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WEATHER FORECAST Monday August 20th

Monday, August 20th

High Barometric pressure over the Azores is favorably influencing weather across Western Europe. Summery temperatures will continue throughout the week, but with rain and thunder possible at times.

Today Monday and Tomorrow Tuesday
Generally Sunny. Slight chance of a thunderstorm in the mountains this afternoon, especially in the Alps. Max Temp 30 C. 0 at 4100 meters.
Weak N winds.

Wednesday and Thursday
Quite Sunny. Probably some thundershowers in the mountains, extending to the plain in all areas during the afternoon. Highs near 30 C.

Friday
Quite sunny. But some showers or thunderstorms likely. Highs in the upper 20s.

Saturday
P/S. Numerous showers. Cooler.

Sunday
Alternance of sun and showers. Cool temperatures.

That’s the weather on this Monday, August 20th, from RADIO 74 “The Answer”.

Unlike all the others, RADIO 74 survives thanks to donations from you our listeners. We need your financial support now.
You can donate on line at www.radio74.org The RADIO 74 team thank you!

 

NEWS ABOUT FRANCE... Monday, August 20, 2018

Macron’s party calls for further easing Sunday work laws

RFI   By Claire Rush Issued on 19-08-2018 Modified 19-08-2018

“What are we waiting for?” In an article published Sunday by the French weekly Journal du dimanche, some 20 MPs from French President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling Republic on the Move party (LRM) said France “must go farther” in loosening its Sunday work laws.

“Many French people want more shops to be open on Sunday. They want to be free to buy, to go out, and to work on Sunday,” the LRM MPs wrote.

The article came as Macron prepares his return to the French capital after spending just over two weeks at the presidential holiday residence in the southern French port city of Brégançon. Upon his arrival in Paris, he will once again be tackling the reform agenda he campaigned on and has championed since taking office. Including a labour and business reform bill unveiled by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire in June.

The bill, referred to as PACTE, aims to grow the number of small- and medium-sized companies in France by loosening labour laws and increasing employee shareholding, savings schemes and profit-sharing plans.

By scrapping certain regulations for small businesses, the LRM MPs said the bill could give these companies "more freedom to decide whether or not they want to open on Sunday”. A freedom that would “revitalize city centers”, they argued.

“London, Madrid, Rome… all the major European capitals have understood the necessity of allowing shops to open on Sunday. It attracts tourists and boosts commercial activity,” they wrote, adding "the time has come for us to play catch up and offer comparable services”.

The MPs hailed the labour reforms Macron previously oversaw as finance minister in 2015, which allowed for shops in government-designated “international tourist zones” to open on Sunday and close as late as midnight in the evenings. “The ‘Macron bill’ was a success,” they wrote. “What are we waiting for?”

The LRM lawmakers also argued that extending Sunday hours on a broader scale would steer more consumers towards French brick-and-mortar businesses, thereby increasing their competitiveness in the face of digital e-commerce giants like Amazon.

“Local businesses bear the brunt of this competition 24/7,” they wrote. “Even those located in high-traffic commercial districts are struggling, with some being forced to close. This breaks local commerce.”

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French psychiatric hospitals warn of 'dire' conditions

By RFI Issued on 18-08-2018 Modified 18-08-2018 to 16:58

A child psychiatrist at Paris’s Robert-Debré hospital has warned of dire conditions in French psychiatric hospitals, local media reported Saturday, while psychiatric hospital staff in Amiens continue their months-long strike.

Employee burnout, overcapacity, chronic disorganization, and violent patients: Richard Delorme, the head of child psychiatry at Robert-Debré hospital in the French capital, has outlined the “dire” conditions he, his staff and his patients face in a letter addressed to the establishment’s upper management.

In the letter, written last month and published in part by French daily Le Monde on Saturday, Delorme claims that more than one-third of the nurses in his department are on leave for work-related injuries or sickness. As a result, schedules are disorganized and remaining staff are overworked, he wrote.

