French and Riviera News.Thursday July 30th 2020

Covid-19 Monaco-Monaco authorities have reported two new cases of coronavirus but only one person is currently receiving hospital treatment in the Principality.

120 people in Monaco have been infected with Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic and 105 patients have since recovered.

The two new cases ,both Monaco residents have been told to self-isolate and are being treated at home.

 

Monaco rocks- Authorities in Monaco are being forced to carry out emergency work to shore up the rock face that is at risk of falling onto the boulevard de Belgique from the Jardin Exotique.

A huge slab of rock weighing 4 tonnes has become unstable and must be securely fixed back by specialist workmen to remove the risk.

Work will start this Friday at 730am and continue until Monday the 3rd of August and the boulevard de Belgique will be  closed in both directions at the junction with the hospital tunnel.

Diversions will be in force via the Avenue Pasteur.

Pedestrians will still be able to access the Princess Grace Hospital using the Revoires lifts and then taking the hospital elevator from the boulevard du Jardin Exotique.

A second phase of work will see alternate line traffic with temporary lights on the road between 730 and 1930 from Monday the 3rd of August until Saturday the 8th.

 

Road deaths-Authorities in the Var say that 10 people have been killed in road accidents so far this month ,the highest level since July 2010.

Police say that most of the  fatal accidents were the result of people driving too fast and could have been avoided.

14,000 speeding offences have been registered in the department over the past 12 months keeping the 8 mobile police cameras busy costing offenders fines of varying amounts.

 

All that glitters-Gold traders in France are reporting a 250 percent increase in business with the precious metal hovering at near record highs.

Reports say that many people are selling ingots ,coins and family jewellery to take advantage of the high prices and provide them with much needed cash in the current tough economic environment.

The upward trend in gold transactions started in June 2019 but business has been booming since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and particularly in the past week as the price of an ounce of the precious metal nears 2,000 dollars.

One tip from gold traders is to make sure that items for sale are clean and shiny as the price can be affected for dirty or tarnished metal.

 

The pits-The former Formula 1 driver Adrian Sutil is under police investigation after writing off his rare McLaren Senna LM on the Moyenne Corniche at Eze last Saturday injuring three people in the process.

Reports say that that Sutil lost control of the supercar on a bend on the Avenue des Diables Bleus ,before hitting a police car and ending up wrapped around a post.

The three people injured are recovering in hospital including a police officer who suffered neck and head injuries.

The former Force India driver suffered a fractured ankle.

A police spokesman says that Sutil was driving too fast.

The car ,one of only 20 made is a complete write off.

 

Cannabis seized-Police have seized an important amount of herbal cannabis at an address in Trans en Provence and made three arrests.

The Draguignan prosecutor’s office says that 264 cannabis plants were seized ,measuring between 1 meter and 1 meter 50 each.Equipment for growing the plants was also discovered.The drugs were ready to be harvested and would have had a street value of tens of thousands of euros.There was also evidence of a previous harvest.

The three arrested are being held in custody and have been charged with possession of drugs with intent to supply.

The government’s new policy of issuing  fixed  fines for drug possession which is due to come into force in the autumn would not apply in such a case.

 

Meanwhile- Customs officers have seized 44.6 kilos of cannabis resin which was found  concealed inside a Belgian registered truck on the A8 motorway near Frejus.

The drugs were found during a routine customs check on Wednesday morning.

The driver , a Dutch national says that he was en route from Spain to Milan.He’s been handed over to police for further questioning.

 

In National News.

 

Covid-19 -The French Health Minister Olivier Véran says that the public must respect social distancing guidelines in order to stop  France going into a second lockdown.

Mr Véran says that the country is facing a “long battle” in the fight to stamp out coronavirus with the death toll since the start of the pandemic reaching 30,238 and 15 new deaths reported in the past 24 hours.

The Health Minister reiterated that France is not facing a second wave of the virus but was critical of those who he says “choose not to respect the rules”.

He said that the government does not want to resort to a second national lockdown and that the situation is being examined on a “case by case basis”.

