French and Riviera News Friday October 23rd 2020

Curfew-The Alpes-Maritimes and the Var are both to be subject to curfew restrictions from midnight tonight as the government attempts to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The departments are two of 38 new areas to see a curfew imposed with the Prime Minister Jean Castex warning that the situation around the country is “especially alarming”.
France has registered an extra 41,622 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours-a new record  and 2,239 intensive care hospital beds are occupied out of a total of 5,800.

Mr Castex said that he had reluctantly taken the fresh measures which will affect some 44 million French people but that he had no choice as the second wave of the virus sweeps the country.

He conceded that the measures were preventative in some departments but warned that November is set to be an “extremely tough month”

The Alpes Maritimes and Var pass into the Red Zone despite being below the official alert figure of 250 infections per 100,000 people owning to other factors including ICU hospital bed occupancy and infection rates in the over 65s.
The curfew will be in force nightly from 9pm until 6am for an initial period of 6 weeks with some exemptions for people working,walking pets ,medical appointments and travel on production of a valid ticket.People carrying out child minding or looking after the sick or elderly will also be exempt.
People living in the Alpes-Maritimes and Var will be required to fill out a form similar to that which was required during lockdown earlier this year.
There is one for people who are working during curfew hours and which should be filled out by employers and another for general use.Both are available for download from the French Interior Ministry website.
So far there are no plans for similar measures to be imposed by the government of the Principality of Monaco.


New Covid app- The government has launched a new Covid-19 app in a bid to track and trace anyone who’s contracted the virus or may have been exposed to it.

Tousanticovid is available to download now and the government is encouraging as many people do so as possible.

The previous Stop Covid app has only had a minimum impact on the fight against the virus and the government wants the new app to be taken up as much as similar apps in the UK and Germany have where they’ve been downloaded several million times in each country.


Hard times-Many businesses in the Alpes-Maritimes ,particularly in the leisure and entertainment sector say that the curfew will see them go to the wall.
Bars and restaurants have already been struggling with forced closure at 10pm but the increased restrictions with people expected to be at home by 9pm is likely to see them starved of customers.
The government and regional authorities are working on extra financial help for those businesses hardest hit by the curfew but many  are saying it won’t be enough to prevent them from folding.

Brits arrested-Seven British nationals have been arrested in Paris following a reported attempted hit and run attempt on a gendarme.
The Paris Prosecutors office says the incident happened outside the Israeli embassy after two cars drove towards the officer near the Champs Elysees on Monday night.
The officer escaped unhurt and the cars used in the incident are both said to have been fitted with false number plates of H17NRN- understood to mean ‘hit and run’.
The 7 arrested ,including 2 minors claim to be London-born Pakistanis but have  been unable to produce passports.
The incident comes at a time of heightened tension in the French capital following last week’s beheading of a French school teacher.
The Paris Prosecutor has launched an investigation into “attempted homicide” of a public official.

Rain-Areas battered by Storm Alex three weeks ago are experiencing heavy rain again today.
Meteo France says that parts of the Roya ,Tinee and Vesubie valleys could get up to 40mm of rain over the next 24 hours which is set to add to complications as authorities continue to carry out repairs sustained during Storm Alex on the 2nd of October.
The prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes Bernard Gonzalez has called for residents to take extra care on roads and in areas already badly affected. The  latest bad weather could result in fresh damage to already seriously weakened infrastructure.


Drug ring busted-Gendarmes  say that they’ve broken up a large drug ring and seized more than 40 kilos of herbal cannabis.
14 arrests have been made with suspects thought to have been involved in smuggling large amounts of cannabis between Spain and France. 8 of the arrests came in the Bordeaux region in a raid involving 70 officers.
As well as the drugs seized ,Gendarmes have also confiscated 450,000 euros in cash.
The operation is the result of a year-long enquiry with officers tracking the drugs from their production site in Bilbao in northern Spain to various drop off points in France.
The 6 people arrested in Spain are due to be extradited to France on European arrest warrants.

Missing hiker-Police are looking for a woman who’s been missing from her home at Tavernes near Barjols in the Var since Wednesday morning.
Carole Amoros was wearing a red jacket when she left home to go for a walk in forest land at Bury -Notre Dame de Bellevue at 10am on Wednesday but she hasn’t been seen since.
Anyone with information is asked to call Gendarmes in Barjols on 04 94 77 01 18.

