French and Riviera News Thursday 21st January 2021

News

Person dies after being hit by a train at La Seyne-sur-Mer - A person has died after being hit by a train at La Seyne-sur-Mer, in the Var on Wednesday. Traffic between Toulon and Marseille was interrupted to allow emergency services to intervene shortly after 2pm on Wednesday, slowly resuming after 4pm. Police have opened an investigation to determine the exact circumstances.  

Hospitals under strain in the Alpes Maritimes - The region's health authority is reportedly considering transferring Covid patients from the Alpes Maritimes to the Bouches du Rhône in an attempt to alleviate intensive care units in the region. On Wednesday both the Prefect Bernard Gonzalez, and the regional delegate of the regional health agency Romain Alexandre, took stock of the health situation saying that "the next few days will be decisive".

Covid figures for the Alpes Maritimes - Wednesday saw six additional deaths from Covid declared in hospitals in the Alpes Maritimes with twenty new admissions to hospital. To date 1,009 people have died from Covid in the region of which 739 were in hospital and 270 in nursing homes. 309 people are currently hospitalized in the region. 

Monaco identifies 22 new cases of Covid on Wednesday - Meanwhile in Monaco 22 new cases were identified bringing the total number of residents affected to 1,262. Forty-two people are currently hospitalized at the Princess Grace Hospital and 130 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Center.

Vaccination center Monaco - From January 25th the vaccination center in Monaco will be set up at the Grimaldi Forum. Currently at the 'Espace Leo Ferré', the relocation is for operational reasons. The “Espace Leo Ferré” will be completely dedicated to Covid PCR testing from Monday.

Covid figures from Public Health France for Wednesday 20th January - On a national level France declared 310 additional deaths and 26,784 new cases of Covid were identified on Wednesday. There were 1,907 new admissions to hospital including 292 in intensive care. To date 25,686 people are hospitalized of which 2,852 are in intensive care. Over 71,000 people have so far died in France from Covid-19. In addition, 692,777 people have been vaccinated in France since the beginning of the campaign representing a little more than 1% of the French population.

Curfew - A French government spokesperson has said that there will be no changes in national restrictions this week. Speaking after a government meeting on Wednesday, Gabriel Attal said that "the government is giving the curfew a chance".

Ski lifts not to reopen – Attal’s comments come after the French government confirmed on Wednesday that ski lifts will not be reopening on February 1st adding that a reopening mid-February or by the beginning of March was “highly unlikely”.

Green light for extension to state of health emergency – And on Wednesday the French parliament gave the green light to extend the state of the health emergency in France until June 1st due to the Covid pandemic.

Identity theft - The Prefect of the Var has said that there have been attempts at identity theft detected by Public Finance France. Fraudulent e-mails have been received by people relating to SEPA direct debits which have attempted to obtain sensitive information. The government reminds people to be extremely cautious and that the General Directorate of Public Finance never ask for details such as bank or personal information, invoices or financial details by email, SMS or phone.

Seasonal work - Antibes Juan-les-Pins is hiring seasonal workers for the summer. Various positions need to be filled, such as in museums, the nautical stadium, maintenance and cleaning. The deadline for applications is the 31st March and you can find full details and application forms on the website: antibes-juanlespins.com

French President “welcomes back” the US to the Paris climate agreement - French President Emmanuel Macron has welcomed Joe Biden’s decision to return to the Paris climate agreement. The French President sent his “best wishes for success” to the new American President on Wednesday in a tweet in English. The United States had left the agreement under former President Donald Trump.

Loan files destroyed by mistake - 30,000 loan files have been destroyed by mistake at France’s postal banking service, the “Banque Postale”. According to reports in the Canard Enchainé, the error came from an independent service provider responsible for archiving. Customers have been “left half amused, and half dismayed” as rather than destroying the documents, as requested by the Banque Postale, the service provider deleted the files. At present if customers refuse to repay their loans and their records have been destroyed the bank will have few options to recover the money. Fortunately for La Banque Postale the number of unpaid mortgage loans is rare: less than 1%.

