French and Riviera News Friday 15th October 2021

News 

Ski season - After a 2020 winter season without any ski lifts, the ski resorts are preparing to reopen and hope to be able to do so without any restrictions. During a visit to Sisteron on Thursday October 14th, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Secretary of State for Tourism suggested that “a return to normal or almost, is expected this winter in ski resorts”, no doubt a relief for professionals in this tourism sector. A sector already disrupted by the recurring lack of snow and the health crisis. According to the secretary of state, six billion euros have been invested to support mountain tourism.

Macron returns to Marseille six weeks since his visit announcing a 1.5-billion-euro plan - French President Emmanuel Macron is to return to Marseille today just six weeks after having visited the city and presenting the “big plan” principally for schools, housing and transport. A month ago, Emmanuel Macron announced a 1.5-billion-euro plan for the city of Marseille. Some associations have called for demonstrations today to coincide with Macron’s return.

Collision on voie rapide in Nice - The voie rapide in Nice has been closed following a collision between a two-wheeler and a car. The accident occurred shortly before 5 p.m. at Magnan, eastbound. Two people were slightly injured in the accident, the driver of the motorcycle and a child passenger of the vehicle involved in the accident. Both were taken care of by the emergency services leading to the road being closed during rush hour.  Traffic had returned to one lane by 6pm.

Noise radars to track down noisy two-wheelers - Police in Nice are to track down noisy two-wheelers with anti-noise radars. Nice along with 7 other cities in France including Paris and Toulouse have decided to equip themselves with "sound radars." For some residents, being woken up by the sound of an exhaust backfiring in a regular occurrence. According to a study published at the end of July the social cost of noise in France is estimated at 155.7 billion euros per year.

Arrest made in Beausoleil as part of anti-drug operation - Police have arrested an individual in Beausoleil during an anti-drug operation. The arrest was made on Wednesday at the request of the public prosecutor, the national police of Menton and the municipal police of Beausoleil who had jointly carried out the anti-drug operation. The investigation continues.

Escape game to save the future - 4th year college students in Monaco have embarked on an escape game to "save the future". The educational tool aims to promote sustainable development while reviewing the fundamentals. While solving puzzles, students must decode a message that reveals the formula that will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to save the endangered planet. The challenge offered to the students during the escape game designed and created by a team of teachers from Monaco was presented to HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco this week.

Increase in cases of bronchiolitis - There has been an increase in the number of cases of bronchiolitis in the PACA region reaching a pre-epidemic phase. This year cases have been detected earlier compared to other years. In the Provence-Alpes-Côte d´Azur, the epidemic period of bronchiolitis in 2018-2019 lasted 11 weeks and in total, 1,705 children under one year of age were hospitalized, representing 37% of hospitalizations. Bronchiolitis is a childhood illness that particularly affects young children. Each winter, it affects around 500,000 children and infants. It is spread through saliva, hands, and coughing and is characterized by a strong cough, which can go as far as difficulty in breathing (rapid wheezing, runny nose).

End to free covid testing  - From today Friday October 15th, referred to as "comfort" PCR tests will no longer be free and will cost you 43.89 euros. Tests will continue to be reimbursed for medical reasons, either without prescription and for people already vaccinated and minors. The aim from the French government is to reimburse tests linked to a valid medical reason, and to continue to encourage people to get vaccinated.

Wearing a mask in schools in the Var will no longer be an obligation from Monday - The obligation to wear a mask in schools in the Var region is to be lifted. From Monday, October 18th, a total of 79 departments whose incidence rate has remained below 50 for at least five consecutive days will no longer be required to wear a mask in school. The measure only concerns students, not their teachers. Twelve new departments, including the Var have been added to the 67 departments which were already concerned by the lifting of the measure.

Suspect arrested in connection with woman found beheaded at her home in the Hérault - A 50-year-old man has been arrested following the investigation into the decapitation of a woman in Agde, in the Hérault. The victim was a 77-year-old widow, a retired schoolteacher. According to reports the suspect often carried out odd jobs in the victim’s home. On Wednesday October 13th, it was the victim’s son who lives in the Paris region, who had alerted emergency services after not being able to contact his mother. When emergency services arrived at the victim's home shortly after 10pm, they discovered the victim’s body on the floor which had been decapitated and the head placed on a table next to it. The investigation continues.

