French and Riviera News Thursday 5th November 2020

Local News

Nice knife attack homage - Following the knife attack in Nice on the 29th October at the Basilique Notre Dame a national homage is to take place at 10.30am on Saturday 7th November at the "Colline du Château" in Nice. Prime Minister Jean Castex is expected to attend along with the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi and other local officials. The mayor has said that the homage will be in the memory of "Nadine, Simone and Vincent" the victims of the attack as well as the emergency services that intervened.

Meanwhile a 17-year-old boy has been placed in police custody on Wednesday as part of the investigation into the Nice knife attack. The young man was arrested in Seine Saint Denis in the Paris region on Wednesday. He is suspected of having been in contact with the perpetrator Brahim Aouissauoi. Four others remain in police custody as part of the investigation however a 29-year-old Tunisian arrested on Saturday 31st October has since been released.

Missing person – Police have appealed following the disappearance of a 17-year-old high school girl in Saint-Maximin. 17-year-old Lucie was reportedly dropped off on Wednesday 4th November at 7 am, at a bus stop in Saint-Maximin on her way to school but failed to turn up at her high school the Lycée Sainte-Jeanne d'Arc, in Brignoles. Anyone who has any information that could help with the investigation is asked to call the police on 04 94 78 00 12.

Marseille - Prosecutors in Marseille have announced that the town hall social landlord, known as "Marseille Habitat", is being charged with manslaughter in connection with the collapse of buildings in the old town of Marseille two years ago. The organization was the owner of one of the two buildings which collapsed on the rue d'Aubagne. A tribute will be held today on the second anniversary of the collapse and is expected to include eight minutes silence, one minute for each of the eight people who lost their lives.

Covid-19 - For the first time since April, the number of new Covid-19 patients admitted to intensive care in France has exceeded the 500 mark on Wednesday. France’s hospitals recorded 385 new coronavirus-related deaths within 24 hours on Wednesday, November 4th. This is a slight decline compared to the reports of more than 400 deaths on Monday and Tuesday. The number of people in intensive care stands at 4,089.

A Defense Council chaired by French President Emmanuel Macron debated on Wednesday a possible tightening of measures to fight against the progression of the epidemic. The decisions taken could be announced today during the weekly press briefing by the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran.

Regional Health Agency - According to the Regional Health Agency the incidence rate continues to increase in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region as the agency warns that the situation looks set to “deteriorate in terms of hospitalisations and deaths in the coming weeks”. Nice counted 259 hospitalizations for Covid-19 on Wednesday, and 59 in intensive care.

In the PACA region 260 people died in hospital last week. 1,770 people have died in hospital in the PACA region since the start of the epidemic. The intensive care occupancy rate for the region stands at 90% and figures show that in two months, the number of people admitted to hospital has more than tripled.

Patients transferred to Brittany - The Regional Health Agency in Brittany has said that it has received 20 patients from the Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur and Occitanie regions since 27th October. In the PACA region patients have been transferred from hospitals in Avignon and Aix-en-Provence. The agency said that the current availability of intensive care in Brittany makes it possible to provide the reception of patients within the framework of national solidarity between regions.

Monaco - Meanwhile in Monaco fifteen new cases of Covid-19 were declared in the Principality amongst residents on Wednesday. The total number of residents affected by Covid-19 in Monaco stands at 412. Thirteen people are currently in hospital and 103 people are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Mayor of Nice plans a stricter lockdown if situation doesn’t improve – In response to the latest figures the Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has called for stricter measures concerning the current lockdown. Estrosi said that this is essential for the "proper functioning and survival of our health system". The mayor said that we are in what he called a "semi-lockdown", with people continuing to walk in public spaces where he said the virus is circulating. The mayor said that if within eight days the incidence and occupancy rates of intensive care beds do not come down, he recommends a stricter lockdown in order to "give the economic recovery a chance" in December and for the holiday season.

Didier Raoult files an appeal - Professor Didier Raoult has filed an appeal before the Council of State to challenge the decision of the Medicines Agency to not widely authorise the prescription of hydroxychloroquine against Covid-19. On October 23rd, the Medicines Agency (ANSM) refused to issue a “temporary recommendation for use (RTU)” which would have allowed a more extensive distribution of the drug of which the effectiveness against the coronavirus is still disputed. Hydroxychloroquine is marketed in France by the Sanofi laboratory under the name Plaquenil it is also used for other diseases such as rheumatism or lupus. In a video post on Wednesday Raoult, the head of the University hospital of Marseille said that he had decided to attack the director of the ANSM because he is “playing a game that is dangerous for the health of the French,". The temporary recommendation for use (RTU) would give access to reimbursement and the use of the medication on a case-by-case basis.

Italy - The Italian government has announced a curfew which will be in operation from 10pm to 5am as from this evening. Other measures include the closure of shopping centres at weekends and holidays and the closure of museums. Public transport will be limited to 50% of capacity and high schools will have to use remote learning. The measures are in force until the 3rd December.

Finance Minister criticises major real estate companies - France minister of the economy Bruno Le Maire has criticised the major real estate companies in France which are refusing to grant rent reductions to their professional tenants during the lockdown. Speaking at the National Assembly on Wednesday Le Marie said he was planning to meet with them and make them take on their responsibilities and to act in solidarity in the face of the current health crisis.