The number of patients in his child psychiatry unit has “practically quadrupled” over the last 10 years, according to Delorme. But pediatric hospital services in the Paris region have failed to acquire more beds to respond to the growing number of patients requiring hospitalization. An “insufficiency” that Delorme attributes to “incompetence and even the refusal” to commit patients.

The letter also signaled a “significant increase” in the number of violent incidents, 64 during the past 6 months.

Nationwide problem

Staff at the Philippe-Pinel psychiatric hospital in Amiens, northern France, have been on strike since mid-June over poor working conditions. Many of them have camped out in tents directly in front of the hospital entrance, after having briefly occupied the local health agency office, according to media reports.

Four departments have been closed at the hospital in the last four years, leaving the rest of the facility over capacity and understaffed.

“We were told the closures were part of a shift to providing more outpatient care,” Le Monde quotes a unionized nurse as saying. “But psychiatric facilities are now over capacity. Wait times are longer, doctors are leaving.”

The nurse told the daily that the lack of resources means she can no longer help patients “with dignity”.

The strikers are demanding the creation of 60 new posts, the reopening of two shuttered departments, and the granting of tenure tracks to part-time or contractual employees.

Growing strikes

Philippe-Pinel’s staff may be inspired by recent successful strikes led by medical workers elsewhere in France. A hunger strike at Rouvray hospital near the city of Rouen resulted in the creation of 30 new posts in June, while medical strikers in nearby Le Havre last month obtained 34 new posts after three weeks of mobilization.

“Before Rouvray, we were in a stagnant slump,” Le Monde quotes psychiatric nurse and union representative Isabelle Bouligaud as saying. “But by having their demands met, they showed us that mobilizing can get things accomplished.”

Bouligaud’s colleagues at the Saint-Etienne psychiatric hospital have staged multiple demonstrations over the past few weeks, according to Le Monde, including a “die-in”, to demand the hiring of an additional 10 psychiatrists, 42 nurses and 15 nursing assistants. Their mobilization comes just months after a government agency accused the hospital of “inhumane” treatment in regards to urgent care patients, an accusation hospital staff have rejected, and blamed on lack of resources rather than medical incompetence.

Meanwhile, unions representing psychiatric staff from various Paris hospitals are organizing an upcoming strike on 6 September.

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Monsanto ruling spurs French Greens to file for glyphosate ban

By RFI Issued on 19-08-2018 Modified 19-08-2018 to 12:16

France's Green Party, Europe-Ecologie-Les Verts (EELV), announced Saturday its plan to file a court action against glyphosate in a renewed bid to ban Monsanto’s weed killer in France.

In a statement, the party said it will file a court action on Monday to request an interim ban on glyphosate-based herbicides produced by the US chemical giant Monsanto. The chemical is currently authorized in France.

The announcement came about a week after a landmark US court ruling found Monsanto was liable for a terminally ill man’s cancer. The company has been ordered to pay more than 250 million euros in damages for failing to warn the man, Californian groundskeeper Dwayne Johnson, of the potential health hazards posed by its signature weed killer Roundup.

EELV may bolster its legal case with internal Monsanto documents brought forward by Johnson’s attorneys during the trial. Records of company emails suggested Monsanto had neglected scientists’ warnings regarding the product’s toxicity, and ghostwritten research later attributed to academics.

Party spokesperson Julien Bayou told Reuters that the “internal documents show the company knew Roundup was carcinogenic and sought to cover it up”.

“This information provides new evidence that must be presented to the courts,” he said.

Monsanto, acquired by German pharma giant Bayer for more than 62 billion euros in June, has insisted Roundup is “safe”, and denied any links between its products and ill health effects. It has vowed to appeal the US court ruling.

French uncertainty

French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot has called the verdict “the beginning of a war”. The government has said that banning glyphosate within the next three years is one of its “clear engagements”.

But for the time being, glyphosate continues to be widely used in France, particularly in the agricultural sector. According to the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), the country uses an average of 9,100 tons of glyphosate every year.

The chemical is also widespread throughout Europe. Just last year, the EU reapproved its use for another five years.

