French and Riviera News Thursday 17th September 2020

Local

French government’s strategy against Covid-19 - France’s Minister of Health will this afternoon provide an update on the government’s strategy in the fight against Covid-19 encouraging the French to “live with the virus”. Something French President Emmanuel Macron emphasized during Wednesday’s visit of a stage of the Tour de France.

The Minister of Health will reportedly focus in particular on testing, often criticized for its delays, the obligation to wear a mask, the vaccine and the StopCovid application.

During the Council of Ministers held on Wednesday the government examined the possibility of extending the restriction on gatherings and travel due to Covid-19 for another six months until April 1st, 2021.

The current deadline was set for October 30th. The National Assembly is due to start examining the extension on October 1st.

Covid-19 – Meanwhile according to the latest figures from Public Health France nearly 9,800 cases of Covid-19 have been diagnosed in France in the past 24 hours.

In total, 862 clusters are being investigated including 127 in nursing homes. 2,976 people have been admitted to hospital with Covid-19 over the past seven days, of which 508 have been admitted to intensive care.

84 departments are now in a situation of moderate or high vulnerability and 46 people have died in the past 24 hours from the coronavirus in France, bringing the toll of the number of victims to 31,045 since the start of the epidemic.

Covid-19 cases Monaco - Three new positive cases of Covid-19 have been declared in Monaco on Wednesday bringing the total number of residents affected by the coronavirus in the Principality to 181. Two residents were admitted to hospital on Wednesday and 34 people are currently being cared for by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Strike - Public transport will be disrupted today because of a national day of industrial action by unions. Tram services in Nice won't be operating and many Lignes d'Azur bus lines will be disrupted. You can get more information at www.lignesdazur.com

The SNCF has said that they expect "almost normal" train services although some reports have announced cancellation until Friday morning. Details about specific services can be found on the sncf website www.sncf.com  

A demonstration will take place from 10 am this morning on the Place Massena in Nice. As is usually the case on days of strike action affecting the transport network, on-street parking will be free of charge in Nice.

Arrests - Following the arrest of 46 people in connection with an Italian mafia ring between the French and Italian Riviera the public prosecutor of Marseille Dominique Laurens has held a press conference praising the specialised police unit in the region.

Speaking on Wednesday Laurens confirmed that the results of the operation, aimed at dismantling a team of criminals linked to the Italian Mafia, led to most of the suspects being arrested in the Var and the Alpes Maritimes.

700,000 euros in cash was seized along with 120,000 euros in bank accounts, 30 luxury watches, six high end vehicles as well as a number or weapons.

The magistrate praised "a fine result" made possible thanks to the judicial cooperation between France and Italy.

RSA fraud 78 million euros over the last 11 years - During a press conference on Wednesday authorities in the Alpes Maritimes have announced that fraudulent claims for the RSA amounted to 78 million euros, over the last eleven years.

The “revenue de solidarité active” otherwise referred to as the RSA, is a form of welfare benefit for unemployed or underemployed workers in France.

In 2019 alone, 15 million euros were recovered according to the “anti-fraud brigade” which controls the opening of rights to the RSA since its creation in July 2011 by MP Eric Ciotti.

Recent figures published show that since its creation 9,000 inspections have been carried out each year, 8,363 accounts have been suspended and 319 fines have been issued.

“Adoption month” launched by the society for the protection of Animals - The Society for the Protection of Animals (SPA) has launched its “adoption month” in its 62 shelters across France which includes shelters in our region.

With shelters no longer able to organize open days, the campaign has been launched to give the opportunity to adopt an animal.

8,558 animals were taken in this summer with five shelters in our region taking in 244 animals in July and August, 63% of which were cats.

Monaco showcases its commitment to clean and sustainable urban transport - As part of the European Mobility week which runs from the 16th to the 22nd September, the port of Monaco will be partially closed to traffic on Sunday 20th September from 10am to 6pm.

The event to be enjoyed by family or friends invites the young and the old to get around on foot, bicycles, skateboards and scooters.  

The European mobility week see’s town and cities across Europe register to showcase their commitment to clean and sustainable urban transport.

Here in the Principality on Sunday numerous activities are planned on the quay Albert 1er and for everyone’s safety authorities remind the public that wearing a helmet is compulsory up to the age of 18 when riding a bicycle or scooter and that the event will take place in strict compliance with current health regulations and barrier gestures.  

“Corsican dolphin” - Known as the “Corsican dolphin” Thierry Corbalan has set himself a final challenge to swim across the Mediterranean.

61-year-old Thierry, who has both arms amputated and uses a monofin to swim, set off on Monday from Calvi, destination Mandelieu La Napaule where he hopes to arrive on Sunday 20th September. It’s the athletes 14th sporting challenge to date and believed to be his last.

