French and Riviera News Thursday 2nd December 2021

News 

Covid incidence rate increasing but not as high as the summer - The covid incidence rate is clearly increasing in all the departments of the Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur region but is still far from figures reached in mid-August. In just one week it has indeed doubled in the Bouches-du-Rhône, reaching nearly 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the latest Regional Health Agency figures. This is higher than the Alpes de Haute Provence which stands at 419 and the Alpes Maritimes at 379.

Covid testing and travelling - Meanwhile French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal has said that a negative Covid-19 test of less than 48 hours will be required for all travellers arriving in France from outside the European Union, irrespective of their vaccination status. As regards to travellers arriving from other EU countries, he said people who have not been vaccinated must produce a negative test of less than 24 hours. Attal added that thirteen suspected cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in France, which are in the process of being investigated.

France extends suspension of flights from seven southern African countries - France's Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune has announced the extension on the suspension of flights from seven southern African countries until Saturday 5th December.

Local MP defends increase from 12 to 14 weeks for an abortion - France's National Assembly has voted a second time to extend the time limit for an abortion from 12 to 14 weeks. Passed by 79 votes in favour, 36 against and eight abstentions on Tuesday 30th November, it must now proceed to the Senate. In 2019, 217,291 abortions (voluntary termination of pregnancy) were performed in France. Speaking in favour of the bill elected representative Cécile Muschotti, MP for the Var, defended the move by saying that "Should France extend the legal period to 14 weeks, "it will be within the European average". 14 weeks is the same as in Spain. Some countries go further with 18 weeks for Sweden, 22 for the Netherlands and 24 for the United Kingdom.

Commemorative plaque for World AIDS day - A commemorative plaque has been inaugurated for World AIDS day on Wednesday December 1st, in Nice. The inauguration took place at the Sosno Garden in the presence of the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi and former French Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe. The Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur region is the second region in France most affected by AIDS, after the île-de-France. Between them, they account for 65% of new annual infections with the fight against AIDS being of great importance in the region and the Alpes-Maritimes.

Currently, 3900 people with AIDS are registered in the Alpes-Maritimes. The associations estimate that there are about 350 people who are unaware of their HIV status. Every year, between 60 and 120 people are diagnosed in the Alpes-Maritimes. In 2019, the initiative "Au labo sans ordo" was launched in Paris and the Alpes-Maritimes. Thanks to this operation, it is possible to get tested for HIV without having a doctor's prescription and without paying a fee. About 800 people are tested each month in the department thanks to this offer. The goal is to reach the figure of zero new infections in the department by 2030.

Estrosi joins new political party of former French Prime Minister - It was no surprise to see both the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi and the former Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe together as it was also on Wednesday 1st December, that the mayor announced that he is joining the new political party led by Edouard Phillipe. Estrosi will join the Horizons party after having formerly been a member of the Republicans, a party which he left earlier this year.

Tunnel to be partially opened in Nice from this morning Thursday 2nd December - The city of Nice has announced that the Liautaud tunnel, closed following an incident which occurred inside on Monday while works were being carried out, will be partially reopened from this morning at the Barla intersection. The town council added that they hope to have the tunnel completely reopen by the end of next week. The tunnel which connects the Promenade des Anglais with the Paillon district, is used by many motorists on a daily basis. Since its closure on Tuesday November 30th, traffic has become a nightmare in the city during the evening rush hour due to the diversions in place with traffic being diverted around the port.

Ski season - If you've been eagerly awaiting the ski season then you'll be pleased to know that Isola 2000 will be opening this weekend 4th and 5th December. For the resort of Auron skiers will have to wait a little longer as due to weather conditions with strong winds forecast the resort has postponed this weekend's planned opening.

Survey shows that 43% of French support action of French President - According to a recent survey 43% of French people support the action taken by French President Emmanuel Macron in the face of the health crisis. The survey carried out by Ifop showed an increase of four points compared to a survey carried out last October, when 39% of respondents were in favour of the head of state. It is among left-wing voters that Emmanuel Macron is making the strongest progress. The Prime Minister Jean Castex also gained four points, with an approval rating of 41%.

