French and Riviera News Thursday 16th September 2021


Dramatic day in southern France after nine people drown - Nine people have drowned in southern France on Wednesday 15th September, in the Aude, Hérault and the Bouches-du-Rhône region. Rescue services intervened in the Hérault with rough seas claiming five victims aged between 64 and 73. In the Bouches-du-Rhone a 58-year-old man died while swimming in the sea in Cassis and a 71-year-old died while bathing in the sea at La Ciotat and two people drowned in the Aude after getting into difficulty.

Emergency services warned on Wednesday that despite mild temperatures and a warm sea there were big waves and a dangerous underwater current. Beaches are no longer supervised but swimming is not prohibited. One local official from the Hérault region said, “I don’t understand why people get into the sea when it’s rough” adding that “it’s been a dramatic day for our region”.  

State of emergency for natural disaster – The French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal has announced that a state of emergency for natural disaster would be recognised next week in the Gard department in the south east of France after violent storms caused major damage.

Some sixty villages or towns were affected as the department was placed under a red alert on Tuesday 15th September particularly around Nimes, where the roof of a shopping centre partially collapsed. The torrential downpour forced the closure of the A9 major motorway for several hours.

Weather warning – Meanwhile Meteo France has placed the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var on a yellow weather alerts with thunderstorms forecast and the risk of flooding. The warning is in place until 4pm this afternoon.

French President suggests possible lifting of health pass while on a walk about in the Eure et Loire region on Wednesday - While on a visit to the Eure et Loire on Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron has spoken of a possible lifting of health measures namely the health pass, in certain departments where the situation is improving. The head of state said, "we are on the right track concerning the improvement of the epidemic in France”. The health pass is currently in place until at least November 15th although Macron has said that he “does not rule out an extension of the pass beyond this date if needed”.

On Wednesday, the incidence rate fell back below the bar of 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in France. (99.2). Over the past week, the incidence rate has dropped by 27.7%.

November 13th terror attack trial - As the trial of the November 13th 2015 terror attacks continues, the only survivor of the terrorist squads which murdered 130 people in Paris six year ago Salah Abdeslam has told the court that he acted as "an authentic Muslim" to avenge the women and children being bombed by French planes in Syria. 

Abdeslam told the Paris tribunal on Wednesday. "François Hollande," French President at the time, "knew the risks he was taking in attacking Islamic State in Syria," "Hollande knew what would happen, he knew there would be an answer” before adding; "When Chirac," French president at the time of the second Iraq war, "refused to help the Americans, he did it because, he said, he wanted to avoid any anti-French hatred. He had understood."

Australia terminate submarine contract with France - Australia has just announced the termination of the contract signed in 2019 with France for 12 conventional submarines for an amount of 56 billion euros. As finally they decided to sign with the United States. Justifying his decision to cancel the contract signed with Naval Group in 2019 the Australian Prime Minister declared "this is not a change of mind; it is a change of need". France immediately called it a "regrettable decision".

French government wants to re-authorise traditional bird hunts - The French government has announced that it wants to re-authorise traditional bird hunts. In August, the Council of State cancelled several bird hunting authorizations issued by the Ministry of Ecological Transition, judging that they "did not comply with the requirements of European law relating to the protection of birds". Following this decision, the government on Wednesday September 15th issued several orders to allow some of these hunts, arguing that they respect European law. Hunters have called to take to the streets again on Saturday, having already demonstrated in August and early September.


Thousands of people have taken to the streets of El Salvador to protest over the introduction of bitcoin as legal tender. The President of the country says the cryptocurrency will help people working abroad to send money back home. However, demonstrators fear that it will bring instability and inflation. Some demonstrators set fire to a brand-new bitcoin machine while others brandished placards accusing President Nayib Bukele of being a dictator. Last week, El Salvador became the first country in the world to use bitcoin as legal tender alongside the US dollar. Protesters are accusing the President of using authoritarian means to tighten his grip on power.

Shares in the operators of Macau casinos have shed as much as a third of their value as the government started a regulatory overhaul which could see officials supervising companies in the world’s largest gambling hub. Macau’s lucrative casino licenses are up for rebidding next year and the plan spooked the Hong Kong market which is already deep in the red following Beijing’s regulatory crackdown on sectors from technology to education and property. The slump came after Macau’s secretary for Economy and Finance gave notice of a 45 day consultation period on the gambling industry pointing to deficiencies in industry supervision.

Shares in the Roger Federer backed running shoe company On Holding jumped by almost 46% in the debut in New York on Wednesday. The Swiss firm was valued at around $11 billion by the end of the day. The listing comes at a time when running shoes have been selling well as people seek to do more exercise outdoors in the pandemic. The shoemaker sold 31.1 million shares in its IPO, raising $746.4 million.


Football – Liverpool came from behind to beat AC Milan in group B of the European Champions League last night. Meanwhile at the Etihad, Manchester City beat RB Leipzig 6–3 in a nine goal thriller to give the crowd their money‘s worth.

The group phase of the Europa League gets underway tonight. Leicester play Napoli in Group C while West Ham travel to Dinamo Zagreb in Group H. Rangers of Scotland host Lyon in Group A with Celtic away at Real Betis in Group G. Monaco are at home to Sturm Graz in Group B. Kick off at the Stade Louis 2 is at 9pm.

Rugby Union – The Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones says he will continue playing until his form and enjoyment of the game decline. The world’s most capped player will celebrate his 36th birthday on Sunday and has just signed a new deal with Ospreys until the summer of 2022. He says that hopefully he still has a bit more left in the tank and as long as his numbers stack up he is ready to go again. Jones has won 160 caps between Wales and the British and Irish Lions and led the side in all three tests in South Africa despite having suffered a dislocated shoulder in a pre-tour warmup match against Japan.

Golf – Henrik Stenson has been named as the fifth and final European vice captain for next week’s Ryder Cup. The 45-year-old Swede joins compatriot Robert Karlsson, Martin Kaymer of Germany, Luke Donald of England and Graham McDowell of Northern Ireland in the role. Stenson has played in five Ryder Cups winning three times and won the US Open in 2016. European captain Padraig Harrington says that Stenson knows what it takes to win and that experience and knowledge will be crucial.


Heavy showers this morning, clearing away this afternoon with light to moderate south westerly winds. Top temperature 26 degrees. Overnight lows of 19-20 degrees with clear skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend - Mainly fine with highs of 25-27 degrees.

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