French and Riviera News Thursday 28th October 2021

News 

Draguignan hospital closes A&E department at night - The hospital centre of Draguignan in the Var is to close its A&E department at night, due to the lack of staff. From tomorrow Friday 29th October from 8.30pm to 8.30am the service will be closed. After months of the health crisis, little change to wages or even working conditions, the hospital's human resources are under immense strain. The closure is expected to last at least five weeks with patients being referred to neighbouring establishments in Fréjus, Brignoles or Toulon.

Some units in French hospitals forced to close temporarily – Meanwhile according to France's Health Minister Olivier Véran "a number of units in French hospitals have been forced to temporarily closed, due to lack of caregivers". According to a flash survey conducted by Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, president of the scientific council on Covid-19, about 20% of beds are currently closed in the CHU and CHR of France due to lack of staff.

Survey shows risks of poor mental health for future doctors – A survey published on Wednesday by student and intern trade union organizations has shown that 52% of the medical students who responded had experienced anxiety symptoms over the seven days preceding the questionnaire and 25% had to deal with a major or characterized depressive episode over the last twelve months. The survey showed that more than half of medical students have anxiety symptoms and a quarter have been harassed in the past 12 months.

Access to oil depot blocked - The oil depot in Puget-sur-Argens has been blocked by protestors. On Wednesday morning protestors gathered in front of the oil depot to denounce the rise in fuel prices in recent weeks in France blocking the access. Police were soon on site determined to move them on. According to reports the employees of the oil depot were not involved in the roadblock.

Drug trafficking trial in Corsica - A drug trafficking trial in Corsica has taken a surprise turn after the defendants appeared in court on Wednesday October 27th without their lawyers who left the stand in protest at the court's refusal to postpone the trial. Several people are on trial thought to be some of the key players of a drug network between Europe and Corsica. The Ajaccio criminal court will deliver its decision on December 17th.

Sanary sur mer has elected a new mayor - Daniel Alsters has been appointed as the new mayor of Sanary sur Mer elected unanimously by the municipal majority. The city of western Toulon has elected Alsters who succeeds the resigning former mayor, Ferdinand Bernhard, who had been put on trial in June 2015. After years of proceedings, he was finally sentenced to one year in prison by the Court of Appeal of Aix-en-Provence and 5 years of ineligibility. His resignation as mayor of Sanary dates from October 2021.

Trial former socialist MP - Meanwhile in Marseille former socialist MP Henri Jibrayel is currently on trial for embezzlement of public funds appeared in court on Wednesday. Accused of using his expense allowance to "play at the casino and purchase a car for his personal use" the elected representative pointed out that at the time, "the deputies used the money as they wished." The judgment will be rendered on 22 November.

One year prison sentence for man who pretended to be the nephew of Brigitte Macron - The Paris Criminal Court has handed a one-year prison sentence to a man who pretended to be Brigitte Macron's nephew. The 35-year-old defendant was sentenced on Wednesday. The defendant had used the deceit to obtain advantages and privileges from luxury establishments, companies or institutions. Now 35 years old, he will serve his prison sentence under a regime of electronic surveillance at home. He will also be subject to mandatory medical follow-up.

Mayor of Paris and Presidential candidate slams regional health agencies in France - Presidential candidate and mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo has announced that she would abolish the regional health agencies, at the heart of the covid crisis, if she were elected, judging them as being "useless". Hidalgo had already expressed her wish to abolish the ARS considering that they had not played their role of anticipating and managing the crisis of the epidemic. The candidate, who was making her first campaign trip on the theme of health felt that "these agencies have become accounting agencies", which "are only there to contain health spending", when they "should have started from the health needs of the population".

Belgium returns to wearing a mask and the health pass after an 76% increase in the number of positive covid cases - Faced with the increase in new Covid cases, Belgium has announced the return to wearing a mask in indoor places open to the public as well as the generalization of the Belgian health pass (Covid Safe Ticket). The measure will be valid throughout the country. The decision was taken after Belgium declared nearly 6,000 new daily cases of covid. With the authorities seeing a 76% increase in the number of positive cases in one week.

Tug of war over fishing licences continues - The tug-of-war continues as the British government did not appreciate on Wednesday, October 27 the retaliatory measures taken by France in the context of the conflict between them over the number of licenses granted to French fishermen after Brexit in the Channel Islands. A UK government spokesman was quoted in a tweet by the British Secretary of State for Brexit David Frost saying "France's threats are disappointing and disproportionate, and do not correspond to what we could expect from an ally and close partner". Meanwhile French government spokesman Gabriel Attal had said earlier in the day on Wednesday that "what we see today is that almost 50% of the licenses to which we are entitled are missing. A situation that is not acceptable and I say it clearly, our patience is reaching its limits,". He had announced the entry into force of French sanctions against his British neighbour on November 2nd. 