France’s Head of State will not repent or apologise for France’s colonial past in Algeria - The office of the French President Emmanuel Macron has said he will not repent or apologise for France's colonial past in Algeria. The comments came ahead of the publication on Wednesday of a report commissioned by the Head of State into how France is facing up to the legacy of that period. The Elysee says Macron will seek to promote reconciliation through a number of symbolic acts. Emmanuel Macron has said in the past that France had committed crimes against humanity in Algeria and spoken of the need for truth and reconciliation. France's colonial rule of Algeria began in 1830 and lasted until 1962, when it gained independence after an eight-year armed struggle. Thousands of French and hundreds of thousands of Algerians died.

Business

Joe Biden signed 15 executive orders shortly after he was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. The orders reverse policies put in place by Mr Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump and mark the President’s first moves on the coronavirus pandemic and climate change. Speaking in front of reporters after the swearing in ceremony, Mr Biden said that there was “no time to waste” adding that some of the orders that he’s signed are going to help to change the course of the Covid-19 crisis. He also said that his administration was going to tackle climate change in a way that “we haven’t done so far”. He’s also pledged to advance racial equality and support other underserved communities. One of the orders that Mr Biden signed kick starts the United States’ reentry to the Paris Climate Accord while another revokes the presidential permit granted to the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The consumer goods giant Unilever has announced that it will refuse to do business with any firm that refuses to pay a living wage to its staff. The company which owns brands including Marmite, Cif cleaning products and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream has defined a living wage as one that “covers a family’s basic needs” and helps them to “break the cycle of poverty”. Unilever says that it’s committed to help build a more equitable and inclusive society and its ambition is to improve living standards for low-paid workers worldwide. The firm said that it would ensure that everyone who provides direct goods and services to Unilever earns at least a living wage or income by 2030. The company added that the wage should be enough to cover food, water, housing, education, healthcare, transport and clothing.

More and more problems are being reported at the border between the EU and the UK as Brexit regulations start to have a serious impact on economic activity. Imports of fresh products and in particular meat and fish are being held up by customs red tape as haulage firms and producers struggle to get to grips with the new regulations. Some EU-based haulage firms are reported to be turning down business to ship goods to the UK because of the extra checks and expense. The problem is particularly acute for producers of perishable goods with tonnes of meat reported to be rotting in containers at ports before checks can be carried out and customs clearance granted. Some producers say that they’re already losing customers who are looking elsewhere for supplies.

Sport

Football - There were two games in the English Premier League last night with Manchester United returning to the top of the table thanks to a 2-1 win at Fulham. Manchester City moved up to second place with a 2-0 win over Aston Villa. There’s one game tonight. Liverpool play Burnley at Anfield.

In the Scottish Premiership last night Livingston held Celtic to a 2-2 draw.

And in the English Championship Norwich beat Bristol City 2-0. Brentford beat Luton 1-0. QPR were 1-0 away winners at Cardiff. Millwall were 1-0 winners at Huddersfield. Middlesbrough were 2-1 winners at Nottingham Forest and Preston were 1-0 winners at Birmingham.

Formula 1 - Sergio Perez says that his move to Red Bull is chance for him to show that he can compete at the highest level of the sport. The 30-year-old Mexican moved to Red Bull after losing his seat at Racing Point where he was replaced by Sebastian Vettel. Perez said that the new opportunity will allow him to progress and added that it was a “dream come true” to be able to work with Red Bull’s design chief Adrian Newey.

Rugby Union - The England head coach Eddie Jones is self-isolating after the forwards coach Matt Proudfoot tested positive for coronavirus. Jones has been identified as a close contact along with attack coach Simon Amor and both men will have to self-isolate for 10 days. The England squad are due to meet on the 27th January to start preparations for the 6 Nations.

Wales have recalled the Ospreys back row Dan Lydiate for their 2021 6 Nations squad. Lydiate who’s 33 last played for Wales in 2018 when he won his 64th cap against Australia. Coach Wayne Pivac has named a 36-man squad but there’s no place for scrum-half Rhys Web. Wales start their campaign against Ireland in Cardiff on February the 7th.

Weather

Rain for most of the day with moderate easterly winds. Top temperature 12 degrees. Overnight lows of 10 degrees with rain across the region.

Friday and the start of the weekend - Rain and thunder tomorrow morning, clearing during the afternoon. Partially cloudy on Sunday. Highs of 12-13 degrees.

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