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Trump to make Paris visit in November to mark 100 years since end of WWI

The Local This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it @thelocalfrance 17 August 2018

US President Donald Trump announced on Friday that he will be visiting Paris on November 11th in honour of the centenary of the end of WWI.

Mr. Trump who had planned to organize a military parade in November in Washington, announced Friday that he would instead travel to Paris for the commemoration of the end of the First World War.

The US president made the announcement on Twitter on Friday afternoon, while criticizing local Washington politicians who he said were demanding too much money to stage the parade.

In early February, the White House announced that President Trump would like a parade to highlight the US's military power.

The American president had been impressed by the French national day parade during his visit to France in July 2017.

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French fishing trawler nets one tonne WWII bomb

The Local This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it @thelocalfrance 18 August 2018

Meanwhile, a French fishing trawler netted a World War II bomb, containing nearly a ton of explosives, off the coast of Normandy on Friday, prompting the emergency evacuation of the crew, while the device was returned to the seabed, authorities said.

The trawler was fishing two nautical miles off the coast in the English Channel when it swept up the German bomb containing some 860 kilos of explosives.

Alerted to the haul in the early hours of Friday, the region's maritime authorities sprang into action. Within two hours a marine helicopter had been scrambled to the scene with five mine clearance divers, who were winched onto the vessel.

Using straps, the divers freed the bomb from the net and lowered it gently back into the water, noting its GPS position so that it can be defused by bomb disposal experts next week.

The crew was evacuated during the operation which took part on a section of the coast where the June 1944 D-Day landings that led to the liberation of occupied France took place.

The authorities praised them for seeking help, saying that to have tried to release the device from the nets themselves would have entailed "serious risks".

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Paris aquarium offers refuge for unwanted goldfish

The Local This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it @thelocalfrance 19 August 2018

Paris's biggest aquarium has created a refuge for goldfish, providing a second chance for any unwanted pets who might otherwise find themselves flushed down the toilet.

The Aquarium de Paris allows the city's residents to drop off their fish, with the numbers using the service swelling around the time of the long summer holidays.

Instead of facing death in the city's sewerage system, the rejected goldfish find themselves given a full medical check-up involving antibiotics and anti-parasite medicine.

After a month in quarantine, during which a minority succumb to the trauma caused by the change in location, they are then released into a giant tank where they go on display to the public.

"Some of them arrive very weak," said Celine Bezault, who cares for the fish at the giant aquarium complex which is located opposite the Eiffel Tower.

Since it was created two years ago, the goldfish rescue service has been used by around 50 people a month, and the tank now contains about 600 specimens, mostly the classic golden-red version, as well as striped and black ones.

Rather than spending all day in a small bowl, here the fish have space to swim and plenty of company, allowing them to socialize and move around in groups.

Some owners hand over their pets tearfully, motivated by concern for their fish, while others appear relieved to be rid of them and the routines of feeding and cleaning.

New life

Once in the bigger tank, some of the fish undergo a remarkable transformation.

Being confined in a bowl stunts their growth, but the bigger space means some of them will expand to full adult size.

"They can reach up to 20-30 centimeters (8-12 inches)," Bezault said.

Goldfish are domesticated forms of wild carp originally found in East Asia, and the practice of keeping them in bowls has existed for hundreds of years. It is thought to have originated in China.

For goldfish owners, the aquarium advises that the tank should be at least 100 liters, should contain more than one fish, as well as a filtration system and decoration.

For those who dispose of their pets in ponds or rivers, scientific studies have found that some goldfish thrive afterwards -- but at a cost to the local ecosystem because the fish are an invasive non-native species.

By the way, in Switzerland it’s illegal to flush a fish down the toilet.

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That’s News About France on this Monday, August 20th.
Reporting for RADIO 74 “The Answer”, I’m Ron Myers.
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NEWS ABOUT FRANCE... Friday August 17, 2018

France to accept 60 migrants as Aquarius docks in Malta

By RFI Issued on 15-08-2018 Modified 15-08-2018 to 16:42

The migrant-rescue ship Aquarius docked in Malta on Wednesday afternoon following an agreement by France and four other European countries, to take in its 141 passengers along with 114 others who arrived on the Mediterranean island on Monday.