SNCF to no longer sell plastic bottles on its TGVs - The SNCF has announced that it will no longer sell plastic bottles in its TGVs. Plastic bottles will be replaced by cardboard packaging for still water and aluminum cans for sparkling water. The move comes in favour of a more environmentally packaging. The company sells 2 million bottles a year from the bars in their trains, water being the second product sold after coffee. The SNCF, which aims to be an example of an ecological means of transport, also promises "the establishment of innovative logistics schemes to promote the recycling of costs in stations and reduce food waste". Selective sorting will gradually be generalized on board its trains.

Macron takes part in charity football match - French President Emmanuel Macron has taken part in a charity football match for the “Varieties Club de France”. Macron did not disappoint his teammates on Thursday as he showed off some fancy footwork while participating in the match in the Paris region with his team winning 6-1. Fellow teammate for the game was legendary manager of Arsenal Arsène Wenger, who said he was rather pleasantly surprised by the level displayed by the unexpected number 3. The proceeds of the event will be given to the Hospitals of Paris-Hospitals of France Foundation, chaired by Brigitte Macron.

Business 

The OVH group, the leading European provider of cloud computing services, will take its first steps on Euronext Paris today on the basis of an IPO price of 18.50 euros per share. Fixed at the bottom of the target range, this price therefore values ​​the company 3.5 billion euros.

The Swedish furniture giant Ikea has seen its sales increase in France by 4% despite four and a half months of closing its stores and now Ikea France is to open a second-hand furniture store in Paris "in the coming year". The project is part of an environmental strategy also providing for reaching zero carbon emissions by 2025 on its deliveries. The group's first store offering second-hand furniture was opened on November 5th, 2020 in Eskilstuna, Sweden.

New rules allowing travellers returning to England to take lateral flow tests instead of more expensive PCR tests will come into force on 24 October. The UK government says the changes will take effect in time for families returning from half term breaks. Fully vaccinated passengers will be told to upload photos of their Covid-19 tests for verification. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it would make travel easier and simpler. The travel industry had said it was vital to make the changes to the Covid travel tests in time for the half term holiday.

A wave of industrial action dubbed "Striketober" has hit America. More than 100,000 US workers will strike or have threatened to in October. On Thursday, 10,000 workers at farm equipment maker John Deere walked out over pay and conditions.

After wine, cannabis is becoming trendy with some celebrities looking to invest or start their own business. From CBD oils to "high end" marijuana to THC infused drinks. It was this week on Instagram that the singer Mika announced, his new entrepreneurial project developing high-end CBD-based wellness products in France. It was back in the summer that the Canadian singer Justin Bieber collaborated at the end of October with the Californian brand Palms, to market a range of pre-rolled joints with a peach flavor and in 2014, the family of singer Bob Marley, who died in 1981, launched his official brand of marijuana products, called Marley Natural.

Sport

Tennis - Britain's Cameron Norrie has reached the semi-finals of the Indian Wells Masters. World number 26 Norrie will replace Dan Evans as British number one after his 6-0 6-2 win in California. The 26-year-old left-hander had never previously reached the last eight of a Masters 1000 tournament. Norrie will face Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in the last four.

Football - Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling says he would be open to playing abroad if he does not get more game time at Etihad Stadium.

In this weekend’s Premier League action on Saturday; Watford play Liverpool, Aston Villa face Wolverhampton, Leicester play Manchester United, Manchester City are at home to Burnley, Norwich play Brighton, Southampton play Leeds and Brentford play Chelsea. On Sunday Everton play West Ham and Newcastle play Tottenham. There is one game on Monday with Arsenal at home to Crystal Palace.

Cricket - The County Championship in the UK are to revert to two divisions again in 2022. Following two seasons under revised structures in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the England and Wales Cricket Board was keen to return to the format agreed by the 18 counties in 2018. After discussions with the ECB, clubs voted to return to a 10-team Division One and eight-team Division Two. Two counties will be relegated from Division One and two promoted from Division Two next year.

Weather 

Cloudy with some sunny intervals and highs of 21 degrees in Nice, Cannes and Antibes. 23 degrees in Saint Tropez and the Var with a gentle breeze. This evening going down to 10 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 9 degrees in the Var with clear skies.

The outlook for the weekend - Mainly fine. Should stay dry with highs of 21-23 degrees.

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