French and Riviera News Friday 25th September 2020

Local

French Prime Minister warns the French not to “play with the Covid-19 epidemic - During an interview on France 2 on Thursday evening French Prime Minister Jean Castex has warned France “not to play with the epidemic”.

The head of government made several announcements concerning the fight against the coronavirus, and the economic difficulties caused by Covid-19.

In the aftermath of the announcement of new restrictions, Castex aimed to convince the population to be cautious about the epidemic saying that “Public opinion has to be very careful. If we don't act, we could find ourselves in a situation similar to before which could mean a return to lockdown” he warned.

Faced with the anger of restaurant owners, forced to close for 15 days in Aix-Marseille Jean Castex has announced financial support. He told one angry restaurant owner from Marseille who questioned him on the show that "We will compensate for the loss of turnover that you are going to suffer, there is no way you will suffer the consequences of these health conditions."

When asked about the StopCovid app Jean Castex admitted not having downloaded the application launched identify and trace infected people and their contact cases justifying the fact that he no longer takes the metro since working in Matignon, which he "regrets".

Mayor of Nice reacts to new Covid-19 restrictions – Meanwhile the Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has said that he's aiming to change the 10pm closing time for restaurants in Nice announced by central government. Health Minister Olivier Veran announced that Nice is being classified as an "enhanced alert zone" meaning that various additional restrictions are being introduced.

The mayor has said that he is proposing to the Prefect of the Alpes Maritimes that a health protocol be introduced to prevent the closure of sports halls, bars and restaurants as envisaged by central government.

Marseille reacts with anger – And in Marseille the acting Mayor has reacted with anger to new restrictions affecting the city announced by the Health Minister. As a result of the Aix-Marseille metropolis being place in the "maximum alert" category, amongst other measures bars and restaurants will be forced to close for two weeks from this Saturday. At a press conference Benoit Payan said the measures had been imposed without consultation and called for a delay of ten days in their implementation. He called for "respect for the second city of France".

Genoa wearing a mask becomes compulsory 24 hours a day – Over the border in Italy measures have been stepped up to fight against the rise in coronavirus cases in the city of Genoa where wearing a mask will now be compulsory 24 hours a day even outdoors and regardless of the distance between people.

The city center has registered 63 new cases in the last 24 hours.

In other news

Weather warning - Météo France has issued a yellow warning for high winds in the Var from 3pm today.

Senator of the Alpes Maritimes dies - Senator for the Alpes Maritimes Colette Giudicelli, has died at the age of 76. A member of the UMP and then of the Republicans, Giudicelli had been a senator for the region since 2008 and was married to the mayor of Menton.

Beaches reopen - Meanwhile beaches in Antibes Juan les Pins are fully open again after recent bad weather led to the closure of beaches because of contamination. The municipality says that numerous analyzes of sea water have been carried out. The results show that the quality of the bathing water complies with the health standards meaning the beaches can be reopened.

National

Hosptials in Paris to cancel some surgical operations from this weekend - The direction of the Public Assistance-Hospitals of Paris the AP-HP has announced that it will be forced to cancel some surgical operations from this weekend. The decision has been taken due to the influx of Covid-19 patients in its intensive care units.

The number of "Covid patients" hospitalized in Paris rose from 150 in early September to 330 on Wednesday 23rd September and is expected to reach 600 by the end of the month. The number of patients admitted to intensive care is also on an upward curve: 50 three weeks ago, compared to 132 on Thursday.

The AP-HP hopes that the new restrictions announced by the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, will make it possible to halt the new wave of Covid-19 cases and has stressed that the "changes to scheduled surgical operations " are today not of the same order as the "massive cancellation" decided on a national level just before lockdown in mid-March.

Covid-19 - More than 16,000 new cases of coronavirus have been declared in France in the past 24 hours, and 52 people have died.

According to data from Public Health France 16,096 new cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the last 24 hours, a record since the launch of large-scale testing.

Electronic tracking bracelet for domestic violence offenders - France is to introduce the wearing of electronic tracking bracelets for domestic violence offenders. The measure will be gradually rolled out from today before becoming available to courts nationwide by 31 December.

The measure was passed by parliament this year as France fights the growing number of women killed by current or former partners.

The GPS monitor alerts women as well as police if known abusers come within a certain distance of their victims.

Woman claims she was attacked for wearing a skirt - Meanwhile French police have opened an investigation after a woman in Strasbourg said she was attacked in broad daylight for wearing a skirt.

The student said she was punched in the face "by three individuals who complained about me wearing a skirt".The government has denounced the "very serious" incident as unacceptable.

About 1,800 fines have been handed out since a law against street harassment was passed in 2018. 