France has agreed to take 60 of the migrants, as its share of an agreement, that will see Spain also take 60, Germany up to 50, Portugal 40, and Luxembourg 15.

Most of the migrants on board the Aquarius are from Somalia or Sudan.

They include two children younger than five and three younger than 13, according to Aloys Vimard, a Doctors Without Borders coordinator on board.

Malta initially refused to let the Aquarius dock, when it picked up two boatloads of migrants last week, as did Italy, whose Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has vowed that it will "never see an Italian port" again.

Italy's new coalition government has declared a get-tough policy on migration, pointing to the 700,000 people who have arrived there since 2013 and the refusal of other countries, notable France, to allow them to enter their territory.

Calls for EU solution

The NGO that runs the Aquarius, SOS Méditerranée, welcomed the agreement in a Tweet on Wednesday, but called for "lasting solutions, to ensure the future of humanitarian intervention, in the central Mediterranean".

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi also hailed the "end of the impasse" but added that "this situation should never have reached this point".

French President Emmanuel Macron's office said it would propose a "lasting mechanism" to "avoid repeated crises" over the next few weeks, and France's refugees' office, Ofpra, said it would send a delegation on Thursday to identify the refugees who would come to France, while refusing to take migrants who fail to reach the criteria needed to be classed as refugees.

French government criticised

Right-wing MP Eric Ciotti, who represents a seat on the Mediterranean coast, criticized the five countries' agreement as "playing into people-smugglers' hands", claiming that Macron represents "immigration and the European Union's permissiveness".

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Canadian set to be new Air France boss despite union opposition

RFI  By Tony Cross Issued on 16-08-2018 Modified 16-08-2018 to 14:39

Canadian Ben Smith looks set to be named the new CEO of Air France, despite trade union opposition to a foreigner heading the national carrier. Smith is currently the number two of Air Canada.

The Canadian, who is currently president of airlines and chief operating officer at Air Canada, has an "excellent profile", French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire declared before the Air France board meeting on Thursday afternoon.

The French State has a 14.3 percent share of Air France, and Le Maire said that government representatives would vote for Smith.

He fulfils its conditions of having "a good knowledge of the airline sector and international competition" and "has already proved himself in a large airline", the minister explained.

Smith concluded a 10-year agreement with flight crew unions at Air Canada's low-cost arm, Rouge, and is credited with transforming Toronto Airport into the centre of the company's international operations.

Unions oppose foreigner

But on Thursday morning a joint committee of nine out of the 10 French labor unions at Air France slammed the prospective appointment.

"The choice of candidate should be based on the defense of the interests of our national company," the statement continued, adding that the meeting was taking place "on the quiet", the day after a public holiday and during the summer vacation period.

In an interview published on Sunday, pilots' union leader Philippe Evain also condemned the idea and pledged "15 days of strikes" if the new boss did not reopen negotiations on a union pay demand.

On Wednesday he accused the board of preparing to "hand over the keys of Air France to the Americans".

One union, FO, Tweeted about a reported plan to raise the CEO's salary by 300 percent

Troubled year

The company has made substantial losses due to 15 days of rolling strikes already this year and its shares have dropped 35 percent in value since January.

The choice of new CEO was to be announced on Thursday evening, Le Maire said.

"We want to turn the page of the conflict at Air France as soon as possible,"
Le Maire said on Thursday. "We must turn the page on conflict and strikes and adopt a strategy. Air France has to revive its competitively and social dialogue."

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US giant General Electric faces millions in penalties over French jobs pledge

The Local This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it @thelocalfrance 18 June 2018

US conglomerate General Electric will have to pay millions of euros in penalties in France if it fails to uphold its pledge to create 1,000 new jobs by year end, a government official said Sunday.

GE made the promise as part of its 2014 purchase of Alstom's power and electrical grid businesses, including its prized gas turbine operations, for 12.4 billion euros.

