French and Riviera News Tuesday 1st September 2020

Local

Fire - Eight people have been evacuated after a fire broke out on the second floor of an apartment block in Fréjus. Twenty-two firefighters were at the scene shortly after 2pm on Monday. A 56-year-old man was taken to hospital. Police have opened an investigation to determine the cause of the blaze.

Covid-19 – Seven new cases of Covid-19 have been declared in the Principality on Monday. The total of residents to date affected by the coronavirus in Monaco stands at 138.

In total 4 patients are currently hospitalized including two residents in intensive care. 42 people are being followed by the home monitoring centre.

New Minister of State in Monaco - Meanwhile from today Tuesday 1st September, the Principality welcomes its new Minister of State Pierre Dartout. The former prefect officially becomes minister of state today. Dartout is the 25th man to hold this position since the function was created in 1911.

Chosen last May by His Serene Highness Prince Albert II to be the head of his government Pierre Dartout, succeeds Serge Telle, who has occupied the post for four and a half years.

Authorities increase health measure amongst civil servants in Nice - During a press conference on Monday authorities in Nice have announced that several cases of Covid-19 have been detected amongst civil servants in the city.

With eight positive cases declared after testing, authorities are stepping up the health protocol amongst police officers, employees of the Prefecture and the tax office.

Vaucluse - The prefect of the Vaucluse has extended the area in which wearing a mask is compulsory to limit the spread of Covid-19. The new measure will come into effect from today, Tuesday September 1st.

The region which is classified as a “red zone” has also made it compulsory to wear a mask for any public gathering of more than 10 people.

1st of September - As with the 1st of every month in France certain changes will be introduced from today September 1st, such as an increase of 0.6% in gas prices, partial unemployment is restricted, masks are made compulsory in confined spaces and there will be a flat-rate fine of 200 euros for drug use.

Mayor of Nice calls for support of President Emmanuel Macron - The mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has expressed his wish for the Republican party to support French President Emmanuel Macron in the 2022 presidential elections.

In an interview with French media on Monday Estrosi called for an agreement to be made whereby Emmanuel Macron is the Republicans common presidential candidate. The mayor of Nice went on to add that “there would of course be certain conditions for the basis of a project between the Republique en Marche and the Republicans”, such as the commitment on “security” and “health”.

National

Back to school - French students return to school today for the start of the school year, which according to the Minister of Education will be "as normal as possible" despite health measures due to the Covid-19.

Some 12.4 million students return to class today and all students must be present as the minister reminded parents that "School is compulsory”. Jean-Michel Blanquer wants to reassure parents, adding that the health protocol in France is "one of the strictest in Europe”.

Covid-19 testing in the capital - Paris city officials have rolled out new testing labs announcing on Monday that it would soon be possible to get tested for Covid-19 for free in all 20 districts of the French capital.

The city, in partnership with regional and national health services, said it would “propose sites of free testing in every district, available to anyone, including those without social security”. 

The city website indicates addresses in each of the districts, where free testing is available. 

Terrorist threat remains - During a visit to the headquarters of the Directorate General of Internal Security, France’s Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, announced on Monday that the terrorist threat "remains extremely high in France".

More than 8,000 people are to date registered in the file of reports for the prevention of radicalization of a terrorist nature.

Business

Shares in the videoconferencing app Zoom have soared after the firm reported a doubling in second quarter profit due to the coronavirus crisis.

Revenues skyrocketed by 355 percent to 663.5 million dollars for the three months to the end of July -beating analysts forecasts of 500 million.

Profits rose to 186 million dollars while customer growth was up by 458 percent.

Zoom shares hit a record high on the news closing at 325 dollars 10 with the firm raising its annual revenue forecast by more than 30 percent.

The company said that large customers-firms that generated more than 100,000 dollars in revenue in the past year doubled to 988 during the quarter.

However ,Zoom has been facing some criticism with hackers hijacking meetings and exposing a number of new security flaws.

The firm has also been singled out for its ties to China where it employs 700 people ,raising concerns that it’s not suitable for use by Western governments.

 

The UK high street retailer Marks and Spencer is making its entire food range available online from today after buying a 50 percent stake in Ocado.

The acquisition gives Marks and Spencer an internet-based delivery service for the first time and comes at a critical time for the retailer which has recently announced plans to make 7,000 job cuts.

Online shoppers will now be able to choose from 6,000 Marks and Spencer food products alongside Ocado own label goods and big-name branded items.

Marks and Spencer currently employs some 78,000 people ,mostly in the UK.

The bulk of the latest job cuts will come among shop-floor workers with 12 percent of customer assistant roles going.

 

And-Asian factories have continued to recover from Covid-19 induced gloom as China raised hopes of a brighter recovery in global demand.

Manufacturing activity in China grew at its fastest rate in nearly a decade in August as factories increased output to cope with rising demand.

New export orders have risen for the first time this year due in main to pent up demand after lockdown measures were lifted.

However ,with cases of coronavirus rising again in some major economies ,factories are still running at well-below pre-pandemic levels with many analysts expecting the global recovery to be feeble as renewed waves of infections dent business activity.

 

Sport

Cycling-Caleb Ewan won stage 3 of the Tour de France on Monday as the riders left the Cote d’Azur.

The Australian won in a sprint finish from the Allianz Riviera to Sisteron on the second longest stage in this year’s Tour.

Julian Alaphilipe of France retains the leader’s Yellow Jersey heading into stage 4 today which is 160.5 kilometers between Sisteron and Orcieres-Merlette.

Tennis-The US Open is underway behind closed doors at Flushing Meadows with some of the world’s top players staying away because of fears over Covid-19.

In the men’s event ,Novak Djokovic is through to round 2 as he seeks an 18th Grand Slam title.

The world number one disposed of Damir Dzumhar in straight sets and is seeking to capitalise on the absence of fellow greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

In the women’s event Coco Gauffe is out.The American teenager who was such a big hit at Wimbledon in 2019 lost in three sets to Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia.

Football-The Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish has been called into the senior England squad for the first time for the Nations League fixtures against Iceland and Denmark.

Grealish ,who’s 24 has previously represented England at under 21 level and was a member of Gareth Southgate’s 2016 tournament winning squad in Toulon.

Marcus Rashford and Harry Winks have both pulled out through injury.

Cricket-England play Pakistan in the second T20 international at Old Trafford later today.

Play in Manchester starts at 7pm French time.

England won the first match on Sunday.

Meanwhile ,the England Test captain Joe Root has been left out of the T20 squad to face Australia.

Root makes the one day squad while Ben Stokes is missing from both squads owing to family illness.

Weather 

Mainly fine in coastal areas ,some showers inland with light south easterly winds.

Top temperature 26 degrees.

Overnight lows of 19 degrees on the coast and 16 degrees inland with clear skies.

Wednesday and Thursday-Mainly fine with highs of 24-25 degrees.

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