French and Riviera News Thursday 28th January 2021

News 

Accident - A 37-year-old man, heavily under the influence of alcohol has been hit by a vehicle on the RD562. The incident occurred shortly after 8pm on Wednesday evening in Callian. Witnesses say that the victim was zig zagging between vehicles before being hit. Seriously injured, emergency services airlifted him to hospital. Traffic was severely disrupted in the area.

Restaurant in Nice opens as an act of “resistance” - A restaurant owner in Nice has been placed in police custody reportedly not for opening his restaurant during the current restrictions but for an employee without correct paperwork. Owner Christophe Wilson opened his establishment on Wednesday lunchtime in protest against the closure of restaurants and as an act of “resistance”. Customers were served food and displayed their support for the restaurant owner. When interviewed by local reporters, many openly displayed their skepticism about the very existence of Covid, saying that "the epidemic does not exist", with others even underestimating the effects claiming, "there are not that many deaths". Police intervened and then left as customers declared their victory and sang the Marseillaise. It is not the first time that the restaurant owner has taken action, at the end of last November he opened his establishment in protest during the second lockdown in France.

Seasonal rentals - The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, has prohibited all seasonal rentals in Nice from the 6th to at least the 20th February. The measure, an attempt to limit the spread of Covid during the holiday period, had been evoked in a tweet by the mayor but until now was not confirmed. Estrosi has also expressed his wish for the measure to be introduced for the whole of the Alpes Maritimes.

French government considering several scenarios - As the French government decide the next move to contain the spread of Covid in France, a meeting held yesterday with the Head of State and the scientific council has revealed that the current 6pm curfew introduced across France is not enough to slow down the spread. Speaking on Wednesday government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said that a range of different scenarios are being considered from what he called "an unlikely maintenance of the current framework" to "very tight confinement". The Director General of Health will give an update on the circulation of the virus today.

Meanwhile French President Emmanuel Macron is to take part in a meeting at 11am this morning on treatment against Covid-19. The objective of the meeting is to take stock of the progress in research and clinical trials in the face of the Covid pandemic.

Investigation into leaving party held by police officers - An investigation has been opened after police officers in Seine-Saint-Denis organised a leaving do for a fellow colleague despite the current 6pm curfew in France. A video of the evening was broadcast online showing police officers partying in the police station, without masks or social distancing. Several police unions have refused to comment on the images while the mayor of Aubervilliers, Karine Franclet (UDI), hopes the participants will be sanctioned.

Monaco health measures - The Monaco government has extended all current health measures until February 19th inclusive. The restrictions have been in force since January 11th. The government said that the circulation of the virus is still active in the Principality and although the incidence rate has stabilized, it remains very high at 400 positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a 7-day period. The government said that it should be remembered that the large number of positive cases is linked to the rise in the number of tests carried out but it's necessary to remain vigilant. Hospital services in the Principality are not saturated but are subject to increasing demand. 

Two wheelers no longer allowed to circulate between vehicles - France’s delegation to Road Safety has announced that from February 1st, two-wheelers will no longer be allowed to circulate between vehicles. Results have shown that following an experiment on certain roads throughout France, where this widespread practice was authorized, accidents increased by 12%. Due to the “disappointing” accident toll, the conclusion from the report does not allow road authorities to integrate inter-lane traffic into the highway code.

Cannes Film Festival - The Cannes Film Festival has been postponed because of the health situation. The festival was scheduled to take place from the 11th to 22nd May this year, but organisers say it will now be held from July 6th to 17th.

Vendée Globe - Yannick Bestaven, the 48-year-old French skipper is the overall winner of the ninth edition of the Vendée Globe. Bestaven takes victory 2 hours 31 minutes and 1 second ahead of Charlie Dalin and 6 hours 40 minutes and 26 seconds of Louis Burton who both finished ahead of him and take second and third respectively. The German skipper Boris Herrmann on Seaexplorer of the Yacht Club of Monaco was doing well in the last hours of the race on Wednesday but unfortunately collided with a fishing boat just ahead of the finishing line. Sailing in third position on Wednesday evening and some 90 miles from the finishing line of the Vendée Globe off Sables-d'Olonne, Herrmann said he had damaged the starboard foil but had managed to secure the boat and is now heading towards the finishing line at low speed and is expected to arrive in the coming hours. You can follow the arrival of competitors on vendeeglobe.org.

Business

The US Federal Reserve has once again left interest rates at near zero and made no new changes to its monthly bond buying purchases. At the end of its two-day policy meeting in Washington, the Fed said that there would be no major changes until there’s a full rebound from the pandemic-triggered recession. The US central bank also flagged a worrying slowdown in the pace of the recovery but noted some economic resilience in the housing, financial services and technology sectors. The Fed chair Jerome Powell warned that a large section of the workforce will remain sidelined until the health crisis eases and pledged that the central bank’s efforts will not end until employment is back on track. He said that the bottom line was that America had to “defeat the pandemic” and that the job needed to be finished.

Apple sales have hit another record as consumers bought the firm’s latest phones, laptops and gadgets during the Christmas period. Sales for the final quarter hit 111 billion dollars, up by 23 percent on the same period in 2019. Apple now has more than 1.65 billion active devices worldwide including more than a billion iPhones. The gains follow the release of the iPhone 12 range which has seen many consumers switch to the firm or upgrade old models. Growth in China was particularly strong, helped in part for demand for phones that are compatible with new 5G networks. Sales in the Greater China region jumped by 57 percent with sales in Europe up 17 percent and an 11 percent increase in the Americas.

The number of new cars produced in the UK last year fell by a third to 921,000 units according to latest industry figures. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said that the figures were the lowest “for a generation” but added that vaccine roll out and the EU trade deal “inspired optimism” for 2021. Producti