Business

Guernsey on Wednesday granted 40 fishing licenses to French boats, which will be able to continue fishing in its waters after February 1, 2022. The announcement comes in the middle of a standoff between Paris and London over post-Brexit fishing licenses, the French government accusing the British of granting too few. By adding three more vessels to replace vessels that have left the French fleet, Guernsey will grant 43 licences for 58 applications. They will be able to fish in the 6-12 nautical mile zone off the Channel Island, as was the case before Brexit. In a statement from the Guernsey government for the remaining 15 boats, "any additional data will be reviewed".

Following the fall caused by the worry around the new covid variant, the Paris Stock Exchange has rebounded falling back into the red on Wednesday with the CAC 40 catching up 160 points or 2.39%.

With a new cryptocurrency scam making the headlines on a weekly basis, it may not come as surprise that a report from the analysis firm in the world of the "blockchain" Elliptic, has estimated that since the beginning of 2021 the amount lost in cryptocurrencies amounts to $ 10.5 billion, compared to only $ 1.5 billion in the year 2020. An increase of 600%.

Meanwhile executives of eight major cryptocurrency firms have been called to testify before a US congressional committee on the 8th December. It will be the first-time companies representing the controversial sector have been questioned in this way. US politicians across the political spectrum have called for more scrutiny of crypto-currencies.

For the first time in its 98-year history Walt Disney has elected a woman to become its chairman.  Susan Arnold, who has been a Disney board member for 14 years, will take over at the end of this year. She was formerly an executive at global investment firm Carlyle.

Amid the uncertainty over the Omicron Covid variant and the safety concerns over large gatherings a number of big businesses are holding smaller Christmas parties within departments, rather than larger, company-wide events. NatWest, Aviva and Deloitte have told staff that attending festive events will be a personal choice. About 52% of UK workplaces have decided not to hold a Christmas office party, according to a survey of 2,000 office workers.

According to the French magazine "Usine Nouvelle" in 2021 France has started to open more factories than it has closed. The review recorded 53 plant openings compared to 24 closures between January 1st and November 18th. In France 2020 was marked by a number of closures of industrial sites which were higher than that of openings. In 2020 the industry was given €2.9 billion in subsidies however the review does not specify the number of jobs or the volume of production created as a result. New sites however do show foreign investment in France, such as the Indian metal tube manufacturer Electrosteel in Arles.

Questioned on Wednesday in the National Assembly by the Committee on Sustainable Development, the CEO of the SNCF Jean-Pierre Farandou has called for a higher taxation on air and road transport. After being questioned about the high price of train tickets compared to plane tickets on some destinations in France. Farandou said that "it is not the train that is too expensive, it is the plane which is not expensive enough". He added that the SNCF pays charges on its carbon impact asking why are airlines are exempt from this? Jean-Pierre Farandou also regretted that European long-distance road transport is exempt from any carbon tax.

Sport 

Tennis – Amid concern for the Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai the Women's Tennis Association has announced an immediate suspension of all tournaments in China. Peng, disappeared from public view for three weeks after accusing a top Chinese official of sexual assault. WTA chief Steve Simon said he had "serious doubts" that Peng was "free, safe and not subject to intimidation". The WTA has repeatedly called for a full investigation.

Football – In last night's Premier League Liverpool cruised past Everton with a 4-1 win. Manchester City beat Aston Villa 2-1 and it was a "lucky" win for Chelsea who beat Watford 2-1. Tonight, Tottenham are at home to Brentford and Manchester United play Arsenal.

Athletics - Norwegian 400m hurdler Karsten Warholm and Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah have been named World Athletics' World Athletes of the Year.

Weather 

Sunny intervals with a gentle breeze. Highs of 14 degrees in Monaco, Nice, Cannes and Antibes. In Saint-Tropez and the Var highs of 13 with gusty winds. This evening going down to 5 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for Friday and heading into the weekend - Sunny with highs of 13-14 degrees.

And Finally

Police have arrested four seasonal workers in the Pyrenees Orientales after they stole a chairlift from the ski resort where they were working. The four men had come up with, what may have seemed like a "brilliant idea at the time", of decorating their living room with the chairlift as they walked home to their chalet.

Originally from the Var and the North of France the four unscrewed the chairlift before loading it into their car. The police were alerted and soon tracked down the vehicle and the culprits, in possession of the chairlift.

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