French and Riviera News Friday 6th November 2020

News

Monaco - The Monégasque government has confirmed on Thursday evening that after concerns expressed by some press outlets and social networks regarding changes to the current health restrictions and the current health situation in the Principality, the move to introduce a national lockdown in Monaco “is not relevant at the moment”.

The government added that in “a coherent and united manner”, following a meeting with the National Council the Principality remains under the current curfew introduced last Saturday, but that introducing a lockdown in the Principality is not an option as it’s a measure that the government “is for the time being, keen to avoid at all costs”.

Monaco reported 18 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday bringing the total number of residents affected by coronavirus to 430. In addition to these figures 25 people were reported to have recovered on Thursday which means that since the beginning of the epidemic in the Principality 318 patients have recovered. 13 people are hospitalized and 96 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Covid-19 - During his weekly press conference on Thursday France’s Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, has called on the French to be responsible in the fight against Covid-19. Véran said that "the more rigorous we are, the shorter the lockdown will be." According to the minister, without the lockdown, France would have known, on November 11th, some 9,000 Covid patients in intensive care. All these services would have been saturated, "a catastrophic situation for our hospitals and for the sick". With 4,230 Covid-19 patients in intensive care, including 447 people admitted in one day, "more than 85% of intensive care beds are occupied".

More than 58,000 people were diagnosed positive in one day, announced the director general of health, which is a record: Jérôme Salomon added that the epidemic had now killed 39,037 people in France, or 363 more than the results provided on Wednesday. France is the country in Europe which has recorded the highest number of cases of Covid-19, with 1.6 million cases out of "more than 8 million people affected" on the continent.

Changes to Bac due to health crisis - The Minister of National Education has announced reinforced health measures in high schools, with more distance learning courses. In a letter addressed to school heads and teachers, the Minister of National Education Jean-Michel Blanquer announced that the joint evaluation tests of Première and Terminale, for the new formula baccalaureate which comes into force this year, would be canceled due to the health crisis and that it will be replaced by continuous assessment.

Security - France has stepped up security at its borders and is calling for a rethink on free movement in the EU after a spate of suspected Islamist terror attacks. President Emmanuel Macron said the EU's Schengen area, which allows people to cross borders freely, may need reform. In a knife attack in Nice last week, which killed three people, the perpetrator a Tunisian migrant had crossed into France from Italy in October. France's security alert is at its highest level, with thousands of soldiers deployed to protect places of worship and schools, since teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded for showing cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad to his students.

Paris - Paris has announced a ban on delivery and takeaway services for prepared food and alcohol between 10pm and 6am from today in an attempt to curb the worsening Covid-19 pandemic. In a statement on Thursday, police officials said the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks in public spaces during those hours would also be banned. The new curbs will come on top of the existing national lockdown that has been imposed throughout France.

Storm Alex - Researchers from the GEOAZUR laboratory at the Université Côte d'Azur have been studying the impact of Storm Alex, which led to major flooding in parts of the Alpes-Maritime region on October 5th. The study, which started on November 1st will determine what happened to the debris which was carried by Storm Alex and its impact on the seabed off the mouths of the Var and the Roya river.

To carry out the expedition, scientists embarked aboard one of the best oceanographic boats in the world, the "Pourquoi pas?". Their mission consists of taking different types of sediments to identify them and follow the deposits along the seabed. Expected to return on November 9th at the port of La Seyne-sur-Mer the expedition can be followed in real time on their blog.

5G - Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi has said that he believes 5G services will be operational in Nice from the first half of 2021. Speaking at a conference on the economy on Thursday he said that the city has consulted experts on the risks of 5G and none of them have concluded that there is any danger.

Paris Climate agreement - The United States has officially left the Paris climate agreement this week, becoming the first country to ever withdraw from an international environment pact. As the US waits to find out who is the next President, Joe Biden has tweeted that the USA would immediately return if he is elected. Trump gave a one-year notice to leave the Paris accord on November 4th 2019. If elected Biden would need to officially notify the United Nations of US willingness to return.

Prefecture - A 93-year-old man from Moselle in the north of France has had to prove that he is not dead in order to redo his papers. Raymond Schmitt, lives in Fleury, south of Metz and is still in good health at 93 years old. Unfortunately, he has the same first and last name as another Mosellan, born on the exact same day and year as him, who died a few years ago. The man received a refusal letter from the prefecture and has since fought with the administration to prove that he is alive. Speaking to local media Raymond said that the prefecture told me that I was dead, "it's still a shock!"

After a burglary last June, he wanted to redo his papers. It was then that: "The prefecture replied that I could not have new papers because I was dead” he says. His son, who told journalists that he has luckily seen the funny side, has since sent all the necessary documents to prove that his father is alive and well, "including a certificate of life, issued by the town hall of Fleury and a birth certificate".

