French and Riviera News Thursday 19th November 2020


Global warming report says the Mediterranean basin is “at tipping point” - A report on global warming published on Wednesday on the state of the environment and development in the Mediterranean has warned of potential risks to the region.

François Guerquin, director of Plan Bleu, presented the report describing the future of the Mediterranean as being at “tipping point” as global warming is "endangering the health and livelihoods" of the population in the Mediterranean.

A previous version of the report which dates back to 2009 shows that 15% of deaths in the Mediterranean basin are already attributable to preventable environmental causes, according to the data compiled.

The report show that the Mediterranean area is particularly exposed to climate change “warming up 20% faster than the world average”. One of the highlights of the vast study is the significant rise in sea level which authors of the report say, “could reach 0.5 to 2.5 meters by the end of the century”.

Covid-19 - According to figures published by Public Health France on Wednesday 4,759 Covid-19 patients are currently in intensive care. The figures show that for the second consecutive day, the number of patients in intensive care has fallen slightly.

32,811 people were hospitalized for Covid-19 on Wednesday, compared to 33,500 on Monday.

In terms of contaminations, France reported on Wednesday, 28,383 new confirmed cases. This total includes 25,506 cases detected by PCR test and 2,877 cases confirmed by antigen test. The day before, 45,522 new contaminations had been detected, according to the director general of health. This figure took into account a catch-up of 32,935 cases detected since early October by antigenic tests. The latter were not counted until now.

Finance Minister calls for “Black Friday” to be delayed - France’s Minister of Finance Bruno Le Maire, has called for “Black Friday” to be postponed. Speaking at the national assembly on Wednesday the minister said that “taking into account the current health crisis and its consequences on smaller businesses he asked that those in larger outlets ask themselves if it’s really fair to go ahead with “Black Friday” due to consequences of Coivd-19 adding that, "we are at a stage of economic and moral exhaustion”.

France “far from deconfinement” - Meanwhile the French government has warned that France is still "far from deconfinement”. Government spokesman Gabriel Attal confirmed that French President Emmanuel Macron will address the nation next week and plans to announce, “gradual changes to exit lockdown”.

In his speech, the head of state intends to outline prospects for the coming weeks but also for the long term. Matignon, however, wants to avoid giving “false hope” as the Prime Minister warns that the "target remains December 1st, but this will all depend on health figures at the time”.

Education Minister comes under fire for management of Covid-19 - France’s Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer has come under fire from hundreds of school directors for failing to deliver protective equipment and resources which were promised as part of the government’s effort to keep schools open during the second Covid-19 lockdown.

Around 1,000 school directors sent an identical letter to Blanquer complaining about difficulties in implementing government decisions and interpreting guidelines they describe as contradictory.

Vaccine - While several laboratories have recently announced encouraging results concerning the effectiveness of their vaccines for Covid-19, a survey carried out by Elabe has revealed that only four out of ten French people are considering being vaccinated against Covid-19.

The poll also showed that men were more willing to be vaccinated, 50% compared to 32% of women.

Mental Health - France's health minister Olivier Veran has said that the government wants "to avoid a third wave" which would be that of "mental health".

Veran made the remark while visiting "Fil santé jeunes" a listening platform for adolescents and young adults.

The minister's remarks come after General Health Director Jerome Salomon already spoke of the consequences of Covid-19 on mental health during a press briefing on Tuesday in which he pointed out, that the number of people suffering with mental health issues had doubled between September and November in France.

SOS Helpline an English language listening helpline and a partner of the UK Samaritans

5G - The next generation of mobile networks has gone online for the first time in France, despite initial access being limited. Heads of telecoms providers expect it will take time before 5G technology becomes mainstream

5G is only available in areas where operators have set up some 500 antennae used in test phases, all of them concentrated around nine cities including Paris, Marseille and Lyon.

The new technology has come with concerns over health and environmental consequences of electromagnetic waves. Some left-wing and Green party mayors have called for a ban on the new technology until the publication of a regulator’s review in Spring 2021.

Boris Johnson’s love of French Asterix cartoon - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed his childhood love of French cartoon Asterix with its "magic potion and eating whole boars" as he backed football star Marcus Rashford.

The Manchester United and England forward launched his new campaign to encourage children to read. Rashford has teamed up with the publisher Macmillan Children's Books to launch a series of youth-oriented titles, starting with "YOU ARE A CHAMPION" in May 2021.


The US drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech could seek regulatory approval for their new Covid-19 vaccine next month after final trial results showed that it had a 95 percent success rate and no serious side effects.

The firms say that the vaccines efficacy has been found to be consistent across different ages and ethnicities  and that the US Food and Drug Administration could be asked to grant emergency use by the middle of December.

Experts say that the new vaccine is a significant achievement in the race to end the coronavirus pandemic and that the success rate in trials was far higher than guidelines set out by regulators.

An FDA advisory committee has pencilled in meeting between the 8th and 10th of December to discuss the vaccine but no official comment has been made.


More than 200 Facebook staff from around the world have accused the firm of forcing its content moderators back into offices despite the risks of contracting coronavirus.

The claims have been made in an open letter that said that Facebook was “needlessly risking lives” to maintain profits.

The group has called on the firm to make changes to allow more remote work and offer other benefits such as danger money.

Facebook says that the majority of its content reviewers are working from home but that it believed in having an “open internal dialogue”.

In August ,Facebook said that staff could work from home until the summer of 2021.


And-Apple is to pay 113 million dollars to settle allegations that it slowed down older iPhones.

33 US states claimed that Apple had made changes to drive users into buying new devices.