French and Riviera News Wednesday 4th November 2020

News 

Minister of Health accuses MPs of “not taking the health crisis seriously” - France’s Minister of Health Olivier Véran has expressed his anger to MPs in parliament on Tuesday after the state of the “health emergency” in France was extended until December the 14th due to not enough LREM MPs being present during the debate.

The vote was taken against government advice which wanted an extension until mid-February. A defence council meeting is to be held this morning which could see this decision reversed by the Head of State.

Speaking to the National Assembly Olivier Veran, said that “ a majority of MPs are not taking the “currently health crisis seriously” before he added that following visits to hospitals on Tuesday he had “seen a young 28 year old man in a coma with nurses trying desperately to keep him alive and a second overweight 35 year old man was also in a critical condition”.

The minister concluded that while MPs were “debating in parliament nurses and doctors were fighting and saving lives on the frontline”.

There was further tension in the French parliament on Tuesday as Prime Minister Jean Castex raised his voice and expressed anger that some elected officials called on mayors to “violate the rules of the Republic” by accepting orders to reopen small businesses which had been told to close during lockdown.

During the session at the National Assembly Castex said that  "When the Republic is faced with the most serious health crisis it has suffered in decades, we do not call on the mayors, servants of the Republic, to violate the laws of the Republic. It’s just not possible".

And there was further confusion on Tuesday after government spokesperson Gabriel Attal declared on French television that Paris was to be put under curfew. The announcement was immediately denied by Matignon with the Elysee confirming that this measure had not “at all been decided at this stage” and had only been “suggested by the prefect of the police”. Concluding that a decision will be made in the next few days.  

Former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin has called for “national union” - Meanwhile former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin has called for “national union”. Raffarin has criticized in particular the mayors who signed decrees authorizing the opening of small shops, saying that “of course he defends small businesses. But what we need is discipline all the same. By no longer respecting the rules, we no longer make a Nation”. He concluded that "the situation is too serious. In war, we must not attack the combatants, the Head of State” adding “I don't know if another government would be able to do any better and today, we have to be united.

Covid-19 – The latest figures published have seen a further 426 die from Covid-19 in France in the last 24 hours. 3,878 patients with Covid-19 are currently in intensive care, with 148 more beds are occupied than the day before. The total number of people hospitalized stands at 26,265, more than a thousand more than on Monday (25,143).

In Monaco 22 new cases were recorded on Tuesday bringing the total number of residents affected by Covid-19 to 397. Thirteen are currently in hospital, 293 people have recovered since the beginning of the epidemic and 89 residents are being cared for by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Estate agents unable to carry out visits during lockdown - The National Federation of Real Estate in France has expressed its dissatisfaction and incomprehension after new lockdown measures will mean that they are “unable to carry out visits to properties for sale or rentals”.

While agencies can still remain open potential clients are unable to travel to attend visits. Since May 11th special health measures were in place to allow visits to go ahead. The president of Century 21 Laurent Vimont is reportedly currently in talks with the government.

The government decision will not only halt real estate transactions significantly, but will also have a knock on effect on notaries and banks

Maritime prefect ban - The maritime prefect has issued a decree banning all pleasure boating and cruise ship stopovers. Due to the national lockdown currently in place in France nautical leisure activities are forbidden in the Mediterranean. An exemption applies only to fishermen and transport workers.

Students block entrance to high school - Students from the Val d´Argens high school in the Muy, in the Var have protested in front of the school gates against the lack of appropriate health measures. Tuesday saw students block the access to the establishment

Meanwhile Paris also saw students and staff demonstrate on Tuesday denouncing class sizes and canteen conditions in their establishments, which they said have barely been altered despite growing Covid-19 infections and the new lockdown. One exchange at a high school in northeast Paris saw police spraying tear gas on a group of students outside the school. 

Illegal party - An investigation has been opened after a party which took place in a private property in Draguignan in the Var saw several hundred people gather despite France being under lockdown.

Around 500 people including two famous rappers and football players are thought to have attended the private party with partygoers paying 50 euros a ticket.

The investigation is to determine who was behind the organization of the event.

Re-opening public parks - Public parks, gardens and play areas in the City of Nice re-opened on Tuesday. Access will be privileged for seniors on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. However, Parc Phoenix will remain closed until further notice under national measures as the facility is considered an Establishment Receiving the Public.

Missing person – Police have appealed following the worrying disappearance of a hiker in the Sospel area. 48-year-old Anne-Laure Apicella from Vallauris has not been seen since October 20th after leaving for a hike in the Alpes Maritimes.  

Described as having green eyes and shoulder-length brown she was last seen carrying a black "EastPak" backpack and wearing brown shoes, a brown trekking jacket and pink sweater. Anyone with any information is invited to contact police in Sospel on 04 93 04 02 67.

