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 "limiting immigration and controlling it" and "putting work, merit at the center of our society" as well as the fight against "climate change that will disrupt everything".

Business

Microsoft has warned thousands of its cloud computing customers, including some of the world's largest companies, that intruders could have the ability to read, change or even delete their main databases, according to a copy of the email and a cyber security researcher.

A U.S. judge has declined to stop Johnson & Johnson from taking steps to offload widespread Baby Powder liabilities from the rest of its business, preserving the option for the healthcare company to move thousands of claims from people who used its talc products to a unit that would file for bankruptcy.

The UK has lost 83% of its main department stores in the five years since the collapse of the BHS chain. The figure highlights the extent of the upheaval in the High Street as the Covid pandemic sped up changes in shopping habits.

Canada, Denmark, Finland and Switzerland are among the latest nations to be added to the UK's green travel list. The Department for Transport has revealed its latest changes to the covid travel rules, with all of the alterations taking effect from 4am on Monday.

Sport 

Tokyo Paralympics - Lee Pearson won his 12th Paralympic title as Great Britain took five golds across four sports on day two of the Tokyo Paralympics. Today is a busy day for France with the beginning of athletics, new chances of medals in track cycling and swimming. Thirteen Frenchmen will still be competing in para table tennis today. Among them, the reigning Paralympic champion in the Class 2 category, Fabien Lamirault.

Football – Real Madrid has come up with a new offer of €180 million for PSG player Kylian Mbappé. Real Madrid increases the stake as the Madrid club offers 180 million euros to Paris Saint-Germain, after a first refusal of an offer at 160 million euros.

Meanwhile undoubtedly one of the greatest players of all time, but with a year left on his contract Juventus are prepared to sell Christiano Ronaldo according to reports.  Manchester City are one of the clubs to have made contact with Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes, with some reports suggesting personal terms have already been agreed.

In the Premier league this weekend on Saturday: Manchester City play Arsenal, Aston Villa are at home to Brentford, Newcastle play Southampton, Norwich play Leicester, West Ham play Crystal Palace and Liverpool play Chelsea, kick off is at 6.30pm French time.

On Sunday Burnley play Leeds, Tottenham are at home to Watford and Wolverhampton play Manchester united.

Formula One - Red Bull's Max Verstappen is likely to suffer a grid penalty at some point this season for exceeding his permitted engine allocation. Honda has discovered that the power-unit in Verstappen's car when he crashed with Lewis Hamilton at the British Grand Prix cannot be repaired. Verstappen is already on his third of three allowed engines. The Dutchman will likely need to use a fourth engine, which would mean a start from the back at a future race.

Tennis - Former champion Andy Murray will face Greek third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first round of the US Open. Top seed Novak Djokovic, bidding for a record 21st Grand Slam men's singles title and a clean sweep of the majors in 2021, starts against a qualifier.

Weather 

Mainly fine with some cloudy patches by this afternoon. Highs of 28 degrees in Nice, Monaco and Antibes. In the Var highs of 31 degrees in La Croix Valmer and 32 degrees inland with a gentle breeze. This ending going down to 19 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for the weekend - Rather unsettled on Saturday with scattered showers and sunny intervals highs of 27 degrees. Sunday clear skies and highs of 27-30 degrees.

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