Meanwhile faced with the second wave of Covid-19 in France and a return to lockdown the government has presented a new revised draft budget for 2020 to the Council of Ministers on Wednesday in order to release an additional 20 billion euros to support the economy. This is the fourth since the start of the health crisis. The gross domestic product (GDP) should therefore finally contract by 11% this year, against 10% according to the previous forecast in September.

Small businesses - And as the French government calls "support for small businesses" during the period of the pandemic, France’s Secretary of State for Digital Cédric O has questioned the criticisms against Amazon. Speaking at the National Assembly Cédric O said that the priority is not to fight against the American e-commerce giant but to "digitalise small businesses".

Burger King - The Burger King fast food chain is calling on the French to help all restaurants, including its competitors McDonald's. The message of solidarity, relayed on social networks, contrasts with the mockery of Burger King against McDonald's, in particular on the size of the Big Mac. A spokesperson for the fast food giant said “we wanted to put our brand at the service of the entire sector, because in the end, everyone is going through complicated times and fighting to save jobs”.

Business

Closer than expected results in the US Presidential election have given investors confidence that the chance of major changes for big business have been reduced. Stock markets around the world rallied on Wednesday despite the outcome of the race for the White House still uncertain with Wall Street recording its largest post-election gains in decades. The tight race for control of the US senate has raised the hopes of big tech and health firms that they’ll be less likely to face new regulation with shares in Facebook rising by 8 percent and several major health insurance companies seeing double-digit jumps. Analysts say that the thinking is, whoever enters the White House, it will be a divided government with less probability of sweeping legislative changes. Predictions of an early landslide for Joe Biden have failed to materialise and while he’s well ahead in the popular vote and looks likely to win the electoral college pending legal challenges from the Trump campaign, the Republicans have made ground in Senate and House contests.

Marks and Spencer has made its first loss in 94 years as the coronavirus pandemic hit retail sales. M&S made a loss of 87.6 million pounds in the 6 months to September compared with profits of 158.8 million for the same period in 2019. Clothing sales were particularly hard hit with sales at the firm’s city centre stores down by 53 percent. The firm did report strong growth at its Ocado Retail joint venture with a 47.9 percent jump in sales and profitability also improving. Grocery sales were also up by 2.7 percent on the back of growth at the firm’s Simply-Food stores.

Oil prices have risen by 4 percent after data showed a large decline in US crude inventories. Markets also reacted on Wednesday after President Trump falsely claimed victory in the election. A victory by Mr Trump is seen as bullish for the oil industry because of sanctions on Iran and his support for Saudi-led production cuts to support prices. A win for Joe Biden would be seen as bearish to neutral because of his support for green energy policies and a softer stance on Iran.

Sport

Football - Pressure is growing on the Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after his side were beaten 2-1 at Istanbul in the European Champions League. The United defence was at sixes and sevens for the Turkish side’s opening goal and there were glaring errors for the second goal on 40 minutes which proved to be the winner. The former United star Paul Scholes described the performance as ‘under 10’s football’. In the other group H match RB Leipzig beat PSG 2-1. In Group E Chelsea were 3-0 winners over Rennes of France.

There are more Europa League games tonight with Spurs away at Ludogorets Razgrad in Group J. Arsenal are at home to Molde in Group B. Leicester host Sporting Braga in Group G. Nice visit Slavia Prague in Group C. Rangers are away at Benfica in Group D and Celtic host Sparta Prague in Group H.

In the English Championship last night Reading lost 3-0 at home to Preston. Watford beat Stoke 3-2. Wycome were 2-1 winners at Birmingham. Derby lost 1-0 at home to QPR. Nottingham Forest beat Coventry 2-1 and Luton were 1-0 winners at Rotherham.

Rugby Union - Finn Russell and Adam Hastings have both been ruled out of Scotland’s Autumn Nations Cup campaign. Russell limped off during Scotland’s 6 Nations game against Wales while Hastings picked up a shoulder injury. Russell could recover in time for the 6 Nations but Hastings could be out for several months. Scotland play Italy, France and Fiji this month.

Tennis - Rafael Nadal has won his 1,000th ATP match with victory over Feliciano Lopez at the Paris Masters. The feat comes after Nadal won his 20th Grand Slam title last month but he still has a way to go if he wants to break the all-time record for ATP wins with Jimmy Connors out in front with 1,274 victories on the tour.

Cycling - Tim Wellens of Belgium has won stage 14 of the Vuelta e Espana, his second victory in this year’s race. Wellens pipped Michael Woods to the line at the end of the 204.7 kilometer ride to Ourense. Primo Roglic retains the overall race lead with a 39 second advantage over Richard Carapaz.

Weather

Clear skies with light variable winds. Top temperatures 19-20 degrees. Overnight lows of 12 degrees with clear skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend - Fine tomorrow with a high of 19. Cloudy with rain on Saturday with a high of 18.

And finally

Researchers from France found that listening to the music you love can indeed give you chills — and sends your brain into 'pleasure overload'. The team found areas of the brain responsible for emotion, movement and sound processing together creates a rush of the pleasure hormone dopamine. The reason people get so much pleasure from music is likely because our brains are anticipating what comes next in the song, According to experts, around half of people get 'chills' when listening to music. 

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