Cyclist killed in road accident - A cyclist has been killed in a road accident. The accident occurred at around 4pm on Wednesday on the M336 heading towards Cagnes-sur-Mer - Saint-Paul-de-Vence. The 57-year-old man was hit by a car on a bend. An investigation is currently underway to determine the exact circumstances of the tragic accident.
Security stepped up in Christian places of worship - Two months after the attack on the Notre Dame Church of Nice, Christian places of worship will receive special security over Christmas and New Year. With the “Vigipirate” or “Emergency attack alert” at its highest level in France, since the terrorist attack which left 3 dead in Nice, France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced on Wednesday that a police presence would be reinforced.
Nursing home in Vence pays a high price as Covid claims 13 lives - A nursing home in Vence has reported that 13 residents who tested positive for Covid-19 have died. For the last three weeks the home has been facing the second wave of Covid with a total of 74 positive cases being detected out of the 110 residents, as well as 45 members of staff.
Monaco - Four catering establishments in Monaco have been ordered to close for between 4 and 7 days from today because of repeated breaches of coronavirus measures. Monaco authorities carried out checks on various catering establishments in the Principality. In total, around sixty establishments spread over the districts of Monte-Carlo, Port Hercule and Fontvieille were visited. The objective was to ensure proper compliance with sanitary measures. In total, 21 fines were issued for various offenses. The majority of them concerned the non-wearing of masks by members of staff and the failure to respect a distance of 1.5 meters between tables.
Coronavirus data for the Alpes Maritimes - The latest indicators of the coronavirus epidemic in the Alpes-Maritimes shows that the number of hospitalised Covid-19 patients continues to break previous records, mortality remains at a high rate and the number of new cases detected every day is increasing. According to data from Public Health France Nice has an incidence rate that is higher than the national average for a department. The incidence rate, which is the number of cases detected per 100,000 inhabitants, stands at 250 for the Alpes Maritimes. In detail according to the data provided by the authorities Antibes, Cannes, Grasse, Menton, Saint-Laurent-du-Var, Le Cannet, Vallauris, Mandelieu and Cagnes-sur-Mer keep an incidence rate of between 150 and 250 with the capital of the Riviera Nice showing a rate above 250 since December 17th, with a thousand cases detected in one week.
However, some towns such as Villefranche, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Eze, Cap d'Ail and Roquebrune show an indicator below 150 and in Théoule the incidence rate is the lowest, standing at 10 according to the data.
Big wheel starts turning in Nice - Nice city council has given the green light for the emblematic “big wheel” in Place Massena to be put in place during the holidays. The attraction opened at 2pm on Wednesday and will remain open until March 7th. The cost of the ride remains unchanged at 8 euros and 5 euros for children up to 8 years old.
Cannes pays tribute to Sean Connery - The City of Cannes is paying tribute to Sean Connery in its New Year celebrations. An image of the actor, who died on 31st October, is on the facade of the Palais des Festivals until the end of January along with the slogan “Cannes is eternal, best wishes 2021”. It features a photo taken in front of the Hotel Carlton in 1965 during the 18th Cannes Film Festival.
Vaccination in France - France, along with the rest of Europe, is to start its Covid-19 vaccination campaign on 27th December, with the most vulnerable population in nursing homes the first to receive the jab. France’s Health Minister, Olivier Veran, said a few dozen elderly people will be vaccinated this Sunday, followed by more in the beginning of January.
France has one of the highest levels of doubt over the vaccine in the world. Polls have shown that some 40-50 percent are not certain that they will get the Covid-19 vaccine. France has ordered 200 million doses enough to vaccinate 100 million people - more than its population of nearly 70 million.
Controversial draft law suspended due to angry reaction from MPs - Meanwhile France’s government has temporarily called off a debate on a draft law which has angered opposition MPs as the law could see public transport refused to people who do not take "preventative treatment" against Covid-19.
According to the text, a negative Covid-19 test or proof of “preventative treatment, including the administration of a vaccine” could be required for “access to transport or to some locations, as well as certain activities”.
President Emmanuel Macron has promised coronavirus vaccinations would not be mandatory, a pledge reiterated this week by his cabinet.
Truck drivers stuck over Christmas - Despite France reopening the borders with the UK, French truck drivers are preparing to spend Christmas in their trucks. Stuck at the border the drivers are only allowed to return on presentation of a negative Covid test. A regulation which is to be reviewed on December 31st but it could be in place until January 6th meanwhile due to the backlog and the time taken to carry out testing along with lack of tests available, many will not make it home in time for Christmas.
UK bans travel from South Africa – Meanwhile the UK has banned travel from South Africa after two cases of a new variant of coronavirus were detected in the country. The move came three days after Germany banned flights from South Africa and as millions more Britons were placed under tighter restrictions to counter the threat from a "British" variant strain of the coronavirus.
Brexit - “Could the never-ending Brexit soap opera come to an end in the coming hours?” asks French media this morning as it reports that “things are accelerating after several intense telephone exchanges between the President of the European Union and the British Prime Minister”. According to reports only one issue is left to settle, that of the fishing rights. But, for now nothing is signed with the text more or less granted but not yet finalized. The European Commission is consulting the 27 member states to validate. Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, the media is rather optimistic, announcing that “we have never been so close to a deal”. But negotiations have been going on for four years and, in terms of Brexit, the British have learned to be careful."
