French and Riviera News Monday 14th December 2020

News

Road accident - One person has been killed and three people injured following a road accident on Sunday. The accident, involving three vehicles, occurred on Sunday afternoon on the A8 motorway at the Antibes pay toll eastbound. An investigation has been opened into the cause of the collision. 

Covid-19 - Figures published by Public Health France have shown that 500 people were hospitalised on Sunday in the Alpes Maritimes due to Covid-19 marking a rise in the number of cases in the region.

Meanwhile police in Marseille have opened an investigation into an illegal party held on a private property of the city on Saturday night despite France still being under lockdown. 500 people are reported to have attended the party on the Boulevard de Plombières. Police evacuated partygoers who had paid to attend the evening. Several fines were issued but no arrests were made.

And a mass Covid-19 testing campaign is to get underway today in the northern city of Le Havre. Mayor Edouard Philippe says he will be happy to get at least 50 percent of the population tested. The campaign is just one of several testing campaigns to be launched before and after Christmas in large French cities as part of the government's 'test-alert-protect' strategy.

End of lockdown, curfew begins - Following new restrictions in the fight against Covid-19 from tomorrow Tuesday 15th December, the lockdown will be lifted being replaced with a night time curfew from 8pm to 6am. New forms will be required if you need to leave the house during the curfew, these forms can be downloaded from the government’s website. As with previous forms, you will be able to copy the necessary details out by hand on a blank piece of paper and they will also be available digitally for use on a smartphone or other devices.

Overall, reasons related to being able to circulate during the curfew include work, charity work, health reasons, childcare or caring for a vulnerable person. You are also allowed to go out with your dog but not to exercise. Travelling between regions will be allowed after December 15th, but the curfew times still apply with exceptions to taking the train or plane in which case you must show your ticket as proof.

The fine for being out without a valid form or reason will be €135 for the first offence, rising to €375 if not paid on time or not contested within the time.

Ski resorts - The French government has announced that it will allow ski resorts to reopen lifts on January 7th if the coronavirus situation allows. The announcement came following a meeting between French Prime Minister Jean Castex and ski resorts' representatives.

Meanwhile Finance minister Bruno Le Maire has said that the 2021 budget has earmarked 400 million euros to support ski resorts forced to close for Christmas holidays. As European countries have struggled in recent weeks to act in unison on ski resorts, France, which has 250 ski centres, will make random border checks to stop French people getting infected with COVID-19 by crossing into countries where resorts remain open.

Global security law - Protests have taken place across France at the weekend against the government’s proposed "global security" law. In Paris, 150 people were arrested of which thirty people were still in police custody on Sunday evening.

No-deal Brexit - France has shrugged off plans by Britain to deploy naval vessels to protect its fishing rights in the wake of a possible no-deal Brexit. Resorting to a British wartime slogan, in response to London’s decision to assign four Royal Navy patrol vessels if the Brexit transition period ends without a trade agreement, an Elysee official said "Keep calm and carry on”. Britain quit the EU in January, but under the terms of its exit deal remains part of the bloc's single market and customs union until a transition period expires on December 31st.

Research into climate change - French sailing ship Tara has set off on a two-year-long research expedition. The sailing laboratory will travel 70,000 kilometres in the South Atlantic, along the South American and African coasts, as far as Antarctica. Conceived by the Tara Ocean Foundation, this is the boat's 12th mission and it involves 42 research institutions around the world. This time it will study the most fundamental fabric of the Ocean, its micro-organisms, and the future of this ecosystem under the new stresses of climate change.  

Euromillion winner still to come forward - The biggest ever lottery win in France has not yet been claimed. Friday’s Euromillion saw one lucky person in France win the jackpot of 200 million euros but the winner remains a mystery. It’s not yet known in which region the ticket was validated as the lucky person is no doubt checking as to where they may have safe guarded the winning numbers 6 9 13 24 and 41.

