French and Riviera News Friday 18th September 2020


Man dies in diving accident in the Var - A man has died following a diving accident in Cavalaire-sur-Mer in the Var. The accident occurred at a popular site for divers in the region.

Sea rescue services recovered two people a man and a woman shortly after 5pm on Thursday afternoon. The man was declared dead at the scene while the woman was air lifted to hospital in Toulon.  

90-year-old man shoots and wounds psychologist - A 90-year-old man has been arrested and placed in police custody in Bordeaux after shooting and wounding his psychologist during a consultation.

The incident occurred on Thursday afternoon and for reasons which are still unknown the patient shot the 43-year-old woman who was urgently taken to hospital suffering from a bullet wound to her shoulder. An investigation is underway.

French government announces strategy on Covid-19 – France’s Minister of Health Olivier Veran, has given an update on the government’s coronavirus strategy and has specifically addressed the circulation of the virus in the Alpes Maritimes region.

Speaking on Thursday evening Veran said that the government has asked the prefect of the department, to propose by Saturday "measures that must be taken to limit the spread of the virus". He said that the limit of available hospital beds is near being reached in the Alpes Maritimes.

He added that the incidence rate is particularly high suggesting that in Marseille it may be necessary to take even stronger measures than at present if intensive care admissions increase and the health situation doesn't improve.

The minister confirmed that an acceleration of the virus had been observed over the past few weeks. He said the number of new infections per 100,000 people stood at 83 on Wednesday compared to 10 at the end of July and 40 at the end of August.

However, he added that on average one sick person infects two other people every 15 days at the moment, which points to a slower circulation of the virus than earlier in the pandemic.

Covid-19 figures - As far as figures for Covid-19 are concerned Public Health France announced on Thursday that France has recorded 10,593 new cases of Covid-19 in 24 hours, a new record since the launch of large-scale tests in the country, and 50 new deaths.

Monaco Covid-19 – Meanwhile in Monaco five new cases of Covid-19 have been reported bringing the total number of residents affected by the coronavirus to 186. Five people are currently in hospital in the Principality, two of which are residents and 31 people are being cared for by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Professor Didier Raoult on Coivd-19 - Professor Didier Raoult head of the University Hospital of Marseille has said that taking into account the current state of the health crisis he “does not see the Covid-19 scenario experienced in February and March recurring”.

Speaking to French media about the epidemic and its impact on society Raoult said that “fear is the major danger in our society” before adding that ‘there is something very special about this virus, it causes an extremely violent immune reaction which is the greatest danger in the second and third stage of the virus."

Masks - The administrative court has ordered the region’s prefect to modify the law requiring the wearing of a mask in the town of Villeneuve Loubet after the mayor claimed the obligation was " disproportionate" and “violates individual freedom”.

Earlier in the week the mayor Lionnel Luca pointed out that 70% of the territory is classified as a wooded naturel area and that this should be taken into consideration, he even launched, what some saw as a provocative poster campaign, featuring a masked boar - a reference to the town made up of forests where four legged animals outnumber humans.

The judge has since asked the prefect "to modify the decree taking into consideration both the demographic and urban characteristics of Villeneuve-Loubet, before midday on Saturday September 19th.

Fines – Meanwhile since May nearly 45,000 people have been fined in France for non-compliance with wearing a mask, an offense punishable by a fine of 135 euros.

NRJ Music awards relocated to Paris - Organisers of the NRJ music awards have announced that the event, which normally takes place in Cannes, is to be   relocated to Paris due to Covid-19.

The decision was taken "in order to limit as much as possible the travel of artists, their companions and production teams"

The awards ceremony will take place exceptionally in Paris on Saturday December 5, 2020 at 9pm.


Strike action - Hundreds of workers at COVID-19 laboratories in France have gone on strike, angry over poor working conditions as the coronavirus testing system suffers under the huge demand.

The union said the strike was disrupting testing in some towns and could drag on if laboratory owners failed to deal with staff shortages and increase pay.

The walkout comes as the government demands more and faster testing to fight a surge in new coronavirus cases.

Illegal to pay for faster test results - Meanwhile as the queues for being tested for Covid-19 grow longer in France, the Ministry of Health has reminded the public that it is “illegal to offer faster results in return for payment”.

According to reports, the illegal practice is spreading in laboratories where queues and deadlines for results keep getting longer. Since July, anyone can get tested for free and without a prescription.

