French and Riviera News Friday 14th May 2021

News

Public Health France warns that pressure remains high in France’s hospitals - Public Health France has warned that while the number of Covid intensive care patients continues to decline, hospital pressure remains high. 4,442 patients are currently in intensive care units across France with 139 new admissions on Thursday May 13th.

The total number of hospitalizations is also dropping at 23,656 and 19,461 new cases of Covid were declared on Thursday. There have been 131 new deaths in the last 24 hours. However, with the pressure on hospital staff still high Public Health France calls for “vigilance in the coming weeks” adding that “the acceleration of vaccination is essential to keep the numbers down”.

Study shows majority of French people in favour of health pass - Meanwhile according to a study published on Thursday a majority of French people approve the introduction of a “health pass” in order to return to "a normal life". The survey published in Le Figaro shows that 60% of French people are in favour, in order to be able to take part in major events.

Two-thirds of those questioned are happy that the progressive end to lockdown begins on Wednesday May 19th with 59% saying that they will go and sit on the terrace of a restaurant or café and 28% saying they are eager to go shopping. 19% will go to the cinema and 10% will take the opportunity to visit a museum or an exhibition and 7% will go to the theatre or to a concert.

Despite their haste to be out of lockdown 59% of French do not trust the French government to succeed and still doubt the ability of the Head of State to carry out a successful end to lockdown. And while Prime Minister Jean Castex said that France was "in the process of emerging from the health crisis on a lasting basis", two-thirds of those questioned (65%) do not approve of his remarks.

Public advised not to share vaccination certificates on social networks - Cybercrime officers in France have advised people not to share their vaccination certificates on social media. Some Internet users publish their vaccination certificate on social networks, highlighting the QR Codes which could lead to fraud. The QR Code, corresponding to the vaccination certificate, is identical to the QR Code that is scanned on to the TousAntiCovid app and in both paper and digital versions, it is this QR Code that will be scanned at the entrance to events - trade shows, fairs, stadiums as part of the health pass.

In other news

Police still searching for Valentin Marcone after fatal shooting - Police are appealing for information about the man suspected of fatally shooting two people in the village of Plantiers in the Gard department on Tuesday. They are searching for 29-year-old Valentin Marcone, who they describe as dangerous and who may be carrying a handgun and a rifle. The local mayor said that four families from the village have been evacuated from their homes as they are believed to be potential targets. Almost 300 police officers from nearby departments, including the Alpes-Maritimes, are involved in the search, supported by specialist police units, police dogs and helicopters.

MPs vote - France’s National Assembly has voted in favour of a bill that would require companies with more than 1,000 employees to ensure women hold 40 percent of top management posts by 2030. Under the proposed law, companies employing more than 1,000 staff would be obliged to have at least 30 percent women among "senior managers and members of management bodies" by 2027, and 40 percent by 2030. France's gender equality minister, Elisabeth Moreno, described the vote as “an historic step for France”. 

Mayor of Nice calls for ban on pro-Palestinian demonstrations - The mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has followed in the footsteps of France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, calling for a ban on pro-Palestinian demonstrations this weekend. Estrosi announced the request to the prefect of the Alpes Maritimes on Twitter. The elected official, who recently left Les Républicains, argues that the ban is to avoid "the risk of disturbances to public order” citing the previous disturbances caused by similar demonstrations on Avenue Jean Médecin back in 2009.

Shellfish ban - The collection of shellfish has been banned in parts of Brittany because of pollution. The Prefect of the Finistere department has issued orders prohibiting the fishing, collection and release for consumpton of shellfish in several areas because of contamination with lead or certain toxins.

Weather warning - Météo France has issued a yellow weather alert for the Alpes Maritimes from midday today. Thunderstorms, strong winds and heavy rain are expected mainly inland, in particular in the Mercantour with a risk of arriving on the coast warn Météo France. The warning is in place until 6pm this evening.

Picasso sells for 103.4 million dollars in New York - The painting "Femme assise près d'une fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse)" by Pablo Picasso has sold at an auction in New York for 103.4 million dollars. Painted in 1932, the work, which depicts Picasso's mistress and muse, Marie-Thérèse Walter, almost doubled the amount of the initial estimate $55 million.

