French and Riviera News Friday 18th December 2020

News 

Monaco - In a televised address on Thursday evening, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco has announced the extension of the current curfew in the Principality until January 15th as well as special measures in the Principality for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.  

Prince Albert expressed his gratitude to all professionals in various fields mobilized during the health crisis and emphasized that the “priority objective remains the health protection of the population while also allowing the economy to operate under certain restrictions”. The 8pm to 6am curfew remains in place with an exception on Christmas Eve when it will be extended to 11.30pm. On the 31st December, restaurants will be allowed to stay open until 10.30pm. Non-residents will only be allowed to come to Monaco if they have a hotel reservation and public gatherings will be banned on both the 24th and 31st December.

On the vaccination programme the Prince announced that “while vaccination programmes are either underway or imminent, this must not be interpreted as meaning life can return to normal right away as it will take several months before that is possible.” He confirmed that the government has put together a national vaccination plan which will begin as soon as vaccines are given approval. Today Monaco’s Minister of State Pierre Dartout is expected to give more details in a press conference, including new measures for sporting activities.

Covid cases in Monaco – Meanwhile 15 new cases of Covid have been declared in Monaco on Thursday bringing the total number of residents affected to 700. Ten people are hospitalized. 611 people have recovered from Covid and 47 people are currently being followed by the Home Monitoring Center. 

Prime Minister cancels visit to Toulon today - Prime Minister Jean Castex has cancelled his visit to Toulon today after French President Emmanuel Macron tested positive for CovidEmmanuel Macron is to self-isolate after testing positive for Covid-19 and French Prime Minister Jean Castex will also go into isolation, although he has reported no symptoms. Both will continue to carry out their duties remotely.

The president of the French parliament, Richard Ferrand announced that himself and several other ministers who had lunch with Macron on Tuesday were cancelling their appointments and isolating themselves. EU chief Charles Michel has also announced he will self-isolate after meeting Macron.

The French president is one of several heads of state and government around the world who have contracted Covid-19, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Donald Trump. Johnson immediately took to social media to wish Macron a prompt recovery.

Road accident - A 20-year-old woman has been seriously injured in a road accident in Le Cannet. The accident occurred at around 8pm on Thursday leading to the Avenue de Carimaï being closed while emergency services intervened. The reason for the collision between the two vehicles is still to be determined by police but, it’s believed that speed seems to have been a major factor.

Traffic disrupted in Monaco - Meanwhile traffic was heavily disrupted in Monaco on Thursday after a lorry lost its load leading to the closure of roads coming in and out of the Principality. The incident occurred shortly after 11am causing major traffic jams for motorists.

2020 the hottest year in France? - Météo France has said that 2020 is "well on its way" to being the hottest year ever recorded in France. According to data published on Thursday, 2020 recorded an average annual temperature of 14 degrees. An increase of nearly 1.5 degrees on previous years.

Sleep - According to a survey carried out by Opinonway for the National Institute of Sleep and Vigilance (INSV), the French on average, get an hour and a half less sleep than thirty years ago. The study also revealed that half of people over 40 admit that their sleep time has decreased over the past twenty years and that their quality of sleep has deteriorated, while nearly two out of ten young people aged 18 to 34 admit to being woken up at night by their phone.

France’s roads - Despite the end of lockdown in France the road traffic authority Bison Futé has said it’s not expecting any major delays on the roads this Friday as school’s breakup for Christmas. Friday is classified as orange in the Paris region, for those leaving the capital and nationally the entire weekend is classified as green. Bison Futé does however warn that traffic conditions may deteriorate depending on weather conditions and invites motorists to consult road conditions on its website.

Business

Hopes of a post-Brexit trade deal are hanging in the balance again this morning following a call between the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. On Thursday night, Boris Johnson said that discussions are in a “very serious situation” and that a no deal scenario was “very likely”. Mrs von der Layen said that bridging “big differences” particularly on fishing rights was going to be “very challenging”. The two sides have reconvened in Brussels this morning for more talks with the European Parliament warning that a deal will have to be struck by Sunday in order for it to be ratified before the end of the transition period on the 31st December. The UK’s chief negotiator Lord David Frost tweeted last night that “the situation in the talks is very serious and that progress seems to be blocked with time running out”.

The internet giant Google is being sued by 38 US states who accuse it of trying to make its search engine as dominant inside cars, TVs and speakers as it is in smartphones. The latest development follows a landmark lawsuit by the US Justice Department over a similar issue in October. Google says that redesigning its search engine would “deprive Americans of helpful information”. It conceded that the scrutiny of large firms was “important” and said that it was prepared to answer questions and work through the issues. The lawsuit demands changes to Google Search and requires the firm to display online middlemen in place of direct connections to businesses. Both Democrat and Republican prosecutors say that Google’s anti-competitive actions have protected its general search monopolies and excluded rivals.

Coca-Cola is to cut around 2,200 workers in its global workforce as part of a restructuring plan. The soft drink giant’s plans have been sped up as a result of the coronavirus pandemic which has seen a widespread closure of venues where Coke and its other products are sold. The bulk of the job cuts will come in North America where the firm has some 86,000 employees. Around half of Coca-Cola’s revenues come from consumers drinking its products away from home. Social restrictions have led to the closure of bars, restaurants cinemas and sports stadiums where its drinks are sold.

Sport

Football - There were two games in the English Premier League last night. Manchester United came from behind with Marcus Rashford scoring twice as they were 3-2 winners at Sheffield United and Aston Villa and Burnley drew 0-0. In the English Premier League this weekend, on Saturday Crystal Palace play Liverpool. Southampton face Manchester City. Everton host Arsenal and Newcastle play Fulham. On Sunday Brighton play Sheffield United. Spurs host Leicester. Manchester United face Leeds and West Brom play Aston Villa. Burnley play Wolves on Monday and Chelsea host West Ham.

Cricket - It’s day 2 of the first Test between Australia and India at the Adelaide Oval. Earlier this morning the home side wrapped up the tourist’s first innings, bowling them out for an under-par 244. In reply, Australia had reached 12 without loss after 10 overs.

Formula 1 - The sport’s governing body has developed a new 100 percent sustainable fuel to be used in Grand Prix cars. The FIA says that the fuel is made from bio-waste that is not intended for human or animal consumption and has now been supplied to the sport’s engine manufacturers for testing. The move is part of Formula 1’s wider aim of becoming net-zero carbon by 2030. The sport is planning to use 100 percent sustainable fuels within the next five to six years.

Rugby Union - There are two games in Pool 1 of the European Champions Cup tonight. Scarlets play Toulon and Wasps play Montpellier. There are 7 more games in Pools 1 and 2 over the weekend.

Weather

Partially cloudy with light variable winds. Top temperature 15 degrees. Overnight lows of 11 degrees on the coast and 8 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

The weekend - Rain for most of tomorrow, sunshine and showers on Sunday. Highs of 12-14 degrees.

And finally

A mother has been criticized for refusing to go to her daughter's Christmas school play after she was cast as a tree. The woman explained that her daughter's school play was coming up and she was meant to be a singing angel. But when she received an email from the teacher saying that her little girl wanted to be a tree instead because she didn't want to sing, she was horrified. She told her daughter she wouldn't take a day off work for it as "trees don't do anything", leaving her daughter in floods of tears. Although she tried begging her daughter, the woman said her little girl was firm in her decision that she wanted to be a tree. The mother raged "The trees don't do anything. Why am I going to a play to see my daughter do nothing but stand there in a tree costume?"

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