National

Student enters school armed with automatic rifle - A 15-year-old high school student has been arrested and placed in police custody in Bordeaux after entering his school armed with an automatic rifle.

The incident occurred shortly after midday on Wednesday when the teenage boy wearing a motorcycle helmet at the time, approached the high school armed with a rifle having minutes earlier crashed his truck into a nearby wall creating a scene of panic. No injuries were reported. It was later confirmed that the boy was already known to the police services.

A psychological support unit has been set up at the school.

Plans to close Bethune tyre factory - In a joint press release the French government and the Hauts-de-France region has denounced the “brutality” of the announcement that Bridgestone plans to close its Bethune plant in France.

The Japanese group's tyre factory in the Pas-de-Calais, opened in 1961 and employs 853 people. Following the announcement, the president of the Hauts-de-France region Xavier Bertrand said “This is something they have had in mind for a while. The leaders of Bridgestone lied to us", adding that “This brutal announcement can absolutely not be blamed on the health crisis”. Bertrand concluded that “as president of the region it is his job to put as much pressure as possible to invest and failing that, it is his responsibility not to let employees down and find solutions for them individually”.

Business

The Chair of the US Federal Reserve has said that the central bank does not expect to change its policy on interest rates until the economic recovery is “very far along”.

Speaking at a press conference following the Fed’s two day policy meeting in Washington ,Jerome Powell pledged to continue support for the economy as households and businesses slowly recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Powell  also warned that the rebound could be blown off course without further government spending.

Projections released on Wednesday  have shown that bank officials expect the US economy to contract by 3.5 percent this year ,much better than the 6.5 percent decline forecast in June.

Unemployment is expected to be at 7.6 percent by the end of the year which is also better than previous forecasts.

Mr Powell has urged US lawmakers to reach agreement on new economic stimulus package ,sentiment echoed by President Trump.

 

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has said that has said that the damage to the global economy this year will be less than previously expected but nevertheless “unprecedented”.

The OECD says that it now expects contraction of 4.5 percent this year against a previous forecast of 6 percent made in June.

The Organisation’s chief economist Laurence Boone said that the damage may be less than previously expected but there is no way to “sugar coat it” and it is not a good outcome.

Consumer spending on durable goods such as cars has rebounded quite strongly  but has been subdued for services which involve social interaction or international travel.

The OECD is now predicting a slightly weaker rebound for the global economy next year.

And-In the UK ,John Lewis is reported to be working on plans for a massive reduction in the size of its London flagship store.

The plans are said to include converting entire floors into offices as shoppers switch to buying online and the crisis in the UK high street worsens.

The Oxford Street site is on one of Europe’s most high-profile shopping districts and at one point accounted for 10 percent of the John Lewis chain’s profits.

The potential changes which were first reported by the London Evening Standard come as the firm fights to stem losses in the face of heavy competition online and from other high street rivals.

First half results will be revealed later today with John Lewis expected to crash further into the red and rumours of more store closures on the way.

Sport

Cycling-Miguel Angel Lopez of Colombia won the grueling stage 17 of the Tour de France on Wednesday as Primoz Roglic extended his overall lead in the general classification.

Lopez pulled clear of the other contenders on the final climb to Meribel and beat Roglic to the line by 15 seconds.

Roglic is now 57 seconds ahead of Tadej Pogacar heading into stage 18 today which is 175 kilometers between Meribel and La Roche-sur-Foron and includes a number of nasty looking climbs.

Cricket-Australia pulled of a stunning victory over England in the third and fina one day international at Old Trafford to take the three match series 2-1.

England batted first and made 302-7 from their 50 overs including 112 from Jonny Bairstow.

The hosts thought that they’d got things sewn up when they reduced Australia to 73-5 but Glenn Maxwell and Alex Carey had other ideas ,smashing 108 and 106 respectively to take the tourists to a winning total of 305-7 from 49.4 overs-a three wicket victory.

Football-There was one game in the Scottish Premiership last night. Celtic were 2-1 winners at St Mirren.

Golf-The US Open starts at Winged Foot New York later today with World  number one Dustin Johnson among the favourites.

Tiger Woods says that the course is one of the three toughest in the world and plenty of fireworks are expected.

Of the 5 men’s US Opens staged at a New York course ,only one has produced a winning score under par.

The greens at Winged Foot are described as “treacherous” with potentially fatal slopes. Other hazards include narrow fairways and long rough.

Weather

Clear skies with light variable winds.

Top temperatures 27-29 degrees.

Overnight lows of 21 degrees on the coast and 19 degrees inland with clear skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Mainly fine with highs of 26-28 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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