French and Riviera News Friday 24th September 2021

News 

Water supplier prepared to make a financial gesture - Veolia has said that it would make a “financial gesture” towards customers following the problems with the drinking water in Antibes, Biot, La-Colle-sur-Loup and Roquefort. For the last month residents have had to purge the water before drinking it in three municipalities and in Roquefort-Les-Pins, the water was unfit for consumption. Since September 18th it is once again consumable without restriction in all the municipalities concerned. During a press conference on Thursday Veolia explained that the water had been deemed too acidic following tests carried out in the summer leading to nickel and lead being detected in the water. Veolia indicated that soda had been added to soften the water and that people can be reassured: there is no risk concerning this product which has been validated by the Ministry of Health. Asked by the mayor of Antibes, Jean Leonetti, as to whether the water supplier was prepared to make a financial gesture. Veolia accepted. The reason for the incident is still to be clarified. The water supplier has suggested that it could be a consequence of the storm Alex last year which would have permanently modified the soils and therefore the drilling points adding that climate change could also be linked to the situation.

Recall of certain chocolate, cheese and ham products from French supermarkets – Meanwhile supermarkets Carrefour and Monoprix have issued product recalls on certain food items due to a potential risk of listeria and E.Coli. Certain batches of hazelnut chocolate bars, mozzarella and Reflets de France brand ham are concerned by the recall with customers being told to either bin them or return them to the store for a refund for more details go to the government website www.rappel.conso.gouv.fr

Possible carbon tax worries president of Corsica ferries - The president of Corsica Ferries has expressed his concern following the mayor of Nice’s announcement of wanting to introduce a carbon tax of 60 euros per stopover and per vehicle for passenger boarding the ferries in the port of Nice. Pierre Mattei warns that the measure will “penalize families and the most modest but will also harm the vitality of our city, pushing the operator to increase the price of crossings by several tens of percent”.  According to the mayor Christian Estrosi, Nice would gladly do without these ferries which emit according to him, “as much CO2 at the quayside as on a Brussels-New York return trip" arguing that the port of Nice has a configuration that is not the same as in Toulon or Savona, which is more suitable for maritime passenger transport”.  

Forest fires - The Prefecture in the Var has issued a reminder to remain vigilant for forest fires. In particular, the Prefecture pointed out the danger in throwing cigarette butts on the ground. The daily map showing fire risks on the massifs in the Var is no longer being published after the end of the summer season, but people should still remain vigilant and call 18 or 112 if an outbreak of fire is witnessed. Only yesterday, firefighters in the Var were called out to a blaze in undergrowth on the Chemin du Plan in Brignoles.

Carpooling initiative marks one-year anniversary in Monaco - Monaco is marking the one-year anniversary of its carpooling initiative. A recent meeting brought together all the organizations concerned including state services and partner companies. The new carpooling system was officially launched in the Principality in September 2020.  It is based on the Klaxit carpooling app. It currently brings together 27 entities, all signatories of the National Pact for Energy Transition, which total around 13,000 employees. About 50,000 French and Italian employees travel to the Principality daily, most of them by car, with an average occupancy rate of 1.1 people per vehicle.

Booster dose of vaccine - The European Union regulator has announced that it is to decide early October as to whether or not to give a third dose of Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 for those over 16 years of age. The regulator must at the same time decide on the booster doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for the elderly and those with underlying health issues. According to the agency the available data shows that the immunity against Covid-19 acquired with the first doses weakens over time. About fifteen countries around the world have started administering a third dose to the most vulnerable, in particular some EU countries including France, Italy and Germany which did not wait for the green light from the European authorities, anticipating a winter resurgence of the epidemic.

Health pass - Meanwhile over 35,000 fraudulent health passes are in use in France according to the Caisse Nationale d'Assurance Maladie. The organization said that 300 enforcement proceedings have been started so far, including against 138 health professionals.

Submarine crisis - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that despite efforts he has been unable to arrange a conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron a week after the cancellation of a major submarine deal which sparked a diplomatic row with Paris. Morrison said he would be patient in rebuilding ties with France adding that he understood France's disappointment and noted the cancellation of the submarine contract, initially valued at €30billion and more recently at €45billion, meant the issues were different to those between Washington and Paris, and they would take more time to work through.

Less than half of French people say they believe in God - A survey carried out in France has shown that less than half of French people believe in God. The poll asked respondents whether they personally believed in God, with 51% answering “no”. In contrast, a similar Ifop poll in 1947 found that 66% said that “yes”, they did believe in God. 

Business

According to unions the manufacturer of Ariane rockets is preparing to cut 600 jobs in France and Germany by the end of 2022 to regain competitiveness, in particular in the face of competition from the American SpaceX.  Speaking to French media the company's director of human resources, Florence Gallois said “we have indeed announced a plan to adapt the workforce of a maximum of 600 people which concerns France and Germany adding that while no site closure is planned, "all the departments and sites" of the company, whether in Germany or France, are concerned.

French media has reported that Dublin is still taking its time to sign the text of an agreement negotiated within the framework of the OECD concerning minimum global taxation. This week the US Treasury Secretary repeated to her Irish counterpart that the minimum global taxation on multinationals is "a unique opportunity". Announced at the beginning of June, the agreement considered "historic" plans to introduce a world tax of at least 15% on the profits of the largest international firms and to distribute more fairly the rights to tax these companies. Approved by the G20 in July, it has so far been signed by 134 countries, but not by Ireland, which thrives on the advantageous 12.5% ​​tax rate. Hungary and Estonia have not signed the text either. The 12.5% ​​tax, in place since 2003, has allowed Ireland to host the European headquarters of a host of American companies, tech giants like Apple or Google, and pharmaceuticals.

French fashion house Sonia Rykiel is to be bought by the American group G-III which already owns brands such as DKNY, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger. It was announced on Thursday that a buyout agreement has been signed with the G-III group listed on the New York Stock Exchange, the amount of the transaction was not given.

Sport 

Football - Arsene Wenger says he is "ready to take that gamble" over his proposals to overhaul football's match calendar "to make the game better". The former Arsenal boss has suggested fewer international breaks and staging the World Cup every two years.

Premier league action this weekend on Saturday lunchtime action will see Chelsea play Manchester City and Manchester United face Aston Villa. In afternoon action; Everton play Norwich, Leeds play West Ham, Leicester face Burnley, Watford play Newcastle and Brentford play Liverpool.  On Sunday Southampton play Wolverhampton and Arsenal play Tottenham. There is one match on Monday Crystal Palace play Brighton.

Golf - Three years after Europe regained the Ryder Cup in Paris, the United States finally have their opportunity to avenge that thrashing as the 43rd edition of the event starts today, after being delayed by one year by the coronavirus pandemic.

Formula One - Max Verstappen has rejected Lewis Hamilton's suggestion that he could be feeling the pressure of their title fight. Hamilton said he "remembers what it was like battling for my first championship and "knows the pressure that comes with it". But Verstappen replied sarcastically: "I am so nervous I can barely sleep! It is so horrible to fight for a title." He added: "If someone knows me, I am very relaxed about all those things."

Weather 

Mainly fine with highs of 23 degrees in Nice, Cannes and Antibes with a light breeze. This evening going down to 17 degrees.

The outlook for the weekend - Becoming increasingly cloudy on Saturday with sunny intervals and showers expected inland highs of 25-27 degrees. Sunday thundery showers highs of 25 degrees.

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