French and Riviera News Monday 23rd August 2021


Marseille shootings, mayor says “situation is out of control” - A police investigation is underway after two people were shot dead, and a third burnt alive on Saturday evening in Marseille. It's the fourth death linked to gun violence this week, as the Mayor Benoît Payan says the “situation is out of control”.

Two victims aged 25 and 26 were killed in the first shootout around midnight in the 14th district of the city. Elsewhere, a 27-year-old man was kidnapped in the 4th district after a second shootout. He was burnt alive in his car.

Saturday's incident comes after a 14-year-old boy was killed and two others injured, again in the city's 14th district in a shootout last Wednesday. The number of deaths from gang and drug violence in the Bouches-du-Rhône department (which includes Marseille) has gone up in the last few months, with 11 deaths reported since the beginning of the year.

Woman in critical condition after being stabbed by her husband - A woman has been left in a critical condition after being stabbed by her husband. The incident occurred on Sunday evening at 23 Rue d’Angleterre in the centre of Nice. The circumstances of the stabbing, in which the man was also injured, remain unknown. Both were taken to hospital and police have opened an investigation.

Newborn dies from covid - A newborn has died from Covid. The child’s mother was covid positive. The regional health agency for south western France confirmed the death on Sunday August 22nd, in a maternity ward. It’s the seventh death of a child under ten from Covid. At the beginning of August, the Lenval hospital in Nice had raised the alarm on the rise in covid cases in newborns.

Covid figures for the Alpes Maritimes - Meanwhile 6 new covid patients were admitted to intensive care on Sunday August 23rd, in the Alpes Maritimes. According to figures from Public Health France the intensive care units in the region continue to fill up at a steady pace with 80 patients currently admitted. This is a figure close to that of during the first lockdown, in April of last year, when it stood at 84. According to data, 9 out of 10 patients admitted to intensive care are not vaccinated.

In total, 302 people are hospitalized in the Alpes-Maritimes and Sunday was also marked by 4 new deaths of Covid-19 in hospitals in the department. Covid-19 has caused 2,045 deaths in the Alpes-Maritimes since the beginning of the epidemic (1,593 in hospitals, 452 in Ehpad.)

The good news is that the incidence rate continues to fall, while at the same time the number of tests has exploded since the introduction of the health pass. According to Public Health France, the incidence rate - the number of positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants - was 468 on Sunday. It had peaked at the end of July with 656 positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Monaco declares four new cases - In Monaco four new cases of covid were declared on Sunday August 22nd, bringing the total number of residents affected to 3,133. Seventeen people are in hospital and 59 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Health pass extended in Monaco from today - As a reminder, from today Monday 23rd August, the health pass is to be extended in the Principality to enter restaurants and bars for residents and employees of the Principality aged over 18. Given the lower risk of contamination outdoors, the health pass will not be required for Monegasques, residents and employees wishing to sit on the fully open terrace of a restaurant or bar. In addition, an extra month has been granted to younger people: Monegasques, residents or schoolchildren in the Principality aged 16 and 17 will not be required to present a health pass to access restaurants and bars between now and September 23rd. 

Health pass in schools will not be required - France’s Education Minister has announced that the health pass will not be required in schools for both students and teachers. During the announcement on Sunday August 22nd, Jean Michel Blanquer explained that there will be a vaccination campaign in colleges and high schools from September, for students over 12 years old as well as staff, who wish to be vaccinated.

Classes will take place on site. Masks will be compulsory indoors from primary school and in case of contamination in a classroom, the seven-day isolation period will not be required for vaccinated pupils.

In primary schools, as children are not old enough to be vaccinated, the rule remains that the entire class will be closed for seven days. For school outings, pupils will not be asked for a health pass in places where they are not mixed with the public (swimming pools or libraries). However, from the 30th September onwards, they will be asked for a health pass from the age of 12 in places where it is already required.

Man questioned after trying to start fire - A 56-year-old man has been questioned by police after attempting to start a fire on the massif des Maures between Le Rayol Canadel and Cavalaire in the Var. The incident occurred on Saturday and comes as the region remains on high alert following a devastating wildfire which ravaged the Massif des Maures last week. According to reports the individual was reported to police after witnesses attempted to prevent him from carrying out the act.

High fire risk alert - Meanwhile access to the massifs of the Var and the Bouches-du-Rhône remains forbidden today Monday August 23rd, due to the high fire risk. The fire department warns of “very unfavourable” weather conditions and calls for caution. Gusts of wind are expected to reach up to 80 km/h by midday and temperatures will rise to 31 degrees. On Sunday, six roads were still closed to allow the intervention of hundreds of firemen who remain mobilized in the region.