Digital workshops - The Monaco government is holding a series of digital workshops for businesses in the Principality aimed at providing practical advice on digital technology. The next workshop is this Thursday 5 November. Businesses need to register by today, 4 November. You can get more details on the Monaco government Facebook page.

Investigation - An investigation into the death of a pregnant woman who died while walking in woods in northern France during a deer hunt has shown that she was killed by her partner’s dog and not the hunting hounds.

29-year-old Elisa Pilarski died while out walking her partner’s American Staffordshire terrier in Retz forest, north-east of Paris, in November 2019.

The case sparked huge interest in France and became a cause latched on to by pro- and anti-hunting associations.

A postmortem showed Pilarski died of bleeding after several dog bites to the upper and lower limbs and the head.

Business

The outcome of the US Presidential election is too close to call with the midwestern states of Pennsylvania ,Michigan and Wisconsin possibly deciding who will be the next occupant of the White House.

With President Trump winning states traditionally supporting the Republican Party and Joe Biden picking up strong Democrat states including California , the magic number of 270 electoral college votes is still some way off and legal challenges could ultimately decide the outcome.

Arizona looks like it will go to Joe Biden which comes as a major boost to the Democrats but Donald Trump looks set to take Florida and Texas which makes the race incredibly tight.

US stock futures rose on news that Donald Trump was ahead in Florida with investors hoping for a quick outcome that clears the way for fresh economic stimulus to help the coronavirus stricken economy.

All the signs are though that the election result will not be decided today with the midwestern states saying that they won’t be in a position to announce winners immediately.

The United States is on course to record the highest voter turnout in more than a century.

More than 101 million people voted early according to the United States Election Project which is the equivalent of 73 percent of the total votes cast in 2016. The predicted total turnout could be as high as 67 percent.

In other business news.

The world’s biggest stock market debut has been delayed by Chinese authorities.

The Ant Group which is backed by billionaire Jack Ma was set to sell shares worth some 34.4 billion dollars on the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock markets but Chinese authorities have cited “major issues” as the reason behind the 11th hour suspension.

The Ant Group operates Alipay which is the main online payments system in China which has eclipsed cards ,cheques and cash.

Mr Ma’s Alibaba firm which owns a third of Ant saw its shares plunge by 9.6 percent on the Hong Kong stock market this morning.

And-Shoppers in England have been rushing to the stores to purchase Christmas items before the country moves into a new lockdown tomorrow.

Stores including John Lewis ,Currys PC World and the toy chain the Entertainer extended opening hours on Tuesday to meet demand.

Hair salons also opened later as all non-essential retailers prepared for a month of closure.

There was good news for drinkers with the government backing down and saying that pubs would be allowed to sell takeaway beer during the lockdown.

Queues formed outside several stores on Tuesday including Primark as shoppers rushed to buy items before the lockdown comes into force.

Sport

Football-There were no problems for the English teams playing in the European Champions League last night.

Manchester City beat Olympiakos 3-0 in group C where Marseilles were beaten 3-0 at Porto.

In Group D Liverpool thrashed Atalanta 5-0 away with the other group game ending FC Midtylland 1- Ajax 2.

There are 8 more games tonight including Chelsea against Rennes in Group E and Istanbul against Manchester United in Group H.

Paris St Germain are away at RB Leipzig also in Group H.

In the English Championship last night Brentford and Swansea drew 1-1.Bristol City were 2-1 winners at Huddersfield.Norwich and Millwall drew 0-0.Sheffield Wednesday beat Bournemouth 1-0.Blackburn and Middlesbrough drew 0-0 and Cardiff beat Barnsley 3-0.

Cricket-Ben Stokes has been named in England’s T20 squad for the tour of South Africa.

Stokes missed the second half of the international summer to be with his father who’s suffering with brain cancer.

The former Australia all rounder Shane Watson has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.

Watson who’s 39 retired from international cricket in 2016 but has continued to play in various T20 leagues.

He played 59 tests for Australia ,190 one day internationals and 58 T20 matches  and made 6 centuries in Test match cricket and took 216 wickets.

Cycling-Primoz Roglic put in a stunning time in the individual time trial in the Vuelta e Espana as he took over the overall lead.

Roglic now holds a 39 second advantage over Richard Carapaz in the overall standings with  Hugh Carthy of Great Britain in overall third ,47 seconds off the pace.

Weather

Mainly cloudy with some some showers around lunchtime and some bright spells.

Light to moderate easterly winds and a high of 19 degrees.

Overnight lows of 14 degrees with partially cloudy skies.

Thursday and Friday-Clear skies  with highs of 19-20 degrees.

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