French and Riviera News Monday 30th November 2020

News

Three people stabbed at a dinner party - Three people have been stabbed and wounded at an unauthorized dinner party in Apt in the Vaucluse. The perpetrator is to appear in court today in Avignon. Ten others who were at the party have been fined for ignoring Covid-19 restrictions. An investigation has been opened to determine the reason behind the attack.

Covid-19 - The latest figures from Public Health France have shown that on Sunday, 198 people died from Covid-19 compared to 213 on Saturday. The total number of deaths in France since the start of the epidemic now stands at 52,325. The highest number of deaths recorded in 24 hours during the second wave, was 551 on November 9th.

Regional figures for the Alpes-Maritimes published on Sunday show that 471 people are currently hospitalized including 65 in intensive care. 1,999 patients have returned home since the beginning of the epidemic and 413 people have died from Covid-19 in the Alpes Maritimes.

In the Var 325 people are hospitalized due to COVID-19, including 50 in intensive care. 2,099 patients have returned home, and 390 people have died in the region since the start of the epidemic.

In Monaco one new case was reported on Sunday bringing the total number of residents affected by Covid-19 to 608. 12 people are currently in hospital and 24 people are being cared for by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Notre-Dame holds first mass a month after attack - A month after the attack at the Notre-Dame church in Nice which left three dead, a Sunday service has been held for the first time. The church reopened its doors on Sunday as a court challenge from French bishops at the weekend saw the Council of State, give the French government three days to change the current restriction of limiting the number of churchgoers to 30, which was imposed due to Covid-19. Places of worship across France welcomed members of the public on Sunday under strict health protocol but many did not limit the access to 30.

School student sentenced for threatening a teacher - Meanwhile a 19-year-old high school student from Nice with no criminal record, has been given an 18-month prison sentence for threatening a teacher. The man told his teacher that he would "die like Samuel Paty", the teacher who was beheaded in October in Paris. While the man's lawyer said he had "been making a joke" and "trying to impress a fellow female student" the public prosecutor convicted the student of "advocating terrorism online" and "making death threats". Since the attack at the Notre-Dame church on 29th October, Nice's public prosecutor's office has carried out more than 20 investigations into advocating terrorism.

Hotel fire - 80 people have been evacuated and a man is in a critical condition in hospital following a fire in a hotel in Nice. The blaze broke out at the Azuréa Hotel on Rue Paganini on Saturday evening shortly after 10.30pm. 60 firefighters were deployed to the scene. Deputy mayor of Nice, Antony Borré congratulated municipal police on the social network Twitter for having arrested a man who could be at the origin of the fire.

Mayor of Cap d’Ail to rename school - The mayor of Cap d'Ail has defended his decision to rename the recently opened school Saint-Antoine - Samuel Paty, as a tribute to the teacher who was beheaded in the north west of Paris on the 16th October. Many from the parent teachers association at the school which opened in September, have expressed their opposition to the decision saying that it would make the establishment "a target" and while they understood the importance it would be more appropriate to rename a "street or a square, but not a school".

However, the mayor Xavier Beck has said in a statement that "France must make it clear that the conception of the Republic is not that of the Islamist terrorists". Beck went on to say that the "students are no more in danger than the children that were victims of the terror attack on the Promenade des Anglais on 14th July 2016" adding that "terrorism is everywhere".

Protests against Amazon - Demonstrations have taken place in Aix-en-Provence against Amazon. As small "non-essential" businesses reopened at the weekend, several associations and groups gathered on Saturday to denounce "the misdeeds of Amazon and its world". Protestors objected to what they consider to be “unfair competition” and the project to build 20 additional Amazon warehouses in France in 2021 in the Gard, just 20 minutes from Avignon.

Police violence - Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz has said that the case over the beating of Michel Zecler is to be handed to an investigating magistrate who would decide on charges and detention measures. The three officers suspected of carrying out the beating should remain in custody, while a fourth, who arrived on the scene later and set off a tear gas canister, is to be freed under conditions. The beating of music producer Michel Zecler exposed in video footage published last week has become a focus of anger against the police in France. Protests in Paris saw a brasserie set alight, cars set on fire and stones thrown at security forces, who responded with tear gas and anti-riot tactics. Police said 62 officers were injured at the demonstrations and 81 people arrested, with Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin saying the violence in the protests was "unacceptable".

Nativity figurine - A nativity figurine of French virologist Professor Didier Raoult has reportedly already sold out. The French craftswoman from Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer who created the not so traditional nativity figurine saying she felt inspired to include, in this year’s collection, a personality who had marked the news in 2020. The collection also includes a nurse with a Red Cross uniform 1890 and a doctor treating the plague in 1720.

Italian bar bans Covid-19 talk - Bars and restaurants are currently able to open until 6pm in Rome under coronavirus restrictions and one bar has decided to add another restriction, banning talk about Covid-19. The owner of Bar Feeling said customers can talk about history, gossip, culture, the weather – anything but coronavirus. Cristina Mattioli, banned all Covid chat after the mood became too heavy, spoiling the convivial atmosphere, especially over morning coffee.

The initiative has worked a treat. “Customers found it funny, with some saying they could finally have a coffee in peace,” Mattioli added. “They started to have other conversations. What was also lovely is that it gave a cue to customers who don’t know each other to start chatting. Yes, we have to maintain a physical distance, but we can still chat to each other.” Customers have offered their own suggestions of alternative topics. “You can talk about the weather, or lovers or partners, you can talk about anything,” said one. “Coronavirus exists and it has created problems as well as a lot of anxiety, for this reason we should try to let go of this anxiety and try to live with more simplicity.”

