French and Riviera News Tuesday 17th December 2019


Nationwide strike - As a third nationwide strike takes place today across France with transport workers, truck drivers, teachers and hospital staff protesting against both working condition and the pension reform France’s Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has called for employer and trade union representatives to meet him on Wednesday for talks aimed at ending the transport chaos of nationwide strikes over the government's proposed reform of the pension system.

The invitation to talks comes just hours after the sudden resignation of Jean-Paul Delevoye as pensions commissioner, following a salary scandal revealed by trade unions at the weekend. Philippe applauded Delevoye's “sense of responsibility” in deciding to step down to avoid hampering the government's reform efforts through his own affairs.

Today's strikes are to be marked by mass protest, with more widespread transport disruption expected across the country.

In the region no trams are circulating in Nice, the bus network is severely disrupted and 3 out of 10 trains are running.

Teenager dies after mobile phone falls into bathtub - A 13-year-old girl has died after being electrocuted in her bath. The teenager died on Sunday evening in Vitrolles in the Bouches-du-Rhône she was found lifeless in her bathtub. According to emergency services the victim’s mobile phone had allegedly slipped into the water while on charge on the edge of the tub.  

South west remains on weather alert due to flooding - With roads flooded and some closed to traffic the Charent-Maritime, Lot et Garonne, Landes and Gironde remain on an orange weather alert today due to flooding. The warning is in place for all four departments in the south west until 6am Wednesday morning. The bad weather has already claimed three lives in the region as authorities advise motorist to be particularly careful and to not attempt to pass through flooded areas.

School textbook comes under fire in Marseille - Some teachers in Marseille have criticized the introduction of a school textbook entitled “Succeed in CM1” brandishing logos and the colours of the city’s football club the Olympique de Marseille. The textbook contains class exercises often linked to the football club. A history page, for example, is entirely dedicated to the club and in a maths problem, you have to calculate the price of a stadium subscription. While the manual is not an obligation some teachers say, “due to the advertising it’s a marketing tool and does not belong in the classroom”. The club however argues that “it was edited by the foundation and is a nonprofit manual with no commercial interest”.

Where are the hands on the clock tower in old Nice? - Locals in old Nice have been reassured by the local council that the hands on the clock of the Saint-François tower located in the old town will be returned. The clock tower has been renovated with a spiral staircase installed for the public to enjoy the exceptional viewpoint and at the same time the clock is getting a new digital mechanism intended to be completed by the end of January.


Recall of LU biscuits due to packaging error - Due to a packaging error the biscuit brand LU has recalled their “Chocolate cracotte” biscuits. Following a statement released on Monday it would appear that hazelnuts have slipped into some of the packages posing a risk for people allergic to hazelnuts.  The recall concerns the LU Cracotte Chocolat 200G packages which bear a date of minimum durability (DDM) until June 30, 2020 inclusive and the following batch code: OVE1293742.

Former British journalist could face extradition - Ian Bailey, a British former journalist, could face extradition from Ireland to France where he has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for the murder of a French film-maker, Sophie Toscan du Plantier. Bailey, 62, was arrested and bailed on Monday after the high court in Dublin endorsed a European arrest warrant issued by a Paris court, in a long-running case that has divided public and legal opinion.

Bailey has denied any involvement in the killing of du Plantier, whose body was discovered near her holiday home in west Cork on 23 December 1996.

French National Health Authority to extend HPV vaccination to teenage boys - The French National Health Authority has announced that the HPV vaccine already recommended for teenage girls in France will be recommended for boys aged between 11 and 14. The vaccine fights against sexually transmitted diseases, responsible for several cancers. In a statement published on Monday the Ministry of Health said they intended to extend the vaccination programme. HPV causes 1,750 cancers in men and 4,580 in women each year in France. Cervical cancer alone still kills 1,100 women each year in France, and 2,900 new cases are diagnosed.



The US aerospace giant Boeing has announced that it will call a temporary halt to production of its troubled 737 Max jet in January.

Production of the aircraft has been continuing despite the model being grounded for the past 9 months following two deadly crashes.

Boeing had been hoping to have the 737 Max back in the air by the end of this year but US regulators have insisted that the planes will not be certified to return to service that quickly.

The firm ,which is based in Seattle said that it would not be laying off workers but the stoppage is set to affect suppliers and the wider economy.

The US Federal Aviation Authority has warned that there could be more than a dozen further crashes over the lifetime of the 737 Max unless changes are made to its design.

Boeing is redesigning the automated control system which is thought to have been the primary cause of the crashes.


Despite market euphoria over Boris Johnson’s landslide election victory last week ,analysts have warned that the underlying economic picture in the UK is far from healthy as the country prepares to leave the EU on the 31st of January and then attempt to negotiate a free trade deal with Europe before the end of the transition period in December 2020.

Data for UK manufacturing in December showed the worst performance for 7 months.

The pound fell against both the dollar and the euro following the publication of the IHS Markit and Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply survey on Monday.

The PMI index for December came in at 48.5 suggesting further contraction in the manufacturing sector  with the economy now having contracted for the third time in four months.

The service sector also contracted with a PMI reading of 49 compared with forecasts of 49.6.

And-The threat of strike action by pilots at British Airways has receded after a pay deal was struck with management.

Members of the British Airline Pilots’ Association reached a tentative deal with BA last month which promised an 11.5 percent pay increase over three years.

On Monday ,pilots voted by nearly 9 to 1 to accept the deal although neither side has given any more comment on the agreement.

More than 2,300 BA flights were cancelled when pilots walked out on the 9th and 10th of September.

The strike cost the airline 121 million pounds in lost revenue.


Football-Everton are set to intensify negotiations to hire Carlo Ancelotti as their new manager.

The 60 year old Italian was sacked by Napoli last week and is said to be keen to return to the English Premier League where he won the League and FA Cup double with Chelsea in 2010.

The club said that it was keen to appoint a new full time manager as soon as possible.

Arsenal are continuing talks with Manchester City with a view to appointing Mikel Arteta as new head coach.

The Gunners are looking for a new manager after sacking Unai Emery in November.

The Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says that he will not stand in the way of his assistant if he wants to move to the Emirates.

There was 1 game in the English Premier League on Monday night.Crystal Palace and Brighton drew 1-1.

The first League Cup quarter final is being played in England tonight.Aston Villa play Liverpool.

Formula 1-Lewis Hamilton has said that he wants to test himself against a new generation of drivers and that 2020 represents a fresh start.

The 6 time world champion who finished second behind Ben Stokes in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award on Sunday said that he never looked at records and that he still found it surreal to be mentioned in the same breath as Michael Schumacher.

Hamilton will equal Schumacher’s record of 7 world championships if he wins the title next season.

Cricket-Ben Stokes will miss England’s opening tour game of South Africa after joining the squad late after receiving the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award on Sunday.

England play a two day match against a South Africa Invitational XI starting today.

Bowler Joffra Archer is set to miss the game with a cold while coach Chris Silverwood says that veteran bowler James Anderson is in “fantastic condition” and ready to go.

The first Test between South Africa and England starts on Boxing Day with the Protea’s naming 6 uncapped players in their squad.


Overcast with  strong easterly winds.

Top temperature 17 degrees.

Overnight lows of 14 degrees on the coast and 12 degrees inland with cloudy skies.

Wednesday and Thursday-Overcast and windy tomorrow.Sunshine and showers on Thursday with highs of 15-17 degrees.




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