French and Riviera News Thursday 16th December 2021

News

Strike action to affect train passengers - 40,000 train passengers are to be reimbursed their tickets following cancellations due to strike action from tomorrow Friday 17th December. Due to failed negotiations between the management of the SNCF and unions one TGV out of two will be running on the South-East rail network on Friday December 17th, which marks the beginning of the Christmas holidays. It is not yet known how the strike action will affect Saturday and Sunday.

Strike action today from municipal police in Paris – Meanwhile several police unions are calling for strike action amongst officers of the municipal police of Paris today Thursday 16th December. The action comes as unions demand a reorganization of their working hours on a voluntary basis.

Health defense council meeting to be held tomorrow afternoon - French government spokesman Gabriel Attal has said that new measures concerning the health situation in France are expected to be announced by the end of this week, as the government holds an exceptional health defense council meeting on Friday afternoon. It's thought that the government will advise on precautions to be taken during the Christmas holidays to reduce the spread of the new Covid variant and the intention to make PCR tests mandatory for all travellers entering France from the UK. To date in France, 2,792 patients are in intensive care with Covid, a number which according to Attal will, in the coming days, reach 3,000 and can expect to hit 4,000 by Christmas.

Janssen vaccine approved for use as a booster jab – Meanwhile the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said that the Janssen vaccine, from Johnson & Johnson, can be used for booster doses at least two months after the first dose in over 18-year-olds. The EMA Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has also concluded that a booster dose with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can be given after two doses of any of the RNA messenger vaccines authorized in the EU, such as Pfizer or Moderna.

According to the European health authorities the administration of a booster dose of a vaccine against covid different from that received during the first injections in some cases, elicits a stronger immune response.

First case of Omicron detected in the Var - A first case of the Omicron covid variant has been detected in the Var region. The patient has since been placed in isolation. According to the European Commission the new variant could become dominant among covid infections in Europe by mid-January.

63 new cases of covid in Monaco - In Monaco on Wednesday 63 new cases of covid were identified bringing the total number of residents affected since the beginning of the pandemic to 4,223. Fifteen people are currently hospitalised and 203 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Police officer attacked in Antibes - A police officer in Antibes has been injured after intervening to put an end to a private party due to the loud music. The incident occurred shortly after 3am this morning on the Boulevard Wilson, as the officer was attacked by the guest while trying to make the arrest.

Regulations to be introduced for deliveries of Uber Eats and Deliveroo - The city of Nice is to issue a decree this morning Thursday 16th December, to regulate the activity of deliverers such as, Uber eats and Deliveroo. On Wednesday December 15th, a vast police operation was carried out in the city with 19 police checks being carried out on couriers. Local businesses and residents have in some areas of Nice, deplored the noise pollution from such delivery platforms, who wait on the street for their orders. The aim from the city council is to regulate the activity.

Emmanuel Macron speaks of regrets and the future in interview - During a two-hour interview aired on French television on Wednesday evening, French President Emmanuel Macron has acknowledged a share of responsibility in the social crisis of the Yellow Vests which marked the end of 2018 in France.

The Head of State was also questioned about some of his comments made during official visits, notably when he told a young man to "cross the street" to find a job but also in one of his speeches where he reprimanded the "lazy, and the cynical" Macron said that he would "certainly not" repeat these words today.

Asked about the hospital situation before the covid crisis the head of state rejects any inaction but admits to having done "probably too little" for caregivers. And when asked about his tax reforms, the President of the Republic assumes to have increased the purchasing power of the richest "so that they reinvest" denying that he is a "President of the rich" and saying that "he is not obsessed by money".

Business 

In the US the central bank has signalled it could raise interest rates three times next year. It announced on Wednesday it will shrink its monthly bond purchases at twice the pace previously announced, and likely end them altogether in March.

In France according to INSEE, 915,000 companies were created in France in the first 11 months of 2021, beating the previous record of 2020. In new data published on Wednesday, the total number of companies created over the last twelve months increased sharply (+19%) due to the particularly low level of creations during the first lockdown in 2020. Micro-enterprises remain the majority and account for about two-thirds of the companies created.

Holiday cottages in rural areas of France are experiencing a sharp increase in bookings for the Christmas. In the Dordogne, 90% of cottages are booked for the second week of the winter holidays, 15 points more than in the years before the health crisis. At a national level, bookings increased by 7 to 8% compared to 2019.

Car maker Mercedes is to grant a profit-sharing bonus to 100,000 German employees of up to 6,000 euros to thank them for the work done in 2021. The German group Daimler AG (Mercedes-Benz) will grant an exceptional profit-sharing bonus to its employees which will be paid in February 2022 to about 100,000 employees in Germany, depending on their income. Daimler's financial results for 2021 are not yet available, but the Management Committee and the General Works Council have nevertheless decided to pay a profit-sharing bonus.

Sport 

Football – Arsenal have overtaken opponents West Ham and moved into fourth place in the Premier League by winning 2-0 on Wednesday night in an eventful match.

This evening in the Premier League Leicester play Tottenham, Chelsea are at home to Everton and Liverpool play Newcastle.

Formula One - Max Verstappen has admitted that he and Lewis Hamilton "sometimes hated each other" this year but that the mutual respect between them remains high. The Red Bull driver said a shared moment after the title was decided at the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix returned their relationship to normal.

Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton has received his knighthood for services to motorsport just three days after he was denied an eighth Formula 1 drivers' title. The 36-year-old Briton received the honour from Prince Charles during a ceremony at Windsor Castle on Wednesday.

Tennis - One Moroccan tennis player has been banned for life and five others have received lengthy suspensions and fines after being found guilty of a variety of match-fixing charges. The sanctions come after an investigation by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), which concluded the men had all violated the rules of its anti-corruption program.

Weather 

Sunny with a moderate breeze. Highs of 15 degrees in Monaco, Cannes, Juan les Pins and Saint Raphael. This evening going down to 8 degrees in the Var and 6 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes with clear skies.

Outlook for Friday and the weekend - Remaining fine with highs of 14-15 degrees.

And Finally 

A camel beauty pageant in Saudi Arabia was at the center of controversy last week as "Forty-three camels were disqualified for cheating". According to the Saudi Arabian SPA news agency a camel beauty pageant in Saudi Arabia has been at the center of controversy after "forty-three camels have been disqualified for cheating". The camels had undergone injections... of Botox. With prizes of up to $ 66 million (58.5 million euros), the King Abdulaziz Festival, welcomes herders from across the Gulf.

The shape and size of the lips, neck and hump are the main beauty criteria for deciding the camels at the event, which runs through mid-January in a desert northeast of Riyadh. But dozens of camels were disqualified after receiving Botox injections. Cheating was detected following physical and medical examinations of the camels, including when they were X-rayed.

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