Data on the homeless in France - According to data published on Wednesday by the collective "The dead of the streets", homeless people whose deaths could be recorded in 2020 died on average at the age of 48, compared to 79 for the rest of the population. 587 people living on the street or in temporary accommodation died in 2020 in France, including at least one in four from violent deaths (assault, suicide, drowning, accident). Of these 587 people, 24% had spent more than ten years wandering, said the collective in a statement.

161st Hospices de Beaune wine sale - The organizers of the 161st Hospices de Beaune wine sale met on Wednesday, October 27th in Paris to present the details this year's event which will take place in the city of Côte-d'Or on Sunday, November 21st. This year, 349 pieces will be on sale: 56 will be barrels of white wine, 293 of red. Last year, the event raised nearly 12.7 million euros for charitable purposes.

Business

According to figures from Pôle Emploi, the number of category A unemployed in France has fallen 5.8% in the third quarter to 3.3 million people, and by 10% over one year. The number of unemployed registered with Pôle Emploi with a short, reduced activity (category B) decreased by 0.1% compared to the second quarter. On the other hand, that of people in long reduced activity (category C) increased by 6.5%. Categories A, B and C combined, the number of jobseekers amounted to 5.58 million people, down 1.9% in the third quarter (-110,900) and 3.6% over one year.

The Swedish ready-to-wear giant H&M plans to close its shop on the Champs-Elysées, eleven years after its disputed installation on the famous Parisian avenue. The process is expected to last two months, after which H&M ensures that the store's 105 employees "will have the opportunity to be reassigned to another store." In a statement the group justified their decision by saying "due to ongoing transformation at a global level and adapting to meet the increased expectations of customers we need to ensure that we have the right stores in the right locations".

Hertz, which caused a stir on Monday by unveiling a mega-order of 100,000 vehicles to Tesla, announced on Wednesday that it will make 50,000 cars made by Elon Musk's group available to Uber drivers by 2023. The latter will be able to rent Tesla to transport their passengers to Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Washington, from November 1st, then gradually to the rest of the country. In a statement the Uber CEO said that the partnership "combines the power of Tesla, Hertz and Uber to help accelerate the transition to emissions-free mobility". If the program is successful, it could be expanded to 150,000 Tesla by 2026, as Hertz adds cars made by Elon Musk's group to its fleet.

In the UK the chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility Richard Hughes has said that the impact of Brexit on the UK economy will be worse in the long run compared to the coronavirus pandemic. Richard Hughes said leaving the EU will reduce the UK's potential GDP by about 4% in the long term. He said forecasts showed the pandemic would reduce GDP "by a further 2%". His comments come after the OBR said the cost of living could rise at its fastest rate for 30 years, with suggestions inflation could hit almost 5%.

Meanwhile Saudi Arabian manufacturing and chemicals giant Sabic is to invest almost £1bn at its Teesside plant. The company, one of the world's largest petrochemical manufacturers, told reporters that the cash injection was part of its plans to reduce its carbon footprint by up to 60% initially. Boris Johnson said the investment was a "huge vote of confidence" in the UK's chemicals industry. The prime minister said the deal would create and safeguard 1,000 jobs.

Sport 

Football - Holders Manchester City were knocked out of the Carabao Cup after West Ham United won 5-3 on penalties in front of an ecstatic sell-out crowd at London Stadium. It is the first time since 2016 that City, who have won the competition for the past four seasons, have been eliminated.

Cricket - England continued their perfect start at the Men's T20 World Cup with an eight-wicket thrashing of Bangladesh in Abu Dhabi. After bowling West Indies out for 55 in their opening win, England restricted Bangladesh to 124-9 in another fine performance in the field. Their next match is against Australia in Dubai on Saturday at 15:00 BST.

Tennis - Britain's Andy Murray has been beaten at the Vienna Open for the first time in his career after a straight-set defeat by Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz.

Cycling - Cycling and marathon routes for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham have been revealed. The marathon event, on the first Saturday of the Games, will take in the city centre and south Birmingham and the following week's cycling race will be staged in Warwickshire. Organisers said the routes would "showcase the West Midlands".

Rugby Union - A revolutionary 12-a-side competition planned for next year appears to have been killed off by World Rugby. The World 12s was launched in September with organisers pledging to generate £250m of income to the game. After consultation with stakeholders, World Rugby "do not wish to explore the concept further at this time".

Weather

Sunny intervals with a moderate breeze. Highs of 20 degrees in Nice, Cagnes sur mer, and Antibes. This evening going down to 14 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for Friday and the weekend – Becoming increasingly cloudy with rain forecast for most of the weekend, highs of 18-20 degrees.

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