AS Monaco ends dream of 4th division team - AS Monaco has ended the dream of 4th division GFA Rumilly Vallieères by beating them 5-1 on Thursday in the semi-final of the Coupe de France. Monaco will now face PSG on May 19th, at the Stade de France, behind closed doors.

Business

US Federal Reserve officials have moved to calm fears over inflation. The central bank insists that the nature of inflation is transitory and that policymakers won’t increase interest rates until inflation is above target for a long time. Recent economic data has prompted inflation fears as scarcity of both materials and workers threatens to send prices surging in the face of a demand boom. Labor Department data shows producer prices are rising rapidly building on the inflation surge narrative of Wednesday's consumer prices report. Fed officials have given repeated assurances that they do not foresee current spikes turning into sustained long-term inflation.

The online retail giant Amazon has said it’s hiring 75,000 workers across the US and Canada to meet growing demand. Amazon says that the new jobs offered across transport and at its warehouses will be permanent positions. The firm will also offer new staff who have already been vaccinated against COVID-19 a $100 bonus. Amazon says that the new jobs will offer average starting pay at $17 per hour following recent wage increases introduced. Amazon now employs more than 1 million workers worldwide, having gone on a huge hiring spree during the pandemic. The retail giant had its most lucrative year to date in 2020 as lockdowns prompted consumers to purchase more goods including groceries online.

The former British Prime Minister David Cameron has said he was paid far more as a part-time advisor to Greensill Capital than he was when he was running the country. Mr Cameron told two Parliamentary Committees that he had a big economic investment in the finance company including shares. However, he insisted that he was not motivated by money when he lobbied ministers on behalf of the firm and believed he had acted in the national interest. The former Prime Minister was speaking via video link to the Treasury Select Committee and also to the Public Accounts Committee. He said that he had not broken any rules when he tried to influence ministers and officials on behalf of Greensill Capital around the start of the Covid pandemic in the spring of last year. He also said it had been appropriate for him to call and text ministers as financial schemes were being designed quickly at the time of “extraordinary crisis”. He conceded that in future, Prime Ministers’ should only ever use letters or email and should restrict themselves for more. One member of the Treasury Committee Rushanara Ali, the Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow told Mr Cameron that his persistent lobbying with ministers had drawn the country and the position of Prime Minister into disrepute. She told the former Prime Minister that his reputation is now in tatters and that it felt like he is not taking responsibility for what has happened.

Sport

Football – There were two games in the English Premier League last night. Aston Villa and Everton drew 0–0 while Liverpool boosted their chance of a top four finish with a 4–2 victory at arch rivals Manchester United.

In the English Premier League this weekend, there’s one game tonight. Newcastle play Manchester City. On Saturday, Burnley play Leeds. Southampton play Fulham and Brighton host West Ham. On Sunday Crystal Palace play Aston Villa. Spurs play Wolves. West Brom host Liverpool and Everton play Sheffield United.

It’s the FA Cup final tomorrow. Chelsea play Leicester at Wembley. Kickoff is at 6:15 French time.

Rugby Union – There’s  one game in the Gallagher Premiership in England tonight. Bath play Sale.

In the Guinness Pro 14 Rainbow Cup Munster play Connacht and Leinster host Ulster.

Golf – Robert McIntyre has a share of the halfway lead in the British Masters at the Belfry. The 24-year-old Scot fired a second around 66 to reach seven under par along with compatriots Calum Hill and the English veteran Richard Bland. McIntyre birded the first four holes on the way to his six under par round. The leading trio are one-shot ahead of England’s Eddie Pepperell, Julian Geurrier of France and Justin Harding of South Africa.

Weather

Partially cloudy with the chance of some showers this afternoon and thunder in the mountains. Light to moderate south westerly or variable winds and a high of 19-20 degrees. Overnight lows of 13 degrees with partially cloudy skies.

The weekend - Mainly fine with highs of 22-24 degrees.

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