Shortly after closing the deal the following year, GE announced plans to cut 6,500 power jobs in Europe because of falling oil and gas prices, and a further 12,000 job cuts in the sector were announced last December.

The company's CEO John Flannery told finance ministry officials in Paris last week that he could not honour the French hiring pledge, which has led to just 323 new jobs so far.

"The contract called for a 50,000 euro penalty for every job not created," Labour Minister Muriel Penicaud told BFM television on Sunday.

If no new jobs are created by the end of the year, GE could be facing a fine of nearly 34 million euros.

The pledge was secured by France's previous Socialist government, and opposition parties have urged the centrist government of President Emmanuel Macron to apply the fine.

Macron, a former investment banker, has vowed to make France more attractive to foreign companies, pushing through reforms to make it easier for businesses to hire and fire workers.

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France opens inquiry into Genoa bridge collapse

By RFI Issued on 16-08-2018 Modified 16-08-2018 to 10:54


The death toll of French nationals reported dead in the Genoa bridge collapse has risen to four.

All four are young and from south-western France, according to European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau.

Two are from Toulouse.

Because of the presence of French victims, the French authorities have opened a legal inquiry into the cause of the collapse.

And the media are asking if such a tragedy could occur in France, in the light of a report published in July, which estimated that a third of France’s 12,000 road bridges need repairs, and seven percent could be at risk of collapse.

Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne is "determined to provide the resources for the upkeep and renovation of France’s infrastructure because it is obviously a priority", Loiseau told BFMTV.

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Switzerland to probe French doctor offering homosexuality 'cure'

By RFI Issued on 16-08-2018 Modified 16-08-2018 to 16:52

 

A French medical doctor and naturopath is being investigated for describing attraction to a person of the same sex as a "symptom", for which homeopathy can offer a "remedy" and recommends different methods for boys and girls.

"Homosexuality is a symptom like any other, like having a headache or hay fever," he said, adding "I do not understand what the problem is."

In addition to his practice, Dr. Henry, age 71, also runs a subscriber-only website on alternative medicine.

Dr. Henry says that homosexuality is one of 64,000 "symptoms" that he and his colleagues evaluate in their work.

The page on his website concerning homosexuality notes that, first and foremost, his observations are aimed at "making our students think about the relationship between medical remedies and behavioral symptoms".

However, in a day and age when anyone daring to express the hearsay that homosexuality is anything other than “normal”, is bound to be attacked.

The Swiss canton of Geneva has opened an inquiry of Dr. Henry because of his claims that he can “treat” homosexuality with alternative therapies such as homeopathy.

Regional health minister Mauro Poggia has asked a commission overseeing health professionals and patients' rights in the canton, to open an investigation into the views of Dr Jean-Yves Henry, he told the Le Courrier daily in an interview published Wednesday.

Poggia stated that, for Dr. Henry, homosexuality is an illness to cure, justifying an investigation.

Certain social media are buzzing about an article Dr. Henry wrote back in 2009 in which he’s quoted as saying that homosexuality is "not a pathology but a special symptom" seen in "border-line" and other patients.

The probe will examine whether the views Dr. Henry expressed are independent of his medical practice, and whether he has “endangered” his patients or practiced “illegal” medicine, according to Poggia.

A sign of the times…   As it was in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah…

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Evangelicals Warn Mary Has 'Taken Jesus' Place on the Cross' as Millions Seek Miracles in France

By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter | Jul 25, 2018 11:35 AM

As millions of people travel to Lourdes, France, every year in search of divine healing, some evangelical missionaries are warning that at the holy site venerated by Catholics, many are revering the Virgin Mary more than Jesus Christ.

"For followers of Jesus Christ, the atmosphere in Lourdes is dark and discouraging. Christians know that it is 'the Lord who heals you' (Exodus 15:26). The determination and expectation of 6 million pilgrims a year feels overwhelming," Pioneers, a missions agency that is based in Florida but has offices worldwide, said last week.

