French and Riviera News Thursday 6th January 2022


Vaccine pass gets the green light from the National Assembly in France - After three turbulent days fuelled by controversial remarks from French President Emmanuel Macron, the National Assembly has this morning adopted the bill transforming the health pass into a vaccine pass.

Announced in mid-December by the Head of State in the face of the health crisis, the text was approved at 5:25 am this Thursday morning with 214 votes in favour, 93 against and twenty-seven abstained.

The bill must now be examined by the Senate early next week and is planned to be introduced by the government on January 15th but could be postponed by a few days. From this date it will be necessary for those over 12 years of age to be able to justify a vaccination status to access leisure activities, restaurants and bars, fairs or public transport. A negative test will no longer be enough, except to access health facilities and services. Among its amendment MP have changed the vaccination pass required for school trips and extracurricular activities which will now be from 16 years of age instead of 12.

Tense situation in the PACA region concerning covid according to French government spokesman - Government spokesman Gabriel Attal has evoked a "particularly tense situation" in the Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur region concerning the number of covid cases, with the latest incidence rate reaching a record 1,642 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. According to the latest figures provided by the Regional Health Agency, 1,554 covid patients are hospitalized in the PACA region and 516 patients have been admitted to intensive care units.

French government to ease restrictions on travel between France and UK from next week – Meanwhile Attal also said on Wednesday that the government is going to expand the list of "compelling reasons", "in particular professional" for travel between France and the UK. The government spokesman said that the restrictions between the two countries could also be eased further next week, saying that the Omicron variant is now affecting both countries in a similar way.

Compulsory vaccination for all over 50s in Italy – And the Italian government has decided to introduce compulsory vaccination for all people over the age of 50. Faced with a rise in covid cases the government decided on Wednesday January 5th, to introduce the vaccination obligation for all people over the age of 50.  Italy has 59 million inhabitants, including 28 million over the age of 50, according to the National Institute of Statistics. The new measure comes as the government had already announced that from the 10th January the vaccination pass will be required in transport, hotels, restaurants, fairs, congresses as well as swimming pools and gyms. Until now, to take the train and the plane, it was enough to be in possession of a "basic" health pass, which could be obtained thanks to vaccination but also with a negative test. Italy in recent days has recorded high numbers of new positive cases: more than 189,000 on Wednesday and more than 170,000 on Tuesday. In total, more than 1.4 million people are currently positive in Italy. The first European country to be hit hard by the pandemic, Italy has recorded more than 138,000 deaths since the beginning of 2020.

Prom' Classic postponed - Due to the health situation, the highly anticipated "Prom Classic" will not take place in Nice this Sunday, January 9th. Every year, the Prom' Classic welcomes several thousand of participants. However, this year's edition has been postponed until a later date which has not yet been confirmed.

Brigitte Bardot reveals that she does not want to be vaccinated - Actress Brigitte Bardot has revealed to Gala magazine that she does not want to be vaccinated against covid saying she is "allergic to all chemicals". Asked by the celebrity weekly if she was vaccinated, the star, who lives in Saint-Tropez, replied: "Oh no! I'm allergic to all chemicals." Bardot went on to say that even when she travelled to Africa she refused the yellow fever vaccine adding "my doctor wrote me a fake certificate and I left and came back in great shape".

Sanofi - The Paris court ruled on Wednesday January 5th that Sanofi had "committed a fault by failing to comply with its duty of vigilance and its obligation to inform" about the risks of its drug Depakine (for epileptic and bipolar patients) during pregnancy. Sanofi has since announced its intention to appeal the judgment. The procedure was launched in May 2017 at the initiative of an association (Association d'aide aux parents d'enfants souffrant du syndrome de l'anti-convulsivant (Apesac) which believes that Sanofi has been too late in informing patients of the risks of malformations or developmental delays in children whose mothers had received the treatment during pregnancy. Based on the scientific information available at the time, the court found that Sanofi"produced and marketed a defective product between May 22, 1998 and January 2006 for congenital malformations and between 2001 and January 2006 for neurodevelopmental disorders." Sodium valproate has been marketed since 1967 under the brands Depakine as well as Depakote and Depaamide as generic brands. According to estimates be the Health Insurance and the Medicines Agency the molecule is responsible for malformations in 2,150 to 4,100 children and neurodevelopmental disorders in 16,600 to 30,400 children.