The Minister said that particular attention is being focused on the popular Brittany holiday resort of Quiberon which has seen infections rise from zero two weeks ago to 72 on Wednesday.The vast majority of those infected in the town are aged between 18 and 25 and authorities have ordered beaches and public gardens to be shut at night to prevent large groups congregating.

 

Non ,non non ! The new French Minister for Europe has said that the country will not accept a Brexit deal at “any price”.

Clement Beaune says that France will insist on maintaining EU standards as well as protecting its fishing industry.

Speaking on French radio on Wednesday ,Mr Beaune said that a Brexit deal is still possible and would be welcome and that France wanted to see progress to preserve its trading relationship with the UK.

However ,he stressed that it would be “better to have no deal than a bad deal” ( heard that before ?) and that France would be uncompromising in the protection of its economy and interests.

The 38 year old Minister is experienced in European affairs and was previously an aide to President Macron.

 

Business.

 

The US central bank has repeated its vow to protect the US economy amid rising coronavirus rates and worries about growth.

The Federal Reserve kept interest rates on hold at near zero on Wednesday, saying it would keep them there for as long as necessary.

A Fed statement said there were signs of an economic pick up recently.

But it warned that the long term path of the economy was bound up with the path of the virus.

All members of the Fed's policy-setting committee voted to leave the target range for short-term interest rates at between 0% and 0.25%, where it has been since 15 March when Covid-19 was starting to take hold in the country.

 

A report by Reuters says that small businesses in the United States are facing mass closures unless they get more financial aid urgently.

Businesses across America are having problems paying rent and staff and most have eaten through money they received from the 600 billion dollar Paycheck Protection Program.

A report issued earlier this week by the US National Federation of Independent Business found that 23 percent of survey respondents said that they would go to the wall within 6 months unless economic conditions change.

Defaults are up sharply and are soon expected to exceed the level seen during the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

Many small business owners who have been offered loans are also questioning the wisdom of taking on more debt if they aren’t going to survive anyway.

 

And-Losses at the UK luxury carmaker Aston Martin surged to 227 million pounds in the first half of the year as dealerships were closed during lockdown.

The firm has also been forced to restate its income declarations over two years after an accounting error that led it to over-report profitability in 2018 and 2019.

Aston Martin has had a very tough 12 months after heavy spending on a new factory for its DBX SUV followed by the coronavirus pandemic pushed it close to bankruptcy.

The company’s main plant in Warwickshire is only due to resume manufacturing next month which is later than planned.

The billionaire fashion mogul Lawrence Stroll who also owns the Racing Point Formula 1 team ,led a consortium that took control of Aston Martin in January.

His focus is on profitability and chief executive Andy Palmer was sacked and replaced with Tobias Moers ,the former performance division boss at Mercedes-Benz.

 

Sport.

 

Football-Brentford are through to the English Championship playoff final after coming from a goal down in the semi final first leg against Swansea to win the tie 3-2 on aggregate.

The West London club who are bidding to join the top flight of English football for the first time in 73 years played their final game at Griffin Park last night before moving to a new stadium.

Brentford will play the winners of tonight’s second semi final between Fulham and Cardiff with Fulham leading 2-0 from the first leg.

 

 

Cricket-England play Ireland in the first one day international in Southampton today.

The 3 match series is the longest bilateral series that the two sides have ever played  and today’s match is the first one day international that England have played on home soil since they lifted the World Cup against New Zealand 382 days ago.

Play starts at 3pm French time.

 

Rugby Union-4 English Premiership players have tested positive for coronavirus.

It’s not known which clubs are affected but around 850 tests were carried out around the country on Monday at all 12 clubs.

The Premiership is due to resume on August the 14th after a 5 month break.

 

Golf-The US Open will go ahead behind closed doors in September.

The major was moved from its original June slot and qualifying events were cancelled.

Last month the US PGA confirmed that no fans will be present at the tournament in San Francisco which starts next week.

 

Weather.

 

Mainly fine with light southerly winds.

Top temperatures 28-30 degrees on the coast and up to 35 degrees inland in the Var.

Overnight lows of 24 degrees on the coast and 21 degrees inland with clear skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend.Fine and hot with highs of 30-38 degrees tomorrow an 29-36 degrees on Saturday.

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