French and Riviera News Wednesday 11th December 2019

Local

Strike  - Transport in the region is today expected to be disrupted due to the ongoing strike. Over 2,000 demonstrators have protested in Nice against the pension reforms. Tuesday’s strike action saw rail workers, teachers and medical staff take to the streets through France. Tram services in Nice were disrupted due to the demonstrations. According to the CGT union, seven of the eight oil refineries in France were blockaded. According to the Ministry of the Interior, 339,000 people marched throughout France. Unions put the figure at 885,000.

Today, the SNCF has said that only 25% of the TGV trains will be running. In our region, it’s expected that 3 out of 10 TER services will be running, in the Alpes-Maritimes, the Var and the Bouches-du-Rhône. Some of those services will involve the use of replacement bus services.

As several unions call for the strike to continue indefinitely. The French prime minister, Édouard Philippe, warned lawmakers on Tuesday to prepare for a long battle over proposed changes to the pensions system.

Hiker rescued in hills behind Grasse - A 20-year-old hiker has been rescued by helicopter after he fell 20 metres while walking in Le Parc de La Moulière in Caille situated in the hills behind Grasse. 20 emergency workers intervened shortly after 6pm on Tuesday the man was taken to hospital suffering from a fractured leg. 

Streets closed in Cagnes sur mer - Emergency services in Cagnes sur mer have reassured concerned residents following reports of “a strong smell of gas”. Technicians from the gas board were deployed to the city centre shortly after 7pm on Tuesday evening and later confirmed that following security checks there was no risk to the public. The incident led to several streets being closed temporarily.

Wild mushrooms - The French public health authority has released figures showing the number of deaths from poisoned mushrooms. 22 people died in France between 2010 and 2017 as a result of mushroom poisoning with 10,000 cases of illness recorded.

National

Reducing single-use plastics - The French National Assembly has approved measures to reduce single-use plastics as of 2040. The proposed ban targets the use of plastic items like food containers and bottles. Officials have praised a "concrete" measure, but critics argue it is not soon enough.

A proposed ban on single-use plastics was first presented to the French Senate in September, but was rejected after a second vote.Lawmakers at the National Assembly this time voted without hesitation for an "objective putting an end to single-use plastics by 2040". The ban is an amendment to France's anti-waste law and targets "all food packaging and bottles”.

Business

The Director of the World Trade Organisation says that it will take several months to fix its main body for settling trade disputes.

Roberto Azevedo has conceded that “significant changes in the dispute settlement mechanism” will be required and that intensive consultations will start immediately.

The WTO has ground to a halt because the United States has blocked the appointment of new judges. A minimum of three are required and at the moment there is only one in place.

The Appellate Body has the final decision on disputes that cover billions of dollars of international trade and its rulings are supposed to be binding.

Changes are being demanded by President Trump who says that the WTO has treated the United States “unfairly”.

Mr Azevedo said that he hoped to find changes that “everyone can live with”.

 

President Trump will be the focus of attention over the next few days with time running out to find a preliminary trade agreement with China before new tariffs are due to kick in on Sunday.

The United States says that it will impose new tariffs on 160 billion dollars of Chinese goods including mobile phones if no agreement has been signed by the 15th of December.

Mr Trump has been giving conflicting messages on the chances of an initial deal and reports say that there is still no absolute clarity on what path he will choose.

A source close to the trade talks says that if Mr Trump decides to allow the fresh tariffs to be put into place then negotiations with China are almost certainly over for the rest of his term.

Markets will almost certainly have a negative reaction if no preliminary deal is reached following weeks of speculation that an initial deal is on the cards.

 

And-Currency traders are preparing for a 24 hour marathon as the UK general election looms.

Foreign exchange currency strategists will be manning their desks in a bid to make sure that their clients including big corporations ,fund managers and private banks make money no matter which way the pound swings when the election results start coming in.

Analysts are forecasting several different scenarios depending on the outcome of the election.

If the Conservative Party wins then the pound is likely to strengthen but may weaken significantly if the Labour Party wins a majority.

Sterling is also likely to weaken somewhat in the event of a hung parliament but the really interesting movements may come some way down the line if the Conservatives win a majority and a no-deal Brexit scenario appears at the end of 2020.That could lead to a sharp decline in the value of the pound which may even sink to parity against the euro and to around 1 US dollar 18 cents.

Sport

Football-The former Derby County ,Oxford United and Portsmouth manager Jim Smith has died at the age of 79.

Mr Smith managed 9 different clubs across the leagues with highlights including a League Cup final appearance with QPR and promotion to the Premier League with Derby in 1996.

He’d been ill for some time.

Chelsea and Liverpool are through to the last 16 of the European Champions League.Chelsea beat Lille 2-1 to end second in Group H while Liverpool topped Group E thanks to a 2-0 win at Red Bull Salzburg.

The final places for the knockout phase will be decided to night in the remaining group games.

Manchester City are away at Dinamo Zagreb while Spurs play Bayern Munich.Both sides are already through to the last 16.

In the English Championship last night Leeds United went back to the top of the table following a 2-0 win over Hull and in the other results Bristol City lost 2-1 at home to Millwall.Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough drew 1-1.Preston beat Fulham 2-1.Charlton lost 1-0 at home to Huddersfield and Stoke beat Luton 3-0.

Formula 1-The teams have unanimously rejected the tyres proposed by Pirelli for next season.

The firm had hoped that the new design would be a step forward in producing less sensitive tyres which would allow drivers to push harder and race further.

However ,at a test in Abu Dhabi the teams decided that they preferred the tyres that had been used last season.

The decision means that the sport will have to wait another year before it can instigate plans to introduce tyres that are more raceable than those that have been used in previous seasons.

Cricket-It’s day 1 of the 1st Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi with Pakistan  playing their first Test on home soil in 10 years.

Matches were scrapped in Pakistan after the Sri Lanka team bus was ambushed by gunmen in Lahore in March 2009. Six policemen and two civilians were killed in the attack and several Sri Lankan players and coaching staff were injured.

The threat of terrorism has prevented matches being played in Pakistan since then with the home side playing their games in the Middle East.

Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to bat.They’d reached 30-0 a little earlier this morning.

Weather

High level cloud with some rain in the early evening and light variable or westerly winds.

Top temperature 15 degrees.

Overnight lows of 8 degrees on the coast and 6 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

Thursday and Friday-Fine tomorrow with a high of 15 and some rain overnight into Friday then a mixture of sunshine and showers.Highs of 12-14 degrees.

Finally

New research has shown that more than a fifth of 18 to 24-year-olds – known as Generation Z – have a problem telling the time on a traditional watch.  

And one in five 25 to 34-year-olds admit they also find it difficult to tell the time on a watch with hands.

The news will come as a huge blow to traditional watchmakers as their market continues to plummet each year.

Experts say that the rise of smartphones and smartwatches has left increasing amounts of young people unable to read traditional watches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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