfare state.

As the indefinite strike continues in the transport sector services will remain disrupted today in the region. Lignes d'Azur have said that there will be no bus or tram services in Nice this morning between 8.30 and 12.30. On the trains, about 3 out of 10 local TER services will be running.

Emergency call stations - The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, has presented the installation of fifteen emergency call stations in the city. The safety device installed in the city centre allow members of the public to alert police in the case of an emergency.

Meanwhile the city council is preparing for the official opening of Line 2 of the tramway in Nice which is to take place on the port on Saturday at 9.45am.

Post office robbed - Police in Aix en Provence have launched an investigation after a post office was robbed of 2,000 euros. The incident occurred on Wednesday midday when two individuals entered the post office and tied up an employee allowing them to flee with 2,000 euros. Any one with any information is invited to contact the police.

Bronchitis - France is facing an epidemic of bronchitis  with 4,000 young children being admitted to hospital since the beginning of December. There is no specific vaccine or cure for this disease, which affects 400,000 babies each year in France.

Christian Estrosi and several sporting personalities have unveiled a clock counting down to the start of the 2020 Tour de France. The clock is in the Christmas market in Nice. Riders will start from Nice on the 27 and 28 June next year and make two loops, before leaving on June 29 towards Sisteron.

EasyJet has announced a new route from Nice Cote d’Azur airport. The airline will start flights to the Spanish island of Minorca next June.

National

Weather warning - Météo France has placed the Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Hautes-Pyrénées on an orange flood alert today. The warning is in place from 4pm to 9pm. Members of the public have been advised to cancel any travel plans due to the heavy rainfall and flooding expected to hit the region.

Business 

UK voters are going to the polls today in the country’s 3rd General Election since 2015.

Focus will be on the currency markets later with the pound set to rise if a Conservative majority emerges from the results with Sterling likely to fall in the event of a hung parliament or a Labour Party majority.

Polls on the eve of the election showed a tightening in the race but forecasts suggest a smallish Conservative majority or a hung parliament.The chances of a Labour majority are extremely slim.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hung his campaign on a “Get Brexit Done” slogan and has vowed to take the UK out of the European Union by the end of January if he’s returned to power with Labour pledging to renegotiate the deal and then put it to a second referendum.

In the event of a hung parliament ,the wrangling is likely to go on with a second referendum perhaps the only way out of the impasse.

Polls open at 7am UK time and close at 10pm with the first exit polls due at around midnight and the outcome becoming clear in the early hours of tomorrow.

 

The US Federal Reserve has decided to keep interest rates on hold and has signalled that borrowing costs will not change anytime soon.

In a statement following its two day policy meeting in Washington ,the Fed said that it expected moderate growth and historically low unemployment to continue next year and said that it continued to believe that its economic outlook remains favourable.

The Fed has cut interest rates three time so far this year and had been widely expected to leave borrowing costs unchanged this month.

Fed chair Jerome Powell said that the shift already carried out in 2019 had helped to support the economy and kept the outlook on track.

Economists think that the US central bank will cut interest rates once next year although some have forecast no change at all in 2020.

 

And-A high-stakes meeting is set for the White House today as trade advisors meet with President Trump to discuss tariffs.

Fresh tariffs are due to kick in on Chinese goods on Sunday if no preliminary trade deal has been signed between Washington and Beijing but advisors may advocate holding off on new levies even if there is no deal in place.

Some 160 billion dollars of Chinese goods would be hit by the fresh tariffs including mobile phones and computers.

A decision to impose the new tariffs could scuttle talks to end the 17 month old trade war and provoke a negative market reaction in the run-up to Christmas.

 

Sport

Football-Spurs lost their final European Champions League group game 3-1 at Bayern Munich last night but had already qualified for the knockout phase while Manchester City who are also through were 4-1 winners at Dinamo Zagreb.

All four of the English clubs playing in the competition have made the last 16 and they can’t be drawn against each other in the first knockout phase.

The final Group games in the Europa League are being played tonight with teams vying for a place in the last 32.

Wolves are at home to Besiktas while Manchester United host AZ Alkmaar.Arsenal are away at Standard Liege  while Celtic travel to Cluj and Rangers host Young Boys needing at least a point to make the knockout phase.

West Brom missed out on going back to the top of the English Championship last night after being held to a 1-1 draw at Wigan.

In the other results Barnsley and Reading drew 1-1.QPR were 2-0 winners at Birmingham.Brentford beat Cardiff 2-1.Derby and Sheffield Wednesday drew 1-1 and Swansea and Blackburn drew 1-1.

Cricket-It’s day 1 of the first Test between Australia and New Zealand in Perth.

Australia won the toss and decided to bat.They’d reached 18-0 after 5 overs.

It’s day 2 of the first Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi.

Play has been delayed by rain with Sri Lanka on 222-5 in the first innings.

Graeme Smith has been appointed as acting director of cricket ahead of the four match Test series against England which starts on Boxing Day.

The former Protea’s captain will take charge until the Indian Premier League starts in March and says that he’s still as passionate about South African cricket as ever.

Rugby Union-The Scotland back Tommy Seymour has announced his international retirement after winning 55 caps.

The 31 year old Glasgow Warriors player said that he’d had an “amazing journey”.He played at two World Cups and represented the British and Irish Lions on their 2017 tour to New Zealand.

Weather.

Clear skies with moderate westerly winds.

Top temperature 15 degrees.

Overnight lows of 7 degrees with rain across the region.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Sunshine and showers tomorrow with a high of 15.Fine on Saturday with a high of 19 degrees.

Finally

Scientist have claimed that tapping a beer can doesn’t stop it fizzing over when it is opened.

It is widely thought that flicking or tapping a tinned can moves bubbles of carbon dioxide from the side to the top of the can so the drink won’t foam over when it is opened.

But scientists from the University of Southern Denmark, who set out to find the best way to minimise beer loss, found tapping the can has no effect at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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