Christmas Covid restrictions - According to a recent survey a vast majority of French people are planning to celebrate Christmas at home in the company of less than six people, as per government guidelines.
The Odoxa-Dentsu Consulting survey published on Wednesday showed that two-thirds of those surveyed (65%) say they will spend Christmas at home. With Christmas Eve being an exception to the current curfew a third of French people (34%) said they would therefore travel nearby and 6% of French people said they would go to another region.
82% will have lunch and dinner with their family and seven out of ten French (70%) will meet in a smaller gathering than usual. Two thirds (63%) will respect the distance of one meter between each guest. But more than half (53%) will mix generations and 63% agree that they will not wear a mask. 84% of French people say they will not get tested before coming into contact with their family and will not ask others to do so, despite government recommendations.
As for News Year's Eve , three quarters of French people (75%) have given up on the idea of entertaining people or going out. That's seven points higher than a survey carried out on December 11th.
Mobula Ray rescued - Firefighters have rescued a Mobula ray fish stranded on a beach near Montpellier, southern France. The lost fish weighed around 150 kilos. Alerted by a passerby, firefighters successfully returned the stray Mobula stingray, which has a wingspan of 3.4 metres and is 2.2 metres in length, to the sea, using a jet ski.
It’s rare to see this species of stingray become stranded on the beaches in the region. The Mobula ray is known for its ability to jump over water and performing belly flops to attract a mate.
Asian markets and the pound have moved higher on Thursday ahead of a possible post-Brexit deal. A deal would end the prospect of the UK and the EU imposing widespread import taxes on each other's goods from 1 January, when the Brexit transition period ends.
The pound was also boosted after France lifted its ban on freight coming from the UK, which it had enacted in response to a more contagious coronavirus variant.
Meanwhile the UK government has told the agricultural industry that the EU will allow almost all food and plant exports from Great Britain to continue after Brexit. As a first step, the UK has to be awarded "third country" listed status to be allowed to export to the EU. This will apply irrespective of a post-Brexit deal.
Germany's Lufthansa has been airlifting fresh fruit and vegetables to the UK as firms seek to beat the lorry chaos at seaports. The airline said it is carrying 80 tonnes of food from Frankfurt to Doncaster Sheffield Airport for grocers including Tesco and Sainsbury's. Almost 3,000 lorries remain stuck in Kent despite moves to re-start cross-Channel access from Dover. There are concerns that testing drivers for Covid could delay food supplies.
Chinese tech giant Alibaba is being investigated by regulators over monopolistic practices. Regulators have previously warned Alibaba about forcing merchants to sign exclusive deals which prevent them from offering products on rival platforms.
Football – Premier league action will kick off on Boxing day as Leicester City play Manchester United at lunchtime. In the afternoon Aston Villa host Crystal Palace, Fulham play Southampton and the evening matches will see Arsenal face Chelsea, Manchester City play Newcastle United and Sheffield United host Everton.
On Sunday Leeds play Burnley in the lunchtime fixture, followed by West Ham against Brighton, Liverpool are at home to West Bromwich and Wolverhampton play Tottenham.
On Monday Crystal palace play Leicester, Chelsea play Aston Villa and Everton Manchester City.
Cricket - Injured batsman David Warner has been excluded from Australia's biosecure bubble for the second Test against India in Melbourne on Boxing Day.
Warner would have missed the Test with the groin injury that kept him out of last week's series opener in Adelaide.
In line with the team's "bio-security protocols", paceman Sean Abbott is also out after he too left the bubble for treatment on an injury.
Australia won the first match in the four-Test series by eight wickets.
Rugby Union - Scotland will have a referee at the Six Nations for first time in 19 years after Mike Adamson was chosen for the 2021 tournament. The 36-year-old from will take charge of England v Italy at Twickenham on 13th February.
Cloudy with sunny intervals possible risk of rain with moderate to strong south easterly wind, highs of 16 degrees going down to 6 degrees this evening.
The outlook for Christmas day and Boxing Day fine to start with on Christmas day possible showers are forecast for the afternoon however, clearing by Boxing Day feeling a little cooler from tomorrow with highs of 12 going down to 3 degrees in the evening with clear skies.
A study of 2,000 adults in the UK has found that they will spend 49 minutes a day on average 'mindlessly scrolling' through their phones during a week-long festive holiday.
They will spend an hour a day looking at their computer or phone for work-related reasons, while another 34 minutes each day will go on video calls with friends or relatives.
Adults will enjoy 116 minutes a day watching TV and an average of 95 minutes in front of films, with Home Alone, Elf, Love Actually and The Snowman on the must-watch list.
The study found that playing video games, additional use of tablets and texting add another 135 minutes, making a total of eight hours, nine minutes a day, or just over 57 hours in a week.
It also emerged that in the week between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, 37 per cent are looking forward to nothing more than lying in front of the TV 'double screening'.