French and Riviera News Friday 31st January 2020

Local

Coronavirus - A sixth case of coronavirus has been identified in France. The patient in the Paris region is a GP who had recently treated a patient who tested positive for the virus.

The coronavirus has been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization, as the outbreak continues to spread outside China. At least 213 people have died in China with almost 10,000 cases nationally. The WHO said there had been 98 cases in 18 other countries, but no deaths.

Meanwhile it’s been announced that the plane carrying some three hundred French nationals from Wuhan the epicenter of the epidemic in China is to arrive later today in the the Bouches du Rhone near Marseille. The passengers will be placed in solitary confinement for 14 days in a holiday center in the Carry-le-Rouet not far from La Timone hospital in Marseille.

And here in Monaco the health department has released information regarding the coronavirus, describing those people who are at risk from the virus and giving instructions and contact information - you can find the information in the News section of the Riviera Radio website.

Changes for the 1st February - As with the beginning of every month in France the 1st of February will see certain changes which will come into effect from tomorrow.

They include an increase in electricity tariffs by 2.4% representing a rise of around 21 euros a year on homeowner’s electricity bills. The rate of the Livret A savings account is to drop from 0.75% to 0.5% its lowest level ever. Vinci autoroutes have announced an increase in pay tolls of 0.85% and the good news - gas prices continue to drop by a reported 3.3% and there will be a drop in the minimum taxi fare.

Mayor of Nice - The mayor of Nice and candidate for the local elections in March Christian Estrosi has unveiled the major ecological proposals he promises to implement if he is re-elected.  Presenting his programme on Thursday Estrosi spoke of a pedestrianised promenade and a climate agency adding “He has not gone green he has always been green”.

National

Catholic French Cardinal cleared - An appeals court has cleared Catholic French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of covering up the sexual abuse of minors by a paedophile priest – offences that dated back to the 1970s. The court, in Lyon, did not explain its move to acquit Barbarin on Thursday, a decision that was in line with the demands of the prosecutor’s office. The Archbishop of Lyon, Barbarin was accused of having failing to report the paedophile assaults of priest Bernard Preynat, who has himself faced trial in Lyon, in a criminal court.

Barbarin, now 69, was found guilty in March of covering up the assaults and was handed a six-month suspended sentence.

New law to ban waste - Under a wide-ranging anti-waste law passed by the French parliament on Thursday France is to ban designer clothes and luxury goods companies from destroying unsold or returned items.  The groundbreaking law, which the French government claims is a world first, also covers electrical items, hygiene products and cosmetics, which must now be reused, redistributed or recycled. It also phases out the use of paper till receipts and single-use plastics and encourages pharmacies to sell certain medications in individual doses.

France already has a law banning supermarkets from throwing away unsold food and forcing them to hand the goods to charities.

The European Court of Human Rights has criticized the overcrowding of French prisons. The French government was ordered to pay half a million euros in a case brought by a group of prisoners, including some who were in prison in Nice. The court recommended that the French government take steps to reduce overcrowding, but didn’t compel the government to take action, as it has done in a recent case against the Italian government.  

Business

Amazon has posted quarterly profits which were well above Wall Street expectations as the expansion of its one day shipping programme came in under budget and membership of its Prime loyalty club continued to climb impressively.

The firm’s shares soared by 13 percent in after-hours trading putting the online retailer back in the one trillion dollar bracket.

The firm’s chief executive Jeff Bezos said that Amazon now has more than 150 million paid members in Prime -a 50 percent increase from its last disclosure in 2018.

Customers have been won over by fast delivery ,television and music streaming and its home speaker Echo.

The formula has helped to make Mr Bezos the richest person in the world.

 

The US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has said that the Coronavirus outbreak in China will be positive for the domestic economy.

In a television interview on Thursday ,Mr Ross said that he believed the outbreak would help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America.

The comments have drawn fire from opponents of the Trump administration with Democrats questioning whether it was morally right to talk about ways of making money out of other people’s misery.

Mr Ross qualified his comments by saying that he didn’t want to appear to be talking about a “victory lap” over a very unfortunate ,malignant disease.

The Commerce Department said in a statement that it wanted to make clear that the first step is to bring the virus under control and help the victims.

 

And-The British Prime Minister will address the nation tonight as the country leaves the European Union after 47 years of membership.

Boris Johnson will say that Brexit represents “an opportunity” and will be the “dawn of a new era”.

In practice , nothing will change after tonight until the 31st of December when the transition period ends.

Between now and then ,EU and UK officials will attempt to hammer out the quickest free trade deal in history with talks scheduled to get underway in March.

Mr Johnson has said that he will not countenance extending the transition period which means that if there is no deal on the table by the end of June then the UK will leave without a deal at the end of the year.

Britain will also now be free to strike trade deals with other  nations with the United States keen to reach an agreement in the near future.

A number of political obstacles lie in the way of such a deal though particularly on food standards ,Middle East policy and the UK’s decision to allow Huawei to build some parts of its new 5G network.

Sport

Tennis-Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem will be bidding for a place in the men’s final of the Australian Open later with the winner to meet Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s final.

Djokovic beat an injured Roger Federer in straight sets in the semi-final on Thursday and is on track to defend his title and win a 17th Grand Slam.

The women’s final tomorrow will be between Garbine Muguruza and Sofia Kenin.

Rugby Union-It’s the opening weekend of the 6 Nations Championship with everyone wanting to beat England following their run to the World Cup Final last year.

England start their campaign against a new look France in Paris on Sunday.Kick off is at 4pm.

Tomorrow ,the opening game is between Wales and Italy in Cardiff with kick off at 3.15. That’s followed by Ireland against Scotland in Dublin at 5.45.

Football-in the English Premier League this weekend.

On Saturday Leicester play Chelsea.Bournemouth face Aston Villa.Crystal Palace play Sheffield United.Liverpool face Southampton.Newcastle play Norwich.Watford host Everton.West Ham play Brighton  and Manchester United play Wolves.

On Sunday Burnley host Arsenal and Spurs play Manchester City.

 

Formula 1-Lewis Hamilton is yet to start new contract talks with Mercedes to keep him at the team beyond the end of this season.

Last year ,Ferrari admitted that they’d held talks with the 6 time world champion but stressed that they were only preliminary.

Hamilton responded to rumours that talks with Mercedes had broken down by saying that “they haven’t even started yet”.

He said that reports that talks had stalled over his demands were just “papers making up stories”.

 

American Football-Super Bowl LIV is being played between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Sunday.

America will grind to a halt for the big game.

The 49ers have won the Super Bowl 5 times but they’ve only reached the big final once since 1994.It’s the first time since 1970 that Kansas have made the final.

Shakira and Jennifer Lopez will headline the half-time show.

 

Weather.

 

Mainly fine with light variable or westerly winds.

Top temperature 15 degrees.

Overnight lows of 10 degrees on the coast and 7 degrees inland with clear skies.

The weekend-Partially cloudy with highs of 15-17 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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