French and Riviera News Monday 10th May 2021

News 

Two individuals have been stopped by police in connection with shooting of police officer in Avignon - Two individuals have been stopped by police in connection with the shooting of an officer in Avignon four days ago. Police arrested the men at a pay toll on the A9 motorway south of Avignon on Sunday. Police officer Eric Masson was shot dead during an anti-drug operation in the city centre last Wednesday May 5th. The investigation continues.

Meanwhile French Prime Minister Jean Castex will head a ceremony in Avignon tomorrow Tuesday 11th May, to pay tribute to the policeman killed. The Prime Minister will be accompanied by the Minister of the Interior.

Vaccination campaign in France - France’s vaccination campaign against Covid is accelerating with the Head of State announcing that nearly 20 million people in France have received the first dose reaching the target set out by the French government for mid-May. Vaccination against Covid opens to everyone over 50 today in France and on Wednesday May 12th will be made available to those over 18 as and when a slot becomes available. Meanwhile the number of people in intensive care has fallen below the 5,000 mark. On April 26th nearly 6,000 were admitted to intensive care due to Covid and a peak of 7,000 was reported during the first wave in spring of last year. In addition, 9,128 new cases of Covid have been reported over the last 24 hours in France.

No new cases of Covid in Monaco on Sunday - Meanwhile no new cases of Covid were declared in the Principality on Sunday May 9th. To date 2,479 residents have been affected since the start of the health crisis. One patient is in hospital in intensive care and 17 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

14-year-old hit and killed by train at Golfe-Juan - A 14-year-old girl has been hit and killed by a train at Golfe Juan. The accident happened on Sunday afternoon shortly before 3pm. The victim later died from her injuries. The train network came to a standstill between Nice and Cannes in both directions as emergency services intervened, resuming shortly after 5pm. The exact circumstances leading to the tragic incident remain unclear although first reports suggest she had taken her own life.

Road accident - Two women have been seriously injured after a road accident in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. The women who were at the time both driving scooters on the RM36 on Sunday afternoon were taken to Pasteur hospital in Nice. Their condition is reported to be stable. Police have appealed for any witnesses to come forward to determine the cause of the collision.

Mayor of Fréjus calls for police reinforcements - The mayor of Fréjus David Rachline has called for police reinforcement. After a night of urban violence at the weekend the mayor called for "action to be taken”. On Saturday night violence broke out in the town with several police officers injured and a dozen businesses damaged. Linked to drug trafficking, the Gabelle district has become a regular scene of clashes with police.

Mayor of Nice calls for the Republican party to clarify its political position - The mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has asked for "clarification on the political position" of his former party, the Republicans. Following his party’s refusal to ally with La République en Marche in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region Estrosi chose to leave, announcing his departure last week. He has since denounced "too much time and hesitation" to "answer a clear question" as to whether his party were leaning towards the National Front or the President of the Republic. He did not indicate the intention to create a new party but called for the “reorganization and unification of political life in France”. France is due to go to the polls in the Presidential election in April next year.

Macron calls for more agile and reactive European Union - French President Emmanuel Macron has called for a more agile and reactive European Union. The Head of State made the statement on Sunday at the launch in Strasbourg of the Conference on the Future of Europe. The conference is a citizen consultation via an online platform. Macron is behind the project which was set up ahead of France taking its turn with the presidency of the EU next spring. Macron described the conference as an unprecedented exercise to map out the next 10 years.

Climate change protests - Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Paris and other French cities on Sunday to call for more ambitious measures in the fight against climate change. The nationwide protests come after the lower house of parliament approved a climate bill aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions that environment activists say doesn’t go far or fast enough.

SNCF - The SNCF railway company has launched a campaign today warning people not to take selfies on tracks after a rise in the number of incidents during the coronavirus pandemic. France’s rail network said people were trespassing and taking dangerous risks to capture images at a time of reduced rail services and surveillance. The SNCF today launched the new video series on social media networks using the hashtag #SurLesRails (#OnRails).

