French and Riviera News Monday 11th January 2021

News 

6pm curfew extended to other departments - France has extended its early-evening Covid curfew to a further eight departments, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that the measures were “tough but necessary”. The eight new departments were subject to an earlier curfew as of 6pm on Sunday including the Bouches-du-Rhone, the Vaucluse and the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. Two additional departments, the Drome and the Var, were later added to the list and will start the curfew, from tomorrow Tuesday 12th January. 

British variant detected in Marseille - The news came as a “worrying cluster” was detected in Marseille concerning a patient carrying the British variant of the coronavirus. 45 contact cases were identified with seven cases of the British variant detected. The regional health authority continues the investigation in order to find further possible contact cases. The mayor of Marseille, Benoît Payan, has requested that "the French government steps up checks at airports" while assuring that the city was planning "to operate a major vaccination campaign".

Mask becomes mandatory in Beaulieu, Villefranche and Saint Jean - Meanwhile from today Monday 11th January, the obligation to wear a mask becomes mandatory in Beaulieu, Villefranche-sur-Mer and St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Until now it had only been an obligation in shops. The measure is in place until further notice.

Monaco - In Monaco the government has announced a series of new measures to curb the spread of the virus including a 7pm curfew from today Monday 11th January and in addition restaurants, theatres and the Casino de Monte-Carlo will be closed in the evening. Take away deliveries will be possible until 9pm.

Moderna vaccine arrives in France today - Meanwhile the second vaccine authorized by the authorities against Covid-19 arrives in France today with more than 50,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine being delivered to the Grand Est, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur regions.

The Prime Minister, Jean Castex is organizing today a videoconference meeting with parliamentary groups from 9am to discuss the consequences of the epidemic, while the Head of State will bring together the main ministers concerned by the health crisis this afternoon to discuss the vaccination campaign against Covid-19.

Education - France’s Education minister Jean Michel Blanquer has announced that partial attendance at high schools in France will be extended beyond January 20th. However, for the time being the idea of postponing the first baccalaureate exams scheduled for March has been rejected.

Femicide - Sixty feminist activists have pasted the names of the 111 women who lost their lives to femicide in France last year on walls in central Paris, calling on supporters to "honour the dead, protect the living". Alongside the names, a statement informs passers-by that 98 women were murdered by their partners or ex-partners in the course of 2020, along with 11 sex workers, and two trans-sexuals. 

The Louvre - The world's biggest museum, the Louvre, has suffered a drop in visitor numbers of over 70 percent last year as Covid restrictions kept art lovers away. The Louvre, which closed for six months during French coronavirus lockdowns, saw visitor numbers plunge to 2.7 million in 2020, from 9.6 million in 2019 and 10.2 million in 2018, which was a record year. The museum managed to limit the damage with its blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci exhibition that attracted 1.1 million visitors and ended before the first French lockdown in the spring.

Flower budget at the Elysee said to be “shameful” - French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte have been branded 'shameful' after it emerged they spent nearly 600,000 euros on flowers for the Elysee Palace despite it being closed during the pandemic. The claim made in the political publication Politis says that their flower budget was nearly five times bigger than that of their predecessors Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy.

Six Nations - Discussions about the Six Nations will be held after the French government recommended at the weekend that rugby clubs postpone upcoming European Cup matches with domestic British teams due to the new Covid-19 variant in the United Kingdom. The decision casts a doubt over the final two rounds of pool matches scheduled to start next weekend. The meeting initiated by the French sport ministry will talk about the annual international tournament which is set to start on February 6th featuring France, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy.

Champs-Elysées - The mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo has announced that a €250 million euro makeover of the Champs-Élysées will go ahead, though the ambitious transformation will not happen before the French capital hosts the 2024 Summer Olympics. Hidalgo said the project would turn the Champs into “an extraordinary garden”. The Champs-Élysées committee has been campaigning for a major redesign of the avenue and its surroundings since 2018.

