French and Riviera News Thursday October 22nd 2020

Terrorist charges-A number of people have been charged with terrorist offences in connection with the barbaric murder of school teacher Samuel Paty near Paris last Friday.

Mr Paty was decapitated by a radicalised Chechen Refugee after he’d shown cartoons of the prophet Muhammad to his students as part of a freedom of expression class.

Two of those charged are students from the school who prosecutors say were paid 300 euros each by Mr Paty’s killer Abdullakh Anzarov to identify him.

Two of the killer’s friends who are said to have driven him to the scene of the murder have also been charged.

A parent of one of the students has also been charged along with a suspected leading Islamist militant.

Nine other people who’d been detained in the wake of the murder have been released without charge.

 

Commemoration- Rallies in remembrance of Mr Paty have once again been taking place all over France and in particular in the streets of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine where the teacher was murdered.

A special ceremony honouring the dead teacher has also taken place at the Sorbonne University in Paris in the presence of President Macron and other high ranking French officials.

Mr Paty has been awarded a posthumous Legion d’Honneur.

 

Philippe questioned- The former French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has appeared before a parliamentary commission of enquiry looking at the country’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Philippe is one of four former French ministers who are being investigated as part of the enquiry.

The Health Minister Olivier Veran and his predecessor Agnes Buzyn are also being probed.

Last week ,the homes of both Mr Philippe and Mr Veran were searched by French police.

The enquiry into the coronavirus crisis was opened by the French Court of Justice of the Republic following scores of complaints that authorities failed to act fast enough.

The Paris prosecutors office has opened a separate investigation into accusations of manslaughter and endangering the lives of others.

Nearly 34,000 people have died from coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

 

Curfew extensions- The government is set to announce an extended list of cities and towns that will be subject to curfew restrictions in response to the spiraling second wave of Covid-19.

A government spokesman says that the French Prime Minister Jean Castex decided that new measures were required at Wednesday’s cabinet meeting.

Several departments are set to be placed in the maximum alert red zone with a curfew coming into force from 9pm until 6am in line with other areas of the country such as Paris which had restrictions imposed last Saturday.

The Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has warned that the Alpes-Maritimes could be on the expanded list after revealing the ICU hospital beds in the department are reaching saturation point.

Mr Castex will hold a press conference at 5pm this afternoon to outline the new measures.

 

Airport tests- New rapid coronavirus tests are to be introduced at Nice Côte d’Azur Airport before the end of the month.

Testing will be mandatory for passengers flying to the United States or Italy and also for people arriving from high risk destinations.

The antigenic tests deliver results in around 15 minutes but there’s some debate around their accuracy.

 

Storm Alex -Nearly three weeks after Storm Alex swept through the region causing hundreds of millions of euros of damage ,local residents are still facing travel restrictions and a shortage of mains drinking water.

A huge relief effort has been organized by  the state ,local authorities ,charities and private groups including 188 tonnes of bottled water as well as water trucks and mobile waste treatment plants.

Electricity  has been restored in all the affected areas.

Some villages are still without mains water or facing restrictions and although all major roads in the Tinee and Vesubie valleys have been reopened ,authorities have advised motorists to be extremely cautious as some surfaces may still be unstable.

A number of diversions are still in force and it’s expected to be months before the road network in the affected areas is restored to anything like normal.

The access to Saint Martin Vesubie is still described as difficult with engineers working around the clock to restore the main road to the village.

People who don’t live in the areas affected are requested not to make leisure trips t9 allow authorities to continue with repairs with minimum disruption.

 

Business.

 

The maker of OxyContin painkillers has reached an 8.3billion dollar  settlement and agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges to resolve a probe of its role in fuelling America's opioid crisis.

Purdue Pharma will admit to enabling the supply of drugs "without legitimate medical purpose".

The deal with US Department of Justice resolves some of the most serious claims against the firm.

But it still faces thousands of cases brought by states and families.

Purdue called the deal an "essential" step to wider resolution of the matter.

The settlement with the DoJ must receive court approval to go forward.

The judge overseeing the bankruptcy case will be weighing how it will affect negotiations with other states and cities that have filed lawsuits against Purdue, many of which have already objected to the terms.