Macron to visit Nice - President Macron is scheduled to visit our region next Monday, 10 January. He will first visit Nice where he will lay the foundation stone for a modern new police complex before moving on to the Roya Valley. The President last visited the valley just after Storm Alex devastated the area in October 2020.


Minutes from the last meeting of the US Federal Reserve suggest that the central bank may be forced to raise interest rates sooner than planned to deal with inflation. The minutes from the December 14th and 15th meeting of the Fed's policy meeting show that officials are concerned about the pace of price increases that are set to continue "well into 2022" along with global supply bottlenecks. The Fed cited a "very tight" labour market as well as overall inflation and may also look to further reduce its asset holding as a second brake on the economy. The tone taken in the minutes shows the depth of consensus that's emerged at the US central bank in recent weeks over the need to act against higher inflation, not just by raising borrowing costs but also by reducing the Fed's holdings of treasury bonds and mortgage backed securities.

UK sales of electric vehicles soared last year but the market as a whole has yet to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. More electric cars were sold in 2021 than in the previous five years combined according to data from the UK Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. However, the industry body says that much more investment is needed in charging infrastructure. Meanwhile, an acute shortage of computer chips has left dealers struggling to get hold of many new conventional models. Overall, 2021 was a poor year for the UK industry with around 1.65 million new cars registered. It was a slight improvement on 2020 but still the second-worst figure recorded in nearly three decades.

Some UK mobile networks are delaying the reintroduction of roaming charges for customers using their phones in Europe by three weeks. Vodafone and EE had planned to bring in post-Brexit roaming fees from today but they say that more time is needed for testing. Before the UK left the EU, users were able to use calls, texts and data allowance in their mobile plans in any European country but the trade deal struck in 2020 gave operators the option of reintroducing charges. The three network has also said that it will reintroduce charges probably from May this year.


Cricket - It's day 2 of the 4th Test between Australia and England in Sydney with the home side moving on to 331-7 shortly after tea. Usman Khawaja has scored a century on his recall to the side but there's been some success for the England bowlers with 4 wickets for Stuart Broad and one apiece for Anderson, Wood and Joe Root. Australia are building a healthy advantage though and given England's previous performances with the bat, the match may already be slipping away from them.

South Africa need 122 runs to secure victory in the second Test against India in Johannesburg. On day 3, India were bowled out for 266 in their second innings. At Stumps, South Africa had reached 118-2 in their second innings.

Football - Chelsea have beaten Spurs 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in the semi-final first leg of the English League Cup. Havertz scored the opener on 5 minutes before Davies put through his own net on 34 to give the Blues a healthy advantage heading into the second leg.

Meanwhile, Liverpool's semi-final against Arsenal has been postponed because of a coronavirus outbreak in the Liverpool camp.

Tennis - Novak Djokovic looks set to be deported from Australia after his visa was revoked at Melbourne Airport. The world number one was detained by authorities for several hours before being sent to a quarantine centre. Djokovic has not revealed his vaccine status but has said that he is "opposed" to vaccination. He was granted a medical exemption by Tennis Australia before the Prime Minister Scott Morrison stepped in to say that the player should not be granted any "special favours". The issue has caused a huge backlash in Australia and has left both Tennis Australia and the government with questions to answer.

Rugby Union - The Welsh Rugby Union is considering switching its home 6 Nations game to England because of pandemic crowd restrictions in Wales. Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford has imposed restrictions on sporting events meaning that professional games are being effectively played behind doors. The next review of the measures is due tomorrow but the Welsh RFU says that it's looking at options.

Wales are due to host Scotland in Cardiff on February the 12th in their opening 6 Nations match. They're also due to play Cardiff on March the 11th and Italy the following weekend meaning that if the restrictions continue then they could play more than half of the tournament behind closed doors.


Clear skies with light to moderate north westerly winds. Top temperatures 12-14 degrees. Overnight lows of 4-6 degrees on the coast and -3 degrees inland with clear skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend - Clear skies with highs of 10-12 degrees.

And Finally 

You may have embarked on Dry January and while it sounds like a great idea, giving up booze for a month and giving our livers a rest, research has revealed that more than half of those who start Dry January are likely to give up by the second week. Two in ten admit they won’t last the whole month without alcohol and three in ten will be happy to stick it for just two weeks. Needing a drink at the end of the day, wanting to socialise and not wanting to miss out are among the reasons adults give up. 

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