Business

Investors will be focusing on upcoming 4th quarter earnings this week to gauge expectations for 2021. US stocks are at record highs boosted by optimism that the rollout of coronavirus vaccines will allow for an economic recovery with hopes also pinned on more fiscal stimulus from US President-elect Joe Biden. Earnings season kicks off this week with results from JP Morgan, Citi and other large US banks. Earnings from S&P 500 firms are expected to have dropped by 9.8 percent from a year ago but a rebound is expected this year with a gain of 16.4 percent projected for the first quarter. Earnings for energy and industrials are expected to have declined the most of all sectors in the fourth quarter. However, some analysts are warning that an “epic bubble” has been created because of extreme valuation, explosive price increases and speculative investor behavior and that markets are ripe for a large correction.

China is set to push back against a flurry of US sanctions with new rules to protect its firms from what it says are “unjustified foreign laws”. President Trump is continuing to target Chinese firms in his final days in the White House which he says are a threat to national security. From now on, Chinese courts will be able to punish firms that comply with restrictions on trade. The measures do not specifically mention the United States and legal experts say that it’s unclear how the new regulations will be implemented. China’s Foreign Ministry says that the new laws are aimed at “counteracting unjustified extra-terrestrial application” of foreign regulations. Firms with significant business interests in China have been advised to “tread carefully”.

In the UK, the Federation of Small Businesses has warned that a record number of small and medium sized firms could close in the next 12 months. The FSB says that without further government help to cope with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic more than a quarter of a million businesses could be lost. The FSB says that it’s put forward ideas to help some firms which it hopes Ministers will adopt. A fresh support scheme has been proposed with the aim of helping many self-employed workers who are currently excluded from government benefits. The Treasury says that nothing is planned at the moment in terms of extra aid but said that “everything is under review”.

Sport

Football - There were 8 third round FA Cup ties in England on Sunday with the shock of the round coming as League 2 Crawley Town beat Leeds United of the Premier League 3-0. In the other results Barnsley beat Tranmere Rovers 2-0. Bristol City beat Portsmouth 2-1. Chelsea were 4-0 winners over Morecombe. Cheltenham Town beat Mansfield 2-1. Manchester City beat Birmingham 3-0. Non league Marine were thrashed 5-0 at home by Spurs and Brighton squeaked through 4-3 on penalties against Newport Town. The remaining tie between Stockport County and West Ham is being played tonight.

In the Scottish Premiership on Sunday Rangers were 2-1 winners at Aberdeen and Livingston beat Ross County 3-1.

Cricket - It’s the fifth and final day of the 3rd Test between Australia and India in Sydney with the tourists battling hard to avoid defeat. India had reached 288-5 in their second innings after tea requiring 119 to win the match. The series is currently tied at 1-1.

Moeen Ali will miss the first Test between Sri Lanka and England as he continues to recover from Coronvirus. The 33-year-old all rounder is still self isolating after testing positive on the squad’s arrival in Sri Lanka on the 4th of January. Chris Woakes is now out of isolation after being deemed as a possible close contact but it’s touch and go as to whether he’ll be available for selection. The first Test starts on Thursday.

Rugby Union - There was one game in the Gallagher Premiership in England on Sunday. Harlequins and London Irish drew 27 all.

Weather

Clear skies with light variable winds. Top temperature 11 degrees. Overnight lows of 4 degrees on the coast and 2 degrees inland with clear skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday - Clear skies with highs of 10-12 degrees.

And finally 

Owners of certain breeds of dogs attract more romantic interest than those with other types of dog, according to new research. Researchers posted profiles on dating apps featuring photographs of men and women with different breeds of dog and counted the number of likes and swipes they attracted. The findings show that, after Staffies, men seeking a date are mainly drawn to women with chihuahuas and mixed breeds. By contrast, single women go for men with cockapoos and labradors as well as Jack Russells.

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