 

Tesla has recorded a fifth quarter in a row of profit, as sales of its electric cars accelerated to a new record despite the pandemic.

The firm said it made 8.7 billion dollars in revenue in the three months to September, as deliveries rose 54%.

The firm said it still hoped to meet its goal of delivering more than 500,000 vehicles this year but warned this had "become more difficult".

Analysts also warned the firm faced mounting competition.

So far, Tesla has delivered fewer than 320,00 cars to customers this year - but nearly half of those - 139,593 - came in the three months ended 30 September.

That was up 54% from the prior quarter and 44% year-on-year.

This helped lift the carmaker to a quarterly profit of 311million dollars - more than double what it made during the same period last year.

 

And-PayPal has entered the cryptocurrency market, announcing that its customers will be able to buy and sell Bitcoin and other virtual currencies using their PayPal accounts.

Those virtual coins could then be used to buy things from the 26 million sellers which accept PayPal, it said.

PayPal plans to roll out buying options in the US over the next few weeks, with the full rollout due early next year.

Bitcoin prices rose alongside the news, breaking the 12,000 dollar  mark.

The other cryptocurrencies to be added first will be Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash.

The company said that all could be stored "directly within the PayPal digital wallet".

 

Sport.

 

Football-In the European Champions League last night Liverpool were 1-0 away winners at Ajax in Group D while Manchester City beat Porto 3-1 in Group C.

The shock of the night came in Group B where Spanish giants Real Madrid lost 3-2 at home to Shakhtar Donetsk.

 

There are a stack of ties in the Europa League tonight with Spurs at home to LASK in Group J .Arsenal visit Rapid Vienna in Group B .Nice travel to Bayer Leverkusen in Group C. Rangers visit Standard Liege in Group D .Celtic are at home to AC Milan in Group H and Leicester host Zorya Luhansk in Group G.

 

In the English Championship last night Cardiff and Bournemouth drew 1-1.QPR lost 2-0 at home to Preston.Brentford were 2-1 winners at Sheffield Wednesday. Stoke and Barnsley drew 2-2 and Watford beat Blackburn 3-1.

 

Cricket-England will tour South Africa in November for a T20 and one day series.

The South Africa Cricket board has given the green light for the tour and all games will be played behind closed doors.

 

Rugby Union-Fly half George Ford will miss England’s match against the Barbarians on Sunday with a recurring Achilles tendon injury.

Owen Farrell or Piers Francis will play at number 10 with Kyle Sinckler and Ben Earl coming into the squad.

England’s non-Test match against the Barbarians will be followed by the completion of their 6 Nations campaign against Italy on October the 31st.

The side will then play four Tests against Georgia ,Ireland ,Wales and a yet-to-be confirmed opponent on successive weekends from the 14th of November as part of the Autumn Nations Cup.

 

Golf-Former world number one Adam Scott has pulled out of this weekend’s Zozo Championship in California after testing positive for coronavirus.

The 40 year old says that his focus is now on recovery and he hopes to be back in action soon.

 

Cycling-Ben O’Connor has won stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia with Joao Almeida of Portugal retaining the overall lead.

O’Connor broke away from a lead group of 14 riders on the final ascent of the day to win by 31 seconds on top of Madonna di Campiglio.

Almeida holds a 17 second lead over Wilco Kelderman of the Netherlands.

 

Meanwhile-Chris Froome lost more time on the leaders on day 2 of the Vuelta e Espana as he continues to struggle with his fitness.

Froome fell back from the Peleton with 41 kilometers to go on the hilly stage between Pamplona and Lukenberri.

He’s now almost 30 minutes off the lead which is held by Primoz Roglic.

Marc Soler of Spain won the second stage.

 

Weather.

 

Partially cloudy with occasional showers and  moderate to strong south easterly winds.

Top temperatures 21 degrees.

Overnight lows of 17 degrees with rain spreading across the region.

Friday and the start of the weekend.Rain tomorrow morning,clearing during the afternoon.Mainly fine on Saturday . Highs of 19-20 degrees.

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