Business

The US government has issued emergency legislation after the largest fuel pipeline in the country was hit by a Ransomware cyber attack. The Colonial Pipeline which carries 2.5 million barrels a day was completely knocked off-line by a cyber criminal gang on Friday and is still working to restore service. The Pipeline carries 45% of the diesel, gasoline and jet fuel supply for the east coast. A total of 18 states have been granted a temporary out of service waiver for transporting gasoline, jet fuel, diesel and other refund petroleum products. Sources say that the ransomware attack was caused by a cyber criminal gang called Dark Side which infiltrated Colonial’s network and took almost 100 GB of data hostage. After seizing the data, the hackers locked computers and servers and demanded  a ransom. Colonial says it’s working with law enforcement, cyber security experts and the Department of Energy to restore services. Last night, four mainlines remained off-line although some smaller lateral lines between terminals and delivery points are now operational. Experts say that fuel prices are likely to rise by 2 to 3% this morning but the impact will be far worse if it goes on for longer.

Ford is recalling 661,000 Explorer SUVs in North America because retention pins could loosen and allow roof rail covers to detach from the vehicle. The recall covers models made between 2016 and 2019. Dealers will install push pins and replace any damaged rail clips and roof rail covers. The issue was first raised in early 2020 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Last month it requested Ford issue a recall which the car maker had initially said was not necessary because of the low likelihood of a roof rail detaching. A Ford spokesman says the firm is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the problem.

Wendy’s, America’s second largest burger chain is returning to the UK after 20 years with a promise to take market share from McDonald’s and Burger King. Wendy’s, which is famous for its square burgers plans up to 400 outlets with the creation of 12,000 jobs. The company’s presence in the UK would still be far smaller than McDonald’s which has 1,300 UK outlets. Wendy’s left the UK after complaining of high operating costs. The firm has agreed a delivery deal with Uber Eats and will use the UK as a springboard for growth in the rest of Europe.

Sport

Formula One – Lewis Hamilton won the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday after Mercedes outfoxed Red Bull on tyre strategy. Hamilton’s third win in four races this season came despite losing the lead to Max Verstappen at the first corner. Mercedes put Hamilton on a two stop strategy and he then closed a 23 second gap in 18 laps to pass the Red Bull with six laps to go. Verstappen continued with a one-stop strategy after losing the lead and held on for second. He also scored an extra point for the fastest lap. Valtteri Bottas in the other Mercedes finished in third. Hamilton now has a 14 point lead over Verstappen heading into Monaco on the 23rd of May.

Football – There were four games in the English Premier League on Sunday. Wolves beat Brighton 2–1. Aston Villa lost 3–1 to Manchester United. Everton were one nil winners at West Ham and Arsenal beat West Brom 3–1 meaning that the Baggies are relegated. There’s one game tonight. Fulham will be relegated if they fail to beat Burnley at Craven Cottage.

St Johnstone are through to the final of the Scottish cup after beating St Mirren 2–1 on Sunday. St Johnstone will play Hibs in the final after they beat Dundee United 2–0 in the other semi-final.

Rugby Union – There was one game in the Gallagher Premiership in England on Sunday. Harlequins won a thrilling game against Wasps at the Stoop 48–46.

In the Guinness Pro 14 Rainbow Cup, Cardiff Blues beat Dragons 17–16

Tennis - World number six Alexander Zverev has won the Madrid Open. The German came through 6–7 6–4 6–3 against the Italian world number 10 Matteo Berrettini who’d been seeking his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title.

Golf – Rory McIlroy has won his first title since 2019 with victory in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. The world number 15 shot a closing 68 to win by 1 stroke. The victory came just six weeks after McIlroy started working with coach Pete Cowen. Abraham Ancer finished second with Victor Hovland and Keith Mitchell in a tie for third.

Weather

Sunshine and showers with more persistent rain this afternoon. Moderate to strong easterly winds and a high of 19 degrees. Overnight lows of 14-16 degrees with outbreaks of rain across the region.

Tuesday and Wednesday - Sunshine and showers tomorrow. Partially cloudy on Wednesday. Highs of 17-21 degrees.

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