One Pioneers member in Lourdes said: "In my town Mary takes Jesus' place on the cross. People come from far and wide to bring honor to her, to ask her for healing, to pray to her. This is all the locals of this rural town in the mountains know: not Jesus, just millions of Catholic pilgrims from the whole world with their Mary statues, rosaries, and holy water. What should church look like for people who have been completely desensitized to the Gospel?"

As the article explains, every year over 6 million people — Catholics and people of other faiths — visit Lourdes where they believe Mary appeared in 1858 on several occasions. The Vatican has declared the location a holy site for worshipers, with many believing that a cave with a natural spring, where Mary is said to have appeared, has healing properties.

It noted that each year, 350,000 people bathe in the spring, while over 7,000 have asked the Vatican to confirm their healings as a miracle. The Catholic Church has authenticated 69 such miraculous healings in Lourdes.

"Masses of hopeful people come from all walks of life to visit the grotto. Buddhists and Hindus, Catholics and the superstitious are there. The wealthy and poor are there. Young and old. Black and white. Western and eastern," Pioneers adds.

The veneration of Mary continues to be one of the major points of contention between Protestants and Catholics.

In May 2017, hundreds of evangelical Protestants set out to preach the Bible to a mass gathering of Catholics in Fátima, Portugal, where Catholics say Mary visited and spoke to shepherd children 100 years ago.

António Calaim, president of the Portuguese Evangelical Allianceexplained at the time that evangelicals "do not agree with the idolatry of Mary, the worship of the saints and images, and the leadership of the Church in the whole world under one man," the pope.

Calaim insisted that evangelicals are not looking for confrontation with Catholics, but rather "to give a hug, and share the Word of God" with the people who gather at Fátima.

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Drivers face difficult weekend on French motorways as holidaymakers head home

The Local This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it @thelocalfrance 16 August 2018

Tomorrow Saturday will be a particularly difficult day for holidaymakers heading home on France’s motorways.

France’s road information authority Bison Futé has marked Saturday as “red” for return journeys on the country’s roads and motorways over the entire country.

The worst traffic jams are expected to be Northbound on the A7 to Lyon,
on the A62 and A61 between Bordeaux and Narbonne, and on the A9 from Montpellier to the Spanish border.

Today is the best day this weekend for road travel, with green conditions almost everywhere.

Sunday is your next best option for heading home, with all of France’s road network getting a medium traffic rating, except for here in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, which is classified red on both Saturday and Sunday.
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That’s News About France on this Friday, August 17th
I’m Ron Myers reporting for RADIO 74 “The Answer”, wishing you safe travels, and a happy return home.

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NEWS ABOUT FRANCE... Thursday, August 16, 2018

 French cities offer help after Genoa bridge collapse, 3 French die

By RFI Issued on 15-08-2018 Modified 15-08-2018 to 11:38

Three French citizens died in Tuesday's Genoa bridge collapse, the foreign ministry announced on Wednesday. French cities have offered help and condolences, and the Italian government has threatened to scrap its contract with the company responsible for the bridge.

As rescuers searched for survivors and bodies on Wednesday morning, the death toll rose to 38, with reports of about 16 people injured, 12 of them seriously.

The Morandi viaduct, less than five kilometers to the west of Genoa's old port, was built in the 1960s and completed in 1967.

The flyover of the A10 motorway, named after the architect who designed it, spanned railway lines, buildings and the Polcevera stream around 50 meters below.

Genoa's rugged terrain means that motorways that run through the city and the surrounding area are characterized by bridges and tunnels.

The collapse

A section of around 200 meters broke away at around noon.

Autostrade, a highway operator controlled by Atlantia which runs much of Italy's motorway network, said it had been carrying out maintenance work on the bridge. Shares in Atlantia plunged on the Milan stock exchange after the collapse.

Regional weather services had issued a storm warning for the morning of the collapse, and the national police force said on Twitter the disaster happened amid a "violent cloudburst".