Business

The UK and the European Union have announced that talks on a post-Brexit trade deal will continue following a call between leaders on Sunday. In a joint statement, Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen said that it was “responsible at this point to go the extra mile”. Reports say that the two leaders discussed “major unresolved topics” during their telephone call. Both sides had previously said that Sunday would be the deadline for a decision on whether to continue the talks but now say that they’ve agreed to allow negotiators to carry on talks in Brussels to see whether an agreement can be reached “even at this late stage”. No new date has been given for the conclusion of talks but the ultimate deadline is the 31st December and time will be necessary to give both the UK and European parliaments a vote on any deal that may emerge. Ursula von der Layen said that Sunday’s call with Mr Johnson had been “constructive and useful” but the British Prime Minister reiterated that a no-deal scenario was still the most likely outcome.

British consumers have been told not to stockpile food and toilet roll ahead of the 1st January when the UK stops trading under EU rules. The British Retail Consortium said on Sunday that ongoing uncertainty made it hard for firms to prepare for the New Year but insisted that shops had plenty of supplies and that shoppers should not buy more food than usual. There are concerns that UK consumers may think that disruption at ports after the 31st December could lead to shortages in shops as Britain transitions to new trading rules with the EU. The chief executive of the British Retail Consortium Helen Dickinson says that a no-deal outcome will result in price rises at the shops with more than 3 billion pounds in food tariffs and retailers having no choice but to pass additional costs on to consumers.

McLaren Racing has agreed to sell a third of the company to a group of US based investors. MSP Sports Capital will inject 185 million pounds into McLaren by the end of 2022 in a deal which values the British firm at 560 million pounds. The consortium has initially bought 15 percent of the firm which run’s McLaren’s Formula 1 and IndyCar teams, rising to 33 percent. The chief executive of McLaren Racing, Zak Brown says that the investment bolsters the firm’s plan to return to contention for wins and championships in both Formula 1 and IndyCar and that MSP Sports Capital has considerable experience and proven success in global sports properties.

Sport

Football - There were 5 games in the English Premier League on Sunday with the top two both dropping points. Spurs remain top of the table despite a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace with Liverpool second following a 1-1 draw at Fulham. Leicester climb to third on the back of a 3-0 win over Brighton and Southampton move up to 4th after beating rock bottom Sheffield United 3-0. Arsenal are getting into increasingly big trouble after losing 1-0 at home to Burnley.

In the Scottish Premiership on Sunday Rangers were 2-1 winners at Dundee United and Celtic beat Kilmarnock 2-0.

Formula 1 - Max Verstappen has won the season ending race in Abu Dhabi with the two Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton second and third. The Dutchman led from pole and retained control of the race throughout proceedings. Bottas and Hamilton, who said that he was still suffering from the aftereffects of Coronavirus couldn’t match the pace of the Red Bull and had to settle for podium places.

Rugby Union - There were four games in pool 2 of the European Champions Cup on Sunday. Lyon thrashed Gloucester 55-10. Exeter hammered Glasgow 42-0. Racing 92 beat Connacht 26-22 and Munster beat Harlequins 21-7.

Cricket - New Zealand have beaten West Indies by an innings and 12 runs in the second Test in Wellington. The home side only needed to bat once making 470 before bowling West Indies out for 131 and then 317 to win the match and the series 2-0.

Golf - Lee Westwood has won his third Race to Dubai title at the DP World Tour Championship. Matthew Fitzpatrick won the event on 15 under but Westwood took the season-long title after Laurie Canter double-bogeyed the par-three 17th. The error was enough to lift Westwood into second place, pipping Fitzpatrick and Patrick Reed who led the standings at the start of the week.

Boxing - Promotor Eddie Hearn says he expects to take a “couple of days” to sort out a world heavyweight unification fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury. Negotiations will start today and are expected to set up the first fight in history for all four heavyweight titles. Joshua came through his test against Kubrat Pulev in London on Saturday with a 9th round knockout. Hearn says that there’s no reason why a date for a fight against Fury can’t be sorted out quickly. The only hitch could be a legal challenge from Deontay Wilder which might result in Fury having to agree to a rematch. On Sunday, after Joshua had beaten Pulvev, Fury posted a video message to social media saying that he’d “knock him out within three rounds”. Joshua said that he was unconcerned by Fury’s taunts.

Weather

Partially cloudy with light to moderate easterly winds. Top temperature 15 degrees. Overnight lows of 10 degrees on the coast and 7 degrees inland with cloudy skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday - Cloudy with outbreaks of rain tomorrow and a high of 14. Partially cloudy on Wednesday with a high of 13 degrees.

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