French and Riviera News Friday 27th August 2021

Local News 

Truck driver placed in psychiatric care - The truck driver who was seen zigzagging on the A8 motorway on Wednesday, hitting several other vehicles, has been placed in psychiatric care.

The truck carrying equipment for a DIY store caused two accidents near Villeneuve Loubet on Wednesday afternoon on the A8. Three vehicles were damaged. Luckily, no one was injured. Witnesses of the “incomprehensible and dangerous” behaviour of the driver, chased the truck to force it to stop.

Fire in Isola - A fire has broken out in Isola, in a difficult to access area. Thursday afternoon saw firemen try to prevent the forest fire from spreading. Three water bombing helicopters intervened. The origin of the fire is not known. About 4 hectares were affected at an altitude of 1,500 meters.

Nurse expresses her incomprehension from “hero to zero”? -  A nurse from the Var region has expressed her “frustration and helplessness in front of patients opposed to the vaccination against Covid-19” and “the increasing distrust in the medical profession”. Speaking to local media and on social networks Laureen, mother of two, has said she is “demoralized by the defiance of the anti-vaxers she treats” adding that she doesn’t understand how nurses and caregivers went from heroes to “zero” in just in just a few months.

Laureen revealed that "today the vast majority of patients she takes care of claim not to be vaccinated and are suspicious if not opposed to the slightest care given to them. She went on to say that “more seriously, some French people deliberately try to catch the virus, either to be exempted from vaccination for several months, or to naturally produce their own antibodies”.

Porquerolles limits number of visitors - The island of Porquerolles in the Var has limited the number of visitors to protect the island from overcrowding. Since this summer, the number of passengers transported to Porquerolles by shipping companies is limited to 6,000. A decision to limit the number of visitors came following an incident in July 2020 when nearly 15,000 people visited the island, leading to a breakdown in the water supply.

Study - According to a study by IFOP, those living in the south-east of France are stressed about the health crisis. The study looked at the psychological health of French people, both general public and hospital staff, since the start of the Covid-19 crisis. The results showed that some regions are more prone to certain disorders than others. The south-east is no exception, and is sometimes, depending on the disorder, above the national average. The south-east not normally a stressed region has shown a higher percentage of residents facing stress (63%) since the beginning of the pandemic than the whole of France (61%).

While the inhabitants of the south-east do not seem to be the most concerned about their mental health (27%) and even consider themselves to be in "fairly good" psychological health (41%), 60% of them suffer from at least 5 psychological disorders. This is 2 points more than the average French person.

Its inhabitants experience more feelings of powerlessness (57%), depression (22%) and addictive behaviors: alcohol, cannabis, video games- (22%) than inhabitants of other regions since the beginning of the crisis.

National News

French President condemns terrorist attack - The President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron has condemned the terrorist attacks that occurred near the Kabul airport and were claimed by the Islamic State organization. Macron expressed "his condolences to the families of the American and Afghan victims, and gave his support to the wounded, and salutes the heroism of those who are on the ground to carry out the evacuation operations”. The head of State said that France is in talks with the Taliban to allow hundreds of Afghans to be evacuated from Afghanistan. Macron, on a visit to Ireland, said he could not guarantee that France would be successful in evacuating people as the security situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated, especially at Kabul airport.

French evacuation operation in Afghanistan ends this evening – On Thursday Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that the French evacuation operation in Afghanistan will end this evening Friday 27th August. The deadline is linked to the withdrawal of American troops, which is due to take place on August 31st. Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said “that the move leads the authorities to anticipate the end of evacuations on the French side by a few hours, or even several days” as announced earlier this week.

The Prime Minister said that "around 2,500" people had been evacuated since the capture of Kabul by the Taliban on August 15th, including French nationals, but especially "Afghans who have provided, in one capacity or another, their assistance to the army and families, artists and journalists”. France is not the first country to end evacuations. Canada announced Thursday afternoon that it had stopped its evacuation operations and the Netherlands has also stopped, as has Hungary, which says it has evacuated 540 people from the country.

Meanwhile a French court has handed a 10-month suspended jail sentence to an Afghan man found to have violated the terms of a special supervision order, days after France evacuated him from Taliban-controlled Kabul.

Health Minister claims vaccination prevented the worst in the fourth wave of covid in France - France’s Health Minister Olivier Véran has said that vaccination against covid in mainland France has “prevented the worst”. Speaking during a press conference on Thursday evening Véran said that he “regretted the doubt surrounding the vaccine and delay in vaccination in the overseas territories which has led to many deaths”. The Minister added that while the “fourth wave is not behind us, it is declining”.

Olivier Véran estimated that the goal of 50 million primary vaccinated will be reached in the first week of September but the government "wants to go beyond". Nearly 60% of adolescents between 12 and 17 years of age are already vaccinated, and "for the remaining 40%, it will be facilitated" by the campaign planned in schools at the beginning of the school year. Véran also challenged information about the vaccine claiming that "no, messenger RNA vaccines do not modify the human genome” and “no, the vaccine does not disrupt the fertility of women."

Justice Minister announced budget increase - France’s Minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti has announced that the justice budget will increase by 8% in 2022. After the increase described as historic in 2021 by the French government the minister said, "it is a new massive effort that is being made”. After 607 million euros in 2021, the 2022 budget will increase, if the national representation wishes, by 660 million, another eight percent increase.

Former European Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier announces candidacy for France’s presidential - Former EU commissioner Michel Barnier has announced his candidacy for the 2022 presidential elections. The 70-year-old former European Union Brexit negotiator did not specify whether he would go through a right-wing primary. Speaking to French media on Thursday evening Barnier said that he wanted “to be the president of a reconciled France”. Barnier evoked the idea of "limi