French and Riviera News Friday 3rd September 2021

News 

Weather warning - Meteo France has issued a yellow weather warning for storms in the Alpes Maritimes from 2pm to 4pm today Friday 3 September. A yellow storm warning for the Var was issued from 10pm on Thursday evening it remains in place until at least 4pm this afternoon.

Tribute to Monegasque firefighters - Monegasque firefighters have paid tribute to the firemen killed in a road accident on Tuesday evening in Puget-Théniers in the Var. The discreet ceremony took place on Thursday afternoon at the scene of the accident. Several local officials were present.

Sergeant Stephan Hertier and Sapper Matis Canavese were killed following a collision with a van on the departmental road, outside the town, as they returned from a motorcycle ride in Valberg. Two other firefighters were also injured. The motorist involved in the fatal accident has been placed in police custody.

“Marseille en grand” - French President Emmanuel Macron's has announced the plan for "Marseille en grand". During his visit to the city Macron on Thursday said that the State will provide around 1.5 billion euros in new funding, mainly for transport, but also for culture and security.

The head of state said he wanted to step up the fight against drugs trafficking and announced that 200 additional police officers will arrive in Marseille in 2022. The two additional CRS units which have been in the city since March will be made permanent. The government will fund the installation of 500 security cameras. Eight million euros will be spent on equipping police officers and a new police station will be constructed.

Health situation - Macron also addressed the current health situation during his speech, saying that he doesn't rule out an extension to the health pass beyond its current end date of November 15th. He said that it's too early to say if an extension will be required but "if the epidemic is still present in the coming weeks" it will be necessary to leave the possibility open "for the territories which are most affected". He added that it's because of the health pass that it's no longer necessary to close restaurants, cafes, theatres, cinemas and sports activities.

Figures - Meanwhile latest figures show that the number of hospitalizations has dropped back below the 11,000 mark while the hospital pressure remains high in three departments: Bouches-du-Rhône (967 people hospitalized), Martinique (727) and Guadeloupe (586).

French hospitals have counted 10,934 covid patients, including 648 admitted in the past 24 hours as the daily number of deaths remains high with 104 people killed by covid in the last 24 hours.

The situation is also critical in French Polynesia, where a severe upsurge in the epidemic has led the authorities to extend the lockdown in force since August 23.

Vaccination - Since the start of the vaccination campaign in France, 48,877,298 people have received at least one injection (i.e. 72.5% of the total population) and 44,838,424 people now have a complete vaccination schedule (i.e. 66.5% of the population).

Riot police officer handed prison sentence - A riot police officer has been handed an 18-month suspended prison sentence for assaulting a British migrant-support activist during an operation in Calais. The French court also barred the police sergeant from serving for two years over the events of 31 July 2018. The port of Calais is a key crossing point for migrants trying to reach Britain. There are several informal camps around the city, housing people hoping to cross the Channel to England. Several British migrant support groups are active in the area. The convicted officer was one of a team deployed to remove migrants from an area near the ring road around Calais.

Google - Google has said that it will appeal a €500 million fine handed to it by the French competition watchdog over their use of news content in its search results. Google says the fine is disproportionate; the watchdog says the company is not complying with EU copyright rules to compensate media companies.

Business

General Motors has announced that it will stop output at most of its North American plants in September as the semiconductor chip shortage continues to hit carmakers. Four plants in the United States, three in Mexico and one in Canada will shut down for up to 2 weeks. Ford and Toyota have also cut output as chip makers in the US and Asia struggle to meet demand from economies reopening following lockdowns. The shortage has pushed up car prices resulting in people buying second hand. General Motors says the shutdown will affect some of its most profitable vehicles including SUVs and full and mid-size pick up trucks. Earlier this week, Ford said it would cut truck production because of the shortage while Toyota is slashing global production by 40%.

Oil prices have dipped this morning after posting strong overnight gains on a weaker dollar and a bigger than expected fall in US crude stocks. The move down this morning is said to be due to traders squaring positions ahead of the US non-farm payrolls report for August which is out later today. There are concerns that the report may be weaker than consensus forecasts. Brent crude was down by 0.2% a little earlier to $72.90 with West Texas intermediate down 0.3% at $69.75. Both benchmark prices have been rising this week on a weaker dollar which makes oil cheaper in other currencies as well as the fallout from Hurricane Ida.

The British retail Consortium has said that shortages of HGV drivers and other supply chain issues has put food manufacturing on the “edge of coping.” The BRC has warned that the Christmas period will be incredibly challenging in some areas. Andrew Opie the BRC’s director of food and sustainability said that factories cannot recruit enough staff and there are major concerns about shortages in manufacturing and food processing. Mr Opie added that the industry cannot recruit enough indigenous workers as people do not want to do those roles for “whatever reason”. He said that the situation left the government with a choice. “Does it wants to maintain the level of food manufacturing as it stands at the moment in the UK, or does it risk offshoring production to other countries meaning finished goods end up being imported ?”

Sport

Paralympics – China is still way out in front in the medals table at the Paralympic games in Tokyo. China has 77 gold medals with Great Britain in second place on 34 and Russian athletes in third on 32. There are 55 medal events on day 10 of the games including in men’s archery, shooting, table tennis, wheelchair tennis and taekwondo. It’s also the final day in the pool many medal events taking place.

Football – England beat Hungary 4–0 in their World Cup qualifier last night but the match was overshadowed by racist abuse directed at black players. Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham were both subjected to monkey chants and the players were loudly booed when they took the knee ahead of kickoff to protest against racism. The English football Association has condemned the incidents and is calling on FIFA to investigate the matter urgently.

In other World Cup qualifying results last night, Sweden beat Spain 2–1, Germany were 2–0 winners in Liechtenstein and