Raise the Woof” - Something good to come out of 2020? A Christmas song for dogs. "Raise the Woof" has been released and the canine jingle was created based on scientific research into the way dogs interact with sound. So, if your dog is fed up with Mariah Carey and "All I Want for Christmas Is You" why not try "Raise the Woof" and feel free to send us their reaction...to a track that just become a Christmas number one. As anything can happen in 2020!

Business

Global stock markets appear to be taking a breather at the end of a record-breaking month as the prospect of a vaccine-driven recovery next year and more stimulus from central banks override concerns about near-term coronavirus infections. Investors got another shot in the arm this morning with a factory activity survey for China beating November forecasts and leaving blue chips 6.6 percent higher for the month. The move towards risk has benefitted oil and industrial commodities while gold and other safe haven assets have fallen back. European stock markets have registered their best ever month with the CAC 40 in Paris up 21 percent ,and Italy up 26 percent. The MSCI measure of world stocks is up by 13 percent for November so far while the S&P 500 has climbed by 11 percent to all time highs.

Reports this morning say that Sir Philip Green’s retail empire Arcadia is “within hours of collapse”. Several sources including the BBC say that Arcadia is set to enter administration today putting 13,000 jobs at risk. The group had been seeking extra cash to help it plug the gap from lost sales during the coronavirus pandemic but a last minute rescue deal is  not expected. Questions over the future of Arcadia started to circulate on Friday after it emerged that talks with potential lenders had failed. The group has been seeking extra cash in a bid to shore up the effects of the coronavirus pandemic which has had a large impact on trading across the business. Arcadia’s brands which include Topshop, Burton and Miss Selfridge had once dominated the UK high street but the chain has been hard hit by store closures and increasingly ferocious competition from online retailers such as Asos and Boohoo. The firm also has a large hole in its employee pension scheme of some 350 million pounds with calls for Sir Philip and his family to plug the gap.

The Australian airline Qantas is to outsource some 2,000 ground staff jobs in an effort to limit financial losses. The fresh cuts are on top of the 6,000 positions which will be lost due to the coronavirus pandemic and border restrictions. Qantas says that airline around the world are having to make dramatic decisions in order to survive and that the damage will take years to repair. The airline is hoping to save around 74 million US dollars annually based on pre-Covid levels of flying by switching to third-party providers instead of handling its own ground services.

Sport

Formula 1 - The sport is facing major safety questions after the Haas driver Romain Grosjean was involved in a horrific crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday. Grosjean’s car hit the barrier, split into two and burst into flames on the first kap of the race. Miraculously he walked away and appears to have been saved by the halo head-protection device in his cockpit. He’s being treated in hospital for burns to the back of both hands but is expected to make a full recovery. Formula 1 will now need to conduct an urgent safety review into how the car was able to pierce the barrier, why the car split in two and what happened to create such a ferocious fire. Grosjean was also stuck inside the car for nearly 30 seconds engulfed in flames before he managed to escape. If he’d been unconscious, the consequences could have been far more serious. Lewis Hamilton won the race to claim his 11th victory of the season with Max Verstappen second and Alex Albon third.

Football - There were three games in the English Premier League on Sunday with Spurs going back to the top of the table despite a 0-0 draw at Chelsea. Manchester United came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Southampton and Arsenal lost their third league game in a row in a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Wolves. There are two games tonight. Leicester host Fulham and West Ham play Aston Villa.

In the English Championship on Sunday Swansea were 1-0 winners at Nottingham Forest while in the second round of the Scottish League Cup Celtic lost 2-0 at home to Ross County and Rangers were 4-0 winners at Falkirk.

Cricket - England have beaten South Africa by 4 wickets to wrap up the T20 series. In a low scoring game the Proteas made 146-6 from their 20 overs with England getting to the total with one ball to spare in a total of 148-6.

Australia have wrapped up the one day series against India with a 51 run victory in the second game in Sydney. Steve Smith made another century as Australia reached 389-4 from their 50 overs. In reply India could only manage 338-9.

Rugby Union - Ireland have finished second in Group A of the Autumn Nations Cup with a 23-10 win over Georgia. Ireland will now play Scotland in the third place playoff game while the final will be between England and France.

There was one game in the Gallagher Premiership in England on Sunday. London Irish beat Leicester 22-9.

In the Guinness Pro 14 Dragons were 26-19 winners at Benetton and Glasgow Warriors were 19-10 winners at Cardiff Blues. There are two games tonight Edinburgh play Ulster and Munster face Zebre.

Weather

Partially cloudy with light south westerly winds. Top temperature 16 degrees. Overnight lows of 10 degrees on the coast and 7 degrees inland with cloudy skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday - Overcast with rain at times tomorrow, partially cloudy on Wednesday and cooler with highs of 12-13 degrees.

And finally

Recent research has shown that a walk-in wardrobe, Smeg fridge, and having a cleaner, are all modern 'status symbols' people think will keep them ahead of the neighbours in the UK. Other status-symbol material goods include electric gates at home, and Louis Vuitton luggage. It also emerged that one in seven think having a range or Aga cooker, is a sign 'you've made it' in life, while a fifth think having a personal trainer is a huge statement.

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