Free party held at sea - Nearly fifty boats have gathered for a free party in the open sea. In total, between 100 and 150 people participated in the party, before being dispersed by the maritime police. The unusual intervention was carried out on Sunday at around 5 pm. A first luxury boat, which was in the bay of Cannes, put music on a sound system attracting other boats. Several people were fined for noise pollution and for excessive consumption of alcohol.

Josephine Baker will enter the Pantheon - Josephine Baker, the famed French American singer and dancer who also fought in the French resistance during WWII, will enter the Pantheon on 30th November.

Josephine Baker, who was born in Missouri in 1906 and buried in Monaco in 1975, will be the first black woman to be laid to rest in the Parisian monument. The Baker family have been requesting her induction since 2013, with a petition gathering some 38,000 signatures.

The Pantheon is a memorial complex for great national figures in French history from the world of politics, culture and science. Only the president can decide on moving personalities to the former church. Of the 80 figures in the Pantheon, only five are women, including the last inductee Simone Veil, a former French minister who survived the Holocaust and fought for abortion rights, who entered in 2018.


Provence's wine producers' association, the CIVP has said it was unclear how much damage had been caused, and an in-depth assessment is currently underway following last week’s wildfires. The blaze broke out in the Var region and was spread by strong winds. One winery owner told reporters that any hit to supplies was likely to push up prices. The National Federation of Agricultural Workers' Unions (FNSEA) said that although fires had mainly hit forests, several wine-growing areas were also heavily affected. It estimated the figure at 73 wineries and 5 cooperatives.

The UK’s Health Secretary has announced that more than 80 private Covid travel test providers listed on the government's website will be issued two-strike warnings over misleading prices.  A further 57 firms will be removed from the website today, because they either no longer exist or do not actually provide the relevant tests. The health secretary said the move was to clamp down on "cowboy behaviour". The government will also introduce spot checks on the test providers.

The company PayPal Holdings Inc has said today that it will allow customers in the UK to buy, sell and hold bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies starting this week.

Japan's factory activity growth slowed in August, while that of the services sector shrank at the fastest pace since May last year. The situation highlights the increasingly heavy toll a recent wave of covid infections is taking on the economy.


Football - There has been a dramatic end to the derby match between OGC Nice and the Olympique de Marseille on Sunday night, after the game had to be suspended. After an hour and half of play fans invaded the pitch leading to players being injured. Nice at the time was leading 1-0, but one week after a similar incident in Montpellier, where Nice fans had also thrown bottles on the field, against OM, French soccer experienced a new incident.

According to reports everything went wrong in the 75th minute when OM player Dimitri Payet was hit by a bottle and threw it back into the crowd before fans stormed the pitch causing it to be abandoned. After a long delay, Nice's players came out to finish the game - but Marseille's players refused to. Some of the Marseille players were reportedly injured in the incident. As Marseille president Pablo Longoria said, "Our players were attacked”. Players and officials eventually made it off the pitch and back down the tunnel away from the chaos outside.

Premier League - Meanwhile in the Premier League on Sunday, Southampton drew 1-1 against Manchester United, Tottenham beat Wolverhampton 1-0 and Arsenal lost to Chelsea 2-0.

Tonight, in the Premier League West Ham are at home to Leicester kick off is at 9pm French time.

Tennis - World number one Ashleigh Barty warmed up for the US Open by clinching the Cincinnati Open with a straight-set win over Jil Teichmann in the final. Barty, 25, produced a polished performance to beat the 24-year-old Swiss wildcard 6-3 6-1. The Australian managed eight aces and 28 winners as she cruised to another commanding victory.

Le Man 24-hour - Toyota's dominance of the Le Mans 24-hour race continued as they secured victory for the fourth successive year. The Japanese manufacturers' two hypercars finished first and second. 


Hazy sunshine in the Alpes Maritimes. Highs of 27 degrees in Monaco, Nice and Antibes, with a gentle breeze. This evening going down to 21 degrees along the coast and clear skies. In Toulon and Saint Tropez clear skies high of 30 degrees in Marseille going down to 20 degrees this evening. Risk of strong winds by this afternoon.  

Outlook for Tuesday - Starting off cloudy across the region with scattered showers forecast in the afternoon and thundery showers inland. Highs of 28 degrees. Outlook for Wednesday sunny intervals in the Alpes Maritimes with clear skies forecast for the Var and highs of 28-29 degrees.

And Finally 

A cat owner is offering a $2,000 reward for the safe return of a pet cat named Teddy, who disappeared on an Air France flight between Nice and Los Angeles, with a layover at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.

The cage in which Teddy was travelling was found to have been broken during the journey and Teddy was nowhere to be seen on arrival at Los Angeles International Airport. According to reports the pet had been successfully checked in to flight from Paris to Los Angeles on July 29th.


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