French and Riviera News Wednesday 18th December 2019


Strike action - Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have protested in France  in the latest show of strength against the government's plans for pension reforms. The CGT, one of the unions organising the rally in the capital, claimed 350,000 demonstrators had gathered for a march through Paris out of 1.8 million nationwide.

In one incident, an officer was injured, and 13 people were arrested in scuffles with the activist group black bloc near the Place de la Nation in eastern Paris.

A demonstration took place in central Nice, with police using tear gas to contain a small section of protestors.

In Draguignan, about 1,000 demonstrators took to the streets and police dislodged about 50 protestors who were blockading the prison. Demonstrations were also held in Brignoles and Toulon.

Transport unions said they would maintain a 14th day of action today against the pension reforms. In the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region trains will remain disrupted with 4 out of 10 local trains running and there is a restricted service on the bus network. For up to date information on the trains you can call 08 00 11 40 23 from 7am to 9pm.

Power cuts – Meanwhile several areas of Nice experienced power cuts on Tuesday morning with unions claiming responsibility. Power cuts were reported at the main railway station, at the prefecture, the Nice Etoile shopping centre, the courthouse and in the old town. Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi said that the power cuts were unacceptable and called them “outright sabotage”. He demanded the prosecution of the perpetrators of the cuts.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has called for employer and trade union representatives to meet with him this afternoon for talks aimed at ending the disruption.

Car accident - Three men aged 18 and 19 have been seriously injured in a car accident. The accident occurred around 3.30pm on Monday afternoon on the avenue Sainte-Marguerite in Nice. Traffic in the area was disrupted as emergency services intervened. Police are trying to determine the cause of the accident and have appealed for any witnesses to come forward.

A woman is in custody after threatening a bank employee in Marseille on Tuesday . The woman entered the bank in the 3rd arrondissement and asked if her Christmas bonus had been paid into her account. When an employee said that there had been no payment, the woman returned with a bottle of flammable liquid which she sprayed over the employee and threatened to ignite it. A security guard intervened and police were called.


Weather alert – Meteo France has extended the orange weather warning in south western France due to the risk of flooding. The warning remains in place until Thursday, December 19th at 6am. Weather in the region has killed three people in recent days. Significant floods affected the Garonne, Adour and Midouze rivers.

New measure for drugs sold without a prescription - In a move to limit the misuse of drugs sold without a prescription aspirin, doliprane and advil must be stored behind the counter in chemist's  in France from January 15th.  The drugs used for self-medication as painkillers or anti-fever in adults and children, were until now, sold directly, that is to say that the customers serve themselves on the shelves of the pharmacy.



The pound has fallen back to where it was before the UK general election amid fresh concerns over a no-deal Brexit.

The British government has said that it will insist on ruling out any extension to the transition period at the end of 2020 and will insert a clause to that effect in the revised EU Withdrawal Bill which will be presented for its second reading in Parliament on Friday.

If passed as expected ,the bill will pave the way for the UK to formally leave the EU on the 31st of January but then the tough negotiations start on a future free trade deal which Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists can be completed before the end of next year.

EU officials are sceptical that a deal can be done in the time frame which means that if Mr Johnson does not request an extension then the UK will revert to WTO trading rules with the bloc at the end of December next year.

Sterling fell by more than 1 percent against the dollar on the news and by 1.2 percent against the euro taking it back to pre-election levels.

The currency and FTSE 100 share index had surged after the Conservatives won a clear majority in the general election.


Data from the United States shows that construction of new homes increased more than expected in November to a 12 and a half year high as lower mortgage rates continued to boost the market and support the broader economy.

Short-term economic prospects were also boosted by other data showing a strong rebound in manufacturing production mainly due to striking General Motors staff returning to work.

However ,the boost may be short-lived following Boeing’s announcement that it would suspend production of its 737 Max jet in the new year as the fallout from two fatal crashes continues.

The dollar rose against a basket of currencies on Tuesday’s data while stocks were mixed with shares in Boeing declining.


And-Court documents in the United States show that the Sackler family started to take increasing amounts of money out of the Oxycontin producer Purdue Pharma after the firm pleaded guilty to misleading marketing in 2007.

The documents reveal that the Sackler’s transferred some 10.7 billion dollars out of the firm between 2008 and 2017 compared with just 1.3 billion taken in the years between 1995 and 2007.

Purdue Pharma which is owned by the Sackler family is accused of fuelling the US opioid crisis through its marketing of drugs such as Oxycontin.

In 2007 the firm and three executives pleaded guilty to misleading the public about the risks of addiction to the powerful opioid painkiller.

The New York Times reports that the funds removed from Purdue were redistributed among trusts and holding companies.

Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy protection in September to put thousands of lawsuits on hold while it attempts to build support for a proposed settlement of some 10 billion dollars.


Football-Aston Villa are though to the semi-finals of the League Cup after thrashing a seriously under strength Liverpool side 5-0 in last night’s quarter final.

Liverpool were forced to field their youngest ever team as they focus on the Club World Cup where they play their semi-final against Monterrey later today.

The remaining three League Cup quarter finals are being played tonight with Everton against Leicester.Oxford United against Manchester City and Manchester United against Colchester United.

Cricket-Joe Root hit a fluent 72 in England’s warm-up game against a South Africa invitational XI ahead of the first Test on Boxing Day.

Root ,Joe Denly and Dom Sibley all passed 50 but Jonny Bairstow making his return  to red-ball cricket with England could only manage 13.

England finished on 309-4 and will be fielding in the two day match today to give their bowlers a run out.

Rugby Union-The English RFU says that there’s “no rush” to hand head coach Eddie Jones a contract extension through to the 2023 World Cup.

Jones has a deal until August 2021 and is expected to extend for a further two years but the RFU says that a new deal has to work for “both sides”.

Reports say that discussions are ongoing.

Boxing-Tyson Fury has welcomed an offer from Anthony Joshua to spar with him ahead of his bi fight with Deontay Wilder in February.

Fury said that he would “love to have” Joshua in his camp and promised to fight him after he’s “beaten” Wilder.

If Fury does win his rematch against Wilder on the 22nd of February it could set up the biggest heavyweight unification bout in history but no date has been penciled in as yet.


Partially cloudy with the chance of some showers this evening and light to moderate easterly winds.

Top temperature 17 degrees.

Overnight lows of 15 degrees on the coast and 12 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies and occasional showers.

Thursday and Friday-Sunshine and showers tomorrow with a high of 17 degrees.Heavy rain on Friday with a high of 15.


Britons are experiencing major life milestones such as having children and become grandparents at an increasingly older age,

Research has shown that  significant life events such as becoming a mother or father, divorcing, remarrying and stopping work are occurring later in adulthood than they used to.

Figures also revealed men and women aged between 65 and 74 are happier than any other age group. 

For both sexes, happiness levels were at their lowest when people are in their late 40s and early 50s,

Measures of personal wellbeing have only been recorded since 2011 and it is unknown if future over-65s will reach similar happiness heights, but researchers said the current older generation felt more positive about personal, social and financial aspects of their lives.






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