French and Riviera News Thursday 5th January 2023

News

Report on handling of covid crisis - The General Inspectorate of Social Affairs, the IGAS has issued a report concerning the health crisis and in particularly, the management of the crisis by the French government particularly the Ministry of Health. The report reveals a lack of preparation, disorganization and poor decision-making. The "confidential" report was submitted to the investigation of the Court of Justice of the Republic which will have to now determine whether members of the government have a responsibility in the management of the health crisis linked to Covid-19.

Ban of online sale of paracetamol-based products - The French government has banned the online sale of paracetamol-based products due to the risk of shortages. The ban introduced on Wednesday is in place until the end of the month. For several months, the National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) has been asking pharmacists to ration the sale of paracetamol to each patient. In December, the Ministry of Health had already warned that, despite these measures, the situation remained "complex" and would not be resolved for several weeks.

The government highlights the worsening health situation in China, where Covid cases are exploding after a sudden lifting of drastic health restrictions. The Chinese government has banned the export of paracetamol. China produces a large part of the active ingredient used by laboratories worldwide.

Teenager out of danger - The teenager stabbed in front of his high school in Hyères in the Var is reportedly "out of danger". The 16-year-old was stabbed six times by a fellow student in front of the professional high school on Tuesday morning. The investigation into the attack continues.  

School rugby suspended - School rugby has been suspended until further notice after a serious accident in mid-December. Competitions organized by the National Union of School Sport were stopped on December 16th following the accident which occurred during a match in the Hautes-Pyrénées. Experts from the French Rugby Federation met on Wednesday January 5th and are expected to soon announce the conclusion of the meeting.  The accident which occurred on December 14th during a tackle left a 17-year-old high school student quadriplegic.  In a letter, the National Union of Physical Education, affiliated to the FSU, questioned the UNSS on the suspension.

Future of Stars’N’Bars – Following the sad news of the closure of Stars’N’Bars after 30 years of service here in Monaco, it’s been revealed that the future project will see the establishment transformed into a new restaurant with workspaces, conferences and based around the environment. Last November marked the end of an era following the announcement of the upcoming closure of Stars'N'Bars which will close its doors on January 27th.  The new chapter will remain true to raising awareness “substituting industrial for organic” something which has been at the heart of Stars’N’Bars for over a decade.

Francoise Hardy in ranking of best singers of all time - French singer Françoise Hardy has appeared in the ranking of the 200 best singers of all time, published on January 1st by Rolling Stone. The only Frenchwoman to appear in the ranking, 78-year-old Hardy reacted to the news on French radio saying she had been “blown away by the news” adding that she “didn’t deserve to be in such a ranking”.  

Françoise Hardy occupies the 162nd place of the selection of the American magazine. The publication calls the French singer an "international superstar" who "wrote what she sang herself", "a rarity in the mid-1960s, especially for women".

Since its publication, Rolling Stone's ranking of the 200 greatest singers of all time has been debated. The most recurring criticism concerns the absence of Celine Dion, but other points astonish and annoy Internet users: the fact that Madonna, Cher or Judy Garland were not selected, or even that Michael Jackson was relegated to the 86th place.

Treasure hunt - A bakery in Nice has hidden a jewel worth 1,000 euros in one of its galettes des rois. "Les Petits Marchands" in partnership with the Nice jewellery store "Messika" has decided to play Willy Wonka and has for the Epiphany, recreated the mythical search for a golden ticket hidden in the middle of one of its cakes. The lucky winner will win a gold bracelet worth 1,000 euros from the Messika jewellery store a favourite of Beyoncé and Kendall Jenner.

Also, in Nice, another bakery has launched a similar treasure hunt. The Armand establishments have decided to offer three customers a real crown by the Nice sculptor Frédéric Fortuné.

Business

Meta has been fined €390m euros (£346m) for breaking EU data rules. The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) says the way Meta asked permission to use peoples' data for ads on Facebook and Instagram was unlawful. Meta, which owns both platforms, has three months to change how it obtains and uses data to target ads. Meta says it is "disappointed" and intends to appeal, stressing that the decision does not prevent personalised advertising on its platforms.

Amazon aims to shed more than 18,000 roles as it cuts costs. The job cuts amount to around 6% of the company's roughly 300,000-strong corporate workforce. Amazon is the latest big technology firm to unveil major layoffs as the cost-of-living crisis sees customers cut back on spending.

And – Recent figures have shown that new car registrations in the UK fell last year to their lowest level in three decades. Despite a recovery in the second half of 2022, a continuing parts shortage hit production lines. Meanwhile, demand for electric vehicles continued to grow and they accounted for almost a fifth of new car sales.

But charging infrastructure is not being built quickly enough to cope with growing demand, warned the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Across the whole of 2022, 1.61m new cars were registered in the UK. That was the lowest level since 1992.

Sport

Football – In Premier League action Harry Kane scored two of Tottenham's four second-half goals after they eventually cruised to a Premier League win over Crystal Palace.

Meanwhile Nottingham Forest beat Southampton 1-0, Leeds drew 2-2 against West Ham and Aston Villa drew 1-1 against Wolverhampton.

This evening Chelsea are at home to Manchester City kick off is at 9pm French time.

In other football news Amnesty International has said that Cristiano Ronaldo should use his platform to speak about human rights issues in Saudi Arabia. Ronaldo, 37, has signed a lucrative deal reportedly worth more than £177m per year with Saudi club Al Nassr until 2025.

Tennis - Great Britain are out of the inaugural United Cup after the United States won 4-1 in their City Final in Sydney. British number two Dan Evans was beaten 3-6 7-5 6-3 by Frances Tiafoe, securing the US a place in the semi-finals.

And - Novak Djokovic is set to miss Indian Wells and the Miami Open after the United States extended its requirement for international visitors to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Proof of vaccination will be required to enter the country until at least 10 April but Serbia's Djokovic has previously said he is unvaccinated.

Indian Wells and the Miami Open - two of the most prestigious tournaments on the tennis calendar outside the Grand Slams - start on 6 and 20 March respectively.

Weather

Sunny with highs of 16 in Nice and Saint Tropez, 15 in Monaco and 12 degrees inland in the Alpes Maritimes. 17 degrees in Toulon and Cannes along the coast with a gentle breeze. This evening going down to 8 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow and the weekend. Sunny intervals tomorrow. Light cloud on Saturday and rain is forecast for Sunday. Highs of 14-15 degrees.

Sunrise       08.04hr

Sunset        17.07hr

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