French and Riviera News Thursday 2nd September 2021


Back to school - It’s back to school today Thursday September 2nd, for 12.3 million students in France as the health situation worries parents and teachers. The start of the school year will be under the regime of scenario 2 (out of 4) of the health protocol, which allows all students to attend school but requires the wearing of a mask from the start of CP, from 6 years old. According to the rules a single positive case in primary schools means that the class concerned must close and all students stay at home for seven days. For families with two working parents, this will no doubt lead to complications concerning childcare. In colleges and lycées should a case of covid be identified those students vaccinated will be able to continue attending class, while students not vaccinated will be require to self-isolate.

Meanwhile a poll carried out by Elabe published on Wednesday has shown that while a majority of parents consider the health protocol to be appropriate, 74% are in favour of making vaccination compulsory for teachers.

Macron in Marseille - And it’s also back to school for President Emmanuel Macron, who as part of his visit to Marseille, will this morning visit a school in the city.

Macron arrived in Marseille on Wednesday afternoon braving crowds on the port chanting “Macron resign”.  The head of state plans to announce fresh public investment to France’s second largest city, which has become known for its run-down streets and crime ridden housing estates along with a recent spate of killings linked to drug trafficking in the city.

Over the course of his visit, Macron accompanied by eight of his ministers is expected to build on recent announcements for Marseille, including additional police officers and magistrates as well as support for plans by the city’s mayor to renovate the city's public schools.

Meanwhile on Wednesday former Prime Minister Manuel Valls caused outcry after making remarks during an interview on French radio about the poorer districts of Marseille saying, “they should be completely destroyed and repopulated differently”.

HSH Prince Albert expresses immense sadness after the tragic death of two Monaco firefighters - HSH Prince Albert II has said that he learned with immense sadness of the tragic death of two Monaco firefighters in a motorcycle accident on Wednesday. Sergent Stéphan Hertier and Sapeur Mathis Canavese were part of a group of four motorcyclists who were hit by a car in Puget-Théniers. The Prince also sent his best wishes for a speedy recovery to the two other firefighters who were injured in the accident and expressed his deep emotion to the Principality's firefighters who have been deeply affected by the accident.

Green pass introduced in Italy - Italian authorities have stepped up police checks at train stations across the country amid threats from protesters to disrupt high-speed trains on the first day of a Covid pass on Wednesday. In Italy the "green pass" is now compulsory for domestic flights, ferries and long-distance or fast trains as well as schools and universities. The pass, both digital and on paper, provides proof of at least one Covid-19 vaccination, recent recovery or a negative test. It is already required for entering cinemas, restaurants, gyms and swimming pools, but it is not needed on local buses and children under 12 are exempt.

Tap water contamination - Weeks after an announcement on the poor quality of tap water, contaminated with lead and nickel in Antibes and La Colle-sur-Loup the city of Antibes and Juan les pins has said that the situation "is evolving favourably" but 'is not yet back to normal”. In a press release only the inhabitants of Biot can to date, again, consume the tap water after treatments carried out by the Casa (Sophia-Antipolis agglomeration community) and Veolia which have "allowed a return to normal fully compliant with regulations for the quality of drinking water".

Sanary-sur-mer recognized as a state of natural disaster - Sanary-sur-Mer in the Var has been recognized as a state of natural disaster for land movements following drought and soil rehydration from April 1st, 2020 to June 30th, 2020. The decree was published in the Official Journal on 31st August and those affected have ten days from that date to report damage suffered to their insurance company.

Police patrols stepped up in port area of Nice - Patrols by the National Police are being intensified in the Pilatte and Mont Boron sectors of Nice. Deputy mayor Anthony Borre said that on Tuesday night 53 people were moved on from the area and 11 fines were issued for noise pollution and throwing rubbish.

Bride appeals for lost wedding photos - A young bride from the Alpes Maritimes has appealed to the public in a desperate attempt to find her wedding photos which were stolen at Geneva airport. The appeal launched on Facebook has been shared 150,000 times. Julia who was married on July 30th had her hard drive and SD card stolen while recently travelling to Greece.


A judge in the United States has approved a bankruptcy plan for the maker of OxyContin painkillers which will shield its wealthy owners from further legal action over their roles in the country’s opioid epidemic. Under the deal, Purdue Pharma will pay $4.5 billion to settle lawsuits related to the crisis. The Sackler family will also give up control of the drugmaker but will have immunity from future lawsuits. Nearly all US states, hospitals, native American tribes and other creditors involved in the legal action have approved the settlement, although some have said they will appeal. In 2020, Purdue pleaded guilty to criminal charges over its marketing of OxyContin, a painkiller that it knew was addictive and being widely abused. Judge Robert Drain noted in his comments that the Sackler family members who testified had shown little remorse.

Amazon is to hire 55,000 staff globally for corporate jobs and roles of robotics, research and engineering. Around 40,000 jobs will be created in the United States with the remainder in the UK, India, Germany and Japan. The firm says that it needs more staff to keep pace with expansion of its retail, cloud computing and advertising arms. A large number of the new positions are likely to be for the firms new satellite launch programme, Project Kuiper which intends to widen broadband access.

The UK pub chain Wetherspoon’s is running out of beer amid a Brexit induced shortage of delivery drivers and industrial action. JD Wetherspoon which is led by the vocal Brexit supporter Tim Martin, confirmed on Wednesday that some of its pubs did not have many beers in stock after customers flagged the issue on social media. Suppliers of beers which own the Carling and Coors brands say that driver shortages are leading to difficulties in supplying Wetherspoon’s but maintain that overall availability is good. The chain is also reported to be running short of products supplied by Heineken. The GMB union which represents delivery drivers says that post Brexit, the UK is desperately short of qualified HGV operators. The pandemic, difficulties in getting visas to work in the UK and tax changes have prompted many drivers to either leave the trade or return to their homes in the EU.


Paralympics – China is still well out in front of the medals table