French and Riviera News Thursday 23rd December 2021

News

Fifth wave of covid worsens in France - The fifth wave of Covid-19 continues to worsen in France, with a further increase in infections and patients admitted to intensive care. 84,272 new cases were confirmed on Wednesday, according to figures published by Public Health France. Over the past seven days, the average has been 56,883 cases.

Pressure continues to mount in intensive care services with 3,147 patients compared to 3096 on Tuesday, with 322 new admissions. 16,118 people are currently hospitalized compared to 16,076 the day before, with 1,404 new admissions. The number of deaths since the beginning of the epidemic has reached 122,116.

Faced with the outbreak of the epidemic, France officially opened on Wednesday the vaccination of children from 5 to 11 years, but the booster dose has not been "for the moment" extended to adolescents.

On Wednesday Government spokesman Gabriel Attal ruled out any "new restrictions" ahead of Christmas. However, the situation will be reassessed on Monday 27th December.

In Monaco 52 new cases of Covid were identified on Wednesday 22nd December bringing the total number of residents affected to 4,537. Twenty-five people are currently in hospital and 269 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Restaurant and bar owners opposed to asking customers for ID - Meanwhile restaurant owners have said they are opposed to the French government's plans to possibly require ID when checking customer's health passes. France's Minister of Health Olivier Véran has said he is "in favour" of the move in order to detect false health passes. However, unions disagree saying it makes them "feel like the police", suggesting that a photo should simply be added to the health pass in order to stamp out illegal passes.

In other news

Nice criminal court - Four migrants and three residents of the village of Contes in the Alpes Maritimes have been sentenced by the Nice criminal court. The migrants were charged for assaulting a resident of the village while the resident along with two accomplices was also convicted of "violence" in retaliation. The incident occurred back in the spring of 2019 and was judged in Nice this week.

FNAC employees announce strike action tomorrow - Employees of the FNAC in Nice and Cannes have announced strike action tomorrow Friday, December 24th. Unions have called for action to denounce the deteriorating working conditions.

Barrier-free tolls on some French motorways by 2024 - Barrier-free tolls are set to be implemented by the end of 2024 on motorways in France linking Paris to Normandy. Motorists will be able to travel at the authorized speed on the motorway without slowing down or stopping at the tolls which are equipped with cameras and sensors able to identify vehicles.

League of Legends to be held in Nice - Nice is to host the French League of Legends competition, one of the most important e-sports competitions in France on February 2nd and 3rd of next year. The event will take place at the Acropolis conference centre and is open to the public with ten matches taking place during the two days of competition.

Belgian actor escorted off flight for noisy behaviour - The Belgian actor François Damiens has been escorted off a flight from Toulouse-Blagnac to Brussels, due to "rowdy" behaviour. The incident occurred when Damien, famous for his roles in several box office hits in France including "L'Arnacoeur", was reportedly under the influence of alcohol and "making a lot of noise" causing disturbance to fellow passengers. The captain refused to take off and police intervened escorting the actor off the plane. Damien remained "very courteous" towards the authorities even "offering them breakfast at his hotel". No complaints were filed.

Father Christmas water-skiing in Juan les Pins - Father Christmas has been showing off his water-skiing talents in Juan-les-Pins. With just two more sleeps until Christmas day the traditional parade took place on Wednesday morning in the bay of Juan-les-Pins with children able to greet him by boat.

Spider Man tops French box office - Released on December 15th in France the film "Spider-Man: No way home" has topped the French box office just a week after its release.

Business

The Irish airline Ryanair has doubled its loss forecast for the year due to the impact of the covid variant Omicron, which has led to a sharp reduction in bookings for the end-of-year holidays. The carrier now expects an annual loss of between 250 to 450 million euros compared to the 100 to 200 million euros initially planned.

The ban on non-essential travel from the UK to France and Germany and the suspension of all EU flights to or from Morocco have lowered Ryanair's December traffic expectations from an anticipated range of 10 to 11 million passengers to between 9 and 9.5 million.

A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research reveals that 0.01% of bitcoin holders alone control more than a quarter of the 19 million bitcoins in circulation today. Despite its increase in use by the world's population, bitcoin remains an asset whose holding is highly concentrated. Thirteen years after its creation, several questions are raised as the concentration of bitcoins remains in the hands of a few.

The French government have formalized the order to Airbus of 169 H160M helicopters "Cheetah" for the armed forces. A contract of 10 billion euros over a 16-year period. The aircraft will be divided between the Army, the French Navy and the Air and Space Force. Deliveries will begin in 2027.

Sport

Football - Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said managers will meet with the Premier League today Thursday 23rd December, to discuss issues around the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nine of the past 20 top-flight games have been postponed, but Premier League clubs decided on Monday to not make any changes to the festive schedule.

Liverpool beat Leicester on penalties in the League Cup on Wednesday and Klopp said he would prefer the semi-final with Arsenal to be one game instead of two legs.

Tennis - Organisers of the Australian Open are still unsure if Novak Djokovic will play at next month's Grand Slam. Djokovic has not spoken publicly about his vaccination status and all players and staff at the Australian Open must be vaccinated.

The Australian Open starts in Melbourne on 17th January, with players starting to arrive in the country over the next week for warm-up events. Djokovic would be going for a record 21st men's Grand Slam title and 10th Australian Open.

Weather

Sunny intervals with a moderate breeze, becoming increasingly cloudy. Highs of 13 degrees in Nice, Cannes and Saint Paul de Vence. In the Var, light cloud along the coast and highs of 12 degrees inland. This evening going down to 7 degrees with clear skies.

Outlook for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Light rain and showers are forecast for Nice and Saint Tropez with highs of 16 degrees tomorrow. Christmas Day showers are expected to continue in the Alpes Maritimes - should remain dry in the Var.

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