Amo ,amas ,amat... There are 7,000 Latin teachers in France with around 13 percent of school children in France studying ancient languages.
However ,many former students confess to studying it while at school and then forgetting most of it soon afterwards
Linguists say that Latin plays a vital link between the ancient and modern worlds and anyone with only a rudimentary knowledge of the language can see how many French words in daily usage have their roots in the Roman world.
Ancient Greek on the other hand appears to be going out of fashion which would no doubt dismay Plato and Socrates but there doesn’t seem to be an appetite for it among French students.
Latin on the other hand appears to be here to stay.
Et hoc est finis nuntium.




US stock futures have dipped and the yen has strengthened slightly  following the final Presidential debate ahead of the November the 3rd election.

Analysts say that the debate between President Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden has hardened investors’ caution heading into the election.

Strategists say that it was a better tempered debate this time compared with the widely criticised “car crash” of the first meeting between the two men.

The early verdict is that the debate was pretty much a draw although some put Donald Trump as marginal winner but it’s not expected to shift the polls in any great direction with Joe Biden  still leading the incumbent by around 10 points in most major surveys.

The final debate came near the end of a choppy trading week on Wall Street with investors concerned over whether Congress and Mr Trump will approve another fiscal stimulus package ahead of the election.


The UK Finance Minister has unveiled increased support for jobs and workers hit by Covid-19 restrictions after growing demands from firms in tier-2 areas.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced major changes to the Job Support Scheme  which is set to replace furlough measures from the 1st of November.

Mr Sunak said that businesses were facing “profound economic uncertainty” and that under the revised scheme employers will pay less and staff can work less before they qualify for financial aid.

Businesses in tier-2 areas had complained that they would be better off if they were under tier-3 restrictions  and said that even if they were forced to close ,they would benefit from greater government aid.

Mr Sunak has now changed the terms of the Job Support Scheme which will give businesses in tier-2 areas of the country better financial protection.


And-Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay nearly 3 billion dollars to end a probe of its role in the 1MBD scandal.

Goldman’s Malaysian subsidiary has also admitted in court that it had paid more than 1 billion dollars in bribes to win contracts raising money for the Malaysian state-owned wealth fund.

US officials say that the record settlement reflects Goldman’s “central role” in a massive corruption scheme.

The bank admitted that it had “fallen short” and called it an “institutional failure”.




Football-There were a stack of ties in the Europa League tonight with Spurs beating  LASK 3-0 in Group J .Arsenal 2-1 winners at  Rapid Vienna in Group B .Nice were thrashed 6-2  at Bayer Leverkusen in Group C. Rangers were 2-0 winners at  Standard Liege in Group D .Celtic lost 3-1 at home to AC Milan in Group H and Leicester beat  Zorya Luhansk 3-0  in Group G.


In the English Premier League tonight Aston Villa play Leeds.

On Saturday West Ham play Manchester City.Fulham host Crystal Palace.Manchester United play Chelsea and Liverpool host Sheffield United.

On Sunday Southampton play Everton.Wolves host Newcastle and Arsenal play Leicester.

Brighton play West Brom and Burnley host Spurs on Monday.


Rugby Union-England’s match against the Barbarians on Sunday has been thrown into doubt after several of the tour players broke Covid-19 restrictions by leaving their hotel for a night out.

Barbarians are now scratching around for players with the situation complicated by the fact that anyone drafted in will have had to had a recent coronavirus test before being cleared to play.

A decision as to whether the match will have to be called off will be made this afternoon.


There’s one international match tonight.Scotland play Georgia while on Saturday Ireland play Italy in the 6 Nations and France host Wales in a friendly Test.


It’s the Gallagher Premiership final tomorrow too with Exeter facing Wasps who are able to field a side despite recent coronavirus setbacks.


Cycling-Tao Hart of Great Britain has won stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia to ride right back into contention for the overall lead.

Hart fought superbly up the Stelvio Pass to claw back more than 2 minutes in the overall standings.

Joao Almedia has finally relinquished the race lead which is now being led by Wilco Kelderman of the Netherlands with Jai Hindley of Austria 12 second behind and Hart just 15 seconds off the lead.


Meanwhile Daniel Martin of Ireland has won stage 3 of the Vuelta e Espana cutting the overall lead of Primo Roglic.

The 34 year old attacked the last 200 meters of the climb up Laguna Negra to hold off Roglic who now has just a five second advantage over the Irish rider.




Rain clearing away with sunny periods this afternoon and light variable winds.

Top temperature 21 degrees.

Overnight lows of 15 degrees with clear skies.

The weekend-Clear skies with highs of 19-21 degrees.

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