The victims

The current death toll stood at 38 on Wednesday, and there are 15 people injured, but the numbers are expected to rise. 35 cars and several trucks fell from the crumbling bridge down onto the railway tracks below.

The victims include children aged eight, 12 and 13, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said on Wednesday.

The emergency response

Italy's national fire service said on Twitter that 200 of its emergency workers were involved in the rescue effort.

TV images showed rescue workers looking for other people under the rubble over six hours after the bridge crumbled.

The national police force told road users to avoid highways and the neighboring areas.

The reaction

Salvini said that he would investigate and find out who was responsible for the collapse, because "it's not possible that in 2018 you can work and die in these conditions".

Italian Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli called on the bosses of Autostrade per l'Italia, the company responsible for the bridge and much of the country's motorway network, to resign.

In a Facebook post he announced that the government has initiated proceedings to scrap contracts with the firm, which was privatized in 1999, and is part of the Benetton group, and called for a 150 million-euro fine to be imposed on it.

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With Genoa just 200 km away, the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, offered equipment to help with rescue efforts after news of the disaster broke.

The city council was in contact with the Italian consulate to find out what was needed, and Nice's hospitals were ready to take people injured in the bridge collapse, he said in a statement.

The council in nearby Cannes also offered help, flying flags, including the Italian tricolore, at half-mast at city hall, and the historic Château de la Castre.

Further along the Mediterranean coast, Marseille, which is twinned with Genoa, was "filled with sorrow" by the news, according to its mayor, Jean-Claude Gaudin.

In a tweet in French and Italian, President Emmanuel Macron also offered his condolences and offered "all necessary support".

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French unemployment dropping too slowly for Macron government

The Local This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it @thelocalfrance 14 August 2018

French unemployment dipped by 0.1 percent in the second quarter, provisional figures showed Tuesday -- frustratingly slow progress for President Emmanuel Macron who has promised his economic reforms will generate jobs.

"It's a step forward but it's still not enough," Employment Minister Muriel Penicaud, who usually avoids quick-fire reactions to jobless figures, said in a tweet.

Unemployment was at 9.1 percent in the March-June quarter compared with 9.4 percent in the same period last year, just before Macron came to office vowing to shake up the economy with business-friendly policies.

His centrist government has since pushed through controversial reforms to France's famously rigid labour regulations, along with tax cuts -- particularly for the wealthy -- that prompted critics to label him a "president of the rich".

National statistics office Insee had forecast in June that unemployment would drop 0.2 percent in the second quarter.

Youth unemployment -- a stubborn problem under Macron's Socialist predecessor Francois Hollande -- appears to be easing.

Some 20.8 percent of French workers under 24 were unemployed in the second quarter -- the lowest level since 2008.

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Malta to allow Aquarius migrant boat to dock

By RFI Issued on 14-08-2018 Modified 14-08-2018 to 15:39

Malta on Tuesday said it would allow the rescue boat Aquarius to dock with the 141 migrants it has picked up in the Mediterranean. Earlier political leaders of the French island of Corsica and the president of a southern French port authority said they were ready to receive the boat, although the French government seemed reluctant to do so.

Italy has refused to allow the boat to dock, as it did last June when the Aquarius rescued 629 migrants off the Libyan coast.

This time it is carrying 25 people picked up on a small boat off Libya on Friday and 116 on a larger one later in the day.

The migrants are mostly from Somalia and Eritrea and about half of them are children, according to SOS Méditerranée, the NGO that operates the Aquarius.

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French woman almost chokes on 2.5cm screw inside pain au chocolat

The Local   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it @thelocalfrance 14 August 2018

A woman in Tétéghem - a town near Dunkirk in northern France – is lucky to be alive after she almost choked on a chocolate-filled pastry she’d bought at a local Carrefour supermarket.

As soon as the mother bit into her pain au chocolat, she realized something was wrong.

"I was eating and all of a sudden I felt something hard in my mouth and I couldn’t manage to spit it out,” she told regional daily La Voix du Nord.

Eventually she was able to get the object lodged in her mouth out, only to realize that her pain au chocolat contained a 2.5 centimeter screw concealed inside it.

