French and Riviera News Monday 19th April

News 

Number of intensive care patients drops slightly in France - After more than two weeks of lockdown the number of intensive care patients in France has dropped slightly below 5,900. With health authorities claiming a stabilisation in the number of people being admitted. 

Quarantine on travellers – Meanwhile France has imposed a 10-day quarantine on travellers coming from Brazil, Argentina, Chile and South Africa over concerns about the circulation of highly contagious Covid-19 variants. French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced the new measures as France continues to battle a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hospital interns under pressure - According to the union for hospital interns in Paris many are at breaking point due to the long hours on the “Covid frontline” with some even committing suicide. France has 300,000 medical student interns; whose average age is 25.

Computer failure at Pasteur hospital in Nice - The Pasteur hospital in Nice has been hit by a computer failure. The incident occurred on Sunday 18th April plunging the hospital into a digital blackout as staff tried to operate without computers. The outage occurred over night and lasted until mid-afternoon.

Incidence rate in Alpes Maritimes drops to below national average - After two months of restrictions in the Alpes Maritimes, the incidence rate for the region has fallen below the alert threshold, at 250. According to Public Health France, the incidence rate for the Alpes Maritimes stood at 229 on Sunday April 18th, a figure that had not been reached in the region since December 12th. The current rate also sees the region fall below the national average in France which stands at 352. At the height of the epidemic in the Alpes-Maritimes, the incidence rate was 642.

Vaccinodrome closes due to lack of people - The vaccinodrome at the Palais des Expositions has closed its doors early, due to a poor turn out. The vaccination centre had been set up to welcome priority professionals over 55 to receive the AstraZenzca vaccine however, with only 58 people turning up on Saturday April 17th the setup had closed its doors by midday.

In other news 

Kidnapping - Police in France have said that an eight-year-old girl who was kidnapped in eastern France last week has been found with her mother in Switzerland. Her mother, Lola Montemaggi, has since been taken into Swiss police custody. Officials say she ordered the abduction of the girl, of whom she no longer had custody, from her grandmother's home.

Aid for farmers - French Prime Minister Jean Castex has pledged more than one billion euros in aid for farmers and winemakers hit by the worst frost in decades. Across France, farmers are counting their losses after the freeze, which followed a period of unseasonably warm weather, affected hundreds of thousands of hectares of crops and vines in 10 of the country's 13 regions. 

Macron to launch national debate on drug consumption - In an interview with Le Figaro, French President Emmanuel Macron has declared that he wants to launch a national debate on drug consumption with the intention to change the law on criminal liability. The announcement comes after the judgment of the Sarah Halimi, a case where the aggressor was criminally recognized irresponsible after consuming narcotics.

Macron pays tribute to one of the last surviving members of French commando in the 1944 Normandy landings - At the weekend French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to Hubert Faure, one of the last surviving members of a French commando team which took part in the 1944 Normandy landings, who died aged 106. Macron expressed "the gratitude of the nation" and sent his condolences to Faure's family in a statement, saying the former navy commando provided "a wonderful lesson in commitment and heroism".

Business

Asian shares have risen this morning helped by expectations that monetary policy will remain accommodative while COVID-19 vaccine rollouts are helping to ease fears of another dangerous wave of coronavirus infections. On Friday the S&P 500 closed at a new record high clocking in its six straight weekly gain. Investors will be looking out this week for earnings from IBM and Coca-Cola while Netflix reports on Tuesday and later in the week American Airlines and Southwest will be the first major air carriers to post results as the pandemic recedes. The European Central bank will meet on Thursday with no changes forecast to rates or guidance. Meanwhile, Bitcoin the world’s largest crypto currency recouped much of its losses after plunging as much as 14% on Sunday following speculation the US Treasury may be looking at cracking down on money laundering activity with digital assets.

Facebook has said that employees can continue working from home despite other tech giants appearing to go off the idea. The social media giant says it thinks the remote work is “the future”. People in eligible roles at Facebook can now apply for permanent remote working, subject to approval from managers. Silicon Valley executives were quick to endorse the shift to remote work last year with some indicating that it could continue even after the pandemic. Last May, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg predicted that 50% of the company’s employees could be working remotely within the next 5 to 10 years. The head of Twitter, Jack Dorsey also made headlines when he announced his employees can now work from home “forever”. The coronavirus crisis has prompted a rapid shift away from office working to homeworking but many firms are now deciding whether to bring employees back to offices or allow them to stay at home.

The billionaire Issa brothers who own Asda have now bought the British fast-food chain Leon. More than 70 Leon restaurants across the UK and Europe have been sold to the brother’s giant petrol forecourt business E.G Group. E.G Group said that Leon is a “fantastic brand” that we have long admired. The deal includes 42 company owned restaurants as well as 29 franchise sites which are mainly found in airports and train stations across the UK as well as a handful of European countries such as Spain and the Netherlands. The acquisition which is reportedly worth up to £100 million is being seen as a complimentary addition to E.G Group’s existing businesses as it seeks to expand the food side of its operation.

Sport

Tennis – The world number five Stefanos Tsitsipas has won his first Masters 1000 title after beating Andrey Rublev 6–3 6–3 in the final at the Monte Carlo Masters. Tsitsipas didn’t drop a set throughout the competition and took just one hour 11 minutes to win a one-sided match against the Russian. Afterwards the 22-year-old said that he’d had an unbelievable week and was overwhelmed by so many different emotions and nostalgia. He said he considered it had been the best week of his life so far.

Formula One - Max Verstappen has won an incident-packed Emelia Romagnia Grand Prix at Imola as Lewis Hamilton recovered to finish second. Rain at the start of the race led to one of the most incident-packed events in memory as treacherous conditions caught out the vast majority of drivers at different points of the proceedings. There was an early safety car and a red flag later following a massive crash between Valtteri Bottas and George Russell. The two drivers blamed each other but it appeared from television replays that Bottas had held the dry racing line. Verstappen almost lost his win when he half spun at the restart following the red flag and Hamilton battled back to finish second after a rare error caused him to go onto the gravel trap and drop down to 9th. Lando Norris finished a creditable third for McLaren. Lewis Hamilton hangs onto the lead in the drivers’ championship by one point from Verastappen thanks to registering the fastest lap in the race to gain an extra point. The next race is the Portuguese Grand Prix on the 2nd May.

Football - The big six English clubs have agreed to join a new European Super League. In a seismic change for European football the Premier League clubs will join up with leading teams from Europe in the rebel league. The European Super League says that the founding clubs have established a new mid-week competition with teams continuing to compete in their respective national leagues. Europe’s governing body UEFA has slammed the development and promised sanctions against those clubs taking part.

Leicester City are through to the final of the FA Cup. Leicester beat Southampton 1-0 and will play Chelsea in the final next month. There were two games in the English Premier League on Sunday. Arsenal and Fulham drew 1-1 and Manchester United beat Burnley 3–1. There’s one game tonight. Leeds host Liverpool.

In the English Championship on Sunday, Rotherham lost one nil at home to Birmingham and Coventry beat Barnsley two nil.

In the Scottish Cup Stranraer lost four nil at home to Hibs and Rangers beat Celtic 2-0

Rugby Union - There was one game in the Gallagher English Premiership on Sunday. Bath squeaked past Leicester 21–20.

Weather

Partially cloudy with maybe a shower or two this afternoon. Light to moderate variable winds and a high of 17 degrees. Overnight lows of 8-10 degrees with clear skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday - Partially cloudy tomorrow, rain on Wednesday. Highs of 15-17 degrees.

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