Toulouse plans to ban most polluting vehicles by 2021 - Toulouse city council is planning to ban the most polluting vehicles on the city’s roads from next year. A low emission zone is to be created which should be validated in the coming weeks and implement in April 2021.

According to the annual report of the Air Quality Observatory, in 2019, 7,650 Toulouse residents were over exposed to nitrogen dioxide emitted by cars and harmful to health.

While pollution fell by 61% during the lockdown since June, it has almost returned to its levels of last year, or even exceeded them.

Tour de France - Organizers of the Tour de France have said that only 5,000 spectators will be allowed to gather to watch the finish on the Champs Elysees on Sunday. The limit is in line with crowd restrictions applied in coronavirus Red Zones. The public won't be allowed in paddock areas or certain areas just before the finish line.


Investment between China and the United States has fallen to a 9 year low as growing tensions between the two superpowers hampers trade and other exchanges.

Figures from  the consulting group Rhodium and the National Committee on US -China relations  shows that investment including venture capital flows fell by 16.2 percent in the period between January and June to 10.9 billion dollars.

That’s way below the 40 billion seen in both 2016 and 2017.

Analysis suggests that the figure is unlikely to improve this year ,no matter what the outcome of the US Presidential election.

The administration of Donald Trump has been working to slow the activities of Chinese firms in the US citing national security risks.

There are increasing suggestions that both Chinese firms in the US and US firms operating in China will be forced to divest as tensions increase.

The Bank of England has warned that the rising rate of coronavirus infections and a lack of clarity over the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU could threaten the economic recovery.

The Bank said that much of the output lost during lockdown has been recovered but that the outlook remains “unusually uncertain”.

The UK is still in a deep recession and cases of coronavirus have been rising worryingly and at their highest level since mid May.

The Bank kept interest rates on hold at 0.1 percent citing the uncertainty adding that it would continue its monetary support for the economy.

And-Oil prices have drifted lower this morning following three days of gains as producers in the Gulf of Mexico prepared to resume operations following Hurricane Sally and data showed that Saudi Arabian exports had risen from record lows.

Brent Crude was down by 6 cents a little earlier this morning at 43 dollars 24 with West Texas Intermediate down 6 cents at 40 dollars 91.

Crude prices have been rising this week as the Hurricane cut US production and are on course for a weekly gain of 9 percent.

US offshore drillers and exporters started clearing up on Thursday after Sally weakened to a depression and started firing up rigs in the Gulf of Mexico following a 5 day shutdown.


Cycling-Michael Kwiatkowski won stage 18 of the Tour de France on Thursday as Primoz Roglic closed in on overall victory.

The Pole led an Ineos-Grenadiers one-two to the line crossing arm-in-arm with team-mate Richard Carapaz.

Roglic is still 57 seconds ahead of fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar heading into stage 19 today which is 166.5 kilometers between Bourg-en-Bresse and Champagnole.

There are several tricky looking climbs and the leaders may have been hoping for a slightly easier day before tomorrow’s individual time trial.

Golf-Justin Thomas of the United States leads following the first round of the US Open at Winged Foot New York.

Thomas fired a 5 under par 65 to lead by one shot from fellow Americans Patrick Reed and Matthew Wolff with Thomas Pieters of Belgium also on 4 under.

Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood are both on 3 under.

World number one Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods are both 8 shots behind the leader on 3 over par.

Football-In the English Premier League this weekend.

On Saturday Everton play West Brom.Leeds host Fulham.Manchester United host Crystal Palace and Arsenal face West Ham.

On Sunday Southampton play Spurs.Newcastle host Brighton.Chelsea play Liverpool and Leicester face Burnley.

Aston Villa play Sheffield United and Wolves host Manchester City on Monday.

Tennis-The US Open champion Naomi Osaka has pulled out of the French Open with a pulled hamstring.

The Japanese star who beat Victoria Azarenka in last week’s final at Flushing Meadows said that the hamstring was still sore and she wouldn’t have enough time to prepare for Roland Garros which starts on the 27th of September.


Clear skies with moderate easterly winds.

Top temperatures 27-29 degrees.

Overnight lows of 23 degrees on the coast and 21 degrees inland with clear skies.

The weekend-Partially cloudy tomorrow with a high of 27.Thundery showers on Sunday with a high of 25.















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