French and Riviera News Thursday 17th December 2020


Vaccination - French Prime Minister Jean Castex has said that people in France could begin receiving the coronavirus vaccine from the last week of December if the European Union's regulator approves the jab next week. On Wednesday, the Prime Minister and France’s Health Minister Olivier Véran presented the government's plans for vaccine distribution to the National Assembly, a campaign which has been met with both mistrust and impatience by the French. The proposals will be debated in the lower house of parliament before being presented to the Senate later today. According to a November survey by the French public health agency only 53 percent of French people want to be vaccinated, compared to 64 percent in July – among one of the lowest confidence ratings in the world.

Covid-19 figures - Meanwhile figures for Covid-19 published on Wednesday by Public Health France have shown that France is still far from reaching 5,000 new cases of contamination, which the government had hoped to reach in mid-December. 17,615 cases of Covid-19 were registered on Wednesday in 24 hours, compared to 11,532 the day before. 

“Extended Monaco for Business” - The Monaco Government has adopted a series of measures to facilitate the economic recovery plan using the “Extended Monaco for Business” platform. In order to support economic recovery and help companies succeed in their digital transition, the Government has defined an action plan based on three flagship instruments: The Extended Monaco platform for Businesses, the Blue Fund and the Digital Workshops. The health crisis has demonstrated the importance of digital technology in helping the economy here in the Principality to rebound.

Monaco Christmas - Meanwhile on Wednesday HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and his wife HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco accompanied by their children HSH Prince Jacques and HSH Princess Gabriella handed out Christmas presents in Monaco. The royal family also attended the traditional Christmas tree ceremony.

January 2015 attacks - A Paris court has found 14 people guilty of involvement in the 2015 terror attacks. The January 2015 attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine, a policewoman and a Jewish supermarket left 17 people dead. All 14 accomplices were found guilty on various charges, ranging from belonging to a criminal network to direct complicity in the January 2015 attacks. Terrorism charges were dropped for six of the 11 defendants in court who were found guilty of lesser crimes.

Coucscous - Couscous has been classified as an intangible world heritage by Unesco. The dish has been eaten since the Middle Ages and was introduced in France at the beginning of the 20th century by the first Algerian workers, then with the Pieds-Noirs during the independence of Algeria. According to the polls it is considered to be one of the favorite dishes of the French.

Coca-Cola to launch alcoholic drink in France - The American soft drink brand Coca-Cola is to launch its first alcoholic drink in France in spring 2021. An alcoholic sparkling water Topo Chico is expected to hit supermarket shelves in France in April and will be available in three flavors. After Mexico in September, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Austria and Greece in November, it will soon be on offer for the French to taste.

Euromillion winner claims jackpot - The lucky winner is finally known. Less than a week after a historic EuroMillions draw of 200 million euros, the winner has presented himself at the Française des Jeux after several days of silence. The new millionaire, whose identity has not been revealed, had validated his grid online with the payment being made in the coming days. The amount won is a record jackpot in France, but also in Europe since the creation of lottery in 2004. Previously, the highest win was held by two Britons who, in 2012 and 2019, had won 190 million euros.


The Chair of the US Federal Reserve has said that the prospects for the economy have brightened but warned that the coming months will be “particularly challenging”. Speaking at the end of the Fed’s two day policy meeting in Washington, Jerome Powell said that growth of around 4.2 percent is expected next year, better than previously forecast and that unemployment should fall from 6.7 to around 5 percent. Mr Powell warned however that businesses and the unemployed are facing deepening hardship and called on the government to do much more to support those affected. He said that he was hopeful that widespread distribution of coronavirus vaccines would enable a strong rebound in the second half of 2021. The Fed said that it expected to keep interest rates at near zero and would continue with additional stimulus until it saw “substantial” progress towards recovery.

The British Parliament will go into Christmas recess this evening but MPs and peers have been warned that th