French and Riviera News Wednesday 16th January 2019


National Debate - The national debate opened with a first marathon meeting on Tuesday which lasted nearly seven hours. French President, Emmanuel Macron responded to 600 mayors, in Northern France. Speaking of the “yellow vest” movement Macron acknowledged the challenge facing France but also called it an “opportunity for change”. Macron went on to defend the government’s tax reform, the ISF, adding that it must be “evaluated but will not be eradicated”. Speaking about the unpopular speed limit of 80km/hr among motorist the President invited mayors to come forward for alternative solutions and mayors also aired their grievances at the lack of public services in rural areas.

In response to the citizens' initiative referendum, commonly called the RIC Emmanuel Macron expressed some reservations saying “We rarely take difficult decisions by referendum" adding that “we must not create a situation of competition between forms of democracy”. After seven hours Macron rose to a standing ovation and thanked those who had been present and stayed until the end. Ending the debate by saying that "We will not find solutions to everything" but "I think we can remove a lot of the misunderstandings".

Meanwhile as part of the great national debate launched on Tuesday the City of Marseille has announced the introduction of “notebooks of grievances” which are available in eight town halls. Making it possible to, in writing, air your opinions on climate change, taxation, democracy and citizenship, state organization and public services. Already present in some 5,000 towns the question of purchasing power has been top of the list. The notebook is available to the public until March 15th.  

Meanwhile according to a poll for BFMTV on Tuesday, 40% of French intend to participate in the national debate, with only 34% believing that it will provide a solution to the current crisis.

Education - The academy of Nice has announced, in a statement published on Tuesday, the creation of 38 additional teaching posts in primary education for September.14 in the Alpes Maritimes and 24 in the Var. Other measures include an increase in overtime hours in secondary education as well as better supervision. The measures are an attempt to overcome current difficulties in education outlined by the government.

Minister of state - Monaco’s Minister of state Serge Telle has welcomed in the New Year at a press conference held at the Yacht club here in Monaco. In the presence of regional journalists and government ministers Serge Telle presented  the “Energy Transition Mission” which is headed by Annabelle Jaeger-Seydoux and also confirmed the launch of a housing plan which is to be presented to the National Council.

‘Black Widow’ - The ‘Black Widow of the Riviera’ Patricia Dagorn has had her prison sentence reduced by eight years. Dagorn was appealing her original sentence, for poisoning several elderly men, with the purpose of defrauding them. On Tuesday, the court of the Bouches-du-Rhone reduced the sentence from an original 22 years, to 14.

Movie - The movie Benedetta which was filmed at Thoronet Abbey in the Var last autumn, will not be shown at the Cannes Film Festival as planned. The creators say the controversial movie, about a 15th century lesbian nun, will not be ready on time.  


Brexit - The European Union warned on Tuesday night that a vote in the British parliament rejecting Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal risks a “disorderly withdrawal” from the European bloc. British lawmakers overwhelmingly voted down May’s Brexit bill with 432 votes to 202 in a key parliamentary vote

Big Mac - The "Big Mac" may be living its last days at least the name. As McDonald's saw its famous brand revoked in the European Union on Tuesday a decision taken by the European Union Office for Intellectual Property. At the origin of the legal battle, Supermac, a small Irish chain filed a petition in March 2017 to end the exclusive use of the term "Big Mac" by McDonald's. Supermac notably blamed McDonald's for preventing its expansion outside Ireland by using the similarity between the name of the Irish chain and the famous "Big Mac". Supermac, has about 100 restaurants in Ireland and Northern Ireland and now hopes to expand into the UK and the EU.


The pound has risen on the foreign exchanges after British MPs voted to reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal by a massive margin of 230 votes.

The decision by Parliament opens up a range of possibilities for the next phase of the crisis including no-deal,a renegotiation of Mrs May’s deal,a softer Brexit option such as the Norway + model,a second referendum or even no Brexit at all.

Sterling rose to 1 US dollar 28.7 cents on the news after having declined by 1 percent against the greenback in the run-up to the vote.

Last year,the pound lost 7 percent in value against the dollar as uncertainty over Britain’s future relationship with Europe intensified.

MPs voted by 432 votes to 202 to reject the deal-the heaviest defeat for a sitting government in history.

Business groups in the UK have expressed their extreme frustration at the latest development with the British  Chambers of Commerce imploring MPs to come to an agreement.

Some investors now see the chance of a no-deal Brexit receding as Parliament takes more control over the process.

Germany’s economy grew at its slowest rate for 5 years in 2018 according to official data.

Figures from the German Federal Statistics Office show that the economy expanded by just 1.5 percent last year,missing earlier forecasts of 1.8 percent growth.

A weaker global economy and problems in the car industry caused by new pollution standards are the main reasons being cited for the slowdown.

The economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the third quarter,raising concerns that a similarly negative performance in the 4th quarter would put Germany into technical recession.

4th quarter data has not yet been published but estimates suggest anaemic growth of around 0.2 percent.

And-Netflix  has announced a price increase for US customers.

The streaming service will increase the cost of its standard plan from 10 dollars 99 to 12 dollars 99 a month.

The rise marks the firms second price increase within two years and is the biggest since the service was launched in 2007.

The increase comes as Netflix continues to spend heavily on original content.

No increases for European subscribers have yet been announced but are thought to be in the pipeline.


Tennis-It’s day 3 of the Australian Open in Melbourne and so far today Sloane Stephens of the United States,Ashleigh Barty of Australia and Caroline Garcia of France have all made it safely though to round 3.

In the men’s event Andreas Seppi of Italy and Thomas Berdych of the Czech Republic are through while Roger Federer is playing Dan Evans of Great Britain.

Federer took the first set on a tie-break.

Football-There were 3 FA Cup third round replays in England last night.Newcastle were 4-2 winners at Blackburn after extra time.Luton lost 1-0 at home to Sheffield Wednesday and Shrewsbury Town of League 1 caused an upset with a 3-2 win at Stoke of the Championship.

There’s one third round replay tonight.Southampton play Derby.

Formula 1-Mick Schumacher-the son of 7 time world champion Michael Schumacher has joined Ferrari’s young driver academy.

The 19 year old will race in Formula 2 this season  with Prema which is the final stage before a possible move up to Formula 1.

He’ll drive two tests with Ferrari as part of the deal this year after winning the European Formula 3 title last season.

Cricket-India have beaten Australia by 6 wickets in the second one day international in Adelaide to level the series.

Australia had set the tourists 299 to win the match and they got there with 4 balls to spare in a total of 299-4 in 49.2 overs.

The deciding match is at the MCG in Melbourne on Friday.

Rugby Union-Lee Halfpenny and Ross Moriarty  have both been named in the 39 man Wales squad for the 6 Nations despite being out with concussion.

Halfpenny hasn’t played since November and Moriarty has been out since the middle of December.

Alun Wyn Jones remains as captain.Wales play their opening 6 Nations game against against France in Paris on Friday February the 1st.


Partially cloudy this morning ,clouding over this afternoon with some rain in the Alpes-Maritimes this afternoon.

Light variable or south easterly winds and a high of 14 degrees.

Overnight lows of 6 degrees with overcast skies and scattered showers.

Thursday and Friday-Overcast with outbreaks of rain tomorrow,brightening during the afternoon.Fine on Friday.Highs of 12-14 degrees.




















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