French and Riviera News Monday 7th June 2021

News 

Region in south western France under close surveillance due to covid variant - France’s Health Minister Oliver Véran has said that covid testing is to be increased in the Landes in southwestern France, due to the spread of the Delta variant of covid. While the health situation improves in France the Landes region is under close surveillance due to the spread of the Indian variant, called Delta. The department’s incidence rate increased by 35% in less than three weeks according to regional health figures. The minister, speaking on Sunday June 6th said that health workers in the region were “increasing screening to identify contact cases”.

Meanwhile the minister welcomed an overall improvement in the health situation across France quoting an incidence rate of below 100 and 2,500 patients in intensive care. He went on to say that “the virus will continue to decline and that when intensive care figures are below 2,000 France will have won the battle”.

June 9th - This week, France will see the next stage of an end to the lockdown introduced. On Wednesday 9th June the curfew will be pushed back to 11pm, restaurants will reopen indoors and the limit to the number of people in cafes, cinemas and shops will be relaxed. Wednesday June 9th also marks a change in the policy around teleworking. France's employment minister Elizabeth Borne advocates a gradual return, saying that the number of days will drop to three.

In other news

UK loses out to France for foreign investors - For a second year in a row the UK has lost out to France as the most popular European destination for foreign investors. According to figures during 2020, amid disruption from Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic, the UK secured 975 inward investment projects compared with France’s 985.

Tour de France - As the Head of State Emmanuel Macron continues his tour of France the Elysee has announced that he will be visiting the Drôme tomorrow Tuesday June 8th, to meet with restaurant owners. Macron had started the tour last week in the Lot region and is planning several trips throughout France in June and July.

Memorial in Normandy - A memorial to almost 22,500 servicemen and women under British command killed during D-Day and subsequent battles has been unveiled in Normandy. The tribute which is seen as “long overdue” was made on Sunday. It is the first of its kind in Normandy, to commemorate those who fell under British command.

Swimmer embarks on challenge to raise awareness to water pollution - 19-year-old Arthur Germain has embarked on a solo swimming challenge of the river Seine to raise awareness for the protection of the environment, in particular water pollution. The young man set off on Sunday June 6th intending to swim the full 784 kms arriving at Le Havre where the river meets the sea in 52 days’ time.

Demonstration in Nice - Three people are facing legal proceedings from Nice city council after the “I love Nice” structure on the Promenade des Anglais was tagged with the slogan "fascist state, racist police" during a demonstration. 2,000 feminists marched in the city on Saturday calling for “a Europe with no boundaries”. Police reportedly made 17 arrests in what was overall a peaceful demonstration.

Business

Asian shares have made moderate gains this morning after US non-farm payroll numbers showed that the recovery is still on track but is not so hot that it might lead to policy tapering in the immediate future from the Federal Reserve. Investors have also been curious to see how shares of major tech firms would react to the G7 agreement on a minimum global corporate tax rate of at least 15%. So far, the reaction has been muted with both NASDAQ and S&P 500 futures little changed. The market is also interested in the battle between President Biden and Republicans over the proposed $1.7 trillion infrastructure plan. Attention this week will be focused on the latest US consumer price report which is out on Thursday. The data is expected to show a continuing trend of higher prices although the Federal Reserve is still arguing that the spike in inflation is transitory.

The US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said that President Biden’s $4 trillion spending plan will be good for the country even if it contributes to rising inflation and results in a high interest rates. Speaking at a news conference following the meeting of G7 finance ministers in London, Ms Yellen said that “if we end up with slightly higher interest rates it would actually be a plus for society’s point of view". She added “We’ve been fighting inflation that’s too low and interest rates that are too low now for a decade”. Ms Yellen concluded that a return to a normal interest rate environment is what major economies require and that if inflation helps to achieve that, then it would be a good thing.

UK firms are still struggling to secure summer essentials such as garden furniture, picnic equipment and outdoor toys as consumers prepare for staycations this summer. Around 60% of British suppliers say that they have experienced import delays in the past month. The six day long Suez Canal blockage in March is partly to blame but other factors including Covid restrictions and Brexit are also playing a part. Items like camping equipment have seen a spike in demand with more British families looking to holiday at home this summer. Many popular products are manufactured in China and retailers are being impacted by shortages in supply chains. Customs clearance for imported items are also causing delays.

Sport

Formula One – Sergio Perez won an incident packed Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday as both Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton failed to score points. Verstappen was cruising to victory before a late puncture scuppered his chances of extending his lead in the drivers’ championship. A red flag ensued before the race was eventually given a standing restart with just two laps to go. Lewis Hamilton, who was in second place tried to pass Perez after the restart but overcooked it, locked up and ran into the escape road. He finished down in 15th and out of the points. Sebastian Vettel finished in second securing the first ever podium for Aston Martin with Pierre Gasly in the Alpha Tauri in third. Verstappen still leads Hamilton by 4 points heading into the French Grand Prix on June the 20th.

The Formula One tyre manufacturers Pirelli say that initial investigations into failures at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix suggest debris on the track was the cause. Lance Stroll in the Aston Martin suffered a frightening tyre failure and a similar incident ended Max Verstappen’s race as he appeared to be heading for victory. Pirelli has introduced new tyres this season with a stronger construction to try and guard against failures. However, the nature of Sunday’s incidents suggest that the firm is still not on top of the problem despite initial analysis that debris on the track was to blame. Investigations continue.

Tennis - Roger Federer has withdrawn from the French Open despite reaching the fourth round. The 39-year-old veteran said that after two knee surgeries and a year of rehabilitation it was important that he doesn’t push himself too quickly. Federer said that he had decided to pull out following discussions with his team. He played only three matches in 16 months before arriving at Roland Garros.

On court, sixth seed Alexander Zverev is through to the last 8 as are Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

In the women’s event Serena Williams has been knocked out in the fourth round by 21-year-old Elena Rybakiba. Williams lost 6–3 7–5 as her bid to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles was ended again with Wimbledon her next opportunity.

Cricket – The first Test between England and New Zealand at Lord’s has ended in a draw. England can be thankful for one full day being lost to rain as the tourists put them under pressure during large passages of the match. The second and final Test starts at Edgbaston on Thursday.

Meanwhile, bowler Ollie Robinson has been suspended from international cricket pending an investigation into historical racist and sexist tweets. The posts from 2012 and 2013 were revealed while Robinson was making his England debut against New Zealand. He’s been dropped from the squad for the second Test and has returned to his county Sussex.

Football – There were a number of international friendlies on Sunday ahead of the start of Euro 2020 on Friday. England beat Romania 1-0. Scotland were 1–0 winners in Luxembourg while one of the tournament favourites Belgium beat Croatia 1–0. The Netherlands beat Georgia 3–0 and Denmark beat Bosnia Herzegovina 2-0.

Rugby Union – There was one game in the Gallagher English Premiership on Sunday. Exeter were 29–26 winners at Northampton. The bonus point for Exeter set up a final day showdown for a home semi-final berth with the Chiefs hosting Sale on Saturday.

Weather

Sunshine and showers with light southerly winds. Top temperature 24 degrees. Overnight lows of 18-19 degrees with more showers about.

Tuesday and Wednesday - Sunshine and showers with highs of 24-26 degrees.

And Finally

A nugget sold for 100,000 dollars at auction. It is certainly the most expensive chicken nugget in history: a "Chicken McNugget" manufactured by McDonald's has sold on eBay for nearly $ 100,000. The piece of meat looks like a character from Among Us, a multiplayer video game that has been all the rage for the past few months.

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