French and Riviera News Monday 4th January 2021

News 

Body found in the river Sorgue - The body of a 75-year-old woman has been found in the river Sorgue in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue in the Vaucluse. Emergency services were alerted on Sunday morning shortly after 11am after the victim was reported missing by her family. Police have launched an investigation to determine the cause of death.

Shooting in Bordeaux - A 16-year-old has been shot dead in Bordeaux. Three other teenagers were injured in the incident on Saturday evening, which occurred in the northern district of the city. The shooting took place around 11pm and police arrived on the scene after being alerted by local residents. An investigation has been launched into what is thought to be a settlement of accounts.

Illegal party - Police in Marseille have arrested six people following the organization of a party on January 1st. The event saw 300 people gather despite restrictions currently in place in France due to Covid-19. Meanwhile a 22-year-old has been placed in police custody believed to be responsible for organizing the “rave party” near Rennes which saw 2,500 people gather on New Year’s Eve. The rave continued until Sunday evening with several arrests being made. The investigation continues.

Back to school - France’s Education Minister has said that the reinforced health protocol in schools will allow pupils to return “as normal to their classroom today”. While several European countries such as Germany and the UK have decided to postpone the start of school, Jean-Michel Blanquer confirmed on Sunday that this would not be the case in France. Speaking to French media the minister said that ahead of the school holidays the contamination rate in schools in France was only 0.3%.

Covid-19 figures - The latest figures published on Sunday show that 116 deaths were reported, and there were 657 new hospital admissions due to Covid-19. To date 24,780 people are currently hospitalized of which 2,665 are currently being treated in intensive care.

Monaco – Meanwhile in Monaco, a 92-year-old has died from Covid-19 at the weekend. The fourth victim from Covid in the Principality since the start of the epidemic, the Princely government expressed its “thoughts for the family and relatives”Monaco identified six new cases of Covid on Sunday bringing the total number of residents in the Principality affected by Covid to 907. Twenty-one people are currently hospitalized and 102 people are being following by the Home Monitoring Centre. Last week the first vaccine was administered in Monaco to a resident of the Hector-Otto Foundation.

Monaco stepped up restrictions over New Year mobilizing more than 130 police officers with 600 vehicles being turned away on New Year’s Eve and 87 fines were issued for non-compliance with the curfew and not wearing of mask. From Saturday January 2nd Monaco introduced a new measure limiting access to restaurants to residents or those working in the Principality. The new measure will apply to both lunch and dinner and customers will be asked to provide proof on arrival.

Head of State criticized slow vaccination – Concerning the vaccination programme in France and according to French media, the Head of State has deplored the “slowness” in getting people vaccinated. Emmanuel Macron wants in particular that “all doctors who wish to be vaccinated are vaccinated as quickly as possible to set an example for their patients”. Meanwhile in an interview with the Parisian, government spokesman Gabriel Attal reaffirmed the intention from the President to “accelerate the pace of vaccination in France”.

Minister warns that figures are still too high to consider reopening of bars and restaurants - France’s Minister of Small Businesses in France Alain Griset has said that “Covid-19 figures are still too high to consider reopening bars and restaurants on January 20th”. Closed since October 29th, bars and restaurants are eagerly awaiting January 20th. The date, chosen by the government, for reopening, if the epidemic situation allows. However, the minister announced on Sunday that in “view of current figures, France is far from those planned by the French government”.

Emmanuel Macron had conditioned the reopening of bars and restaurants to a contamination limit of 5,000 cases per day. But, currently, this daily data varies enormously, from 19,348 cases recorded on Friday to 3,466 on Saturday, according to figures from Public Health France.

Unexpected visitors on A8 causes motorway to close - There were some unexpected visitors on the A8 motorway on Sunday as a family of wild boars bought traffic to a standstill forcing the motorway to be closed in both directions near Nice-Nord. Closed between Nice and La Turbie, several motorway exits were also closed at Monaco, Nice Nord, Nice Est, Nice Centre and La Turbie as emergency services intervened shortly after 6pm.

Business

Asian stock markets have risen to record highs this morning as investors pin their hopes on vaccines to eventually deliver global economic rebound. However, the Nikkae in Japan has come off 30-year highs on news of possible tightening of Covid-19 restrictions in Tokyo as a result of increasing infections. Investors will be counting on central banks to keep money cheap while coronavirus vaccines help to revive the global economy.

Attention is also being paid to the two US Senate runoffs in Georgia tomorrow which will determine overall control of the upper house of Congress and Joe Biden’s legislative plans when he enters the White House on January 20th. Minutes from the US Federal Reserve’s December policy meeting will be published on Wednesday which should clarify discussions on forward policy guidance. Data out this week includes a raft of manufacturing surveys which will show how industry is coping with the spread of Covid-19. Friday sees the release of the latest US nonfarm payroll numbers with some projections estimating only a modest increase of 100,000 new jobs.

Bitcoin has continued to surge with the cryptocurrency hitting 34,000 dollars for the first time ever. Bitcoin has risen by 5,000 dollars already this year adding to its surge of 300 percent in 2020. The latest gains are being put down to interest from large investors looking for quick profits. Other virtual currencies have also been profiting on the back of Bitcoin’s meteoric rise with Ethereum up by 465 percent last year. Some analysts think that virtual currencies are set to strengthen further as the dollar continues to weaken. The greenback has been in decline due to major stimulus from the US Federal Reserve. The dollar ended 2020 with its biggest annual loss since 2017.

Media reports this morning say that the US casino giant MGM Resorts is looking to buy the British gaming firm Etain. The move is the latest attempt by a casino operator to move into the online gambling business. Etain owns the bookmaker Ladbrokes as well as a number of online sports betting and gambling sites. Etain recently rebuffed a 10 billion dollar offer from MGM, according to the Wall Street Journal which first reported the story.

Sport

Football - There were two games in the English Premier League on Sunday and Frank Lampard is coming under increasing pressure as his Chelsea side lost again-this time 3-1 at home to Manchester City. Leicester are up to third place on the back of a 2-1 win at Newcastle. There’s one game tonight with the leaders Liverpool away at Southampton.

Cricket - England have arrived in Sri Lanka ahead of their two Test match series with strict coronavirus checks in place. The 23-man touring party were given Covid-19 tests on arrival and were sprayed with disinfectant by airport staff. The group are now isolating in individual hotel rooms until tomorrow and will be allowed to train if no positive tests are registered. The first Test starts in Galle on January 14th.

Meanwhile South Africa are in firm control heading into day 2 of the 2nd Test against Sri Lanka in Johannesburg. The tourists were bowled out for 157 on day one with the home side on 148-1 at stumps.

It's stumps on day 2 of the second Test between New Zealand and Pakistan in Christchurch. Pakistan were bowled out for 297 in their first innings with New Zealand on 284-3.

Rugby Union - There was one game in the Gallagher Premiership in England on Sunday. Leicester fought back to beat Bath 36-31.

The game between London Irish and Northampton was called off because of coronavirus with Saints awarded 4 points and London Irish 2. London Irish have closed their training ground because of the outbreak with a number of players testing positive and others self-isolating.

Weather

Overcast with rain for much of the day and moderate north westerly winds. Top temperature 10 degrees. Overnight lows of 5 degrees on the coast and -1 degree inland with partially cloudy skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday - Overcast with outbreaks of rain tomorrow. Partially cloudy on Wednesday. Highs of 7-9 degrees.

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