Vote for a tree - The municipality of Menton is entering a tree in the Tree of The Year competition. It's calling on locals to vote for a 100-year-old tree which grows in the Elisée Reclus garden in Menton. The tree is 15 meters high and 9.2 metres in circumference. You can vote at https://www.arbredelannee.com/ until the 5th January.

Business

Wall Street seems to be unperturbed by the continuing uncertainty over the outcome of the US Presidential election, as investors bet that the Republican Party would retain control over the US Senate, which would result in Joe Biden being unable to introduce major policy changes that would curb corporate profits. With the counting continuing in key battleground states including Georgia and Pennsylvania, Mr Biden seems most likely to reach the magic target of 270 electoral college votes but President Trump has once again made allegations of voting fraud without producing any evidence. An attempt by Republican lawyers to halt counting in Georgia on Thursday was thrown out by a state court because of a lack of evidence but Mr Trump’s lawyers and some of his main political supporters including Senator Lindsay Graham insist that Democrats have been cheating. The outcome of the election could still be some days away as voting continues and legal challenges increase. The betting markets are suggesting that Mr Biden pretty much has it in the bag with odds on Donald Trump retaining the Presidency down to 10 percent at most major firms.

The luxury carmaker Bentley has unveiled plans to go fully electric by 2030. The firm says that between now and then, it will be switching its range of models to offer only plug-in hybrid or battery electric cars by 2026. Bentley, which is owned by Volkswagen is also aiming to be completely carbon neutral across its manufacturing within a decade. The firm said that workers on internal combustion engine cars will be redeployed as it makes the shift to battery electric vehicles. Volkswagen is investing billions of euros into electric car technology.

In the UK, the National Audit Office has said that traders would be “very unlikely” to be ready for checks that the EU will impose at its borders after Brexit on the 1st January. The NAO said that UK trade with the EU faces “significant disruption” when the Brexit transition period ends and warned that there remains only limited time for UK ports to test new IT systems. The government says that “significant” efforts have been made to avoid disruption to businesses. The UK will largely stop following EU trading rules from January 2021 and preparations continue to prepare the border for the change.

Sport

Football - In the Europa League last night Arsenal beat Molde 4-1 in Group B while north London rivals Spurs were 3-1 winners at Ludogorets Razgrad in Group J. Leicester beat Sporting Braga 4-0 in Group G but Nice went down 3-2 at Slavia Prague in Group C. Rangers drew 3-3 at Benfica in Group D while Celtic lost 4-1 at home to Sparta Prague in Group H.

In the English Premier League this weekend Brighton play Burnley and Southampton face Newcastle tonight. On Saturday Everton host Manchester United. Crystal Palace play Leeds. Chelsea play Sheffield United and West Ham play Fulham. On Sunday West Brom play Spurs. Leicester face Wolves. Manchester City play Liverpool and Arsenal host Aston Villa.

Formula 1 - Amnesty International has accused the sport’s owners of using a new Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia to “sports-wash” the country’s “appalling” human rights record. Formula 1 has signed a 10-year deal with Saudi Arabia to stage races in the country with the first set to be a night-time street race in Jeddah next year. The country’s Sports Minister says that staging the race “perfectly reflects the transformational journey that the country is on”. Formula 1 says that it takes its responsibilities “seriously” and has made its position on human rights and other issues clear.

Rugby Union - The interim head of the Welsh Rugby Union has said that discussions are ongoing as to whether to move next year’s 6 Nations Championship. The 2020 Championship was finally completed last weekend after being delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Steve Phillips says that organisers will try to figure out the benefits given that crowds may still not be allowed back into stadiums at the start of 2021.

Cycling - Jaspar Philipsen has won stage 15 of the Vuelta e Espana in an uphill sprint finish as he held off the challenge of Pascal Ackermann. Primoz Roglic retains the overall lead with a 39-second advantage over Richard Carapaz with Hugh Carthy of Great Britain in third.

Weather

Clear skies with light variable winds. Top temperatures 20 degrees. Overnight lows of 12 degrees with clear skies.

The weekend - Partially cloudy tomorrow with some rain towards nightfall and a high of 19. Fine on Sunday with a high of 18.

And finally 

A man in Texas was shot in the leg by his dog whose paw set off his pistol. The man had his pistol tucked inside his waistband when he bent down to pick up his pet. When he did his dog’s paw got lodged in the trigger and sent off the weapon, sending a bullet into his thigh. The man drove himself to the hospital and his injury is not life-threatening. Following the incident police, released guidelines for safe and responsible use of firearms.

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