French and Riviera News Thursday 27th May 2021

News

National Academy of Medicine in France recommends making vaccine compulsory for a range of professions - France’s National Academy of Medicine has recommended making the covid vaccine compulsory for a range of professions. In a statement, the Academy said that “vaccinating essential workers, along with children and adolescents, is the only way to achieve “enough of a collective immunity to control the pandemic” adding that “measures such as wearing masks and lockdowns will be "insufficient" to control the spread of the virus over the long term”.

In order to achieve herd immunity, 90 per cent of the adult population, or 80 per cent of the entire population, including children, must be vaccinated.

France to introduce “compulsory isolation” due to Indian variant – Meanwhile France has announced a one-week “compulsory isolation” period for anyone arriving from the UK as of next Monday 31st May, due to the Indian covid variant. To date Public Health France has reported eighty cases of the variant in France and according to the World Health Organisation the variant is present in at least 53 countries. A recent study published by health authorities in England, has indicated that the vaccines from Pfizer / BioNTech and AstraZeneca / Oxford were found to be effective against the Indian variant.

Vaccination - In France on Wednesday the number of people fully vaccinated reached just over 10 million, in addition some 24 million have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Meanwhile on Wednesday May 26th for the first time since September 2020, the average of new covid cases listed in 24 hours fell below the 10,000 mark in France, with a seven-day average of 9,421 new cases.

In other news

Women show support for mother who was slapped for breastfeeding in public - Women across France have taken to the internet posting pictures of themselves breastfeeding in public. The move comes in support for a young mother in Bordeaux who was slapped by a stranger for breastfeeding in public. Hundreds of women expressed their horror at the reported assault, which took place on 19th May. The mother in question, Maylis, said she discreetly began feeding her six-month-old son, who had become restless, while queuing in the street to pick up a parcel. Taking offence, another woman in the line told Maylis she should be ashamed, before smacking her across the face while she held her baby.

Education minister announces injection of 700 million euros for the sector - France’s education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer has announced an injection of 700 million euros for 2022. The money will be used to revalue teachers’ salaries, including 400 million in new bonuses.

Air France promotional campaign with flights from Nice - Air France has launched a promotional campaign from Nice to 13 French cities. To revive the airline’s activity Air France will serve 13 destinations from Nice airport this summer at promotional prices. Including a one-way ticket at €40 from Nice to: Biarritz, Bordeaux, Caen, Lille, Lyon, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly, Rennes, Strasbourg. Launched on Wednesday May 26th the campaign runs until June 1st, 2021 and is valid for trips between June 21st and October 31st, 2021.

In addition, Air France will also offer flights from Nice to:

- London-Heathrow (new): 4 flights per week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays - June 28th to September 5th, 2021.

- Tunis (new): 2 flights per week on Mondays and Fridays from June 28th to September 3rd, 2021

- Algiers: 1 flight per week on Sunday from July 25th to August 29th, 2021

- Athens: 3 flights per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from June 28th to September 5th, 2021.

Nice Jazz Festival - The Nice Jazz Festival is set to go ahead from July 12th to 17th. This year’s edition will see numbers limited due to the health protocol.

The Var is preferred holiday destination - Airbnb have said that the Var is the preferred holiday destination for vacation rentals this year instead of Paris, which is usually at the top of the list. It reflects similar changes seen this year in other countries, including the UK, where Cornwall is the number one Airbnb destination, replacing London. The company said that summer travel on Airbnb used to be largely smaller groups visiting big cities. This summer, the most popular type of travel is families holidaying in remote destinations from their big city homes. However, it said that travellers are starting to return to cities and for longer periods of time. The top three destinations for long-term stays on Airbnb are all cities.

Business

Amazon is to buy MGM studios for $8.45 billion. MGM is one of Hollywood’s most famous studios and has produced classic films from Some Like it Hot to the James Bond franchise. The acquisition will give Amazon’s Prime streaming service access to a huge back catalogue of content. Prime will soon be able to offer around 4,000 films and some 17,000 television shows. MGM Holdings, the parent company of MGM Studios had reportedly been exploring a sale since last year. The takeover will need to be approved by regulators at a time when Amazon is under increased scrutiny in both the European Union and the United States over its business practices.

Shareholders have criticised the top two US oil companies for dragging their feet on fighting climate change. On Wednesday a Dutch court ruled that Royal Dutch Shell needs to accelerate cuts to greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil lost at least two board seats to an activist hedge fund and shareholders at Chevron called for action to further reduce its emissions. A report by Reuters says that investor support for climate concerns could force oil and gas companies to rethink how fast they moved to other forms of energy. The Dutch court ordered to Shell to slash its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. Shell said that it would appeal and analysts say the decision is not the last word in the case.

Large US banks have been criticised for not doing enough to help ordinary people during the pandemic. The heads of JP Morgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs have been appearing before US lawmakers in Washington. In his opening remarks, Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown said that Wall Street profits no matter what happens to workers, because those profits now come at the expense of workers. The bankers have also been criticised for charging customers overdraft fees even as regulators recommended that they should be waived. Republicans have also been critical but took a different tack accusing the banks of prioritising social causes rather than clients’ financial interests. Bank bosses pointed to the relief given out during Covid and defended their actions saying that they had given workers additional leave and continued to pay on site staff even if they weren’t working.

Sport

Football – Villarreal have beaten Manchester United in a dramatic penalty shootout to win the Europa league final. The score between the two sides was tied at 1–1 after extra time with the Spanish club then winning 11–10 in a nail biting penalty shootout. United goalkeeper David de Gea missed the vital spot kick which gave Villarreal the first major trophy in their history.

Cricket – England wicket-keeper Ben Foakes will miss the two Tests against New Zealand with a hamstring injury. The injury means that Gloucestershire’s James Bracey will  make his Test debut at Lords. Batsman Haseeb Hameed has been added to the squad as has wicket-keeper Sam Billings. The first Test between England and New Zealand starts at Lords on June the 2nd.

Rugby Union – The British and Irish Lions squad have received their first coronavirus vaccinations ahead of the summer tour of South Africa. All members of the travelling party have been given the Pfizer jab. It’s hoped that all 37 players will get their second vaccinations by the end of their pre-tour training camp in Jersey. The Lions play the first Test against the Springboks in Cape Town on July 24th.

Golf – The R&A is optimistic 30,000 spectators will be allowed to attend each day of the Open at Royal St George’s in July. The daily capacity of the course in Kent which is hosting the Championship for the 14th time is usually 40,000. Organisers say they’ve been working very closely with the UK government and Public Health England to understand what they can do and what they can’t do. Plans are being put together to work at a capacity level of somewhere between 25 and 75%. Players will be in a bubble with officials and the Championship staff and will be kept separate and away from crowds.

Weather

Mainly fine with light to moderate south easterly winds. Top temperature 20 degrees. Overnight lows of 13-14 degrees with partially cloudy skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend - Mainly fine with highs of 19-23 degrees.

And Finally 

After Paul the octopus at the 2010 World Cup, here comes Suzie the 15-stone psychic pig to predict the results for Euro 2020. Suzie predicts match results by choosing from two identical food boxes and will be asked to sniff out the outcome of the Three Lions’ matches in next month’s tournament. Suzie’s owner, said: “She’s a very intelligent pig... so sniffing out the winner of the Euros should be no problem". “Before every England game Suzie will be given a taste test to choose which one of two food boxes she wants to eat from. One will carry England’s name, the other their opponent’s. Whichever Suzie goes for will be her favourite to win.”

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