Business

Asian shares have risen today after robust US housing data fuelled a late rally on Wall Street coupled with a bounce in technology stocks.

However ,despite the rally ,stocks in Asia are still on course for their largest weekly fall since March on fears that the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic could be running out of steam.

Investors continue to be uncertain as to whether Washington will be able to pass a stimulus package with Fed officials warning that the economy still requires more fiscal support.

Some of those fears have been calmed following news that Democrats in the US House of Representatives are working on a 2.2 trillion dollar coronavirus stimulus package that could be voted on next week.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated that she’s ready to negotiate with the White House on the new package but there are still doubts over whether it would clear the Senate.

The dollar has remained firm this morning ,rising against a basket of currencies including the yen and the euro.

The strength of the greenback has been battering commodity prices with gold set for its worst week in more than a month.

 

The UK Finance Minister has defended the government’s new wage subsidy scheme but has warned that big job losses are on the way come-what-may.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said that he hoped that the plan would benefit “large numbers” of workers but he was unable to say which jobs would be “viable or not”.

Under the scheme ,if employers bring back workers part time then the government will help to top up their wages to at least three-quarters of their full time pay.

The new programme will start on the 1st of November and last for 6 months.

Mr Sunak has also announced An extention in VAT cuts for hospitality and tourism firms until March and said that businesses that had borrowed money through the government’s loan scheme would be given more time to repay.

The new jobs scheme amounts to much less than the previous furlough arrangements and is unlikely to prevent a sharp rise in unemployment in the coming months.

 

And-Harley Davidson is pulling out of India owing to high taxation and its own domestic struggles.

The move follows a decision by the Japanese manufacturer Toyota to halt further expansion on the sub-continent because of punishing taxes.

The decision will be a further blow to the Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi’s efforts to lure or retain foreign manufacturers.

India is the world’s biggest motorbike market with some 17 million motorcycles scooters sold each year.

Harley’s decision includes the closure of its Bawal plant in the north of the country and around 75 million dollars in restructuring costs.

The firm has been struggling to compete with Honda as well as the Indian brand Hero.

Sport

Football-Bayern Munich have beaten Sevilla 2-1 in the Super Cup final in Budapest.

The German giants were taken to extra time by the Spanish side before Martinez scored the winner in the 104th minute.

The match was played in front of 15,000 fans in Budapest with social distancing in force and temperature checks at the entrance to the ground.

In the English Premier League this weekend.

On Saturday Brighton play Manchester United.Crystal Palace host Everton.West Brom play Chelsea and Burnley host Southampton.

On Sunday Sheffield United play Leeds.Spurs host Newcastle.Manchester City play Leicester and West Ham play Wolves.

Fulham play Aston Villa and Liverpool host Arsenal on Monday.

Formula 1-First practice for the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi takes place at 10am this morning as Lewis Hamilton seeks to extend his stranglehold on the drivers’ championship as he seeks a record equalling 7th world title.

Second practice is at 2pm with qualifying at 2pm on Saturday and the race at 1.10pm on Sunday.

Cricket-Tributes have been paid to the former Australia batsman Dean Jones who’s died suddenly at the age of 59.

Jones was working as a commentator for the Indian Premier League when he suffered a massive heart attack and collapsed and died outside his hotel room. Brett Lee ,the former Australia paceman who was with him ,tried to revive him but to no avail.

Jones played 52 Tests between 1984 and 1992 and averaged 46.55.

He also played 164 one day internationals averaging 44.61.

The former England captain Michael Vaughan said that it was a “tragic loss” while the Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings said that Jones had been a hero to a generation of cricketers and will be forever remembered as a legend.

Tennis-Andy Murray will play Stan Wawrinka in the first round of the French Open which starts on Monday.

It will be Murray’s first match on clay since 2017 and his last match at Roland Garros was against Wawrinka where he lost in the semi-final.

The organisers of the French Open are hoping that up to 5,000 fans will be allowed to attend matches despite fresh government restrictions on crowd sizes.

Weather 

Partially cloudy with a strong westerly wind developing across the region gusting at up to 80 km/h in coastal areas of the Var.

Top temperatures 22-23 degrees.

Overnight lows of 17 degrees on the coast and 15 degrees inland with clear skies.

The weekend-Mainly fine with highs of 23-24 degrees and remaining very windy.

And Finally 

A rat has been awarded a gold medal for "lifesaving bravery and devotion to duty" after detecting landmines.

Magawa, the giant African pouched rat, earned the medal after clearing over 141,000 square metres of land.

The clever rodent received the PDSA Gold Medal which is the animal equivalent to the George Cross – the joint highest award in the United Kingdom honours system.

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