Once the woman and her incredulous husband and children had recovered from the shock, they rushed to the supermarket’s bakery section to demand an explanation.   “It's not us, we just bake them, we get them frozen," said one employee, blaming the supplier in Belgium.

Since the manager wasn’t present and the woman wasn’t given proper justification for an incidence of gross negligence that could’ve cost her her life, the woman from Tétéghem has decided to press charges.

“We’re not doing this for us, we’re doing it for others,” she said.

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Man drowns after digging beach hole in western France

The Local This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it @thelocalfrance 14 August 2018

A 21-year-old man drowned in western France after being swamped by the tide in a hole he had dug on the beach, local officials said.

"The young man decided to dig quite a deep hole to stand in," the local prosecutor's office said in a statement which explained that the victim had not been able to free himself in time when the fast rising tide came in.

A member of his family had tried to pull him to safety, while emergency services were unable to revive him when they arrived at the scene.

The accident happened on Sunday on the Barbatre beach on the island of
Noir-moutier which lies a short distance off France's Atlantic coast.

France's holiday season is in full swing, with millions enjoying sunny weather on beaches around the country.

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France warns of danger of new online viral challenge

Connexion

A new “game” taking social media by storm - named the #InMyFeelingsChallenge -

The challenge involves getting out of a moving car, filming yourself dancing outside of it, before getting back into the car afterwards.

Such stunts are very dangerous, and can be punished by a fine of up to €4,500, and two years in jail, the French government has warned.

The #InMyFeelingsChallenge is the latest social media “challenge” to gain in popularity, or - in Internet parlance - “go viral”. Such challenges usually consist of young people filming themselves doing a certain task and posting the video online.

The #InMyFeelingsChallenge is named after a song by popular Canadian rapper Drake, on his latest album Scorpion.

Some people have also been using a motorbike instead of a car, and - thankfully - many have filmed themselves from a stationary car (or with no vehicle at all) instead.

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Revival of French festival honoring 'virtuous' young women raises eyebrows

The Local This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it @thelocalfrance 14 August 2018

A village in northern France has plans to revive a festival honoring 'virtuous' young women, raising the eyebrows of residents and feminist groups.

A resident of Salency in the Oise department of northern France has decided to bring back the village's historic "Fete de la Rosiere" ("Festival of the Maiden") event, first launched in the year 456.

The festival honors the "virtuous reputation" of a young woman aged 14-20 and was held in Salency until 1987.

Now Bertrand Tribout, the president of the Brotherhood of Saint-Médard, the man who apparently started the festival, is re-launching the event which is set to take place on June 2nd, 2019.

The program will include mass in the morning and a celebration and coronation in the afternoon.

The winning "maiden" will be escorted by a procession of 12 young girls and boys through the village.

But immorality is now so rampant in France that Mr. Tribout had great difficulty convincing local authorities to agree to reviving the event.

It is a "somewhat outdated" event, the mayor of Selancy, Hervé Deplanque told Le Parisien, adding to BFM TV that he has received "hundreds of emails" from residents opposed to the event.

Some of the town’s population seem to be particularly “disturbed” by the selection criteria for the title. The winning young women, according to the rules, is expected to have irreproachable conduct, virtue, piety and virginity.

Last year, Bertrand Tribout, who organized his first Fete de la Rosiere in 1971 when he himself was just 17-year-old, promised that there would be "no medical examination" to verify this last selection criterion.

He has insisted that this is part of the "heritage of the village" adding that the event "values femininity".

"We want to celebrate the true integrity of the young woman, the fact that she is kind to her family and loved ones, that she is ready to help others," he said. "This is what makes our village unique - it would be a shame not to keep it."

If I could add a comment… the fact that there would be any serious opposition to encouraging young women to be virtuous is an astounding sign of our broken times.   Reversed moral values are a sure sign of a society in rapid decline.

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That’s News About France on this Thursday, August 16th.
I’m Ron Myers reporting for RADIO 74 “The Answer”.

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